Having a traditional fireplace in your living room certainly looks wonderful and gives your home an inviting ambiance, however, a lot of homeowners simply don’t have that option. Tight regulations involving new homes not being allowed to build a wood-burning fireplace have forced people to look into other options.
Electric fireplaces are quickly becoming a popular alternative. Not only are people limited by these new home regulations, but by people who are living in city apartments and condominiums. Some people who already have a typical fireplace are also making the switch to electric due to the enhanced safety features.
However, just how safe are electric fireplaces? Are electric fireplaces safe for pets? What are some electric fireplaces safe practices? Let’s dig in and get to the bottom of some of these great questions and more.
In this post, you will learn:
- How many different types of electric fireplaces are there? – In this section, we will quickly touch on the different types of electric fireplaces.
- How Exactly Does An Electric Fireplace Function? – To understand how safe electric fireplaces can be, it is important to understand exactly how they work to generate heat and simulate a flame effect.
- Are Electric Fireplaces Safe For Pets? – Here we will answer the important question that likely brought you to this post: are electric fireplaces safe for pets?
- Are Wood Or Gas Fireplaces Safe For Pets? – It is always good to highlight the differences between electric fireplaces and ones that burn gas or wood. This section will examine traditional fireplaces regarding safety for your pet.
- What Are Some Other Benefits That Electric Fireplaces Have? – It’s not only about safety for your pets. There are countless other ways that getting an electric fireplace is a good decision.
- What Safety Precautions Should I Take When Using An Electric Fireplace? – Here are some tips about safe practices regarding an electric fireplace.
- Does It Matter What Brand Of Electric Fireplace I Get? – Whether it is for safety, quality, or something else, here we will highlight some of the different brands of electric fireplaces that you might be considering.
How many different types of electric fireplaces are there?
An electric fireplace can be an excellent heat source and is easily comparable to the heat output of a traditional fireplace. Of course, there are different types of electric fireplaces. It is important to understand these different types if you are someone who cares about fireplace safety. The four kinds of electrical fireplaces are:
- Electrical Fireplace Mantel – If you invest in a high-end model, these kinds of fireplaces look like wood fireplaces. When you get one of these, you’ll usually receive it as two distinct parts that connect. First, you’ll get a mantel in whatever design you’ve chosen. Second, you’ll get the main fireplace unit that fits under the mantel where the firebox would normally be. Because they rest on the ground, often against a wall or in the corner for certain models, these tend to be quite safe. Interestingly, you can also find these kinds of fireplaces built directly into a media console or a TV stand.
- Electric Fireplace Insert – Let’s say you have an older style fireplace that uses a real flame, but you want to turn that fireplace into one that is 100% electric. You would then get an electric fireplace insert. They can easily be installed into one of these old fireplaces. These are drastically safer than using the existing fireplace you already have.
- Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace – Are you interested in getting an electric fireplace that hangs on the wall or is recessed within it? That is when you would choose one of these kinds of fireplaces. You mount one of these securely with wall mounting brackets and insert the plug into a regular 120-volt electrical outlet nearby. Of course, they can be in danger of falling if you don’t secure it to the wall properly. For a little extra safety and a modern look, you can install these partially or fully into your home’s drywall as long as there is space between two studs.
- Freestanding Electric Fireplace – If you are looking for an electric heater that you can freely move between rooms and plug into a normal wall outlet, this might be what you are looking for. They can look like a fireplace mantel, wood stove, or other design. While having an electric fireplace stove can be cool, a freestanding space heater should come with a big warning. They typically aren’t as safe as the other three listed. They are prone to overheating. If the heating element is exposed and not properly projected, something flammable can catch fire if it accidentally touches it for an extended period. A space heater like this rarely comes with an automatic shut-off. For this reason, it is a good idea to stick to one of the fireplaces listed above and always avoid purchasing low-end fireplaces from Amazon.
How exactly does an electric fireplace function?
To heat a room, electric fireplaces are pretty simple, and focus on energy efficiency. The fireplace sucks in cold air from the room. The air quickly gets warmed by an infrared heater or other devices within it. The air is then pushed out to circulate back into your home. You need to check the BTU number to know how well a specific electric fireplace can generate heat. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. In short, the higher the number you find, the more powerful that particular heating device is.
There are myriad different ways that electric fireplaces create visual effects of flames. Some can be very tacky and cheap-looking. Other kinds with high-end technology like moving flame holograms, can look exactly like the real thing.
If having a fireplace that feels authentic to you is important, it is a good decision to invest in a higher-end fireplace. This will ensure that the fire looks real, the fireplace is safety-rated, and your home will remain sufficiently warm.
Are electric fireplaces safe for pets?
Now for the important question for all animal lovers: Are electric fireplaces safe for pets? In short, yeah, high-quality electric fireplaces are perfectly safe for cats or other pets. However, remember that not all fireplaces are made the same, and cheap models from generic companies could have some issues. You shouldn’t have problems getting a great fireplace from an excellent company.
There are only a few issues you could have for very particular situations. If you install a hanging fireplace and don’t properly secure it to the studs, a pet could easily knock it over. It could injure your pet and damage your fireplace. It also might be worth installing these types so that they are recessed in the wall to make this much more likely.
If you use a long extension cord with your fireplace, and have a cat or other animal prone to chew wires, you want to ensure that the cord is hidden and protected.
Are wood or gas fireplaces safe for pets?
These fireplaces can be dangerous for you and your pets, here is why.
Pets can easily disturb a burning fireplace or knock over a protective screen. This can result in a burning log rolling into the room. Not only can this severely burn your pet, but it can also start a fire in your home.
Carbon monoxide can be a real issue. These dangerous emissions are harmful to people, and can cause problems even faster for small animals. A gas fireplace can also have this problem, although it is less common. Regardless, even with adequate venting, you can’t always be sure that you and your pets are safe. If you still use a gas or wood fireplace, you need to ensure your home has the right number of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
What are some other benefits that electric fireplaces have?
Electric fireplaces have many great benefits beyond just their ability to keep your pets safe.
An electric fireplace utilizes a thermostat to ensure that your home stays at the exact temperature that you want. The best part about this is that you can control this with an included remote control. Some of the better models have smartphone apps that can control your fireplace.
Electric fireplaces have several internal safety measures. An important one is an overheating sensor. If the blower gets blocked this will trigger a shut-off and will display an error message.
Electrical fireplaces are great for people who don’t want to deal with all of the hassle and clean up of a more traditional fireplace. They are simple to use and a high quality one will last for decades.
One of the key benefits of electric fireplaces have over other fireplaces is how inexpensive it is to warm your home. Buying wood and gas will cost more in terms of heating your home compared to a good electrical fireplace.
What safety precautions should I take when using an electric fireplace?
Electric fireplaces are already pretty safe to use, especially considering the alternative. But, it’s still a good idea to practice some basic safety precautions to ensure you don’t run into any issues.
- Don’t Use Surge Protectors or Extension Cords – It’s always a good idea to plug an electric fireplace straight into a standard outlet. Using a cord to reach the outlet or a surge protector with your fireplace can result in electrical issues and even an electrical fire. Like any large appliance in your home, the plug should go in the outlet exclusively.
- Make Sure Your Fireplace Is Secured To The Wall – We have already covered how a fireplace that is wall-mounted needs to be secured to the studs. However, other fireplaces should be secured as well. If you have a mantel unit or an insert kit, take the time to ensure it is also secured. You don’t want it tipping over.
- Replace Bad Wiring In Old Homes – If you have an older home with old electrical wiring, it is incredibly important that you have an electrician take a look at it before using an electrical fireplace. There is a good chance they will need to redo a few things to bring it up to code and ensure your safety.
Does it matter what brand of electric fireplace I get?
Generic brand fireplaces need to be avoided entirely. They look tacky, don’t work well, and can even be dangerous.
There are plenty of brands out there to choose from that are better than a generic fireplace: Duraflame, Touchstone, MagikFlame, Dimplex, and more.
Out of all of these brands, MagikFlame is the one that does the best job of creating a realistic fireplace experience.
Several things go into making a great electric fireplace, like realistic visual flames and embers. This built-in heater can outperform more traditional large electric fireplaces. The authentic sound of burning logs accompanies the visuals.
MagikFlame excels at all three of these points.