People have been gathering around the warm fireplace in their family room or living room 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 all of the dangers of using wood fireplaces and are even starting to avoid things like a gas fireplace. As the better alternative, many people are switching to electric fireplaces. Electric fireplaces have absolutely made huge advances in the last decade or two. No longer are they limited to cheap affects and barely adequate heating. These days, if you invest in a high end electrical 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 a makeover to your main living space or you are doing a makeover to 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 electrical 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, and 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 electrical style fireplaces, even if it strays a bit from the original meaning.
- Is It Better To Choose an Electric Fireplace Hearth Over a Wood Burning Fireplace Hearth? – Anyone that still isn’t sure if electric is the way to go for their fireplace needs should definitely read this section carefully.
- What Are All The Different Types of Electric Style Fireplaces? – There is a wide variety of many kinds of electric 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? – Because the technology has changed so much over the years, this section will talk about how modern day electric fireplaces work to warm your home and provide visual flame effects.
- Are Generic Brands of an Electrical Fireplace Hearth Safe To Use Or Should I Get a Brand Name One? – Buying generic when purchasing any kind of electrical fireplace can be a bad route to go, no matter how good the deal seems. This section will cover why.
- Which Electrical Fireplace Style Hearth Can Produce The Most Realistic Flame Effect? – For people that have an expectation of realism with their electrical fireplace purchase, 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 of the word, a hearth is the floor of a fireplace that extends out from the firebox of the fireplace 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 also offers a raised area for sitting or cooking. In the old days, many people cooked in their hearth, usually using cast iron pots and pans. You could take the embers out from the flame to create a warm bed for cooking, or you can 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 being used for cooking, there would be a fireplace screen that is 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 was a more decorative material to make the room look more beautiful.
Keep in mind, that while a hearth typically means the floor space in front of the firebox, the meaning has changed over the years to talk about 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 where the see-through portion allows you to keep an eye on the fire, hearth isn’t referring to any wood burning stoves or a pellet stove. 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.
These days, electrical 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 choose to avoid hearths and mantles completely, opting for something that is built more into the wall to be flush. However, people who want the authentic fireplace experience, even with their electrical fireplace, usually choose a substantial hearth style electrical fireplace that is either flat with the ground or have 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 long list of downsides that come with wood fireplaces either.
If you are someone who still isn’t sure about choosing an electrical 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. This means that only people that already have an existing wood fireplace in their home will even have this option. While some people choose to get some kind of gas fireplace insert that uses natural gas or propane as a fuel source, this isn’t even the best option because you can easily get inserts that are electric. Gas fireplaces have issues all their own. First, lets cover the major downsides of wood fireplaces:
Harmful Emissions – One of the most common issues with burning any kind of 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 with the emissions from a traditional fireplace. This is why ventilation is so vital, but sometimes it still isn’t enough and harmful emissions can fill your home without you being aware of it.
Chance of a House Fire – Having a flame that is exposed to the combustible things in the room certainly has tons of potential for a house fire, but the really dangerous 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.
Hassle To Use Them – Simply using wood fireplaces is a huge hassle. You have to keep them clean from leftover ash on a daily basis. Then you have to build fires and put in the work to keep the fire going. At the same time, you have to constantly be watching it for safety reasons. You can’t ever really have the peace of mind of just leaving it alone.
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 if you spend a significant amount of time in the main room, your clothes.
Wall Staining – You are going to have to worry about the paint colors of 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.
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 the issues of flames that are incredibly weak and unusual colors of the flame 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 – Not only is there no extra risk of house fire because they don’t burn anything, but 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 – On top of the regular safety, 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 controlling app so that you can control every single 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 that are feeling particularly handy, you can get a fireplace insert and build your own mantle to go with the fireplace. While you can also do this with a traditional fireplace, you usually have to destroy the current one and the mantle is limited by the existing hearth. With electric fireplaces, as long as the inner dimensions of your mantle fits the outer dimensions of your insert, there is no other limit on the size or grandiose of the mantle you choose to build.
Realistic Fire Simulation – While cheaper electric fireplaces might have some issues with poor flame simulation, high end electric fireplaces can replicate a fireplace almost perfectly. Many people have trouble telling the difference between the real thing and an electrical fireplace that uses hologram flames projected onto a physical log set.
There is no shortage of types of electric fireplaces for every possible need you may have. 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 electrical 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.
Any good quality electrical fireplace will produce heat by convection via an infrared quartz heating element. Air is cycled through the fireplace while it is on. As 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 heating devices work so quickly and the fireplaces cycle like this, you will notice warm air coming out of an electrical fireplace almost immediately after it being turned on and the room will be warm fast as well. This is all incredibly energy efficient, both because of the low electric draw of infrared quartz, but also because there is no excess heat lost in ventilation like you’d have in a standard fireplace. Electric fireplaces allow heat to remain in the room for as long as possible, which means the electrical fireplace doesn’t have to work very hard at all.
Visual effects of electrical 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 perfectly simulate 3D flames.
It can be very tempting to get a generic brand electrical fireplace, especially when you see one on sale at your nearest big box retailer or on Amazon. However, these should always be avoided. Unfortunately, there are always a ton of issues with cheap electrical fireplaces, and even when they are working, owners are always disappointed and let down by their performance. They usually don’t warm a room well enough and they have really tacky looking visual effects that makes them not worth getting. 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 electrical bill at the end of the month.
Instead, try to focus on electric fireplaces as an investment. If you invest more on a higher end electrical fireplace, you will have one that warms your home very well and you will see huge savings in your heating bill at the end of the month. Over time, these savings add up and will actually help cover the initial cost of the fireplace you purchased. On top of all of this, when you invest in high end electric fireplaces you will usually get much more realistic flame effects like ones that use 3D hologram projection.
The absolutely best electrical fireplace you can get as a hearth for your home is MagikFlame. Customers are always happy with MagikFlame fireplaces for these following reasons:
MagikFlame lets you cycle between 30 different 3D holographic flickering flames that are ultrarealistic and hard to tell the difference from the real thing.
MagikFlame has amazing crackling log audio 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 an effortless application so you can control your fireplace from a smartphone or tablet.
If you think you might want to pick up a wonderful MagikFlame fireplace, here is some additional information to help in your decision:
- Payment Plans and Financing: You can see the wonderful financing options if you are ready to buy today.
- Warranty: The confidence in their product is reflected in this fully warranty.
- MagikFlame Story: Know the background of a company and its innovative technology.
- How MagikFlame Is Built: There is a reason that these fireplaces are known for their quality and reliability.
- MagikFlame Reviews: Go directly to the source and see what real customers are saying about MagikFlame.
- MagikFlame Best Electric Fireplace Buying Guide: Still have questions? Check out this helpful buying guide.