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Energy Comparisons: Are Electric Fireplaces More Efficient Than Baseboard Heaters?


When it comes to owning a fireplace, you have to consider how much it costs to use it throughout the fall and winter seasons to ensure you budget for the expense. Baseboard heaters and electric fireplaces have similar designs and are both considered to be energy efficient. If you want to determine if an electric fireplace or electric baseboard heater will allow you to save the most money while heating your home, it’s important to compare a few main details and ask, “Are electric fireplaces more efficient than baseboard heaters?” 

In this post, you will learn:

  • Are Electric Fireplaces More Efficient Than Baseboard Heaters?
  • Finding the Best Electric Fireplace to Own
  • How Convenient is an Electric Fireplace?
  • Installing Your Fireplace
  • Reasons to Own an Electric Fireplace
  • Enhancing the Design of Your Fireplace
  • Where to Place Your Fireplace

Are fireplaces more efficient than baseboard heaters?

When you’re narrowing down your options with the type of fireplace you plan to purchase, it can often come down to electric baseboard heaters or electric fireplaces. Both products are innovative in their design and are considered more economical than wood-burning and gas fireplaces. You may be asking, “Are electric fireplaces more efficient than baseboard heaters?”

Baseboard heaters work well for controlling the building’s internal temperature and can be installed under a window to block cold air that tries to enter the room. This is a common area to place the product because there’s less insulation near the windows. The heater can keep the building’s temperature more stable and even allow you to turn down your thermostat with your central heating system.

Baseboard heaters often have a 240-volt heater, requiring a certified electrician to install it in your home. Baseboard heaters are convection heaters that heat up metal fins on the inside and disperse heat into the room.

Hydronic heaters work by using liquid to provide heat. They are connected throughout the home to a central boiler. These take longer to heat up than convection heaters.

Electric baseboard heaters can cost an average of $150 to $200 per month to use in well-insulated homes. Hydronic heaters can cost up to 2-4 times as much.

Electric fireplaces deliver zone heating, which prevents using extra energy to heat unused rooms in the home and offers more warmth than space heaters with heat pumps. The heat stays in the room without escaping, preventing the whole house from becoming too hot as the heat rises. They only cost an average of three to eight cents per hour to operate, which means you can leave it running throughout the day without noticing much of an increase in your energy bill.

They supplement central heating systems that offer more warmth than a hydronic heater when you want to turn down the thermostat in your home and save additional money with your heating options. The heating element produces warm air moments after turning it on for quicker comfort with your home heating.

More Efficient Than Baseboard Heaters

Finding the best electric fireplace to own

When searching for the best fireplace to purchase, there are many different factors to consider. Fireplaces can last an average of 20 years, making it necessary to take your time doing your homework and looking around to find the right fit for your home.

Consider the look of the flames to determine which brand offers the most realistic flames. The technology built into the feature influences if the flames have enough detail to look like you’re burning wood in the firebox. Check out a flame gallery on each manufacturer’s website to discover the many options available with the look you’ll achieve. Many electric fireplaces have different flame colors and sizes to ensure you can customize the appearance of the flames. You can change the color to match the holiday or even work with your home’s color scheme.

Consider the BTUs of the heater to ensure you get the right size for the room you plan to use, whether you’re considering a home office, bedroom, or living room. Getting the right size will promote proper airflow in the room. Start by calculating the square feet in the room and multiply it by 20 to get the correct number. You can also consider how much insulation is present, which influences whether more or fewer BTUs are needed for proper heat distribution without any cold spots.

The included features also need to be considered to ensure you can invest in something more versatile and accommodating—brands like MagikFlame feature cracking log sounds to provide the ultimate wood-burning fire experience. The crackling noises will make your guests believe you have a real fire burning.

Reading reviews on sites like Amazon can offer additional details about the item to determine which models they prefer in the industry. Take notes, and write down the pros and cons of your top choices so that you have a list to refer back to. Many MagikFlame reviews are also posted on the brand’s website and a photo idea gallery with pictures that customers have posted.

Learn a bit about the background of each brand when discovering the different heating options they offer. The MagikFlame story is unique because the company was birthed out of the founder’s interest in finding an electric fireplace with the same look and appearance as a real fireplace. When he couldn’t find anything that had realistic flames in the industry, he decided to use his background in special effects in the film industry to invent the HoloFlame technology. The technology is patented, so you won’t find any other brand using it. A video of fire is projected onto a special holographic glass placed in front of the faux logs and features details like burning embers and billowing smoke for a realistic effect. Each product also has a heater with 5,200 BTUs and 30 realistic flames.

Learning how MagikFlame is built on the company’s website can also offer more trust in the brand. The site is also a great place to browse the MagikFlame electric fireplace buying guide and discover payment plans and financing offered to customers before making your purchase. The American-made brand manufactures its 28” insert in Nashville, Tennessee, making it easier to perform repairs when certain parts are needed in the future. You don’t have to try and find a specific part in another country, which can affect the fireplace’s lifespan.

How convenient is an electric fireplace?

You can take advantage of the convenience of an electric fireplace in the bedroom and increase its appeal and value. You don’t have to worry about spending money on wood or finding a place to store it on the property. The lack of fireplace tools and a fireplace screen that is needed offers additional savings.

Electric fireplaces also come with unique features like a remote control to ensure you can control the feature from anywhere in the room without getting out of your seat. Built-in timers also automatically shut off the device after a specific period, making it easy to leave it on when you fall asleep.

You also don’t have to spend time starting the fire and keeping it going. You can sit back, relax, and watch your favorite movie without getting up off the couch to ensure you can truly relax.

Installing your fireplace

Installation is easier than you think when you purchase an electric fireplace. The simple design makes it easy to have it up and running the same day you unbox it without hiring a professional. The fireplace is appealing because it doesn’t need any vents or chimneys to be installed to start operating. Because it doesn’t produce any smoke or fumes, it doesn’t require venting. It also doesn’t need a gas line compared to a gas fireplace.

If you select a freestanding fireplace design, it’s easy to plug the cord into an electrical outlet to ensure you can begin using it. You don’t need to hardwire anything or contact an electrician to set it up.

Built-in fireplace inserts can be installed inside the cavity of a wall if you want the feature to be flush with the wall, which creates a sleek, upscale look in the interior of the building. Because the electric fireplace is inserted directly into the wall, it can boost the market value of your property and deliver more warmth than space heaters.

Some people even choose to install an electric insert into an existing fireplace that they want to update and make more efficient. You no longer have to deal with the hassle of burning real wood and still enjoy the beautiful mantel and surround that came with your original fireplace. The insert can fit right into the firebox and plug into a nearby outlet. Some models can even be hardwired if you want a more permanent feature to use long-term.

Many fireplaces are also easy enough to install with only a screwdriver to avoid having to purchase additional tools. The simple design makes it convenient and easy to put together, even for those who don’t consider themselves handy.

Reasons to own an electric fireplace

There are many reasons you should consider owning an electric fireplace when you want something to heat your home and add a cozy ambiance to your living space. This type of fireplace offers a high level of appeal because it’s available in various looks and decorative features. You can have more options with the style you select to ensure it reflects your personal taste and complements the interior design in your home.

Electric fireplaces are an ideal heat source for residents looking to reduce their carbon footprint. The product doesn’t release any emissions like a wood-burning fireplace, which can offer peace of mind when you want to enjoy having a fire without impacting the environment. It also uses less energy to operate compared to a gas fireplace to ensure you don’t waste any electricity while it’s in use. Additionally, trees don’t need to be chopped down to fuel your fires each year. You also don’t have to worry about using propane or natural gas.

Electric fireplaces have also become more advanced in recent years, which means they now look more similar to real fireplaces. You can create the illusion of having a wood-burning fireplace in your home without spending as much money on the product. You don’t have to invest in masonry or modifications while achieving the same look to ensure you can show it off to your family members and friends.

You also don’t have to spend time or energy cleaning out the fireplace between uses. Because an infrared electric fireplace insert is used, there are no ashes to sweep up when you need to maintain it. You also don’t have to schedule a chimney sweep each year, to remove creosote that builds up over time. Without any creosote present, you don’t have to risk a chimney fire compared to a wood fireplace.

There’s also a high level of safety that comes with this type of fireplace, making it family-friendly and more accommodating. You can have peace of mind knowing the glass panels or doors won’t get scalding hot because real flames aren’t used. Your family members, pets, and children can roam around freely without any risk of burning their skin if they accidentally bump into the fixture. The automatic shut-off feature also offers peace of mind if you forget to turn it off. There’s no risk of fires or burns compared to a radiator heater.

The lack of smoke and particles that the feature produces also protects the health of your loved ones. Many homeowners are surprised to learn that traditional fireplaces can affect indoor air quality because of the contaminants they release into the air. This can be problematic for those who suffer from breathing problems. Those who are sick in the house are even at a higher risk of developing bronchitis if there’s a wood-burning fire. Fireplaces that run off from electricity use LED lights, mist, and even screens to create the look of faux flames without using a fuel source. You can continue to breathe well and protect your home without sacrificing the fires you enjoy each season.

Electric fireplaces are also unique because they can be used year-round to ensure you use it more frequently, whether it’s hot or cold outside. This type of fireplace is more versatile because you can shut the heating element off if you want to enjoy the beautiful flame effects. You can turn the infrared heater on in the middle of the summer to enjoy the entertainment of the dancing flames without making it warmer inside the building. Many models also allow you to only turn on the heating system without using the flame effects if you prefer.

Perhaps one of the main reasons so many consumers are attracted to this type of fireplace is the cozy touch it adds to the home. You can create a soothing and inviting environment with a fireplace that emits a warm glow in the room. It’ll make it easier to unwind and relax at the end of a long day with a feature that makes the house feel like a home.

Additionally, an electric fireplace has less heat loss because 100 percent of the heat produced is used and released into the room. Wood-burning fireplaces lose an average of 80 percent of their heat and require leaving a window open for proper ventilation, making the room feel colder. Gas fireplaces also lose 30 to 40 percent of heat, causing a spike in an electric bill and less energy efficiency.

Renters can also enjoy an electric fireplace because it’s portable and doesn’t need to be installed on a wall. You can make an investment in the product and enjoy taking it with you to your new home with you. The compact size also allows it to fit in smaller rooms, condos, and apartments to ensure renters can also take advantage of the same benefits of a fireplace that homeowners enjoy.

Enhancing the design of your fireplace

There are many ways you can customize your fireplace to ensure it blends in with your setting and is a reflection of your personal style. Consider painting the enclosure and shelf with a bold color shade to make a statement and allow the feature to stand out in the space. You can also add laminate wood floor planks and paint them white to create a shiplap design if you want something with a farmhouse look.

Take advantage of the fireplace mantel when you’re decorating your fireplace. The mantel is a great place to display your favorite items, whether you want to show off some of your favorite books or a few family photos. Adding larger objects like tall vases with smaller items will offer a cohesive look. Consider adding a main décor item on the mantel, which will prevent the space from appearing cluttered. Candlesticks and vintage items you find at flea markets can also draw more interest to the feature and allow it to have a custom appearance.

You can also add items to the bottom of the fireplace to make a statement and draw more attention to the feature even when it’s not in use. Stuffed poufs are cozy and can offer a seating area in the living room. A woven basket full of blankets can also offer extra storage space and a decorative touch.

Some people may also prefer to mount their television above the fireplace, which has become more popular. If you choose this option, avoid adding additional items to the mantel to block the view of the TV.

Where to place your fireplace

There aren’t a lot of rules to follow when you’re trying to find the ideal spot for your fireplace. The main guideline is that it needs to be within a few feet of a built-in electrical outlet to ensure you can easily plug it in at any time. Never use an extension cord, which can lead to a fire. Instead, move the fireplace closer to the outlet.

Measure the fireplace in advance to determine which walls it will fit on without looking too large or small. You can also place it directly in view of the room’s entrance to make it more noticeable each time your guests walk into the space. The cord should be tucked behind the feature to prevent cats or children from tampering with it. The portable design of the fireplace can make it easier to move it to another room in the home when you want to change the layout of the setting. You can move it on your own or ask another person to assist.

Discovering how baseboard heaters and electric fireplaces compare to one another helps you be more informed to make the right selection for your home after asking, “Are electric fireplaces more efficient than baseboard heaters?”. Understanding the operation of electric fireplaces helps you to appreciate the low-maintenance design compared to baseboard heaters.

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