Discovering new ways to heat your home can be a lot of fun. However, that fun can quickly turn to confusion when you see how many different options are available. Between fuel types, brands, and models, there is a large abundance of choices out there.
This article is going to answer questions about gas and electric fireplaces and the differences between them. Afterward, we will also compare two different models: an electric insert made by MagikFlame and a gas fireplace made by Napoleon.
In This Post, People Will Learn:
- Why Are Wood Fireplaces Being Replaced By Gas Wall Fireplace and Electric Fireplace Units? – To start, we’ll discuss why people are switching to vent-free gas fireplace models, wall-mounted electric fireplace units, and more.
- What Are Important Things To Consider With a Gas Wall Fireplace Installation In a New Home or House Remodel? – From a vent-free gas fireplace to other models, this will talk about things you need to consider if you’re looking at gas fireplaces.
- What Are Important Things To Consider With an Electric Fireplace Installation as a Home Improvement Project? – Built-in electric fireplace considerations will be talked about here like wall mount options, heating, fire effects, and more.
- When Purchasing Any Fireplace Type, Are Brand Names Like Duluth Forge, Dimplex, Napoleon, MagikFlame, and Others Better Than Generic Brands?
- How Does a MagikFlame 28 Insert Electric Fireplace Compare To a Napoleon Plazmafire Gas Wall Fireplace? – We discuss the merits of a MagikFlame insert and a Napoleon Plazmafire. We give our suggestion on which you should choose for your home.
- What Are The Features You Get With MagikFlame Fireplaces? – We go deeper into the MagikFlame features that everyone can enjoy for themselves.
Why Are Wood Fireplaces Being Replaced By Gas Wall Fireplace and Electric Fireplace Units?
Wood fireplaces are dangerous. This is for two reasons. They are one of the leading causes of tragic house fires and they also release a lot of harmful emissions into your residence. In addition to safety, they are a lot of work to maintain. For all these reasons, people are choosing better alternatives.
Since the construction of a wood fireplace will need the help of both an architect and a home builder, you may be wondering if a gas fireplace or electric fireplace needs professional help too. Neither type needs the help of architects. While most installations of electric fireplaces can be done yourself, almost all gas fireplaces will need professional installation. This is because installing gas fireplaces improperly can be very dangerous.
What Are Important Things To Consider With a Gas Wall Fireplace Installation In a New Home or House Remodel?
Gas fireplaces don’t pose quite the fire hazard as wood fireplaces, although there is still some danger involved. These fireplaces are a lot less work to use since you don’t need to clean ash up or build a fire with logs. You also do not need to store wood for burning.
A gas fireplace can run on natural gas or propane. Natural gas comes directly from your gas utilities if your home has them available. However, they do need gas lines connected to your fireplace. Propane fireplaces run on gas tanks that need to be changed after they run out. The frequency of tank changes depends on fireplace usage.
What about using ethanol fireplaces as the main heating source? Ethanol fireplaces are mainly about aesthetics. They don’t warm as well as other fireplace types and the fuel runs out quickly. Additionally, they can cause some bad contaminants in the air of your home, regardless of claims that they are eco-friendly.
There are some advantages of a ventless or vent-free fireplace over a direct vent gas fireplace. Using gas fireplaces without any need for ventilation means that the fireplaces typically don’t put out many harmful emissions if any at all. This allows the installation to be a lot easier for the person that you hire to install the fireplace.
Since venting isn’t required for a ventless or vent-free fireplace, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t produce any carbon monoxide. While lacking the need for ventilation means that these gas fireplaces don’t produce very much carbon monoxide, some can still be produced and slowly fill your home. Of course, if the burners inside of gas fireplaces get damaged, this can cause much more carbon monoxide to be released.
A small flue is usually sufficient enough for gas fireplaces that require ventilation. For gas fireplaces that need to have some sort of ventilation for the interior air to remain breathable, smaller pipes acting as a flue are more than enough. You will not need a big chimney built onto gas fireplaces unlike chimneys needed for any fireplaces that burn logs.
Gas fireplaces are more dangerous than electric fireplaces due to the real flames that are exposed to your living room. They still have that risk of a fire because the flames from the burners are still completely exposed. Electric fireplaces don’t do any kind of burning to produce their heat, therefore they are much safer and don’t come with that additional fire hazard.
For wood fireplace conversions, it is harder to install a gas fireplace insert compared to installing an electric insert. There is simply much more work involved with installing a gas insert instead of an electric insert. While electric inserts simply need to be plugged into the wall, gas inserts will usually need some gas lines run to the gas utilities of the home. Electric inserts can be installed by the owner, gas inserts will need professional installation.
Gas fireplaces can come with a log set or gas logs in their firebox. This helps the fireplace to look more natural. It has the additional effect of breaking up the flames to flicker more naturally.
There are some interior design challenges an interior designer would have decorating a gas fireplace versus decorating an electric fireplace. Because gas fireplaces are more dangerous with exposed fire, you are much more limited to the materials you can use to decorate these areas. Combustible items must be kept far away. That’s why so many of these fireplaces tend to be an unappealing steel color or something similar. Electric fireplaces don’t have this problem and allow a lot more freedom.
You can add colored fire glass or black glass to a vented or ventilation-free gas fireplace. If you want to make gas fireplaces look a bit more appealing instead of a simple metal box, adding fire-resistant glass is a great option. This glass can come in many colors. You can choose one solid color throughout the fireplace, or mix and match colors. Understand that you do need to pull this glass out and clean it occasionally.
Not all ventless gas fireplaces are stainless steel. They can come in other aesthetically pleasing materials. Gas fireplaces can come in some other materials like cast iron and more, both most have a similar look to them. Sometimes wood bodies or mantels can be built around them to add more charm, but this is also limited in aesthetic styling compared to electric fireplaces.
Gas fireplaces can have an electronic ignition. Instead of starting the fire with a match or other means, many modern gas fireplaces come with an electronic ignition device to spark the gas electronically. This helps with convenience and safety for the owner of these gas fireplaces compared to older models without electronic ignitions.
Many ventless gas fireplaces also include an oxygen depletion sensor inside of them. Gas fireplaces can cause the oxygen levels in a room to become too low. If the sensor detects the levels of the oxygen in the room dropping too low, it will automatically shut off. If you are to buy one of the many types of gas fireplaces, double-check that it has this important safety feature.
There are some issues with the flame colors of gas fireplaces. The flame colors of gas fireplaces have two core problems. When they are trying to look natural, they are much duller than wood fireplace flames. When they are neon blue, they tend to look very tacky in a home and many fireplace owners eventually regret this flame color choice.
What Are Important Things To Consider With an Electric Fireplace Installation as a Home Improvement Project?
Electric fireplaces pose even less of a danger to you and your home than gas fireplaces. They are also effortless to maintain. Additionally, electric fireplaces are extremely efficient with heat. Heat won’t be escaping through ventilation like wood and gas, since no ventilation is needed.
Electric fireplaces allow for better air quality than a vent-free fireplace or ventless gas fireplace. Electric fireplaces are way better for the quality of your air, regardless of which gas fireplaces you compare them to. Electric fireplaces simply cycle clean air from the room and warm it without adding any kind of contaminants or harmful emissions. If the air was clean before turning on electric fireplaces, it will remain that way afterward.
Electric fireplaces are zero clearance. They can be close to flammable materials. No flames or ember sparks are present with electric fireplaces, so combustible materials can be nearby without residents needing to worry. Keep in mind, the blowers do need to be left unblocked for heat to escape. If blocked, the fireplace can overheat and cease functioning until unblocked.
Electric fireplaces can have log sets that come inside of their firebox for some extra realism, but not all models include these. Usually, higher-end models of electric fireplaces will have realistic log sets, but it isn’t necessarily an indication that the fireplace is high-end by default.
There are also wall-mounted electric fireplace units. A wall mount electric fireplace is exactly what it sounds like. It’s installed by mounting them up onto a wall, rather than having them on the ground. This is usually a more modern type of aesthetics. Usually, these fireplaces will either not have a mantle at all, or will have a floating mantle underneath the fireplace.
It isn’t hard to install the DIY mounting bracket for a wall-mount electric fireplace. It is rather easy. To do so, the owner would first secure the brackets to the studs found within their wall. Only after this, would the owner mount the fireplace onto the brackets that you have already installed.
A wall-mount fireplace or fireplace insert can be installed into a recessed wall. It is quite popular to install either of these fireplace types into recessed walls. Of course, installation with embedded walls requires more work than simply placing a fireplace on the floor. However, the result of your fireplace can be a lot more rewarding to look at.
A linear electric fireplace is another popular type. A linear electric fireplace is usually installed into wall recessions and sits flush with the wall. They are much longer in width than standard electric fireplaces. A linear electric fireplace can fit some modern styles of decorating but may clash with people who prefer a traditional or timeless look. A linear electric fireplace isn’t necessarily difficult to install. The difficulty of installing these is about the same as any insert or wall-mounted fireplace. However, because of their size, they can be a bit heavier. For this reason, if you are installing one yourself, it is good to have a friend to help lift it into place and protect your fireplace from being dropped.
Electric inserts can be used with a fireplace mantel from a third-party company. Because electric inserts are so incredibly versatile, you can use them with third-party mantels without much issue. The only concern is making sure that the insert you have will fit the mantle that you end up buying. Dimensions for both should be compared before decisions are made.
When choosing a fireplace, it is normal to be curious about the BTU heat output of quality electric fireplaces. A 5,000 BTU rating or slightly more is the standard output of premium electric fireplaces. Producing more heat is usually much more than most homes need. Producing less heat may not be enough for many homes either. So, how much sq. ft. of a home should high-end electric fireplaces be able to keep warm? The standard area for higher-end, premium electric fireplaces is right around 1,000 sq. ft. Most condominiums, apartments, and small to medium-sized houses fit this range. For extra-large homes, you can benefit even more from zone heating using more than one fireplace.
The blower BTU output of electric fireplaces isn’t from radiant heat. It is a different type of heating. Electric fireplaces don’t produce heat the same way as wood and gas fireplaces. Instead, they use convection heating. The infrared coils heat air that cycles through the fireplaces and the warm air fills the room. This works similarly to how many ovens stay warm, therefore it is a very energy-efficient method of heating.
A built-in electric fireplace can help people save space within a room. If you have a fireplace that has been built to be embedded within a wall and sit flush, this saves a lot of walking space in front of your fireplace. Installing fireplaces like this is a good way to utilize space more optimally when it is required.
A remote control device for the thermostat and other features usually comes with electric fireplaces. Almost all types of electric fireplaces come with remotes to operate them in some capacity. Some electric fireplaces have basic and standard remotes. For the higher-end models, you may see better options like fireplace remote apps for your smartphone.
The ambiance of realistic fire effects in an electric fireplace enhances the home decor of a room. Investing in electric fireplaces with very realistic fire effects makes the entire room look a lot better. It provides a realistically warm and inviting glow, similar to wood fireplaces. Having electric fireplaces with bad fire effects can make the decor look worse in comparison.
Be careful of some freestanding electric fireplaces. They can be a weak source of heating. Some small electric fireplaces can be surprisingly powerful, however, your average free-standing space heaters are usually not nearly enough for a home. They can cost you a lot of electricity and they have disappointing flame effects. Avoid these weaker space heaters and instead choose a higher-end fireplace.
When Purchasing Any Fireplace Type, Are Brand Names Like Duluth Forge, Dimplex, Napoleon, MagikFlame, and Others Better Than Generic Brands?
Buying any generic or off brands of fireplaces, electric or gas, can result in poor performance and low reliability. Specifically for electric fireplaces, you need to avoid generic brands that you will have to replace. Instead, go for something like Dimplex, or even better, MagikFlame.
How Does a MagikFlame 28 Insert Electric Fireplace Compare To a Napoleon Plazmafire Gas Wall Fireplace?
Throughout this entire article, we’ve compared all of the differences between electric fireplaces and gas fireplaces. We’ve also highlighted the benefits of an insert as a choice of an electric-style fireplace. For the obvious reasons laid out here, MagikFlame is the clear winner over a Napoleon Plazmafire.
A MagikFlame insert is a much safer choice than a Napoleon Plazmafire fireplace. With the MagikFlame insert, burning flames will not be a fire hazard. This is because electric fireplaces like a MagikFlame insert don’t burn fuel. MagikFlame inserts, and all of their additional models, are UL certified. They are safe around children and pets. Gas fireplaces like a Napoleon Plazamafire can be unsafe if you have children or pet animals roaming the house.
Additionally, the lack of flames with a MagikFlame insert means that the fireplace won’t be producing any harmful emissions. Smoke won’t fill your home and cause breathing issues, stain walls, or cause a bad smell. Carbon monoxide will also be absent. Additionally, you won’t have to endure a gassy smell like you will with gas fireplaces like a Napoleon Plazmafire.
The installation of your MagikFlame insert is much simpler than a Napoleon Plazmafire. It doesn’t matter if the installation is for a wood fireplace conversion, embedded wall installation, or with a third-party mantel. Your MagikFlame insert won’t need gas lines installed. Once your insert is in place, all it needs is to be plugged into the wall outlet.
With the powerful infrared quartz heater used in MagikFlame inserts, rooms can warm up quickly. The efficiency of the heater also means that minimal power will be used. It’s easier to set up zone heating with MagikFlame inserts than it is with a Napoleon Plazmafire. Since MagikFlame inserts have versatility in where in the house they can be installed, you can place them in different zones. Zone heating is an excellent setup for exceptionally large homes. By heating your large home in multiple zones, you will save money. Only warm zones in the home when people are occupying that area. Leave all of your doors closed between your used and unused zones. By doing this, the fireplace in that area doesn’t need to work as hard to warm that smaller zone.
If you live in a condominium or an apartment, it is unlikely that you will be able to use a Napoleon Plazmafire. This isn’t a concern with a MagikFlame insert unit. They can be used in houses, apartments, and other dwellings without any issue. It doesn’t even matter if you own the home or you are renting it. MagikFlame inserts can be used in either living situation.
While the flames inside of MagikFlame inserts are artificial, they look much more authentic than the flames in a Plazmafire. Between the realistic fire effects and beautiful physical log set, the MagikFlame looks like an authentic wood-burning fireplace. In contrast, despite the actual flames present, the Plazmafire lacks that authentic fireplace look and aesthetic.
The smart fireplace choice for your home is a MagikFlame insert or one of their equally impressive models.
What Are The Features You Get With MagikFlame Fireplaces?
Whether you get a wall mantle package, a space-saving corner unit, or their fantastic insert unit, you get these features:
- Top Tier Ultra Realistic 3D Fire Effects
- Atmospheric and Immersive Crackling Log Sounds
- An Absolutely Efficient 5,200 BTU Heater
- A Premium Smartphone App For Remote Operation