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What is a Fireplace Hearth and What do They do?

Fireplace Hearth

People have been gathering around a warm fireplace for generations. For a long time, a fireplace has been the focal point of the living room. A homeowner can have a sense of pride when they have a large, decorative fireplace in their home.

These days, many people are well aware of the dangers of wood fireplaces and are even starting to avoid gas fireplaces. As a better alternative, many people are switching to electric fireplaces. Electric fireplaces have made huge advances in the last decade or two. No longer are they limited to cheap effects and barely adequate heating. These days, if you invest in a high-end electric fireplace from a good brand, you can expect to have a fireplace with top-of-the-line flame effects and a powerful and efficient built-in heater that can easily keep your home warm while being incredibly cost-effective. Whether giving your main living space a makeover or you are doing your entire home, a beautiful fireplace that runs on electricity will be a good choice.

Of course, this begs the question: what kind of fireplace should you get? There are such a wide variety of electric fireplaces. On top of this, what is a hearth, and what does it do? Are there electric hearths and what is the difference? We will help answer all of these great questions in the guide that follows.

  • What Is a Fireplace Hearth and What Do They Do? – The true definition of a fireplace style hearth. How the meaning has changed over the years. What it means today.
  • What Is a Modern-Day Electric Fireplace Hearth, and What Is Their Updated Purpose? – This section talks about how hearths apply to modern-day electric style fireplaces, even if it strays a bit from the original meaning.
  • Is Choosing an Electric Fireplace Hearth Better Than a Wood Burning Fireplace Hearth? – Anyone still unsure, if electric is the way to go for their fireplace needs, should read this section.
  • What Are All The Different Types of Electric Style Fireplaces? – This section will talk about all of the different varieties, including ones that can be considered hearths.
  • How Do Electric Fireplaces Produce Heat and Create Flame Effects? – This section will talk about how modern-day electric fireplaces work to warm your home and provide visual flame effects.
  • Are Generic Brands of Electric Fireplaces Hearth Safe To Use, Or Should I Get a Brand Name One? – When purchasing any electric fireplace, buying generic can be the wrong route to go, no matter how good the deal seems. This section will cover why.
  • Which Electric Fireplace Style Hearth Can Produce The Most Realistic Flame Effect? – For people who expect realism with their electric fireplace, this section will highlight the most realistic on the market.

What is a fireplace hearth and what do they do?

In the old-style definition, a hearth is the floor of a fireplace that extends out from the firebox and into the room. This can be flat and flush with the floor, or it can be a raised hearth. A raised hearth provides a bit more safety by not being as exposed to the floor and offers a raised area for sitting or cooking. In the old days, many people cooked in their hearth, using cast iron pots and pans. You could take the embers out from the flame to create a warm bed for cooking, or you could even bury a clay oven under the embers to bake bread or other things. This allowed you to do a lot of the same cooking indoors that you might do outdoors in a fire pit. When the hearth wasn’t used for cooking, a fireplace screen would be placed in front of the fire for safety.

A hearth was typically made from a non-combustible material like a basic masonry fireplace or even soapstone. Sometimes, the firebox and hearth would have the same material, but other times the firebox would be the same brick as the chimney, while the hearth itself is a more decorative material.

Keep in mind, that while a hearth typically means the floor space in front of the firebox, the meaning has changed over the years. A hearth now refers to any fireplace that looks like that standard open hearth style. While there are enclosed hearth fireplaces with a see-through glass door in the fireplace opening, the hearth isn’t referring to wood-burning stoves or pellet stoves. A wood stove and pellet stove are very different looking; they don’t have a hearth and have some other venting pipe instead of a standard flue and chimney.

What is a modern-day electric fireplace hearth, and what is its updated purpose?

These days, electric fireplaces can also have hearths. Of course, these are almost entirely for decorative purposes and to keep a sense of nostalgia and tradition with modern fireplaces. Some electric fireplaces avoid hearths and mantels altogether, opting for something built into the wall. However, people who want the authentic fireplace experience, even with their electric fireplace, usually choose a substantial hearth-style electric fireplace that is either flat with the ground or has a hearth that is slightly raised off of the ground.

It’s important to note that you won’t be doing any cooking with these electrical fireplace hearths because there is no real flame or embers present. As a good trade-off, you won’t have any of the downsides that come with wood fireplaces either.

What are all the different types of electric-style fireplaces?

MagikFlame is the best choice for luxury and gorgeous interior design.

There is no shortage of types of electric fireplaces. That being said, here is a short list of the most common kinds of electric fireplaces:

Mantle Unit For Flat Wall – A standard hearth unit that sits flat against the wall.

Mantle Unit For Corner – Similar to the standard unit but shaped for a corner.

TV Stand Unit – An electric fireplace built into the body of a TV stand.

Wall Mount Unit – Units with brackets for mounting on the wall instead of placed on the floor. Can also be recessed in the wall.

Freestanding Unit – Basic portable heaters that look like electric fireplaces.

Stove Unit – Made to look like a rustic wood stove.

Insert Unit – An insert to convert a traditional hearth into an electric one.

How do electric fireplaces produce heat and create flame effects?

Any good quality linear electrical fireplace will produce heat by convection via an infrared quartz heating element. Air is cycled through the fireplace. As the cool air is pulled into the fireplace, it passes along the infrared quartz heating coil that instantly warms the air, and then it is gently blown back out into the room via the blowers. Because infrared stove heaters work so quickly and the fireplaces cycle like this, you will notice warm air coming out of an electric fireplace almost immediately and the room will warm up quickly as well. This is incredibly energy efficient, both because of the low electrical draw of infrared quartz and because there is no excess heat lost in ventilation as you’d have in a standard fireplace. Electric fireplaces allow heat to remain in the room longer, so it doesn’t have to work as hard.

Visual effects of electric fireplaces come in many different types. Cheaper models use basic LED lights or spinning mechanical devices. However, higher-end models will use things like holograms to simulate 3D flames perfectly.

Are generic brands of an electrical fireplace hearth safe to use, or should I get a brand name one?

Generic Brands of an Electrical Fireplace Hearth
MagikFlame is a top-of-the-line electric fireplace.

It can be very tempting to get a generic brand electric fireplace, especially when you see one on sale. However, these should always be avoided. There are always a ton of issues with cheap electric fireplaces. Owners are always disappointed by their performance. They usually don’t warm a room well enough and have really tacky-looking visual effects. Even if one does warm a room sufficiently, they usually aren’t as energy efficient, which means you can end up with an astoundingly high electric bill.

Instead, try to focus on an electric fireplace as an investment. If you invest more in a higher-end electric fireplace, you will have one that warms your home well and is energy-efficient. Over time, these savings add up and will actually cover the initial cost of the fireplace. On top of all of this, when you invest in a high end electric fireplace, you will usually get much more realistic flame effects like ones that use 3D holographic projection.

Which electric fireplace style hearth can produce the most realistic flame effect?

Electrical Fireplace Style Hearth
MagikFlame uses state-of-the-art holographic technology to make the most realistic flames.

The absolute best electric fireplace you can get for your home is MagikFlame. Customers are always happy with MagikFlame fireplaces for the following reasons:

MagikFlame lets you choose from 30 different 3D holographic flickering flames that are ultrarealistic and hard to tell from the real thing.

MagikFlame has amazing crackling log sounds that go along with the flicker flames for a total immersive experience.

MagikFlame boasts an efficiently powerful infrared quartz heater that can put out 5,200 BTUs of heat.

MagikFlame has a smartphone app so you can control your fireplace from anywhere in your home.

Is it better to choose an electric fireplace hearth over a wood-burning fireplace hearth?

Electric Fireplace Hearth Over a Wood Burning Fireplace Hearth
MagikFlame is the best choice compared to other types of fireplaces.

Still isn’t sure about choosing an electric fireplace as your hearth over a traditional wood one? Keep in mind that these types of fireplaces aren’t even able to be built new in new homes in many areas of the US because of their safety hazards.

While some people choose to get some kind of gas fireplace insert, this isn’t even the best option. Gas fireplaces have issues all their own.

First, lets cover the major downsides of wood fireplaces:

A carbon monoxide alarm is a necessary investment if you don’t buy a MagikFlame.
Harmful Emissions – One of the most common issues with burning wood inside of your home is the serious risk of harmful emissions. Both smoke inhalation and potentially fatal carbon monoxide poisoning can become a serious risk. This is why ventilation is vital, but sometimes isn’t enough, and harmful emissions can fill your home without you being aware of it.

The most dangerous part of a fireplace is actually the inside of the flue and chimney.
Chance of a House Fire – Having a flame that is exposed to the combustibles in the room certainly has tons of potential for a house fire, but the hazardous part is actually the inner wall of the chimney. As you use your fireplace, soot will slowly build up in the chimney. This soot is flammable and can cause a dangerous house fire that spreads very quickly. This is the main reason that people have to get their chimneys professionally cleaned two or three times per year.

There is so much work that goes into keeping a fireplace clean.
Hassle To Use – Simply using wood fireplaces is a huge hassle. You have to keep them clean from leftover ash daily. Then you have to build fires and work to keep the fire going. At the same time, you must constantly watch it for safety reasons. You can’t ever really have the peace of mind of just leaving it alone.

This is not ideal for people who suffer from allergies or asthma.
A Smell That Won’t Go Away – You really can’t get away from the smell of smoke if you use a wood fireplace in your home. That smoky smell is always present, and it will get deep into the fabric of your curtains, your furniture, and your clothes.

MagikFlame saves you hours of cleaning time because it is so low maintenance.
Wall Staining – You will have to worry your walls becoming stained due to smoke. Over time, bright white walls will begin to yellow, and you can even have darker stains on the wall directly above your wood fireplace.

Buy it, chop it, and store it–with a MagikFlame, you would already be enjoying the fire.
Lack of Efficiency – These fireplaces aren’t heat efficient in the slightest. They use a ton of wood just to keep your home warm, and a good amount of that heat leaves the home through the chimney with the smoke.

Gas fireplaces have flames that are incredibly weak with unusual flame colors that don’t look at all authentic. You also still have carbon monoxide to worry about, plus a gassy smell that lingers in your home.

On the other hand, electric fireplaces have tons of benefits that you should be aware of:
All Around Safety – There is no extra risk of a house fire because they don’t burn anything. You don’t have to worry about any of those nasty harmful emissions either. Electric fireplaces are very safe to use in your home.

Can Hang a TV or Add Shelving – They are also safe if you want to hang a TV above your fireplace or if you want to add some additional shelves beyond the normal fireplace surround.

Remote Control – Electric fireplaces usually come with some kind of remote control or smartphone app so that you can control every aspect of your fireplace from the comfort of your couch. This means that you can turn it on or off, you can change any of the heat settings, and for many electric fireplaces, you can even change the fire effect settings.

Build Your Own DIY Fireplace Mantel – For people who are particularly handy, you can get a fireplace insert and build your own mantel. While you can also do this with a traditional fireplace, you usually have to destroy the current one.

Realistic Fire Simulation – While cheaper electric fireplaces might have issues with poor flame simulation, high-end electric fireplaces can replicate a real wood-burning fireplace almost perfectly. Many people have trouble telling the difference between the real thing and an electric fireplace that uses holographic flames projected onto a physical log set.

Traditional White Electric Fireplace Mantel & Insert with Sound and Heater
Stand-Alone Electric Fireplace Insert with Sound and Heater
Modern White Electric Fireplace Mantel & Insert with Sound and Heater
European Style White Electric Fireplace Mantel & Insert with Sound and Heater
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