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Fireplace Features: Do Electric Fireplaces Have a Battery Backup?

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In today’s world, we have come to rely heavily on electricity. We are used to simply flipping a switch for light and other essential items. This includes the supplemental heat that an electric fireplace provides. When the power goes out, we lose all of these conveniences. It leaves many homeowners wondering do electric fireplaces have battery backup.

Fireplace technology does allow us to enjoy battery power in a few limited electric units, but fortunately, there are other ways in which you can make sure that your fireplace can still provide you with heat during a power outage.

In This Post, You Will Learn the Following:

  • Do Electric Fireplaces Have Battery Backup?
  • Can a Power Outage Damage Your Electric Fireplace?
  • How to Protect Your Electric Fireplace During a Power Outage
  • Power Options to Keep Your Electric Fireplace Running During an Outage
  • How to Use a Generator and Transfer Switch
  • Using a UPS
  • Full Power Without Interruption
  • Using a Gas Fireplace in the Event of a Power Outage
  • Magikflame Electric Fireplace Buying Guide

Do Electric Fireplaces Have Battery Backup?

There are some companies out there that are starting to introduce battery power to the world of electric fireplaces, but for now, your options are limited as this is a very new breakthrough in fireplace design. You also have to consider the amount of power needed to keep a freestanding electric unit functioning.

Some new log sets that are battery powered, include Wi-Fi capabilities that allow you to control the settings through Amazon Alexa or Google Home. It is made to be placed inside of an existing wood fireplace in order to have the look of real flames without the use of electricity. Borrowing the technology similar to that found in electric cars, it uses a high power lithium-ion battery.[1]

Can a Power Outage Damage an Electric Fireplace?

The actual power outage isn’t likely to damage your fireplace, but when the power comes back on, it has a higher probability to cause harm to the unit. When the power first goes out, it simply stops. This is not a big deal. When the power is restored, it comes back in a large surge. Any electric appliances, including your fireplace, that are left turned on can be damaged.

Ordinarily, your fireplace uses a certain amount of electric current to function. This is normal and quite stable. The heater and the other electronics in the fireplace work the way they are supposed to. Problems arise when the amount of electricity coming in fluctuates.

A Brown Out

A brownout happens when there is a dip in voltage. This happens most frequently during the summer season when everyone’s air conditioning puts a strain on the power grid. A normal flow of 105 to 120 volts can drop below 90 volts for a few seconds or even several minutes. This causes your fireplace to become inefficient, or it can completely stop working.

A Black Out

Blackouts are usually caused by severe weather which damages the power line. Electricity can’t make its way from the power station to your home during these events.

A Current Surge

Once the power is restored after a blackout or brownout, it rushes through the empty electric wires like a tidal wave. The electricity is flowing quickly in an attempt to fill the wires. For a brief moment, the current is well above the normal rate in which your electric fireplace and other appliances are designed for.

A Voltage Surge

When the current spikes upon restoration, the voltage will surge as well. A normal 110 volt line can suddenly have 200 volts or more. Severe surges may damage, or even destroy, electric appliances.

If your power goes out, consider unplugging your electric fireplace immediately to keep it safe. Unfortunately, you may not be at home to do this. That is why it is always a good idea to be prepared ahead of time.

How to Protect Your Electric Fireplace During a Power Outage

Whether the power goes out frequently in your area or you are simply worried about those occasional instances, there are some simple things you can do to help protect your fireplace and other appliances from damage.[2]

  1. Surge Protecting Power Strips

Surge protecting power strips are an inexpensive way to protect electric appliances. Simply plug your fireplace into one of these power strips and it will be protected during a power surge. Make sure the strip is designed to work with your fireplace and that it can handle the power required without overheating. These surge-protecting power strips include a fuse that is created to fail when the power spikes. This cuts off the power supply to your fireplace before any damage can occur.

  1. Whole House Surge Protectors

A surge protector snaps into your home’s electric panel. This is a more aggressive form of protection than power strips. This one device will provide protection for not only your fireplace but all of your electric appliances.

  1. Meter Mounted Surge Protector

This is the best overall protection. Your electric provider installs the meter-mounted surge protector along the incoming electric line of your home. It will be placed on the line just before your meter. This has to be done by a licensed electrician, and it must be approved by your local provider.

  1. GFCI Outlets

You can install these throughout your home, but having one for your electric fireplace should protect it against outages and surges. These outlets are now required in all kitchens and bathrooms. You have probably already seen one. These outlets have a red button and a black button labeled as “reset” and “test.” This specialized outlet monitors how much electricity is flowing through the socket. They shut off that flow if it exceeds a specified amount.

Power Options to Keep Your Electric Fireplace Running During an Outage

Portable gas-fired generators, along with a transfer switch, can keep your electric appliances operating until the power comes back on. This is an excellent solution for those that live in areas where losing power is a common occurrence. If your electricity is out for more than a couple of hours, food can spoil and your home can become unbearably cold during the winter months. You could also find yourself without water if you rely on a pump and well. The solution is to create power with your gas-fired generator that you can connect to your home’s circuits with a transfer switch.

Which Generator is Best?

Gasoline-powered generators are categorized by the number of watts of electricity that they can generate. A 5,000-watt unit is most commonly purchased for home emergencies. Smaller generators are more affordable, but they can only power a few small appliances. This forces you to make some hard decisions about which appliances are the most important.

The 5,000-watt generator will easily power several circuits. It will be able to keep large appliances like your refrigerator and fireplace operating. These generators should keep going for 10 to 12 hours on seven gallons of gas.

Unfortunately, the 5,000-watt version can be noisy and heavy. The majority of them weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. This makes it next to impossible for one person to move it by themselves. However, some companies will offer a bolt-on wheel kit for roughly $40 to help with this problem.

How to Use a Generator

A generator is put outside of the house. You can use an extension cord from the generator, through a window, to the appliances you need to power. This is alright for some appliances, but it won’t help when it comes to a water pump, furnaces, or ceiling fixtures.

Generators will create carbon monoxide, which is deadly. Only run them outside. Do not operate them in a garage or basement.

A Transfer Switch

A fairly new device, the transfer switch now allows you to use a generator to run several electric circuits safely. This means that with a transfer switch, you can still use your electric fireplace during an outage. This switch is put in near your main electric panel. From there it can be connected to the circuits that operate the appliances you need the most.[3]

When you find yourself without power, start up the generator. Use an extension cord to connect the generator to the transfer switch or invest in a power inlet box. These boxes are installed on the exterior of your home so that the generator can be plugged directly into it, skipping the need for a cord.

By flipping specific switches, similar to a wall switch, on your transfer switch you can choose which appliances you want to run. Typically, a transfer switch is connected to more circuits than the generator can actually operate at one time. This is why it is important to only select what you truly need. Keep a tally of how much power is being used at any one given moment to avoid damaging or over taxing the generator.

When choosing a transfer switch, it has to match the generator. Manufacturers make transfer switches with a maximum wattage capacity. For example, a six-circuit switch is well suited to a 5,000-watt generator. A ten circuit switch is well suited to a 7,500-watt generator.[3] Know how much energy each appliance requires when shopping for a switch and generator. Once you find the right one, hire a licensed electrician for the installation. It is a simple process that takes about an hour.

Using a UPS

Do electric fireplaces have battery backup? No, but some devices that use batteries can be used as backup. Another option for running your electric fireplace is a UPS. A UPS is an uninterrupted power supply. They are basically a large power strip that includes batteries for backup. If it detects an outage or a surge within the incoming voltage, its battery engages.

This allows you to continue operating your electric fireplace without interruption. UPS devices are what many companies use to protect their desktop computers in order to avoid losing their work and data when the power fails.

Full Power Without Interruption

If you are in an area where you are usually the last to get the power back on or if you need to count on power for health reasons, you need to know you will have power without interruption. You may want to consider a whole-house standby generator so that you continue to have power.

Standby generators are the ultimate in protection when it comes to outages. They supply electricity to the entire house. These generators are powered by natural gas, diesel fuel, or propane, and they are available in units up to 40,000 watts.

Whole-house standby generators are installed outside of the home. They are set on cement slabs or on blocks, and they are wired to a transfer switch that is connected to the main electric panel. When your electricity goes out, this generator will automatically turn on. You don’t have to go outside to start it, and it will continue to run until the power comes back on.

Standby generators are not cheap. Plan to spend anywhere from $6,000 to $8,000 with another $2,000 for installation. Most houses will require a 12,000 to 15,000-watt generator. Call an electrician for a quote. Keep in mind that whole house generators have to be specifically made for a home. Ignore any quote that is given to you without a home inspection.

Using a Gas Fireplace in the Event of a Power Outage

Losing power, as well as heat, is a big concern for those who live in climates where severe winter weather like an ice storm is a threat to the power supply. If you have a traditional fireplace, you are alright as long as there is enough cut wood on hand.

A gas fireplace or fireplace insert that fits into the existing firebox is also a good option for uninterrupted heat. If your fireplace or insert has a standing pilot, it can be lit during an outage since no electricity is needed. Newer gas fireplaces may have an energy-saving intermittent pilot ignition system. These systems need electricity to start the pilot light each time it is used.

The IntelliFire or Intellifire Plus pilot ignition system does not require electricity all of the time. This system includes a battery backup that allows the pilot flame to be lit during an outage. It requires two D cell batteries along with AA batteries.[4]

You can also use a millivolt ignition system during a power failure. This system relies on a standing pilot. You do not need any type of external power to operate it. They’re remote-ready, and they can acclimate to a basic wall switch or a programmable thermostat.

do fireplaces have battery backup

Most Electric Fireplace Buying Guide

Magikflame fireplaces are an energy-efficient and convenient way to get the ambiance you are looking for without the hassle of an actual wood burning fireplace. You will have the look and feel of a real fire without the need for venting, flammable fuels, or routine maintenance. All you need is a standard outlet to plug it into.

The Magikflame story began with a man named Howard Birnbaum. He wanted a fireplace for his own home that had the ambiance of a wood-burning fireplace but ran on electricity. The problem was that he couldn’t find an electric unit with realistic flames. With a background in special effects, he developed his own flame effects. His patented HoloFlame technology is the most realistic available. You will be able to enjoy everything from glowing embers to a roaring fire.

Magikflame fireplaces provide you with 30 ultra-realistic flames created with state-of-the-art holographic projection technology. The look of real flames is further enhanced with a sound effect system that gives you the sound of crackling wood. Add in the scent of fresh-cut pine, and you will enjoy all of the benefits of a traditional fireplace in one easy to operate device.

Magikflame also provides zone heating with a 5,200 BTU heater. It is the perfect companion to your HVAC system. With the ability to easily heat 400 square feet, this is an excellent heat source when it comes to taking the chill off. Additional features, like a variety of settings and a high-quality blower providing a direct vent of the heat into your room, add to the comfort Magikflame furnishes.

All of this is housed in a beautiful surround and topped with an elegant mantel that rivals the beauty of a formal fireplace. Each fireplace includes an easy to use backlit touchscreen, and the Magikflame app gives you the ability to control your fireplace from your smartphone or another favorite device rather than a remote control.

Magikflame reviews rate these fireplaces as beautiful and functional pieces. Homeowners love how Magikflame is built with quality materials in the United States, and the company stands behind their products with a manufacturer’s warranty.

Bottom Line

Do electric fireplaces have battery backup? Some modern log sets are battery-operated, but most fireplaces on the market today require a more substantial power source. Fortunately, there are ways you can keep your fireplace functioning during an outage by setting your home up with a generator and transfer switch. You can also protect your electric unit and other valuable appliances from power surges by investing in power strips with surge protection or by installing GFCI outlets. Knowing the options available to you when it comes to being able to use your fireplace during an outage and protecting it from surges will help you enjoy the look and feel of a real fire uninterrupted throughout the year.

Additional Sources:

https://www.thisoldhouse.com/electrical/21015462/transfer-of-power

https://www.heatilator.com/shopping-tools/blog/using-your-fireplace-or-insert-during-a-power-outage

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