Electric fireplaces weren’t always as efficient when it comes to heating, nor did they have the lifelike fire effects that are possible in some fireplaces today. However, because of the poor performance and tacky look of common electric fireplaces decades ago, many people are still questioning whether an electric fireplace is a good choice for their living room. If you are someone that is building a new home with your home builder, or even still in the planning stages with your architect, it is a good idea to consider an electric fireplace for your home. Even if you are just doing a simple remodel of your living room, trying to spice up your home decor and interior design, electric fireplaces have come a long way, and make an excellent focal point in modern homes.
In this article, we are going to talk about how electric fireplaces have changed over the years, from their ability to efficiently heat a home to their amazing ability to simulate a real fire. Homeowners and renters alike will want to read this article carefully so that they know why electric fireplaces are a great choice for the home.
Modern Electric Fireplace
All of These Questions Will Be Answered In The Following Article:
- How Does a Modern Electric Fireplace Make Heat? – The way that electric fireplaces have worked to heat a home has changed a bit since electric fireplaces first hit the scene. In this initial section of the article, we talk about how modern electric fireplaces work to create heat, how efficient they are, and why you may want to choose one as your home’s primary heat source.
- How Are Modern Flames Simulated In a Fireplace? – One of the main reasons so many people are skeptical about electric fireplaces is the tacky flame effects that used to be common. These days, the tacky effects are mostly limited to cheap, generic models, while high-quality fireplaces flourish with realistic flame effects that truly look like the real thing. This section will cover the different types of flame technology that are found, and why getting an electric fireplace with premium fire effects is vital.
- Why Do People Choose An Electric Fireplace ? – Although a traditional fireplace that burns wood is definitely tempting, there are so many issues that come with them, they simply aren’t worth the trouble. Gas fireplaces also suffer from quite a few issues many people aren’t aware of. This section of the article will explain the types of fireplaces that are out there and why electric fireplaces will be the best choice in most cases.
- Are Certain Modern Electric Fireplace Better Than Others? – Generic fireplaces tend to perform badly and are visually very tacky when installed in a home. Don’t jump on Amazon and start spending your gift cards or credit card just yet. In this section, we will talk about the brands of fireplaces that you should consider if you want something that will last longer and look better in your home. We will cover brands like Dimplex, the Touchstone Sideline, and more. We will focus on ones with a fireplace design and fireplace features that are best when it comes to a more modern design of electric fireplaces.
- What Electric Fireplace Brand Has The Most Realistic Flames? – While there are many different brands of electric fireplaces that are decent enough. There is only one that can truly boast about having the most realistic fire effects. In this section, we will cover all of the reasons why MagikFlame customers love their fireplaces so much and why they might be the best choice for your home.
Electric fireplaces didn’t always have efficient, powerful heating devices inside of them. While today, getting a deluxe electric fireplace means you will be able to warm home very well while using the minimal amount of electricity, decades ago, things were more limited and the heating efficiency wasn’t always quite there yet. Traditional electric heat radiating coils is very inefficient. While they can warm a small area reasonably well, they will cost a lot on your next electric bill. Unfortunately, if you tried to use one of these for a larger room, or even your entire home, you’d end up with a fireplace that can’t properly warm the area, and you’d see a huge spike in your heating bill due to the fireplace running at maximum capacity without really doing all that much for your home.
This is where infrared heating coils come into play. These days, most quality electric fireplaces use an infrared quartz heating device. These work based on convection heating rather than heat radiation. First, cold air from the room is sucked into the fireplace and cycled through it.
As the cold air passes by the infrared quartz heating coils inside of the fireplace, the air is instantly warmed and then gently pushed back into the room so that it can further warm any air that it comes into contact with. Because of this constant cycling of cool to warm air, using an infrared heating device inside of modern electric fireplaces is a great way to quickly warm a room. Infrared quartz uses very little electricity compared to an older, radiating coil. The convection heating of the warm air mixing with the cold air in the room, allows the fireplace to work so much more efficiently rather than just simply radiating heat nearby. The blowers of an electric fireplace are typically aimed towards the center of a room to further help with efficiency.
Because infrared quartz heating devices are so efficient, you don’t need a fireplace to put out 15,000 BTUs or more like some traditional radiating devices. Instead, the sweet spot is generally around a 5,200 BTU heater. This is powerful enough to warm an area of around 1,000 square feet. 1,000 square feet is enough to cover most apartments, condos, and even small to medium-sized homes.
If you had a heater that was weaker than this, it might strain itself to properly heat your home, either ending with a home that is still cold, or drastically increasing your heating bill. On the other hand, a heater much more powerful than this would genuinely be overkill. It would significantly increase the price of the product, and would likely cost more than necessary to warm your home.
If you are someone that has a larger home that is greater than 1,000 square feet with many different rooms, you can set up a supplemental heat strategy that will allow you to warm your home in zones, rather than the entire thing at once. This kind of zone heating strategy is great if you want to keep your heating bill low even with a very large home.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad fire effect technology out there. Most of this technology is all that was available when electric fireplaces first came onto the scene. These days, some brands have extremely realistic flame technology, which makes the tacky, cheaper types of electric fireplace technology a complete embarrassment.
At the lowest end of electric fireplaces, you have things like basic spinning mechanical cylinders that reflect LED lights. These are often shown through cheap, transparent colored panels to attempt to simulate a multicolor flame. Of course, things start to get a little bit better when you introduce LED flames shown on a screen. While these still suffer from the problem of looking flat and 2D, they are still a step in the right direction with flames that are attempting to be somewhat realistic.
Eventually, you get technologies that understand the importance of a 3D effect. One such technology is the Dimplex Opti Myst that projects colored flames onto streams of water vapor within the electric firebox. This definitely looks better than previous examples, however, for simulated fire effects that truly look like a real flame, you will need to get into holographic fire technology. This would be fire effects like MagikFlame’s Holoflame technology.
With this technology, 3D holographic flames are projected onto a physical log set, with a glowing ember bed below it. These flames are hard to tell from the real thing, and if you had a fireplace like this in your home, guests who are at your house would likely not even notice that you are using an electric fireplace in your living room rather than an actual wood fireplace.
There are many reasons why electric fireplaces are usually a better choice than wood and gas fireplaces. In this section, we will break down the common types of each fireplace and demonstrate exactly why electric fireplaces will be the ones that you will prefer for your home.
First, here are the common fireplace types that burn wood as their fuel source:
Open Hearth Fireplace – An open heart fireplace is the most common type that you will see and the one most people think of. It is simply an open space against a wall for building a fire, attached to a chimney for the smoke to escape.
Enclosed Fireplace – This is no different than an open heart fireplace other than the area exposed to your home is instead enclosed with a fireplace door, usually made of glass. This makes them a little bit more efficient and slightly safer for your home.
Fireplace Insert – These are inserts that go inside open hearths to convert them to enclosed fireplaces.
Wood Fireplace Stove – These are rural stoves that burn wood inside of them so that they radiate heat for a room. The top is flat so that you can also cook on them.
Fire Pit – These are outdoor fireplaces that are more about the social aspect rather than a legitimate way to keep warm.
While there is no doubt that wood fireplaces have a long tradition of use in the home and have a certain sense of nostalgia that comes with them, you have to remember that they come with so many problems that far outweigh any benefits:
Soot build up and an exposed flame make these a high risk for catastrophic house fires.
Carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation are both risks with wood fireplaces.
These fireplaces are a huge hassle due to their constant need for maintenance and cleaning. Using them is like a part-time job at home.
Since the chimney is needed for smoke to escape, quite a lot of heat escapes this way too, making them very heat inefficient.
The smoke causes a lingering smell.
The smoke also stains furniture and yellows walls when used over the years.
The smoke and rising heat will destroy any TV that you mount above a wood fireplace.
You need plenty of storage space for wood.
If you can build a new one onto your home in your region, the construction is very expensive and time-consuming.
Installing gas fireplaces in your home is a slightly safer alternative due to its much cleaner burning compared to wood fireplaces. However, they always come with a list of problems that people don’t consider before installing them in their home. First, here are the common types of gas fireplaces:
Direct-Vented – This is a fireplace that uses a type of gas that needs ventilation.
Vent-Free – This is a fireplace that uses a type of gas that doesn’t require ventilation, giving it slightly more freedom during installation.
Here are the problems that people always face when choosing to get one of these fireplaces in their home:
House fires are still an issue due to a flame that is exposed.
There isn’t smoke, but there is still carbon monoxide poisoning to worry about.
The flame colors are ugly, especially in ones that use gases that burn blue.
The flames are weak and they do not flicker the way a fireplace should.
The installation is difficult, requires a professional, and will cost a lot.
Electric fireplaces are a much better alternative to gas if you want to get away from wood fireplaces. First, there is a huge amount of different electric fireplace types to meet different situations. While not all types are good, most are. Here are the common types of electric fireplaces and which few you should avoid:
Flat Wall Fireplace Mantel Combo – These are units that are trying to look the most like a typical open-hearth fireplace with a mantel above it. These fireplaces are installed on the floor, up against a flat wall in your home so that it looks like it is connected to a chimney. These units typically have their mantels come unattached so that you have multiple mantel options rather than just one option.
Corner Fireplace – These are fireplaces that function exactly the same as the wall units listed above except they have been designed in such a way that they fit perfectly in the corner of a room rather than against the flat wall. The fireplace itself faces the center of the room at a 45-degree angle. These are good if you want to save a little more space or if you have a room where the corner is a better choice for a focal point.
TV Stand Fireplace – This is an electric fireplace built into a TV stand. Be careful with these. While a fireplace TV stand can save space, they also tend to have to make sacrifices in the performance of the fireplace due to limited space within them.
Corner TV Stand Fireplace – These are the same as the TV stands above except they are built for a corner. Unfortunately, any problems that TV stand fireplaces have from their limited size allowances, are even more present in the electric corner fireplace versions.
Wall Mount Electric Fireplace – A Fireplace Wall Mounted is one that can be hung on the wall using strong mounting brackets that attach to the wood studs found inside of the wall in question. It is also common for these to be installed into a recessed wall. Installing a recessed electric fireplace into a recessed wall allows the fireplace to sit flush with the wall rather than sticking out. A recessed electric fireplace tends to look more modern and allows more accessibility.
Electric Fireplace Insert – These can be placed into the opening on traditional fireplaces, converting them into electric fireplaces while allowing you to still use the existing fireplace for visual purposes rather than for the purpose of burning some wood.
Freestanding Electric Fireplace Heater – While most electric fireplaces listed here could be considered freestanding, this specific type is one that is nothing more than a portable space heater. While a portable space heater has its uses, unfortunately, combining one with an electric fireplace means you are trying to fit too much into a small, portable device, and it tends to perform worse as both a heater and at generating realistic visual effects. You should usually avoid these in most situations.
Electric Fireplace Stove – These are electric fireplaces that are made to look like traditional wood stove fireplaces. These look strange in modern homes, and they typically can’t be used for cooking like an actual wood stove. If you get a good electric fireplace type from a trusted brand instead of a generic brand, there are a ton of benefits that you can expect to enjoy. Here are those benefits:
You don’t need to worry about house fires from electric fireplaces the same way as wood or gas due to no burning.
There is no smoke or carbon monoxide.
No smoke means you don’t have to worry about the smells or any stains
They are simple to use compared to wood or gas.
Installation is very easy since most electric fireplaces are simple plug-in devices. Just place the fireplace where you want it and plug it into a nearby standard wall outlet.
You aren’t limited to one room in your house. You can easily put them in any room since all they require is an outlet.
They are safe if you want to hang a TV above them.
Since they don’t require venting, there is no heat loss in that capacity. This means there are much more heat efficient, and the energy used to warm a room will not be easily lost like what happens with wood fireplaces.
You can easily set up supplemental zone heating for larger homes.
They often come with some kind of remote control or, for more modern types, a smartphone app that gives you touch screen control of your fireplace from anywhere within your home. You can change the thermostat, change the fire effects, and more.
If you are smart and invest in a higher quality electric fireplace, like ones that use holographic flame effect, you can expect a fireplace that can capture the atmosphere and ambiance of a real fireplace.
The truth is that when it comes to electric fireplaces, like many important products in life, you are going to get exactly what you pay for. If you choose to get the cheapest electric fireplace that you can find, then you can expect to have a fireplace that fits the price that you paid for it. You will have a fireplace that isn’t modern at all, that will perform badly at both heating and fire effects, will not last very long at all, and will look terrible sitting in your home. It will actually end up costing you a lot more due to a higher heating bill, frequent repairs, and the quicker need for replacement.
Instead, it is important to properly invest in quality electric fireplaces. This will save you money in the long run due to having a lower heating bill, fewer repairs needed if any, and a fireplace that you love so there is no need to replace it. There are many different brands of fireplaces that are of decent build quality. These are brands like Dimplex, Touchstone, Duraflame, and more. Dimplex has models like the Dimplex IgniteXL or the Dimplex Revillusion. Touchstone has the Touchstone Sideline. The Touchstone Sideline is a linear electric fireplace. These are fireplaces that are much wider and can sometimes span the entire length of a wall.
Keep in mind that different brands specialize in different fireplaces. Even though there are many different brands that are good, you want to go with one that has the features and designs that you prefer. Some brands specialize in a wall-mounted electric fireplace. Others are known for their stainless steel design, especially when combined with a recessed electric fireplace design that is commonly stainless steel. Some are better at looking like a traditional fireplace. Others are known for being combined with a media console or having a firebox with driftwood logs. Regardless of what brand you get, you want to get the best electric fireplace that is right for you.
If what you are most interested in is having an electric fireplace that is the most realistic, then it is important that you read the next section.
MagikFlame fireplaces are easily one of the best choices for people that prefer their electric fireplace to look like the real thing. Here is everything that you can expect when you get any MagikFlame fireplace:
30 Ultrarealistic 3D Holographic Flames
Immersive Crackling Log Sounds
5,200 BTU Infrared Heater
Intuitive Smartphone App
If you are interested in MagikFlame fireplaces, here are some more resources that may be useful: