An electric fireplace can be a wonderful addition to any home. With so many styles and sizes to choose from, you are sure to find one that fits your home beautifully. These pieces provide homeowners with a way to enjoy the ambiance of a real flame without the hassle of cleaning and caring for a gas or wood fireplace. What they do get is an elegant surround and mantel that frames the flame effects and a space heater that is the perfect supplemental heat source for warming the rooms you use most often. Affordable, sophisticated, and easy to use, the electric fireplace is becoming a welcome addition to many modern-day homes.
In This Post You Will Learn:
- What is an Electric Fireplace Mantel Package?
- How are the Flame Effects Created?
- What Type of Heater will an Electric Fireplace Have?
- The Benefits of an Electric Fireplace with a Mantel
- Installing Your Electric Fireplace
- How to Decorate with a Free-Standing Electric Fireplace with Mantel
- Magikflame Electric Fireplace Buying Guide
- The Magikflame Story
What is an Electric Fireplace Mantel Package?
Electric fireplaces come in many design styles from manufacturers like Dimplex and Magikflame. Options include electric units that look like wood stoves, wall-mounted electric fireplaces or an electric fireplace insert, but one of the most popular designs remains the freestanding electric fireplace with mantel. Our buying guide will help you find one that perfectly suits your needs.
An electric fireplace mantel package gives you the most realistic look when it comes to having a fireplace in your home without having an actual wood-burning version. Not every architect includes a wood fireplace in the plans for a new home or a remodel, but many homeowners still want that beautiful fireplace mantel as part of their home decor. The mantel adds elegance to a living room, and it looks amazing throughout the holidays.
These electric fireplace mantel packages include lovely surrounds and stunning mantels that surround the realistic flame effects found in the firebox. They can be placed against any wall you choose, as long as a standard electric outlet is nearby. You can even place one on a wall with a bookcase on each side to create a built-in appearance. You will find ones that include faux stone for a rustic look as well as modern styles in an espresso or white finish on websites like Amazon. Natural chestnut oak or mahogany versions work well in classic interior design homes.
How are the Flame Effects Created?
The flame effects are the centerpiece of any electric fireplace. It is the one feature that will most give you the ambiance of a real flame. You want those flame effects to look as realistic as possible. Several strategies are used to make your fireplace look like wood is burning in the firebox. Some of these are beautiful only from a distance while others will fool you every time, no matter how close you are.
Mechanical Flame Effect
Mechanical flame effects are found in 95% of the electric fireplaces on the market. This is the type of effect you are most likely to find in the fireplaces sold at your local big box stores. They are popular among manufacturers because they are made with low-priced parts and are simple to create. This saves them money, and it allows them to keep the price of the electric fireplace low as well.
Mechanical fireplaces have an electric motor that rotates a cylinder inside of the unit. This cylinder is unique in that it has several mirrored tabs connected to it. Multi-color LED lights are aimed at this cylinder. As the cylinder turns, the lights are reflected through a silhouette cut out of a flame and onto a back panel found behind the log set within the fireplace. These waves of colored lights give the illusion of flames.
Using LED flames allows the manufacturer to offer colored flames. Red, orange, and yellow are typically used, but you will find blue too. The blue flame color can create flames that look like those in a gas fireplace.
A good example of a mechanical fireplace is the Callaway Grand White Electric Fireplace by Real Flame. This fireplace has a 40-inch diagonal firebox with glass doors. LED technology is used to create the flames found within. This model is part of their VividFlame grand series. In addition to VividFlame, you will get a programmable thermostat for a built-in 1500-watt infrared heater.
Mechanical flame effects are versatile in the way they offer so many colors to choose from. The drawback is that each of the individual flames will be identical in shape and size. When shopping for an electric fireplace mantle package, be sure to pay attention to how they word the description of the flames. Mechanical versions will say that they have multi-color flames. More advanced technology such as holographic flames is stated as multi-function. Multifunction refers to your ability to choose different flame looks.
Mechanical flame effects are long-lasting when it comes to the actual lights. The LED lightbulbs being used will last for 50,000 hours. Unfortunately, the cheaper electric motors that are used can wear out quickly. Friction is caused as the parts move. This further increases the chance of them wearing out rapidly. This is a problem because the motors are hard to replace. You may find yourself having to buy an entirely new electric fireplace.
If you want longevity, consider holographic flame effects instead, but if your budget is the main concern, you can find some attractive mechanical fireplaces available at reasonable prices. LED flickering flame effects also work nicely in smaller electric fireplace units such as an electric fireplace stove. The Duraflame electric fireplace stove provides flickering flames that can be used independently of the supplemental heat which can warm up to 1,000 square feet.
Water-Based Flame Effect
Water-based or steam fireplaces are more elusive to find than LED flames. It is a patented technology that Dimplex uses in its electric fireplace designs. They use a fine mist created by an ultrasonic fogger and halogen lights to create the illusion of an actual flame. An orange light is shined onto the water droplets in order to look like the flicker of flames. It is the heat from the orange halogen bulb that makes those water droplets rise into the air. The results are somewhat realistic.
While a Dimplex water-based fireplace on Amazon looks more natural than a mechanical fireplace, they do require much more when it comes to maintenance. You have to supply a water source. If you use a water-holding container, it will need to be constantly refilled. If the water runs out, the flames stop. This defeats the idea of an electric fireplace being low maintenance.
In addition, the Dimplex fogger has small holes in it that the water goes through. Minerals from your water can build up in these holes. Distilled water is a must, and the holes will require routine cleanings.
The halogen lights are a drawback as well. Halogen bulbs use more energy than LED lights, and they won’t last as long either. Halogens are expensive too. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to switch to an LED bulb because the entire system relies on the heat a halogen bulb produces in order to function properly.
Water-based technology only gives you one flame shape. You won’t have a variety of flame colors or styles to pick from. If you want glowing embers as well as a roaring fire along with the ability to adjust the flame brightness, you won’t be satisfied with this type of electric fireplace.
Holographic Electric Fireplaces
Holographic flame technology brings us the most realistic flame option available. These modern flame effects are offered along with a variety of flame visuals and special features like a thermostat or sound effect systems. When you put this together with a built-in heater, you will have the most practical and real experience possible when it comes to the ambiance of a real wood-burning fireplace. There is no mess or maintenance to worry about, and the flames will have details that will fool you and your friends.
Instead of relying on a mechanical system to create the flames, holographic fireplaces use a video of an actual fire to make their flame effects. These images are projected onto a physical log set inside the fireplace’s cavity where it looks like the wood is really burning. LED lights can be found in the ember bed, but these are simply used to give the illusion of glowing embers in the fire.
As you watch the flame effects produced by holographic technology, you will notice the organic movements of the flames, simulated smoke rising, and burning embers pulsating. The sound of a fire crackling and popping is added for further realism. Magikflame uses all of this along with a scent atomizer that emits the scent of fresh-cut pine. The scent is created with actual pine tree oils for the most authentic odor. It is perfectly safe to use inside of your home.
The only drawback may be the price. It is expensive to produce flames that are this real-looking. Each fireplace has a complex video imaging device inside of it that plays the video loop of an actual fire. Other technologies such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and a smartphone app are also included in the Magikflame brand. Fortunately, payment plans and financing can help make this fireplace attainable.
What Type of Heater Will an Electric Fireplace Have?
Most freestanding electric fireplaces with mantels have on-demand heat that warms 400 or more sq. ft of space. On-demand means that you can use your flame effects independently of the heat output. This gives you the flexibility to enjoy your flame effects during the warmer seasons by turning the thermostat off. You can usually control the heat output with high, medium, and low heat settings, but more advanced models have a built-in adjustable thermostat that allows you to control the heat by programming it to the exact temperature you desire. This is done with a remote control, Alexa, a touchscreen, or a smartphone app. An automatic shut-off may also be included in the electric fireplace mantel package as a safety feature.
Many of the linear wall-mount fireplaces won’t have heat. The heat can be a safety concern when the unit is placed directly into the wall, and it adds to the weight of the device which can affect the ability to mount it. This can be a plus if you live in a tropical area and don’t need the heat, or you are looking for a more affordable option in electric fireplaces.
Heat is measured by something called a BTU. A BTU is a British Thermal Unit. One BTU is how much energy is needed to heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. When searching for the best electric fireplace for your home, take note of this number. The higher it is, the more sq. ft the heater can warm.
An electric fireplace will only heat one room. Most can handle between 400 and 1,000 square feet. This is called zone heating. Rather than heating the entire home, you are only heating that one room. The money savings comes with the ability to turn down your whole-house heating system. Rooms you don’t use will no longer need to be kept as warm as the rooms you use most often. Place the fireplace in those most frequently used rooms, and use their heaters to take the chill off and make the areas you are actually in more comfortable.
If you are using an electric fireplace with just the flame effects turned on, it will only cost an average of .01 cents per hour. Add in the use of the heater and it can cost between .10 and .25 cents per hour. This varies according to the current rate of electricity in your area.
Fan Forced Coil Based Heaters
A fan-forced coil-based electric fireplace heater is the most commonly found heater in an electric fireplace mantle package. They are easy to manufacture and low-cost to make. These heaters will warm smaller areas between 400 and 500 square feet. Air passes overheated coils. A small blower fan will blow that heated air into the room. Dimplex electric fireplaces use this type of heater.
The downside is that the fan does make some noise, and other types of heaters can handle larger spaces. Do not obstruct the heater’s air path. Flammable items like curtains, furniture, and carpet should be kept at a safe distance.
Infrared Quartz Heaters
An infrared electric fireplace heater is also referred to as “radiant heat.” This heater operates in a different way than a fan-forced coil heater. This allows it to heat a larger space. It will easily handle up to 1,000 square feet. They work in much the same way as the sun does. Invisible ultraviolet light is emitted that will warm surfaces. This technology is usually found in high-end electric fireplaces. They create the feel of more natural heat, and they won’t dry out the air.
The Benefits of an Electric Fireplace with a Mantel
When you purchase an electric fireplace with a mantel and beautiful surround, you are able to take advantage of some really attractive benefits. The following are just a few.
Easy to Install
We will discuss installation in-depth later on, but basically, it is as easy as unboxing the fireplace and plugging it in. You may need someone to help because of the weight of the fireplace, but otherwise, it is easily accomplished. You will only need the help of a professional if a new electrical outlet is needed.
Closely Resembles a Traditional Fireplace
Modern electric fireplaces are designed to look like traditional wood-burning fireplaces. They have full-size mantels that can hold a TV or decorative items. The surround is believable as something that would be found so close to flames. Some will even include bricks or natural stone to add to the effect.
These fireplaces are not something you would move daily, but a home improvement project won’t be a hindrance when it comes to your fireplace. If you decide to move it to a new wall or even another room, all you have to do is unplug it and put it in its new spot. While most versions include built-in heaters with thermostats that can warm 400 to over 1,000 sq. ft, you may discover that you could use it to heat a different room than you originally thought of.
No Permits are Needed for the Installation
Many areas throughout the country require permits to make any structural changes to a house. If you wanted to install a wood or gas fireplace, you would have to get the proper permits for your location. Electric fireplaces don’t require you to make any large changes to the construction of your home, so there is no paperwork to worry about.
Safer for Kids and Pets
Unlike a traditional fireplace with actual flames, your electric unit will stay cool to the touch. It won’t emit any harmful fumes either. This means that it is safe to have your children and pets in the same room without using baby gates to keep everyone at a safe distance.
Installing Your Electric Fireplace
The easy installation has made the free-standing electric fireplace with mantel a popular choice among homeowners and interior designers alike. These ventless units do not require a chimney or gas line, so there is considerably less construction involved. In fact, construction is non-existent.
The first thing you need to do is to decide exactly where you want to place your electric fireplace. You have probably already done this before you went shopping for the fireplace. Now that you have a spot picked out, look to see if there is an electrical outlet nearby that the cord of the fireplace will reach. Do not use extension cords. Many of these are not rated for use with your fireplace and can become a safety concern. The best solution is to have a licensed electrician install a standard wall outlet for you if there isn’t one readily available.
Your fireplace should be ready to go as soon as you unbox it. Very few will require any assembly, but if it does, it is usually quite simple. Follow the directions carefully in the manual that the manufacturer has provided for you. After that, all you need to do is slide it in place up against the wall. Plug it in, and you are ready to sit back and enjoy the look and feel of an actual fire.
How to Decorate with a Free-Standing Electric Fireplace with Mantel
Much of the appeal of an electric fireplace that has a mantel is that homeowners can finally decorate around this centerpiece, even if the original design plan didn’t include a wood-burning version. Mantels are excellent places to display beautiful objects, and the space above looks stunning with a painting or wreath there. After decorating the actual fireplace, you may be a little lost as to furniture placement if you have never had a fireplace in your home before.
Furniture placement is easy if you break the room down to the very basics. Is your room square in shape? If so, picture the fireplace on one side of the square. You can place the sofa directly across from it. The sofa will be facing the fireplace. That leaves two open sides where you could fill the space with chairs. This pattern works in a rectangular room as well.
Another option is to leave the site directly across from the fireplace open and place a sofa on each of the remaining sides. This makes a great conversation area with the sofas facing each other, and the area between them will naturally lead up to your fireplace.
Before actually arranging the furniture, measure everything carefully. With the room empty, use painter’s tape to outline each piece on the floor. This immediately tells you if there is room for everything. This method will save you a lot of muscle power and frustration.
Once your furniture is arranged in a layout you enjoy, start filling in with smaller pieces such as ottomans, side tables, coffee tables, and any other additional items. Now you will be ready to add artwork, bookshelves, and knick-knacks.
Decorating with a fireplace is easy until you decide to bring a TV into the living room. TVs and fireplaces have been competing for attention since the television first appeared in the 1920s. Both of these large pieces make excellent focal points. If they aren’t balanced with each other, the room will look and feel chaotic.
The trick is to get the two pieces to work together. This can be done in several different ways.
Use an Electric Fireplace TV Stand
These media consoles are a type of free-standing electric fireplace that serves double duty as an entertainment center. The mantel provides plenty of room for a TV. To keep everything balanced, the TV needs to have a width that is the same or smaller than the mantel. For example, a Duraflame 40-inch electric fireplace will look best with a television that measures 40 inches or less across its width.
An electric fireplace TV stand typically includes shelves on each side of the cavity where the adjustable flame is located. These shelves are perfect for holding DVDs, games, and remote control. Media shelves found just under the mantel are sized to hold cable boxes, DVD players, and gaming consoles. This allows your TV and free-standing electric fireplace with mantel to become one main focal point while eliminating clutter.
Wall Mount the TV
Mounting the TV over the electric fireplace mantel package will also create one main focal point within the room. Mounting kits are available that allow you to have the TV placed directly above the mantel. These brackets can actually improve the viewing experience. When watching the television, it can be pulled out from the wall and tilted towards where you are sitting. When you are done watching your favorite show or movie, the TV can be pushed back up against the wall. Mounting kits are available on Amazon. They are affordable and easy to install.
Consider a Corner Electric Fireplace
A corner fireplace works beautifully in smaller rooms. It can be tucked into the corner of the room where it can still be enjoyed, but it won’t be competing with the TV.
When searching for the best electric fireplace, you will come across corner fireplaces that are designed as media consoles as well. Southern Enterprises Redden Fresh White corner entertainment center can be found on Amazon. It has a faux stone surround with a media shelf under the mantel. Southern Enterprises LED lights create the multicolor flames that come with five-level adjustments. It is a 52-inch electric fireplace that can be fit into a corner or used flat against the wall.
Place the Fireplace and TV Side by Side
It is possible to place the freestanding electric fireplace next to the TV and still maintain a balanced look. This works best with a linear-style fireplace and a flat-screen TV, but it doesn’t have to be totally ruled out when working with a freestanding fireplace. Consider placing the TV in the center of the wall. Use a wall mount kit, and make sure there is an equal distance on each side of the unit. On one side you will place the fireplace. On the other side, place a piece of furniture that matches the fireplace in size and shape. This could be a bookshelf, a curio cabinet, or a sofa table. The overall effect will look controlled, and it will keep your eye equally focused on both pieces.