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Do I Need Fireplace Logs and Are They Safe?

The log is at the heart of the fireplace. It sets the mood, the tone, and the look of the fire. But are electric fireplace logs safe? In traditional fireplaces, the log burns. In electric and gas fireplaces, the log has a more permanent presence and a longer life. The logs pair with a flame effect for electric fireplaces or a gas flame in gas units.

A fireplace log set can be the focal point of your living room. A freestanding unit can sit in the middle of your room or against any wall. An insert graces your existing fireplace. You can even get an entire unit with a gorgeous mantel included.

Safety is always a top concern with any fireplace. Log sets are safe but have some weaknesses: heat at the source, possible ventilation issues, electrical plugs, and more. Are electric fireplace logs safe? Yes, for the most part.

In this post, you will learn:

  • Do I need fireplace logs?
  • What is a fireplace log?
  • How is it different from an insert?
  • How do I select a fire log?
  • What are the varieties of log sets?
  • What are the top brands?
  • Are electric fireplace logs safe?
  • More about MagikFlame electric fireplaces

Do I need fireplace logs?

If you own an existing fireplace and want to stop burning dirty (and potentially expensive) wood, fireplace logs may be a superb choice for you. Available in electric and gas-powered units, logs heat a single room or a small area. They are best used together with regular home heating, so if you are planning to heat an entire house, you will want to look into alternative options.

What is a fireplace log?

A fireplace log is a set of what looks like logs made of wood, metal, plastic, and/or ceramic materials. Within the logs sits a heating unit and (often) a lighting unit that imitates a fireplace. These sets heat more efficiently and cleaner than wood – and sometimes can cost less than central heat per BTU. (A BTU is a British Thermal Unit. BTUs create a comparable scale to examine different heating sources.) One volt is approximately 3 ½ BTUs.

How is it different from an insert?

An insert is much like a fire log, only it comes with a frame around it. They can build parts of the mechanism into the frame. It inserts into an existing fireplace, or a new-built mantle built to frame its depth. Newer-designed units include a glass box or alternative display around the flames. Logs are simply logs with a heat and flame mechanism built-in. They provide more versatility about where you can use them.

Choosing a log set by looks

Most log sets imitate types of wood as their base. Oak is popular in fireplace sets for its deep-brown traditional look. Birch is also a popular log, with its white bark, that fits more formal and minimalist rooms. The looks of traditional wood bring warmth to a room. They build other logs out of metal, plastic, and ceramic. These logs look like real wood, but last longer and are easier to clean.

When choosing by looks, do not fall into the trap of only judging the logs. Be certain that you see the fire in operation. Makers sometimes pair realistic logs with less-than-stellar fires. The unit conjures flames from lighting tricks on fabric or mist, which are pretty but not flame-like. Gas flames look different from log flames. It is important to make certain that the flame suits your tastes as much as the log does.

MagikFlame Fireplaces come with a realistic flame, conjured from a layering of high-tech visuals. The logs themselves glow with an ember bed looking like glowing coals. A high-quality video of flames projects on and over the logs using LED lights. A unique holographic display brings the flames to life with three-dimensional characteristics. A crackling sound and scent of pine finish the illusion. All this joins together in the electric log set to mimic the ambiance of a wood-burning fire, making it hard to tell from a real fire.

Decorative logs

If you are interested in the logs, but not the flame or heating capabilities, there is a wide selection of logs you can purchase to stack in or around a fireplace. Sets of real birch logs sell from $15 to $50. You can also purchase ceramic or plastic designs that look like wood but last longer. Some log sets come with candle holders inside of them so you can enjoy an actual flame, if a small one. Some models come with a light bulb that burns behind them, creating an orange glow. These models are the most affordable and least dangerous – although always be in the room when burning candles, especially if you have children or pets.

Choosing by function

The look of logs and flames is important, but most people focus on the function of the electric fireplace heater (or gas) for an area or room. To compare heating capacity, look at the number of BTUs. A MagikFlame electric fireplace creates 5200 BTUs, enough to warm 1000 square feet. Many other electric fireplace log heaters heat from 400 to 700 sq. ft. It is important to right-size the heater to the room it will be heating. When properly selected, an electric fireplace is highly energy-efficient.

Types of fireplace logs and log sets

Traditionally, adding a fireplace to your home was a major expense. You had to build a chimney and construct the flue, firebox, and more. Now gas and electric fireplaces cut around those costs, making a fireplace much more affordable for many folks. Gas and electric logs are energy efficient, adding savings to the ambiance. A fireplace is a popular home improvement.

Today’s market hosts several kinds of fireplace logs. You can purchase a gas fireplace that runs on natural gas or propane. You can purchase an electric fireplace that runs convection with a fan or a silent infrared quartz heater.

Gas

Gas fireplaces come in two sorts, ventless and vented. A vent is a chute that expels air, any chemicals produced in the burn process, water vapor, and heat outside. Thus, a ventless unit creates more heat because part of the heat is not blowing out the vent. Vented logs have a much more beautiful and realistic fire. Venting options include a natural vent that connects through a pipe to an existing chimney and a direct-vent that pulls in outdoor air for combustion and sends out old air through a dual-vent. A ventless fireplace uses a catalytic converter, like a car.

You can install modern gas fireplaces anywhere. They can be built into a fireplace or entertainment center or be freestanding wherever you want them, such as under a window. You will need a natural gas line or a propane tank connected to the log set.

Electric

Electric fireplace logs or electric log sets are growing in popularity. With gas vulnerable to price fluctuations, electricity has a more foreseeable future price. Electric fireplaces are cleaner, and they run safer without an actual flame. A heating element sits at the core of an electric fireplace. The two most popular types of electric fireplaces are a mechanical fan, which blows warm air out over a heating unit, warming the air in the room. The other is an infrared unit that heats everything it touches with infrared light.

Electric fireplaces used to be the weak little brother of wood and gas. Electric fireplaces give homeowners a wide range of choices. They can slip into an existing fireplace or come with a mantle built around them. Some are free-standing or set into corners. Examining several available brands can help you find the design features and price point you want.

Brands

Napoleon is a top brand of electric fireplaces from Canada. They create a broad array of gas, electric, and wood fireplaces in several designs. From a wood-burning stove to a horizontal unit halfway up a connecting wall, they create both traditional and contemporary looks.

Dimplex makes electric fireplaces and electric heaters. Dimplex is an Irish company that prides itself on innovation, design, quality, and support. They feature their own OmniFlame technology.

DuraFlame, the famous maker of fire logs, also makes electric log sets. They specialize in smaller units for smaller spaces, but they do have some larger ones. They create both mechanical and infrared quartz fireplace units.

MagikFlame

MagikFlame makes holographic flames that are created from actual flames. They film actual flames. In fact, you can choose from 30 different flames to suit your individual style or mood. MagikFlame electric fireplaces have the crackling sound of wood fire (and if you do not want that sound, you can turn it off with the remote control).

MagikFlame offers a 28” electric fireplace insert fitting most fireplaces. We do not sell a separate log set with the logs alone but comes with a frame and additional features added to the firebox. MagikFlame electric fireplaces are larger than some competitors and create more heat.

The big difference between MagikFlame log insert and others is MagikFlame electric fireplace can heat 1000 square feet while competing units heat only 400-700 square feet. This makes our electric fireplace ideal for larger rooms, like the great rooms in many of today’s homes.

Are electric fireplace logs safe within a fireplace insert?

A major question our clients want to know is “are electric fireplace logs safe?” Mostly, they are very safe. But anything using electricity, heat, and (possibly) an actual flame has to be treated with caution and respect. Modern technology has solved most of the problems that older units face, but you should still ascertain your fireplace is using up-to-date technology.

Overheating

Running too hard and too hot can be a danger for units that do not have an internal thermostat and shut-off valve, like MagikFlame. Overheating happens when you use a smaller heater to warm a larger room. It can also happen on bitter days if the heater is straining to catch up with the cold. For safety, look for full thermostat control and the ability to set your own shut-off before the overheating point.

Size and capacity of fireplace

For safety, you first want to choose a unit designed to heat the correct amount of space. If you run a 400 sq.ft. unit in an 800 sq.ft. room, the heating unit will strain to put off enough heat. This creates a fire hazard or the chance to blow out part of your electrical system.

Most fireplaces provide supplemental heat. The electric fireplace heaters work with your existing heating system to heat your house in zones, taking care of one room while the central heat warms the rest of the house. They can also supplement the central heating in that one room.

Safety and fireplace logs

Wood fireplaces have several safety hazards. Their burn creates carbon monoxide, a deadly gas among the number of gasses produced. A wood fireplace means buying and using a carbon monoxide detector to keep your family safe.

Real flames require utmost caution. Sparks can sometimes spit out of the fireplace itself, setting things near the fireplace aflame. You will need to teach your children and pets to stay away from the fireplace. While this can be a hassle, it is necessary.

Gas

Most gas fireplaces need venting. For some, this is a matter of removing carbon monoxide from the house. For others, it is a matter of avoiding the humidity build-up that comes with gas (and some electric) fireboxes. Examine ventless gas fireplaces before purchase and be certain their makers are using the newest technology. Most gas fireplaces are problematic in bedrooms and may produce fumes and humidity.

Electric

Electric fireplaces are safer than wood or gas that has combustion. That spark can leap to flammable materials, such as books and pets that venture too near to it.

Electric fireplaces run clean. There is no danger of carbon monoxide, particulates, or any other gasses. As the unit burns nothing, there are no emissions. This means the fireplace does not need a vent or chimney and can be placed anywhere.

There is no need to keep a window cracked open, as is needed with a wood fireplace. Without a chimney, hassles such as chimney cleaning are over. You won’t have to check for birds’ nests in the chimney or whether the flue is open.

Do not use an extension cord with an electric fireplace, ever. The amount of electricity needed to run a hot fireplace is more than can be safely run through most extension cords. Plus, the addition of two joints to the electricity line increases the possibility of fires. All electric fireplaces should either plug-in directly to the wall electrical outlet or be hard-wired in by an electrician.

MagikFlame

MagikFlame has extra safety features built-in. You can even put one in a bedroom. They have internal and external thermostats and are fully controllable with remote control. They even integrate into your home heating system with a smart thermostat. No actual fire or combustion takes place within the MagikFlame firebox. While you always need to keep papers and flammable items out of direct contact with the heating unit, the system is safe for children, pets, and reading materials, even when they are close to the fireplace.

The infrared quartz fireplace can be plugged into an electrical outlet. Or, for greater safety, it can be wired straight into the home’s electricity system. This ends the possibility of someone unplugging or messing with the electric cord.

The MagikFlame fireplace is safe enough to serve as a TV stand or in the heart of an entertainment center.

Are electric fireplace logs safe? Yes. They have no flames, no fumes, no vents, no humidity, and no heat on the unit. Have a MagikFlame fireplace installed by the company and you will have the safest experience of any fireplace around.

To learn more about MagikFlame, check out these additional resources. The MagikFlame Story tells of the vision and hard work behind the development and creation of the MagikFlame electric fireplace. Move forward into how artisans build our fireplaces in America in How MagikFlame is Built. Find out more about our models and how they work at the MagikFlame Electric Fireplace Buying Guide. See what our customers have to say about our electric fireplaces and inserts at MagikFlame Reviews. Are you considering buying? Check out our Payment Plans and Financing

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