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How An Electric Fireplace Produces a Real Looking Flame

real flame

Most homeowners want an electric fireplace or an outdoor fire table for the look and feel of a real fireplace without the hassle normally involved with an actual fire. Unfortunately, when they begin shopping for the fireplace of their dreams, they are overwhelmed with all of the available options. Everything from an inexpensive small log set to a grand electric fireplace can be found, but not many people understand what the difference is from one to another of these units, especially when it comes to the flame effects.

In This Post, You Will Learn the Following:

  • The Different Types of Fireplace Technology
  • Types of Real Flame Fireplaces
  • The MagikFlame Story
  • How MagikFlame is Built

The Different Types of Fireplace Technology

Mechanical Fireplaces

Mechanical systems are the most common type of fireplace available. It is found in 95% of the lower-end fireplaces. They are simple to manufacture and they use inferior components, and they are inexpensive. These are the fireplaces you find in the big-box stores.

Mechanical fireplaces use an electric motor that rotates a cylinder with mirror-like tabs on it. Each tab reflects colored LED lights through a flame silhouette and then onto a panel behind the log set. Since this type of flame effect uses LED lights, they can create flames in a multitude of colors such as orange, yellow, and red.

LEDs are versatile. This means you will have plenty of colors to choose from, but all of the flames will be identical. Be sure to take note of how the flames are described. A variety of flames means you can choose to have everything from a glowing ember to a roaring fire, but multiple colored flames mean each flame looks the same except they come in different colors.

The lights in a mechanical fireplace can last for up 50,000 hours, but unfortunately, the cheaper electric motors used can wear out and break sooner. These motors are often difficult to replace. This means you will have to buy a new fireplace once it stops working. If you want realism and longevity, this isn’t the fireplace for you.

Water-Based Fireplaces

Mist or steam fireplaces are harder to find than mechanical fireplaces. Dimplex is one of the few manufacturers offering this type of flame effect. The technology is patented, which limits the number of them on the market.

Water-based fireplaces use an ultrasonic fogger that makes a fine mist. The mist encompasses billions of 5-micron water droplets. Halogen lights are used to color the mist in an orange shade. The result is the illusion of an actual fire.

The laws of liquid dynamics are at work here. Halogen light bulbs are used for the orange color that is used on the gray mist to simulate flames. This type of bulb produces heat. That heat causes the water droplets to rise. The effect is somewhat realistic.

Mist based fireplaces are much more realistic than mechanical fireplaces, but they require more maintenance. You will also need a water source, and there is little diversity among the flames.

The fogger used on these fireplaces have small holes that water droplets have to go through. These holes can clog easily with the minerals and calcium found in hard water. This reduces the realism of the flame effects further. It is essential that you use filtered or distilled water.

Once the water runs out, your flames stop. You will have to continuously refill the water supply. This defeats the idea of a low maintenance fireplace. While running a water line directly to the reservoir will solve this problem, it adds to the installation expense.

You may also find that the type of lights used can be a drawback. While other fireplace designs use LEDs, water based units rely on a hot burning halogen bulb. Halogen bulbs use more energy and have a shorter lifespan than an LED. These bulbs are costly to replace too.

Water based technology only produces one type of flame. You won’t have a variety of flames or colors to pick from. For the investment, you won’t get an overall solid value with a water based system.

Gel Fuel Based Fireplaces

Gel fuel fireplaces are different from a true electric, gas, or wood fireplace. They burn an alcohol-based fuel, but they don’t require a gas line, chimney, or electricity. This makes them one of the easiest types of fireplaces to install.

The major drawback is that it emits harmful fumes. This can negatively affect the air quality in your home. Gel fuel-based fireplaces are not recommended for those with allergies or anyone that has adverse reactions to chemical emissions or smells.

Gel fuel-based fireplaces are not as safe as an electric fireplace. These are made by only a small number of manufacturers. There are certain dangers involved. You have to constantly monitor a gel fuel-based fireplace for safety, and you cannot leave it unattended.

You can’t turn the heat off in order to enjoy the look of the flames on their own. Also, they aren’t as good at warming a room as an electric unit. In general, they aren’t recommended unless you are in search of the easiest installation possible or want something like a fire bowl that would need to be independent of electrical cords or gas lines.

Holographic Fireplaces

The most realistic and modern option available is the holographic fireplace. These fireplaces give you the most realistic flames and are offered along with a variety of flame visuals and sound effects. Altogether, this will give you the most realistic experience possible when trying to achieve the look and feel of a real fire.

You will get the visual details of a wood fireplace without having an actual fire in your home. Best of all, there is no danger or mess involved. Instead of using a mechanical system to create flames, holographic fireplaces use videos of a real fire to make the flame aesthetically pleasing.

Images of an actual fire are projected onto a physical log set. This log set is inside of the fireplace cavity and looks like wood burning. This log bed includes LED lights that pulsate and flicker to give the illusion of glowing embers.

The flames themselves have incredible detail. You will notice organic movements, the color of real flames, the look of burning embers, and simulated smoke. Sounds are used in combination with video flame technology for a totally realistic experience. This results in the most realistic flame effect fireplace on the market.

MagikFlame uses holographic technology as well as pine scent atomizers to further add to the realistic look and feel. The fresh pine scent is similar to real fresh-cut firewood. This is because the scent is created with actual pine tree oils rather than artificial scent oils. This is perfectly safe to use inside of your home.

The major drawback is the price. Producing the realistic flame effects is expensive to do. Each fireplace contains a complex video imaging device that plays a video loop of real flames. It is coupled with other technologies like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and a smartphone app to make the fireplace easy to control. Take advantage of MagikFlame payment plans and financing that can work with your credit card to keep costs manageable.

If you want a realistic ambiance complete with visuals, sounds, and scents, your investment in a holographic fireplace will be well worth it. While these fireplaces are only available through MagikFlame, cost more, and may have some concern when it comes to your viewing angle, what you get in return can’t be beat. You will enjoy authentic flame effects with details like smoke, burning embers, and a variety of flames as well as the crackle and pop of burn in wood.

Types of Real Flame Fireplaces

Flame effects are available on an assortment of fireplace styles. Some can be used on their own while others are designed to fit in the firebox of an existing wood-burning fireplace in order to turn it into an electric fireplace. Finding one that suits your home decor shouldn’t be a problem.

The Freestanding Electric Fireplace

Freestanding electric fireplaces look the most like a traditional wood or natural gas fireplace. They have beautiful surrounds and detailed mantels that rival some of the most elegant fireplaces your architect could put into a new construction home, but these are much easier to use and care for.

Installation is as simple as plugging the piece into a standard electrical outlet. You can place it up against any wall you choose without any worries. The entire unit remains cool to the touch. You can even find corner models. A corner electric fireplace is an ideal solution for rooms with limited space. All styles can be found in colors like distressed white or in natural chestnut oak or mahogany versions.

Real Flame’s Silverton is a good example of this type of fireplace. It comes in white, dark mahogany, and black. The surround and mantel has a traditional look. Real Flame uses an LED to create their ultra-bright flame effects. While you won’t get a variety of flame styles, you do have a choice of orange, orange-red, white, blue, blue-white, and multi-color options when it comes to the color of the flames.

The white or gray Thayer free-standing fireplace also offers a classic interior design style with a carved inset and beautiful columns. Infrared LED technology provides the flame color along with glowing embers.

For the ultimate in ultra-realistic flames, MagikFlame’s Trinity gives you a choice of 30 different flame styles with their holographic technology in a sophisticated mantel package. In addition, you will enjoy the warmth of the built-in heater and the sound of crackling logs that adds to the experience.

The Fireplace TV Stand

An electric fireplace that serves double duty as a media console saves space while providing the look and feel of an actual fire. You can set your TV directly on top of the unit, and there is often plenty of storage provided by built-in shelving and cabinets.

Using a fireplace that is also an entertainment center makes it easy to arrange the furniture in a room. If you ask an interior designer, they will tell you that the TV often competes with the fireplace for attention. Combining the two into one large piece allows you to use them as one main focal point.

The Valmont and the Monte Vista Entertainment Center by Real Flame give you the look of a traditional fireplace TV stand with their infrared LED technology flame effects in the center with three shelves on each side where you can store movies, a remote control, and other equipment. Long narrow cubbies under the mantel are perfect for cable boxes, DVD players, and gaming consoles.

Another Real Flame option is the Belford with three smaller shelves on each side of the flame effects insert and ample room for your television to sit on the top. Two longer shelves are provided for the cable box, game console, and other necessary equipment. Their Vivid Flame Electric Firebox looks like an actual fire with infrared LED technology and a variety of flame colors to pick from.

The massive Fresno by Real Flame has an open-top area that can handle a television measuring up to 78 inches. It is available in dark walnut, white, or black. It also has ample storage space as well as a 4,780 BTU heater.

The Outdoor Electric Fireplace

Homeowners are utilizing their outdoor spaces more than ever. They are creating living spaces that mimic the living room, dining room, or kitchen found inside. These areas can greatly benefit from the use of an electric fireplace or fire table. A fire bowl can be a very contemporary piece in a modern setting, while the fire pit has been a family favorite for quite some time. If your outdoor space is limited, using a fire table can give you the look of real flames without taking up any more room than your average conversation table. Many of these, such as the fire pit, can be found in electric as well as natural gas, and propane options.

The Electric Fireplace Insert

The electric fireplace insert allows you to easily convert your existing wood or gas fireplace into a low-maintenance electric unit. They fit neatly inside of the firebox and can plug into an existing outlet or you can hardwire them into your electric system.

Many manufacturers offer inserts. RealFlame has their VividFlame insert, while MagikFlame offers fireplace inserts that will make it look like you built an actual fire in your fireplace. As with all of their products, you will have the 30 ultra-realistic flames, sound effects, and a 5,200 BTU heater.

Wall Mount Electric Fireplace

A wall mounts electric fireplace allows you to have the look and feel of an actual fireplace without wasting precious floor space. These designs look amazing in contemporary homes with their sharp lines and linear shapes. The Coretto wall-mounted fireplace is 72 inches wide and 21.75 inches tall. It comes in a modern black color with six flame colors and five flame brightness levels. Real Flame makes the DiNatale wall-mounted fireplace that includes their LED technology which allows for two color options.

Multi Sided Fireplaces

Multi-sided fireplaces allow you to see the flame effects from more than one angle. The three-sided Sedona by Modern Flame has three glass sides with a modern rectangular shape. The Sedona includes a hyper-realistic electronic flame scape that provides organic flame patterns in a full-color spectrum along with an orange-lighted driftwood log set.

The MagikFlame Story

MagikFlame began with a shopping trip. Howard Birnbaum was in a Costco when he spotted an electric fireplace. Considering one for his own home, he was disappointed when he viewed the flame effects. He had a background in special effects, and he was certain he could create something better. He came up with the idea of using video of an actual fire. He teamed up with a company that produced movie sets, and the result was an amazingly realistic fireplace. It wasn’t long before people were asking him where they could buy one for themselves.

As MagikFlame reviews showed how impressed homeowners were with the look of the realistic flames, Mr. Birnbaum took things one step further. After riding on the Haunted Mansion in a Disney Park, he was inspired to create the holographic technology used in MagikFlame’s current fireplaces. Today, you can purchase a MagikFlame fireplace that allows you to enjoy the most realistic experience possible when it comes to electric fireplaces.

Real Flame

How MagikFlame is Built

MagikFlame offers so much more than a simple flame effect. You will find these fireplaces offer 30 ultra-realistic flames to choose from. A sound system further adds to the realism with the sound of crackling logs.

MagikFlame provides supplemental heat with a built-in 5,200 BTU heater capable of heating up to 1,000 square feet. There is no need for a remote control. These fireplaces are programmable from an app on your smartphone, or you can use the easy-to-navigate backlit touchscreen found on the unit.

Each MagikFlame fireplace is built in the United States with quality materials and craftsmanship. Your satisfaction is guaranteed, and you will have accessibility to 24/7 customer service.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for an electric fireplace that will give you the look of an actual fire, you can rely on holographic technology for the most authentic experience possible without real flames. Many of these designs such as a wall-mounted fireplace or even a corner electric fireplace come with heaters. These supplemental heaters often include a programmable thermostat. All of this is housed in a beautiful surround and mantel package in sophisticated black or white finishes as well as more traditional chestnut oak or mahogany wood tones. All of this means that you can now enjoy a hassle-free look and feel of a wood-burning fireplace in your own home. 

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