If you are doing a remodel or simply moving into your new home, you probably understand how great of an addition a new fireplace is to your living room. The inviting warm glow of a cozy fireplace is hard to beat on the night of an especially cold winter. Of course, what kind of fireplace do you go with? A traditional wood fireplace? A gas fireplace? An electric fireplace. Considering that many regions of the US these days don’t allow wood fireplaces in new homes anymore, that is out of the question for most people. Even if they are allowed in your region for new construction, or the home you own already has one, they are unsafe and a huge hassle to use. Gas fireplaces don’t usually fare much better than wood ones. They have their own host of problems, and many new homeowners that install one quickly become disillusioned by them, wishing for something better. This leaves us with electric fireplaces. Electric fireplaces are quickly becoming the most popular choice when it comes to installing a new fireplace in a home. They are easy to install, incredibly energy-efficient, take up little space, and are easy to operate, and if you get a high-end one, the fire effects inside can look as good as the real thing. While electric fireplaces come in a variety of models and styles to match your home decor preferences, there are plenty of people that want an interesting modern look, and choose to go with a fireplace that is wall mounted. Wall-mounted fireplaces are exactly what they sound like, it is an electric fireplaces that you can mount off of the ground onto your wall, usually by securing it with mounting brackets that connect to the studs in the wall.
Keep in mind that electric fireplaces are generally quite heavy-duty pieces of equipment. They can sometimes be awkward to hang by yourself. If you choose to install them into a wall recession, which is possible with wall-mounted electric fireplaces, the installation can be even trickier. For this reason, some people choose to hire a professional to do the installation for them. So, how do you know if you will need a professional if you decide to go with a wall-mounted fireplace installation?
This post is going to answer that question for you. It will also go over all of the different types of electric fireplaces in case one of the other types are actually a better fit for your home. It will also compare electric fireplaces to the antiquated style of fireplaces like wood or gas, for those of you that are on the fence and don’t quite understand why electric fireplaces are such a better choice for your home than traditional ones. Lastly, we will cover an alternative method to wall mounting your fireplace, and why it is probably the best way for most people to go.
What You’ll Learn In This Article:
- What Are The Various Kinds of Standard Wood Fireplaces? – Wood fireplaces have been around for thousands of years in some form or another. In a sense, they connect us to our ancestors and fill us with a sense of nostalgia about our own pasts. In this section, we will cover all of the different types of standard fireplaces that people commonly have in their homes, whether it was a fireplace that came with their home, or they had it built as an additional construction project onto the home much later.
- What Are The Typical Problems With Wood Fireplaces? – There is a reason that wood fireplaces aren’t allowed to be built in new homes in many parts of the US. There are also several more reasons why so many people are converting their old wood fireplaces into electric fireplaces. In this section, we are going to cover all of the different issues you will be facing if you choose to get a new wood fireplace or continue to use your old one.
- What Are The Various Kinds of Gas Fireplaces? – Gas fireplaces have become an alternative to wood fireplaces that many people have chosen to go with as a cleaner, more efficient alternative. In this part, we will highlight the types of built-in gas fireplaces and the key differences between them.
- What Are The Typical Problems With Gas Fireplaces? – Despite gas fireplaces being promoted as a good alternative to a classic wood burning fireplace, these fireplaces still have plenty of their own issues that need to be addressed. Because many people aren’t aware of the dangers and annoyances that gas fireplaces still come with, we will go over these problems so that you can properly make an informed decision.
- What Are The Various Kinds of Electric Fireplaces? – Since most of the people that are reading this article will already be interested in getting an electric fireplace for their home, we want to make sure that these interested parties know about all of the different options that they can get for their home. Different electric fireplaces are made for many different home situations. Which electric fireplace is best for you?
- What Are All Of The Different Benefits of Electric Fireplaces? – If you are someone that still isn’t quite sure what makes electric fireplaces such a great option for your house, this section has you completely covered. We will go over all of the amazing benefits electric fireplaces have for homes today, and when we are done you will understand why choosing to get a high quality electric fireplace is a surprisingly obvious choice for your home.
- Should I Wall Mount An Electric Fireplace? – If you are thinking about getting a wall mounted electric fireplace or another electric fireplace type that is a little more involved to install, you might not be sure if it is a project you can handle on your own or if you need a professional to take care of the installation for you. If this is a situation that you are finding yourself in, read this section to find out whether hiring a professional is necessary for your specific fireplace and situation.
- What If I Want To Hang A TV Above My Electric Fireplace? – Some people really love the idea of hanging their LCD TVs up above their fireplace. This isn’t surprising, it’s a good way to save space and keep everything in one central fireplace. However, there are several things to consider if you go this route like: what type of electric fireplace is best in this kind of situation and what kind of wall mount solution should I go with for my TV? This section will cover everything you need to know about hanging a TV above an electric fireplace.
- How Do Electric Fireplaces Heat Your Home? – Electric fireplaces generate heat for your home much differently than a wood or gas fireplace does. In this section, we will talk about how most electric fireplaces efficiently warm your home with a different type of technology that uses a different type of heat transfer than these older fireplace types.
- How Do Electric Fireplaces Create Visual Effects? – Electric fireplaces create visual effects in a wide variety of ways. This is heavily dependent on the model and brand that you choose to go with, and the flame effect technology that is inside of it. Because not all fireplaces are created equally, we will highlight some of the different types of electric fireplace technology so that you can make sure you choose one that best simulates a real, immersive fireplace experience.
- Why Do So Many People Prefer MagikFlame Electric Fireplaces? – Only one electric fireplace can really be considered the best. In this section, we are going to cover the features and benefits of the electric fireplace that so many people have chosen to improve their home.
What Are The Various Kinds of Standard Wood Fireplaces?
Wood fireplaces can be found in many different styles inside of homes. Some are more typical in certain types of homes than others. Different types are also different in how efficient they are when it comes to burning wood as a fuel source to heat your home. Here are the more common types of standard wood fireplaces:
- Open Hearth Wood Fireplace – Whenever someone mentions the word fireplace, you are usually picturing this classic style wood fireplace. Essentially, it is just a large opening along one wall of a home. In this space, a fire can be built, usually on some kind of metal grating so plenty of oxygen flows under the wood to keep the wood burning hot. Smoke and other emissions rise up through the flue and out of the chimney. After starting a fire, people usually put up a metal screen that rest in front of the firebox to help protect any fiery logs from rolling out, but to also keep it safe from people, children, or pets from falling in.
- Enclosed Wood Fireplace – Because open hearth fireplaces tends to be the least efficient way to heat your home and have a lot of safety issues, people started having enclosed wood fireplaces installed instead. These basically work the same way as open hearth fireplaces except there is an enclosure to contain the fire. A glass door is usually on the front of the enclosed fireplace, so you can open it to stoke the flames or simply keep an eye on the fire as it burns. These fireplaces are a little bit safer because they aren’t directly exposed to the room. They also work a little bit more efficiently so you don’t need quite as much wood to heat your home. Lastly, these are slightly better at making sure smoke and other harmful emissions only rise up through the flue and don’t make their way into your home as easily.
- Wood Fireplace Insert – Some people bought a house that has an open hearth wood fireplace but they want all the benefits that come with having an enclosed wood fireplace. This isn’t a difficult conversion because these wood fireplace inserts allow you to do just that. This is an enclosed fireplace system that gets installed directly into the open firebox of an open hearth fireplace. It still uses the same flue and ventilation system, it just blocks the fire from direct exposure to the room, while still providing necessary heat to warm the room.
- Wood Stove – These don’t fit the classic definition of wood fireplace but they still work in much the same way. Wood stoves usually sit slightly away from the wall instead of attached to it. Instead of a large chimney, you’ll usually just see a metal pipe that allows smoke to escape out of the roof of the dwelling. Wood stoves have doors that open in front where wood is placed inside for burning. As wood burns, the entire stove starts to radiate with a lot of heat, becoming extremely hot to the touch. This quickly warms a small room, but can be dangerous if touched. Because the surface of the stove is so hot, the top is left flat so you can set down pots or pans for some basic cooking. Temperature regulation is difficult with these stoves, so cooking is done by distancing the pans from the surface to regulate temperature. Placed directly on will heat the pan’s contents the fastest, raising it slightly will allow it to cook a little slower, raising it more can slow the cooking further. Sometimes small grates are used to help keep pots or pans from direct contact with the surface. Wood stoves aren’t usually put into normal homes. They are more commonly found in rural, wilderness based dwellings like hunting lodges, cabins, or other places without normal utilities.
What Are The Typical Problems With Wood Fireplaces?
Out of all of the different types of fireplaces, wood fireplaces have the most issues you have to deal with. Here are the common problems people face with wood fireplaces:
- They Are A Fire Hazard – When all of the soot builds up inside of the flue and chimney of your typical wood fireplace after a long amount of use, this soot can become extremely flammable. If the fire inside your fireplace catches the soot on fire, it can spread to the entire chimney, the roof of your house, and possibly even burn your entire house down. Chimney fires are one of the most common types of house fires when it comes to homes that have traditional fireplaces. Even with the soot regularly cleaned from the flue and chimney, there are still several other things to worry about. As wood burns, the stack can collapse and a burning log can roll out of the fireplace and into your home. It can set your furniture, rugs, or carpet on fire, starting a dangerous house fire. It’s not just burning logs you have to worry about. A single fiery ember can float out of the fireplace and land on something combustible. It only takes one small ember in the right conditions for a large fire to engulf your home.
- They Have Harmful Emissions – Even with good ventilation like a flue and chimney, wood fireplaces still have a lot of harmful emissions that make their way into your home. Of course, smoke is a big issue with smoke inhalation, but there is also carbon monoxide to worry about. Carbon monoxide is formed whenever there is an incomplete burn of the fuel source such as wood. Carbon monoxide can fill your home and cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide poison can be fatal. This is why smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are so important to have in your house and even more important to have if you use wood fireplaces.
- They Are Inefficient – Burning wood, while it can be great if you’re out camping with your family, is a highly inefficient way to warm your home. A lot of useful heat actually escapes through the chimney with all of the smoke. On top of this, with open hearth style fireplaces you usually have to keep a window cracked to allow a constant flow of air to your fireplace. Without this flow of air, the fire won’t burn as well. Because you usually have to crack a window like this, there are issues when heat escapes out of this cracked window and a draft of cold air rushes in. Because of all of these efficiency issues, you will go through many large piles of wood to keep your home warm in the winter. Unless you live in a vast forest with free reign to all of the wood you will ever need, this firewood will begin to cost quite a lot, more than non-wood fireplace heating options.
- They Require Wood Storage – All of that wood you will be burning needs a large, dry space to store it. While some people have plenty of space in their backyard for a dedicated wood shed, many do not. They usually have to work with whatever space they have. This can be an unsightly pile of wood in their yard, probably with a simple plastic tarp draped over it to protect it from the rain and snow. Because they don’t have as much space to work with, they also have to get more frequent deliveries of wood instead of one or two large deliveries per winter.
- They Are A Hassle To Use – Just to build a fire you have to collect firewood from your storage pile, split logs if they aren’t already split, stack the wood and kindling within the fireplace and then light it. You also have to wait quite a while before the fire even burns enough to start warming the room. Every day you have to scoop up and dispose of all of that ash that piles up in the firebox of your fireplace. You also have to keep a close watch of the fireplace to be careful the fire never gets out of hand and starts a fire. When the fire begins to dwindle, you have to move logs around and put new logs on it. The truth is, all of the hassle that comes with having a wood fireplace makes it quite the part time job in the winter months.
- They Require Professional Cleaning – Remember all of that dangerous soot that can cause a massive house fire we talked about? Many people aren’t equipped or qualified to do the difficult job of cleaning this out themselves. You will need to hire a professional to come properly clean out your chimney and flue. This needs to be done two, three, or even more times per year depending on how much your fireplace gets used and how quickly soot builds up inside of your chimney.
- They Smell and Can Leave Stains – The smoky smell of a campfire can be almost nice when you are camping on vacation. When that same smoke is lingering in your home for months, it is not pleasant at all. The smell will get into everything. Your furniture, your carpet, the curtains, your rugs, even the clothes you are wearing. On top of all of this, smoke tends to stain things over time. You will notice your white walls starting to yellow, as well as your light colored furniture.
- You Can’t Mount TVs Above Them – Mounting a TV above a wood fireplace is the easiest way to damage your TV beyond simply smashing it on the ground. All of the smoke and severe heat will get inside of your large wall mount TV and damage the electronics, causing your TV to stop working permanently. This usually isn’t covered by any kind of TV warranty because the owners guide will tell you to never mount it above a wood fireplace.
What Are The Various Kinds of Gas Fireplaces?
As an alternative to the dangers of wood fireplaces, many people go with a gas fireplace in their home. While their are different styles and shapes of gas fireplaces, they usually come in two types:
- Direct Vented Built In Gas Fireplace – These direct vented built in gas fireplaces use a gas that requires a ventilation system. This can be a standard flue and chimney if you are using an existing fireplace to convert, but it can also simply be a venting pipe if you don’t already have fireplace ventilation. These fireplaces usually burn a somewhat natural flame color.
- Ventless Built In Gas Fireplace – These ventless built in gas fireplaces use a gas that burns a bit cleaner and doesn’t require any kind of ventilation at all. This gives them a little bit more freedom of where you want to place them. However, the flame on these fireplaces tend to be an unnatural blue color.
What Are The Typical Problems With Gas Fireplaces?
Even though a lot of people choose these fireplaces because they are typically safer and less of a hassle than wood fireplaces, they still have their problems:
- Safety Concerns – Gas fireplaces still produce a flame. While the risk of house fire isn’t as great as with wood fireplaces, the risk is still there. Also, even though smoke isn’t really produced, carbon monoxide can still be produced, leading to the same carbon monoxide poisoning worries.
- Disappointing Flame Flicker – Gas fireplaces are usually nothing more than glorified Bunsen burners, and it shows. The flames don’t really flicker properly like a real fireplace would, leaving you with an unsatisfying experience.
- Disappointing Flame Color – Direct vented fireplaces have a somewhat natural color, but they are still a little bit off. The orange and sometimes yellow flames of these fireplaces always look a little too bright and neon, with little color variety that you would normally find in a real fireplace. The ventless fireplaces have a blue glow that you won’t like if you at all care about a natural fireplace color.
What Are The Various Kinds of Electric Fireplaces?
- Electric Fireplace Mantle Unit – These are standard wall units and come with a mantle that is installed with them. The mantle style can usually be chosen depending on what the manufacturer offers.
- Electric Fireplace Corner Unit – These are the same as wall units except they fit in the corner.
- Electric Fireplace TV Stand – This is a media console with an electric fireplace built below it.
- Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace – A Wall mount fireplace is just what it sounds like. The wall mount electric fireplace can be securely hung on the wall, a couple of feet off of the ground.
- Electric Fireplace Insert – These convert your existing wood or gas fireplace into one that is completely electric.
- Freestanding Electric Fireplace – These are basically simple space heaters that are made to look like a fireplace. They usually perform worse than the other types above.
What Are All Of The Different Benefits of Electric Fireplaces?
Electric fireplaces have tons of benefits over wood or gas:
- No fire hazard
- No harmful emissions
- Easy Installation
- No hassle to operate
- Automatic temperature control with thermostat settings
- Remote operation
- Realistic visuals
- Efficient heating
What Are The Benefits of Wall Mounting An Electric Fireplace?
Wall-mount electric fireplaces have several benefits:
- They have an interesting modern look. This is especially hard if you choose to install them partially or completely into a wall.
- They save space in your home. But being up in the room with a thinner profile and even more when they are recessed into the wall, they take up very little space. This allows you more space when walking around.
- They come in a wide variety of styles. You can get long, linear fireplaces, ones that look more traditional, and more.
Should I Wall Mount An Electric Fireplace?
When you choose to get a freestanding wall-mount electric fireplace, you may be able to handle the installation yourself, or you may prefer to hire a professional. Choose to hire a professional to do this for you if you fit any of the following situations:
- You have a particularly large unit with nobody to help you install it.
- You are inexperienced and don’t trust yourself to do it properly.
- You have any health concerns that would prevent you from lifting heavy objects or doing hard labor.
- You have a more difficult wall material to work with.
- You want the convenience of having someone else do it.
What If I Want To Hang A TV Above My Electric Fireplace?
It’s no secret that many people love the idea of being able to hang their HDTV above their electric fireplace. With electric fireplaces, there is no risk of damaging your LCD flat screen TVs like there is if you tried to hang LCD TVs up above your traditional fireplace. So, whether you want to hang your Samsung TV above your electric fireplaces so you can watch BLU-ray DVDs or you just want to watch things like Netflix or Apple TV on your large screen Samsung or other brand of flat screen TV, this section of the article can help you out.
Keep in mind that electric fireplaces that rest on the ground with a mantle above them usually work best if you want to mount your TV above it. It provides extra clearance above the fireplace, especially if you have a larger TV to mount. You also get the added bonus of having a large mantle under the TV. This can be useful if you need a central location for your WiFi routers or other small devices you want your TV to connect to for smart TV services. However, if you get the right TV mounting device, you can even mount a TV above a wall mounted electric fireplace. Instead of the TV mostly sitting flat against the wall like with a fixed TV wall mount, these other TV wall mount devices allow you to pull the TV out from the wall, with a fully adjustable swivel so you can change the viewing angle that is perfectly aimed at where you and your family are sitting on the couch.
Before getting into the different types of tilting TV wall mount and VESA patterns to mount flat-panel TVs, we need to talk about cable management. You don’t want HDMI cables or your power cables hanging freely from the TV. Cables look unappealing down the wall, and even more so if you use a full-motion articulating TV wall mount. Once you pull the TV out, the cables hang at weird angles in the air. Instead, you want to fish all of your cables inside of the wall, down to the power outlet, cable box, or other media devices. Because you have an electric fireplace below your TV and the wood stud inside your wall runs vertically, it presents a unique challenge.
Usually, you will need to fish the cables behind the fireplace, and then drill a small hole in the stud to feed cables through horizontally, allowing them to be connected to some kind of small media center or cabinetry that sits off to one side of the electric fireplace. However, drilling into the studs that support the house can be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing. You don’t want to weaken the integrity of the wall frame. Therefore, if this is the situation you find yourself in and you don’t have experience with this sort of thing, it is a good idea to hire a professional for this kind of job. You should be able to find an expert in your town who can fish line like this, and even mount your TV for you if you want to be safe.
When it comes to actually finding a good TV mount that will work above your fireplace, there are several types of mounts that you should consider. Many of these can easily be found on the Monoprice by SKU. First, what brands are good? There are brands like Sanus and Rocketfish that both make an excellent full-motion articulating TV wall mount, and then each come with a full motion TV wall mount. Many Rocketfish models have a dual arm style of low profile tilt TV wall mount. Sanus doesn’t necessarily have this. Sanus tends to go with a single, articulating arm with matching VESA patterns as the TV wall mount for your LCD flat-panel TVs. The articulating swivel allows your TV wall mount to have a bit more freedom, so you can position TV angles a little more than a dual arm TV wall mount. The articulating swivel also makes these Sanus mount and wall plate a full motion TV wall mount. Because of the weight capacity needed for these mounts, it is important to have a strong wall plate that is properly secured to the studs behind the wall. This is especially true if you have something large like a 50 inch TV or a 60 inch TV. Keep in mind that the SKU can be found on Monoprice for any of these systems and you can use the SKU to google and make sure the TV wall mount and full motion TV wall mount bracket is compatible with your specific TV.
When looking on Monoprice, you may see many different brands, some you recognize like Peerless-AV, and many you don’t. While pricing is an issue for a lot of people, you don’t want to be too cheap when buying a TV wall mount on Monoprice. What you pay for is what you will get and you don’t want to end up with something that will crash and break your expensive TV. Whether you want a wall mount for 32 inch, wall mount for 37 inch, ceiling mounts, a VESA for curved TVs, or something else on Monoprice, just be sure the mount is UL certified. Steel construction is preferred, especially for heavier TVs. If you own one of the different style curved TVs and you are worried that VESA compatibility will be an issue with your mount, keep in mind that the back of the TV will still have a flat portion for mounting and you can always pick up adapters to make your wall mount work.
How Do Electric Fireplaces Heat Your Home?
Electric fireplaces heat a home in a pretty reliable way. They use convection. Cold air from the room is sucked into your electric fireplace when it is on. A heating element, usually some kind of infrared quartz coil, quickly warms the air inside of the fireplace. Warm air is then blown directly out. Because this cycle happens so quickly, electric fireplaces usually don’t need a lot of time to warm up. Once you turn them on, you will likely notice warm air blowing out almost immediately.
How Do Electric Fireplaces Create Visual Effects?
Electric fireplaces create visual effects in a wide variety of ways: simple mechanical spinning devices, LED lights, looping videos played on a screen, and even light projected on water vapor.
However, for realistic flame effects, there is only one option: holographic flame technology. This allows 3D flames to be holographically projected onto a physical log set, looking exactly like the real thing. Because this technology is limited to MagikFlame electric fireplaces, that is what most people who care about having a realistic experience go with.
Why Do So Many People Prefer MagikFlame Electric Fireplaces?
There are several reasons people prefer MagikFlame electric fireplaces:
- 3D Holoflame technology – Ultrarealistic flames look like the real thing and many of your guests will have trouble telling the difference.
- Realistic Crackling Log Sounds – To further immerse you in the realistic fireplace experience, MagikFlame has realistic crackling log audio or even nature sounds if you prefer a different mood.
- Powerful 5,200 BTU heater – Their powerful and efficient heater can keep your apartment or small house warm without issue. For extremely large homes, you can set up multiple MagikFlame fireplaces for a zone heating system.