Electric fireplaces have come a long way over the years. More and more people are choosing it as the primary way to heat their homes in the winter due to the several downsides of traditional fireplaces, as well as the many benefits of electric fireplaces.
Today, high quality electric fireplaces can produce an incredibly realistic flame effect all while cost-effectively keeping your home warm and cozy. The additional options that many electric fireplaces offer further add to the entire ambiance. It’s for this reason, homeowners are more than happy to install one in their living room or family room.
While some people might think that electric fireplace installation is difficult or confusing, this can’t be further from the truth. The installation process for electric fireplaces is incredibly easy, and doesn’t take long at all.
This post is going to talk about the benefits of electric fireplaces versus the downsides of fireplaces that burn wood or gas. It will explain how electric fireplaces work and why they are good for your home. We will examine one of the best electric fireplaces on the market and why it is worth considering. Finally, we will help walk you through how to set up electric fireplace units.
In This Post, You Will Learn:
- Why A Wood Burning Fireplace Is Not Good For Your Home – Here we will talk about the four different types of fireplaces that burn wood and why they aren’t necessarily good to use in your home.
- Why A Gas Fireplace Is Not The Best Alternative To A Wood-Burning Fireplace – While gas fireplaces can be a good alternative to ones that burn wood, they still aren’t that great. Here are the two types of gas fireplaces commonly installed in homes and the problems that still come with them.
- The Many Benefits Of Choosing An Electric Fireplace – In this section, we will go over the different types of electric fireplaces that are commonly installed in homes. We’ll also highlight all of the benefits that people that own an electric fireplace are very happy with.
- How Electric Fireplaces Work – We break down how different electrical fireplaces work and the difference in quality between them. This will cover visual flame simulations, heat production, sound effects, and more.
- Why You Should Consider A MagikFlame Electric Fireplace – This section talks about one of the best electric fireplaces that can be found on the market. It covers why they are the best option for people considering an electric fireplace.
- Before You Install Your Electric Fireplace – Everything you need to do in preparation for your electric fireplace installation.
- Unboxing Your Electric Fireplace – How to unbox your electric fireplace to make the entire process a lot easier.
- Where To Plug In Your Electric Fireplace – Where and how to plug in electric fireplaces.
- How To Set Up Electric Fireplace Units – How to get your new electric fireplace set up for regular use.
- How To Set Up Electric Fireplace Flame and Sound Effects – Controlling the additional options that come with your electric fireplace.
Why A Wood Burning Fireplace Is Not Good For Your Home
Wood fireplaces give us a sense of nostalgia, but they are an outdated technology. They can be dangerous, dirty, and a huge hassle to maintain. Here are the four most common types of fireplaces that are found in homes:
- Wood Stoves – These aren’t technically a normal fireplace, but work much in the same way. These are usually found in cabins, hunting lodges, or other small wilderness shelters that need to be kept warm. Wood is placed inside of the stove and burned. The stove then radiates heat from its sides and top to warm a small room. You can also cook on top of the stove, however heat regulation is tricky. Typically, these won’t be found inside of a normal home unless the decor is a rustic, country aesthetic.
- Open Hearth Fireplace – These are the most common types of fireplaces that people think of when they picture a fireplace in their head. A large fireplace opening is where wood is burned and a screen is usually placed in front of this opening for safety. The flue and chimney can be open and closed with a damper handle. These are the least energy efficient ways to heat your home.
- Enclosed Fireplace – These are similar to a standard open hearth fireplace, however the front of them is enclosed, usually by a glass panel so the flames can still be visible. These usually work slightly more efficiently than an open hearth fireplace, but still not as well as other alternatives.
- Fireplace Insert – This is a fireplace unit that can be placed inside of an open hearth, converting it into an enclosed fireplace. Some people install these when they realize they are burning too much wood and want to be more efficient. However, electric fireplaces could easily be inserted in place of one of these enclosed kits.
There are a ton of downsides that come with owning a fireplace that burns wood.
These kinds of fireplaces aren’t very safe compared to ones that use gas, or even better, electricity. First, the soot build up and random log sparks can lead to a tragic house fire. On top of this, even with good ventilation, you run the risk of inhaling too much smoke or carbon monoxide that is produced from an incomplete burn of the wood. The smoke also adds a bad smell that can be hard to get out of your clothes, carpet, and furniture.
Fireplaces that burn wood are not cost-effective at all. You need to purchase large amounts of wood that can be very expensive and you will go through this wood quickly, especially during particularly cold winters. On top of this, you usually have to leave a window cracked somewhere in the house to make sure a draft of air helps the fire burn. This lets heat out of the home and is wildly inefficient.
These fireplaces are a pain to maintain. You have to constantly add new logs to the fire and stoke it regularly or else it quickly gets cold. Once or twice a day, you have to clean all of the ash that builds up from burning logs. If all of this wasn’t enough, you have to call a professional to come clean out your chimney several times per year.
Why A Gas Fireplace Is Not The Best Alternative To A Wood-Burning Fireplace
At first, gas fireplaces might seem like a good alternative to one that burns wood. While they do have their benefits, they still come with a lot of problems. The two most common types of gas fireplaces are:
- Direct Vented Built-In Fireplace – These are the types of gas fireplaces that still require some sort of ventilation similar to a fireplace that burns wood. Since ventilation is used, they can use a gas that burns a somewhat normal orange or yellow color.
- Ventless Built-In Fireplace – These are the kinds of gas fireplaces that don’t require any ventilation at all, making them slightly easier to install. However, because these are ventless, they require the use of a gas that burns blue.
Gas fireplaces burn a lot cleaner than ones that burn wood. However, anytime things are burned, if the burn is incomplete, it can lead to carbon monoxide emissions being released into the home. This can be a problem with gas fireplaces just like ones that burn wood.
To install one of these fireplaces, significant construction work will be needed. First, you have to actually build a housing unit into the wall for the fireplace to sit. Then, you need to run brand new gas lines to the location of the fireplace. Typically, these aren’t easy DIY projects and a professional will need to be called for installation.
The flames of gas fireplaces tend to look rather weak and don’t really have a good flickering effect like a real flame from burning wood. The blue color of ventless fireplaces looks incredibly artificial and fake. The orange and yellow flames of the direct vented fireplaces look a little better but still don’t quite match the color of a more traditional style of fireplace that burns wood.
The Many Benefits Of Choosing An Electric Fireplace
There are countless benefits that come with electric fireplaces. Of course, quality isn’t the same across the board, so it will rely heavily on the brand of fireplace, the technology it uses, and the actual electric fireplace type. Here are the common types of electric fireplaces:
- Electric Fireplace Mantel – A electric style fireplace mantel is one that comes as two separate parts. There is the main electrical firebox itself that houses the flame technology, built-in heater, and more. The electrical firebox is placed inside of the mantel. By keeping these two separate, a variety of different mantel styles can be chosen depending on the interior design style of your home.
- Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace – A wall mount electric fireplace allows you to hang a fireplace directly on a wall or even insert it into the drywall. Usually this kind of electrical firebox will have everything included that is necessary to mount it yourself. However, if it is too large you may need to call a friend or a professional for some help.
- Electric Fireplace Insert – An electric fireplace insert is a unit that can be installed in an existing fireplace. By using an electric fireplace insert, you can convert your old open hearth fireplace or another type into a fireplace that runs completely on electricity.
- Freestanding Electric Fireplace – These are basically space heaters that are made to look like traditional fireplaces. These can be easily placed in any room and moved as necessary. These don’t usually look very realistic and typically don’t produce as much heat as one of the larger electric fireplaces listed above.
Electric fireplaces are easily the cheapest and most cost-effective type of fireplace to heat your home when compared to ones that burn wood or gas. To save even more money, you can install multiple electric fireplaces in different parts of your home and set it up for zone heating so that those rooms only have heat when they are being used. Because of the immense savings that comes from this, high quality electric fireplaces usually pay for themselves.
Electric fireplaces are much safer than ones that burn wood or gas. There are no toxic emissions, and the risk of a house fire is drastically reduced since no actual flames are present.
Compared to gas fireplaces, high end electric fireplaces are way better at simulating the realistic flames and atmosphere of traditional fireplaces that burn wood.
Electric fireplaces don’t require any construction to be installed. You simply plug your fireplace into a standard 120 volt electrical outlet. The only minor project you may need to have done is if there are no power outlets close to the location you want your fireplace. Because using an extension cord can be unsightly, you may want help from an electrician. A licensed electrician can install a new outlet right behind the fireplace location.
Many electric fireplaces come with a remote control or a smartphone app so that you can easily control the thermostat and additional features.
How Electric Fireplaces Work
When it comes to heat production, most electric fireplaces work by convection. Cool air in the room is drawn in, warmed by a heating element, and recirculated back into the room.
Visual fire effects are where brand really makes a difference. Mechanical electric fireplaces, like ones that can be found on Amazon, are cheap and don’t look realistic. There are several other brands that offer slightly more realistic flames in different ways. These brands include, Dimplex, Amantii, Touchstone, Modern Blaze, and more. For example Touchstone uses LED for their flames. However, the most realistic visual flames is the holoflame technology that can be found in MagikFlame electric fireplaces.
Why You Should Consider A MagikFlame Electric Fireplace
MagikFlame electric fireplaces have 30 different ultra-realistic flames that look exactly like the real thing. Holographic flames are projected onto a physical log set.
To go with the flames and add to the experience, MagikFlame has both crackling log sound effects and nature sound effects that can be switched between easily.
The built-in heater of MagikFlame produces 5,200 BTUs of heat. This is enough to easily keep a room warm. Depending on the square feet of your home, it could even heat the entire place.
All MagikFlame units come with a full warranty and they offer financing and payment plans.
If you are interested in MagikFlame, visit the MagikFlame electric fireplace buying guide or one of these additional resources:
- The MagikFlame Story
- Customer MagikFlame Reviews
- Payment Plans and Financing
- MagikFlame Warranty
- How MagikFlame Is Built
Before You Install Your Electric Fireplace
Before installing your electric fireplace make sure that you choose a location in your home close to an electric outlet or have a new one installed where you want your fireplace.
If you already have a mantle or an existing fireplace that you are converting, make sure to measure the area so that you know that your new fireplace will fit or can make adjustments as necessary.
Clean the area thoroughly where you will be installing your fireplace and give yourself plenty of room.
Unboxing Your Electric Fireplace
Set your box down where you will be installing your fireplace before unboxing it to make it easier and to keep all the equipment organized.
After you open your box, carefully pull it out and find the instruction manual. Make sure that you have all the components that were listed. Before you begin, thoroughly read the instruction manual that comes with your fireplace so that you don’t have any problems.
Where To Plug In Your Electric Fireplace
You can plug your fireplace into any standard electrical socket. You will usually want to make sure that there is one present at the location of your fireplace. An extension cord can be used if needed and you have other furniture or objects that will easily hide the unsightly cord. If you need to have an electrician to install a new outlet, let them know it is for an electric style fireplace and you want to make sure the outlet isn’t visible after installation.
How To Set Up Electric Fireplace Units
Luckily, electric fireplaces pretty much work right out of the box. If you have a mantel unit, position the fireplace under the mantel against the wall and make sure everything fits snugly and securely. If you have one of the fireplace inserts, follow the instructions to make it properly fit in your existing open hearth or other fireplace.
Once in place, simply plug it in and turn it on and it should begin working.
How To Set Up Electric Fireplace Flame and Sound Effects
If you have a smartphone app to run your fireplace like MagikFlame offers, simply download the app and pair the fireplace with your phone using Bluetooth. After it is paired, open the app and you will clearly see large graphic buttons for the different options. The app is fairly intuitive. You can turn the fireplace on or off, toggle the temperature settings, change the fire effects, and change the sounds effects.