In this post, you will learn:
- The differences between propane and natural gas
- Why you would choose propane as a heating fuel
- If gas is better than electricity
- Whether an LP or electric fireplace is easier to install
- If an unvented propane fireplace in an option
- Whether a gas or electric fire pit is easier to operate
- If an electric fireplace provides the ambiance of a real fire
- How an electric-powered fireplace heats
- The story behind MagikFlame
- How MagikFlame is built
- How to buy a MagikFlame
When it’s time to replace your traditional fireplace for a cleaner, more convenient heating option, you have choices. Gas fireplace logs, a propane gas fireplace, a ventless heater or an electric-powered fireplace are all options. If you don’t live close enough to a gas supply line, you still have a choice of a propane or an electric fire pit.
What Is Propane, Anyway?
People often think of liquid propane, or LP, as interchangeable with gas. The two fuel type categories are different, though, in the following ways:
Source – Liquid propane is a byproduct of gas production and crude oil refining; gas is trapped in pockets in the rocks surrounding oil wells and collected by drilling
Content – Liquid propane contains propane, ethane, methane and butane in liquid forms. Natural gas is mostly methane plus oxygen, water, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and low concentrations of sulphur and various hydrocarbons in gaseous form.
Distribution – Liquid propane travels from processors through pipelines, by truck, trains or tankers to distribution locations. Then, companies that sell it typically deliver the propane by tanker truck to homes and businesses. Gas travels from processing locations through a sizeable network of pipelines throughout the U.S. to local utilities and then via smaller pipelines to individual homes and businesses.
BTU Rating – Stored in pressure tanks, liquid propane is a concentrated fuel that has 2.44 times the available energy content per cubic foot as gas. A cubic foot of propane contains 2,516 BTUs while a cubic foot of natural gas contains only 1,030 BTUs.
Environmental Impact – Like ethanol and other carbon-neutral fuels, propane does not emit greenhouse gasses. Natural gas, being mostly methane, is a greenhouse gas and is harmful to the environment. However, the energy industry considers both propane and gas as a greener fuel type.
Convenience – Homeowners must store their LP supply in a tank, which connects to the gas-burning appliances inside your home. When the supply gets low, you have to call for delivery of more LP. In contrast, the supply of gas is continuous and self-renewing.
Why Choose Propane as a Heating Fuel?
- Propane provides more than twice the heat per cubic foot than gas
- Although prices fluctuate, propane can be more cost effective
- Propane itself is not a fossil fuel
- LP spills will not harm the environment
- If you live in an area without gas access, propane is an economical alternative
Is Propane Better than Electricity?
Electricity is an energy source that is becoming cleaner and more cost-effective than ever before. Renewable resources such as solar, wind and water are replacing coal as the fuel of choice for electricity production.
As electricity becomes more sustainable and environmentally friendly, builders are choosing electric heating appliances more often because they are convenient, available and clean. In 2019, 44 percent of new homes in the U.S. had electric heating systems. In the South Atlantic and East Atlantic regions, more than 70 percent had electric heating.
An electric appliance creates no emissions. Therefore, it does not harm the environment, and it is safe to use in your home.
Although propane gas fireplace logs are 99 percent cleaner than wood stoves in terms of emissions, they do release combustion byproducts like carbon dioxide through the chimney.
In terms of energy efficiency, electric heaters such as baseboard models convert 100 percent of the energy they draw into heat. They waste zero energy.
In contrast, propane heaters from brands like Duluth Forge, Pleasant Hearth and ProCom Heating fall short of 100 percent efficiency. A propane space heater must only be 78 percent efficient to meet fuel utilization standards.
Electricity is more convenient as a heating fuel, too. This type of freestanding fireplace plugs into a wall outlet. The supply of electricity is reliable and easy to access.
Is a Gas or Electric Fireplace Easier to Install?
A direct-vent gas or propane gas fireplace from manufacturers like Procom and Pleasant Hearth requires a couple of connections. These tend to make installation more complicated.
First, you need a to fuel your gas fireplace logs. In the case of LP, your installation professional must connect your fireplace to your propane tank. This is not an entry-level DIY home improvement project, given the potential danger of a faulty connection.
Secondly, a direct vent propane fireplace needs a pathway to the outdoors. This can be a chimney or a vent pipe. A gas fireplace needs to draw oxygen for the combustion process and to exhaust the byproducts of combustion, such as carbon dioxide, to the outdoors. Outdoor fireplaces, of course, don’t need extra venting.
Consequently, a direct vent gas fireplace must be located on an exterior wall. This limits your options in home decor, dictating where your other furnishings can go.
If you are building a new home, chances are good that your architect or home builder can easily integrate a direct vent fireplace into your plans. If you are just doing a remodel instead, you can retrofit a fireplace with gas fireplace insert. Otherwise, you may face the added expense of venting and a gas line.
By comparison, installation of a MagikFlame is far simpler than adding a propane fireplace. First, because no actual combustion takes place, the fireplace does not draw oxygen or emit exhaust, so there’s no need for a chimney or vent.
You can put it on any wall in your home. This gives your interior designer more freedom to arrange the room accordingly.
Secondly, a MagikFlame fireplace does not need a gas line for an additional fuel type. It plugs into a standard electrical outlet. It is a freestanding, all-in-one unit, so DIY installation is quick and easy.
What About a Vent-Free Propane Fireplace?
A vent-free gas fireplace or ventless natural gas fireplace insert from manufacturers such as Duluth Forge and Pleasant Hearth is designed to be comparatively clean-burning. It has to keep toxic byproducts to a minimum. Rather than bring in oxygen from outdoors, a ventless appliance draws upon the O2 in the room.
You may question whether a Duluth Forge or Pleasant Hearth ventless gas fireplace or propane fireplace is completely safe for your family. You would not be the first to wonder. Despite having been on the market for several years, vent free heaters are shrouded in controversy. Some cons associated with such vent-free appliances include:
- Potential for oxygen depletion in your home
- Water vapor buildup from combustion can damage your home decor
- Danger of carbon monoxide buildup in your home
In contrast to a vent free firebox, a ventless electric unit does not require oxygen. It does not produce water vapor, carbon monoxide or other emissions. Therefore, it does not present the safety concerns of a gas fireplace.
Is a Gas Log Set or an Electric Log Set Easier to Operate?
Ease of operation is something else to consider when selecting the right fireplace for your family. Find out how you control the various functions and what your remote options are.
Often a gas fireplace has a basic control panel where you can activate the gas fireplace logs and adjust the heating temperature. Some have millivolt controllers that use minimal energy.
These types of remote control key into a valve in the fireplace wiring. They work with the fireplace pilot light or safety pilot to control the flames. A safety pilot is a good idea because it has an automatic gas shut-off feature should the flame go out.
Some millivolt controllers are programmable, just like a thermostat, so you can select heating times and temperatures. Some LP fireplaces come with a wall mount for the millivolt unit.
However, not every gas fireplace is millivolt ready. Also, a millivolt remote only works when you are within a few feet of the fireplace. On average, the range of a remote control is about 15 feet, although deluxe remotes with ranges of up to 65 feet are available as a separate purchase.
Some contemporary gas fireplace and fire pit manufacturers offer a smartphone remote control app as an upgrade for an additional cost. MagikFlame fireplaces come with the app, so you can control your fireplace from your phone wherever you happen to be.
If you forget to shut off your MagikFlame before leaving for work, you can do it from your office. If you want to come home to a cozy fire, you can use your phone to turn on your MagikFlame from your car.
What About Heating?
A direct vent gas fireplace that burns liquid propane typically uses some kind of blower to distribute warmth. They have a heat output range of approximately 7,000 to 60,000 BTU. It’s important to size your fireplace to fit the space you want to heat.
Factors like your climate zone, the integrity of your home envelope and how much insulation you have affect the size of the gas stove you need. Square footage is also a major factor in choosing the right appliance.
General examples of the BTU/square footage equation are as follows:
- 4,000-8,000 BTU: 100-200 sq. ft
- 15,000-24,000 BTU: 400-500 sq. ft
- 35,000-50,000 BTU: 1,000-1,200
If your gas stove is undersized for the space, it will have to work harder and burn longer. If it is too large for the space, you will be uncomfortably hot. You may open doors or windows to cool off the room, which is a waste of your energy dollars. A higher-powered gas log set works well in outdoor fireplaces or a fire pit.
MagikFlame fireplaces use radiant infrared heating that warms your room faster and maintains an even comfort level for your family. They are sized appropriately for zone heating. The heat output of a MagikFlame such as Artemis or Smith is 5,200 BTU. It heats up to 1,000 square feet of space quickly and efficiently.
Do Electric Stoves Provide the Ambiance of a Real Fire?
It really depends upon the brand of fireplace you choose. Some brands use reflective fire glass and halogen lighting to mimic a natural gas fireplace. Others, like Dimplex, use water vapor to simulate fire pit style flames on gas fireplace logs.
Deluxe fireplaces project video of actual flames onto ceramic fiber log sets. Only MagikFlame, however, utilizes patented HoloFlame technology to product the most realistic flames.
MagikFlame fireplaces also provide crackling sounds of a wood firepit, which add ambiance to the dancing flames. You can even enjoy the rich, woodsy scent of pine with a scent module. Lovely glowing embers light up the log set just like real glowing coals.
What’s more, MagikFlame is the only fireplace of its kind that comes with 30 distinct flame styles. All you have to do is enter your choice, and the flames spring to life.
Unlike liquid propane fireplaces, deluxe electric appliances like MagikFlame even work without heating. You can get the cozy ambiance of flames in any season without the unnecessary heat that comes part and parcel with a gas appliance.
The MagikFlame Story
The inspiration at the heart of MagikFlame is the quest for a better vent free fireplace that doesn’t burn fossil fuel but provides the look of real flames. It is the drive to create the appearance, sound and ambiance of an actual fire without the safety concerns that go with it.
The person behind the MagikFlame story is Howard Birnbaum. As a special effects creator for several major Hollywood films, he brought experience and know-how to the table. As a consumer who wanted a better mousetrap, he was uniquely positioned to build it himself.
With the help of the latest CAD software, Howard designed the MagikFlame prototype. He applied his FX knowledge to the creation of a realistic log set with video flames. Once he had a prototype firebox, he passed it to skilled woodworkers who framed it with furniture-grade hardwoods for an elegant result.
MagikFlame sold its first fireplace in 2015. The first sales were through Amazon.com. In time, the company would also sell directly to consumers.
Despite the company’s initial success, Howard still believed he could fine-tune his products further, but couldn’t quite put his finger on how. His moment of epiphany came while on a Disneyland vacation.
As he whirled through the ghostly scenes on the Haunted Mansion ride, he suddenly realized that similar three-dimensional hologram technology would revolutionize MagikFlame.
Once he returned to the facility in Nashville, Tenn., Howard got to work on further innovation. He patented the fruit of his labors, the HoloFlame technology, in 2020. Soon, each MagikFlame fireplace that rolled off the assembly line was equipped with the most lifelike electric fire on the market.
How MagikFlame is Built
Exceptional quality control and attention to detail are the hallmarks of a MagikFlame fireplace. Each is built to provide many years of maintenance-free, fuel-efficient operation in your home.
Engineers ensure a perfect fit of form and function with CAD design software. With the assistance of CNC computer-assisted cutting equipment, each steel section of the firebox is accurate to 1,000 of an inch.
Powder coating of each piece adds durability and beauty. Then, experienced assemblers build each firebox by hand.
The brains of each MagikFlame is a built-in circuit board with microcontrollers. Meticulous accuracy ensures error-free operation.
Once skilled technicians install the circuit board, each firebox passes on to quality control, where senior techs put each one through a painstaking, 12-point quality control test.
With a newly minted stamp of approval, the firebox continues to the woodworking shop where it receives a top-quality, furniture-grade wood surround. CNC computer-controlled routers carve each distinctive design for precision and beauty.
The final step is premium packaging that protects your MagikFlame enroute to your front door. It will arrive in the same pristine condition in which it left the factory, ready to enhance the beauty of your family home.
MagikFlame Electric Fireplace Buying Guide
Once you’ve weighed the pros and cons of your fireplace choices and settled on going electric, you still have to decide which model to choose. MagikFlame fireplaces are available in the following models:
Each option has a unique design and specific characteristics. For example, Artemis features a bright white, furniture-quality mantel and surround. Details like crown molding and geometric accents make it ideal for a formal living room.
Churchill is a corner fireplace with an oversized, triangular mantelpiece. Interior designers love the space it offers for seasonal floral or decorative displays.
Morpheus is the most compact MagikFlame. Measuring 45 inches wide and 42 inches tall, it fits perfectly in your apartment or tiny house space.
With classic lines and decorative designs, MagikFlame fireplaces become the focal point of any room in your home. However, because they fit virtually anywhere, you won’t have to completely reorganize your interior design when your MagikFlame arrives. If you still can’t decide between models, read some of the MagikFlame reviews from actual purchasers. It always helps to see real feedback from our many satisfied customers. Also, be sure to look into our payment plans and financing to see how affordable a MagikFlame can be.