More and more homeowners are switching to fireplace alternatives instead of using wood fireplaces. However, some people are having trouble switching to what they consider a fake fireplace. Whether you are talking about a gas fireplace or an electric one, it is easy to be skeptical. There are many cheap-looking fake fireplaces on the market, you certainly don’t want to put something tacky in the living room of your new home.
However, a faux fireplace actually has quite a few upsides that make them extremely appealing. If you are someone that is very skeptical about using a faux fireplace instead of a real fireplace, this guide is meant to help you out. In the following post, we will explore the benefits of using a fake fireplace versus sticking with a wood-burning fireplace. Whether you are doing an entire home remodel or you are just doing a makeover on a single room, by the time you are done reading this post, you should have a stronger understanding of the pros and cons so that you can make the best decision for your living room or family room.
In this post, you are going to learn:
- What Is The Problem With Traditional Fireplaces? – The main reason that so many people are skeptical about placing a fake fireplace in their home is that they truly aren’t aware of all the problems that come with traditional wood fireplaces. Unfortunately, wood fireplaces have a lot of problems and downsides. This section will help you understand what they are.
- Why Are Fake Fireplaces Considered Better By Some People? – Installing a fake fireplace like a high-quality electric fireplace is considered a better alternative to a lot of people. In this part of the post, we will explore the reasons that people tend to choose a fake fireplace over a real one.
- Are Electric Fireplaces Better Than Gas Fireplaces? – A few people consider gas fireplaces to be a good fake fireplace alternative to a wood one. However, in most instances, electric fireplaces are a much better choice to go with and this section will explain why.
- Can Electric Fireplaces Even Produce Enough Heat To Warm My Home? – In this part of the guide, we will share how quality electric fireplaces work to keep your home cozy and warm, while remaining very energy efficient.
- Are There Any Electric Fireplaces That Don’t Look So Cheap and Tacky? – It’s true that there are a lot of bad-looking electrical fireplace designs out there on the market and this may have turned you off electric fireplaces in general. However, there are some electric fireplaces that look incredibly realistic. This section will cover all of these different flame simulation styles.
- How Can I Decorate Electric Fireplaces To Make It Look Like A Real One? – There is more to making electric fireplaces look good besides simply placing them in your home. This section will give you tips on how to decorate your fireplace so it is a beautiful focal point of the room.
- Why Are MagikFlame Electric Fireplaces Better Than The Real Thing? – When it comes to realistic electric fireplace flame effects, MagikFlame comes out on top. So, why are some people saying that MagikFlame electric fireplaces are better than the real thing?
What Is The Problem With Traditional Fireplaces?
To understand some of the problems that traditional fireplaces have, you need to understand the different types of wood fireplaces that exist in the first place:
- Regular Open Hearth Fireplaces – These are the “normal” style of wood fireplaces. You build a fire in the open firebox and the smoke rising through the flue and out of the chimney. These are a very inefficient way to heat your home and they will require you to burn a lot of wood every day.
- Enclosed Fireplace – These are enclosed fireplaces with glass doors. These are slightly more efficient than the regular open hearth style, but they still require burning a lot of wood to keep your home warm.
- Fireplace Insert – To convert a regular open hearth fireplace into an enclosed one, you can use one of these inserts. You install this insert into the firebox, however they make electrical fireplace inserts that are much more energy efficient.
- Wood Stove – A wood stove burns wood and radiates heat from it. They get extremely hot and you can cook on top of them. These look bad in modern homes and are mostly used in wilderness homes like cabins.
- Outdoor Firepit – These are simple raised pits for you to burn small amounts of wood for outdoor use. While electric fireplaces will usually be a better choice for indoors, outdoor firepits, if used responsibly, are the exception where wood-burning is a good idea.
Wood fireplaces have so many downsides to them, it isn’t a surprise that you can’t legally build new ones in many parts of the country. Here are just a few of the reasons why you should consider ditching your old wood fireplace:
- Wood Fireplaces Are A Massive Fire Hazard – You have to constantly worry about house fires when using wood fireplaces since they are one of the main causes of them. Between flammable soot building up in the chimney that you have to hire someone to clean and the possibility of a log on fire or a random ember catching your rug on fire, it can be quite dangerous.
- Wood Fireplaces Produce Tons of Harmful Emissions – The smoke and carbon monoxide released by burning wood is really bad for your health and can even be fatal. While good ventilation in the chimney will rid you of a lot of these emissions, it doesn’t eliminate them completely and both should be considered serious health risks when using wood fireplaces.
- Wood Fireplaces Are A Lot of Trouble To Use – They are basically a part-time job due to all of the work and hassle that goes into building fires, maintaining a good fire, and keeping your fireplace clean.
- Wood Fireplaces Are Energy Inefficient – You might think they are a good deal because they don’t use electricity, but for most people, this isn’t the case. You will go through a lot of expensive wood trying to keep your home warm.
- Wood Fireplaces Leave a Smell and Stains In Your Home – The smoke gets everywhere and the lingering smell and stains are hard to get rid of. Even though the smell of a fireplace can be nostalgic at the beginning of the winter, it gets old really fast. It is no fun having a house, furniture, and clothes that always smell like smoke.
- Wood Fireplaces Can’t Have TVs Mounted Above Them – Fireplace TV mounting isn’t possible with wood fireplaces. The extreme heat and smoke will damage your TV over time and it will stop working. This usually won’t be covered in the TV warranty as the owner’s manual says not to install it above a traditional fireplace.
Why Are Fake Fireplaces Considered Better By Some People?
One of the great things about electric fake fireplaces is that they come in many shapes and styles depending on your exact needs. For instance, here are just a few of the more common types of electric fireplaces you might come across:
- Electrical Fireplace Mantel For A Flat Wall – These are types of electric fireplaces that look the most like your standard wood fireplaces. They consist of two parts: the fireplace, and the mantel that surrounds it. These are installed against a flat wall together. The reason many companies elect to send these as two pieces is so that customers can choose between different styles of mantels, while keeping the actual fireplace unit the same.
- Electric Fireplace For A Corner – Functionally, these are almost exactly the same as the flat wall mantel types above. They are different in the sense that they are designed to be installed into a corner of a room. While these are less common, they are great for people that want to save space or they have an asymmetric house layout where a corner fireplace might work better.
- Electric Fireplace Insert – These inserts can be used to convert your existing wood fireplace into a much more efficient and safer one that is completely electric. Additionally, you can use one of these if you want to build your own mantel as a DIY project. Or you can buy a third part fireplace surround from a website like Wayfair.
- Electrical Fireplace Entertainment Center – Others who might have limited space choose to combine their electric fireplaces with TV stands like this product. Essentially, one of these units is a stand for you to put your TV on, but there is an electric fireplace built into the console below. These usually still have some space for shelving, cabinets, or other cubbies.
- Wall Mounted Electrical Fireplace – These fireplaces require a bit more DIY know-how than some of the other electric fireplaces listed, however, it still isn’t very difficult. These fireplaces can be mounted onto your wall by securing it with brackets that are attached to the studs. You can also recess these in the wall, either fully or just partially.
- Electrical Freestanding Fireplace – Freestanding fireplaces are not much different than your typical space heater. Unfortunately, these fireplaces always look cheap and tacky, and never seem to replicate what a real flame looks like. They also tend to do a poorer job warming a room than the other fireplaces above.
Not only are there a ton of options to choose from, but there are many benefits that electric fireplaces have that wood fireplaces can’t come close to competing with. Here are some of the most important benefits you can enjoy if you choose to install an electric fireplace in your home:
- Electric Fireplaces Are Much Safer Than Wood Fireplaces – One of the main reasons that so many people choose to go with electric fireplaces over wood fireplaces is because of how incredibly safe they are. Electric fireplaces don’t burn anything at all, so there is no added risk of a massive house fire like there is with wood fireplaces. Additionally, because nothing is being burned, there are no noxious fumes or other emissions. You don’t have to deal with smoke or carbon monoxide causing you any problems. The only emission from electric fireplaces is warm air.
- Electric Fireplaces Don’t Come With All of The Extra Hassle – You don’t have to deal with all of the extra work that comes with building fires in a wood fireplace. With electric fireplaces, it is as easy as just turning the fireplace on, setting it to your desired temperature, and going about your day. Because the temperature is regulated, it knows to work harder when the room gets too cold, or work less when the correct temperature is reached. You don’t have to constantly change the settings, it is all automatic. Because of how safe they are, you don’t always have to be watching it like you do wood fireplaces. This gives you a lot more peace of mind.
- Electric Fireplaces Are Almost Effortless To Install – Compared to building a brand new wood fireplace or installing gas fireplaces, electric fireplaces are much easier to install. Installing electric fireplaces is as easy as picking a spot and plugging it in. Any additional work required is if you are choosing a wall mounted electric fireplace or an insert.
- Electric Fireplaces Can Save You A Lot On Your Heating Bill – Electric fireplaces work so efficiently, that you can easily see the savings on your heating bill. For even more savings, people with particularly large homes choose to install two or more electric fireplaces in different zones of the house. By only keeping fireplaces on in areas that are being used and leaving doors closed between them, you use even less energy to keep the occupied part of your home warm instead of trying to warm the entire place all at once.
- Electric Fireplaces Can Have TVs Mounted Up Above Them – Unlike wood fireplaces, it is very safe to mount flat-screen TVs above the mantle of an electrical fireplace. They don’t produce smoke that will damage it, and any heat will be blown out into the room instead of rising directly up.
- Electric Fireplaces Can Be Remotely Operated – Most electric fireplaces come with a remote control so that you can easily set the thermostat. Some high-end fireplaces use a smartphone app instead of basic remote control.
- Electric Fireplaces Can Be Installed In Any Room of Your House – The beauty of electric fireplaces is that because all you need is a typical electrical outlet, they can be installed into any of your rooms. Whether you want a fireplace in the living room, family room, dining room, study, or even the master bedroom, it makes no difference at all.
Are Electric Fireplaces Better Than Gas Fireplaces?
Even though some people consider gas fireplaces as a good alternative to burning wood as a fuel source, they still have tons of downsides. Gas fireplaces require gas lines to be installed. They still produce carbon monoxide which can be toxic to your health. The flames are generally rather weak and have trouble looking like the strong flickering flames of a traditional fireplace. On top of that, many gas fireplaces use a gas that burns a blue flame color. This looks so bad if you want an authentic experience. Even if you have one of the gas fireplaces that have a slightly more traditional flame color, the color is still off and too bright, almost like a neon color. Lastly, gas fireplaces tend to give off a slight gassy smell that can be very unpleasant in your home, much like when running a gas-burning stove for a long time.
Can Electric Fireplaces Even Produce Enough Heat To Warm My Home?
While something like an electric stove uses conduction to heat a pan, an electric fireplace heater uses convection to warm a room. This makes them work more like ovens, but for your whole house. When on, the fireplace sucks in cold air from the room. While that air is inside the fireplace, an infrared quartz heating element warms the air almost instantly and then cycles it back into the room through the blowers. This constant cycle of cold to warm air through the fireplace means that you will feel warm air coming out of the fireplace right away instead of needing to wait for it to warm up. This also means that the room will be warmed very quickly compared to wood fireplaces or gas fireplaces. It does all of this while using very little energy in comparison.
Also, because electric fireplaces don’t have to have any kind of ventilation, there is no excess heat escaping out of the room. All of that residual heat stays in the room so that the electrical fireplace doesn’t need to work nearly as hard.
Are There Any Electric Fireplaces That Don’t Look So Cheap and Tacky?
It’s true that many electric fireplaces look just plain awful. These are usually the types that have bad spinning mechanical parts that reflect colored lights. Some fireplaces are a little bit better and are at least looping a video of a fire on an LCD screen. Unfortunately, this looks completely 2D. Of course, you have some companies like Dimplex that try to take it a little further and project colored lights onto water vapor for a 3D effect.
However, the absolutely most realistic and luxurious-looking visual effects come from MagikFlame. They use 3D holographic projection of flames that look like the real thing. Because of how perfectly realistic they look and all of the other benefits of electric fireplaces, many people consider MagikFlame electric fireplaces to be better than the real thing.
How Can I Decorate Electric Fireplaces To Make It Look Like A Real One?
When it comes to home decor, electric fireplaces can be decorated to look just as good as a real one. Don’t just simply place your electrical fireplace down and plug it in, considering going the extra mile with a little DIY home decorating. Search online for several decorating ideas or a tutorial. Luckily, finding a good home decorating tutorial is quite easy these days when it comes to electric fireplaces. Do a search on YouTube or Pinterest. Here are some additional things to consider:
- Sides of The Fireplace – On the sides of the fireplace you can install cabinetry or even bookshelves. Instead of just standing up a bookcase, build bookshelves directly into a wall recession so it remains flush with your fireplace.
- Mantle Back Wall – Many people try a different material for the wall behind and above their mantle. You can try some beautiful shiplap plants for a modern but rustic look.
- Mantle Decoration – Just like a large tabletop, a good mantle needs a great centerpiece. You can also put some greenery around the mantle.
Why Are MagikFlame Electric Fireplaces Better Than The Real Thing?
There are three main things that make people say that MagikFlame electric fireplaces are better than the real thing. These three things are:
- Holographic Real Flame Simulation – The key benefit of MagikFlame fireplaces is how they can look exactly like the real thing. This is due to the 3D holographic flickering flames and embers that are stunningly projected onto a real log set that is inside of the fireplace. You aren’t limited to just one flame effect style either, there are 30 different flames you can cycle between.
- Realistic Crackling Log Sounds – The visuals alone are impressive, but what really helps makes these fireplaces so immersive and makes you feel like you are sitting in front of a real fireplace is the sound of crackling logs that goes with the fire effects. There are also nature sound options as well.
- Strong 5,200 BTU Infrared Heater – If you want to cost-effectively heat your home, the powerful and efficient heater that is inside every MagikFlame fireplace has you covered.