What You Need To Know Before Installing An Electric-heated Fireplace

Will an electric-heated fireplace save you money compared to a traditional fireplace? How easy is it to maintain an electric fireplace? Learn more here.

An electric-heated fireplace is one of the most reliable options for Americans. After all, the USA reported 100% access to electricity in 2020 —the last time the data was compiled.

This means you can install an electric fireplace in almost every home, whether a free-standing house or a condo.

Of course, not all electric-heated fireplaces are made equal. There are different types: wall-mounted, free-standing, or inset. And there is an endless selection of styles, from traditional to contemporary.

Some electric fireplaces even have displays that imitate real flames!

If you’re considering an electric-heated fireplace for your home, read on. Below, we provide information on everything from the pros and cons of this nifty invention to installation and safety concerns.

Types Of Electric-Heated Fireplaces

When it comes to electric models, you can choose from three main types of fireplaces. Each is suited to specific situations and house designs, so it’s essential to know the features of each before you buy.

Wall-Mounted Fireplaces

As the name suggests, wall-mounted fireplaces are fixed to the wall. This is attractive for many homeowners because these fireplaces don’t take up often much-needed floor space. This could be a helpful feature if you’re living in an apartment or condo.

You can get small or large wall-mounted models, with each size heating suiting specific square footage. They’re also typically quite decorative. For example, you can get models you can see on both sides of a wall or imitate the look of a traditional fireplace.

Free-standing Fireplaces

If you’re renting or can’t afford to install a fireplace in every room of your home, a free-standing fireplace is the perfect solution to your heating needs.

These versatile fireplaces plug into an outlet, making them easy to move from room to room or take with you when you move out. (If you want something more permanent, an electrician can wire this type of fireplace into your electrical system.)

As with wall-mounted fireplaces, they come in an almost endless range of sizes and styles.

Electric Fireplace Inserts

Traditional fireplaces have existed in American homes since the 1600s. If you live in a historic home, you may want to preserve the shell of the original fireplace without maintaining a wood-burning fire.

The solution? Insert fireplaces!

These electric-heating fireplaces slot into the space a fire once burned. Some people like to install a hyper-modern design to contrast the traditional look, while others prefer a fireplace with faux flames.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Electric-heated Fireplaces

A fireplace is a significant purchase. Before you spend your hard-earned money on any fireplace, it’s essential to consider the benefits and negatives of the models that catch your eye.

Advantages

Electric-heated fireplaces have many positives when compared with gas and wood-burning alternatives. They can help you lower your utility bills, you don’t need somewhere to store messy firewood, and they can be installed into almost any home.

These handy fireplaces are:

  • Energy efficient
  • Fuel-free
  • Emission-free
  • Easy to use (adjust the temperature at the push of a button)
  • Easy to install (some simply plug into an outlet)
  • Carbon monoxide-free
  • Low to no maintenance
  • Various styles and sizes
  • Some models are portable

What’s more, these energy efficient fireplaces are among the cheapest, most versatile options for a home. This makes them a for almost any budget—even renters can benefit!

Disadvantages

While many people prefer central heating, those systems can be expensive. So they turn to electric fireplaces for convenience, aesthetics, and energy efficiency. However, like every product, electric-heated fireplaces have some minor negatives.

Some disadvantages include:

  • Limited heat output (better for smaller rooms)
  • Require electricity to work and a wall outlet
  • Lack of ambiance and realism (though this is, of course, a matter of opinion)
  • Relatively high up-front costs
  • Possibly unhelpful in emergencies

Knowing these can help you decide if this fireplace type suits your home. Just be sure to weigh them against the benefits of electric fireplaces and the pros and cons of other fireplace options.

Electric-heated Fireplace Purchase, Installation, And Care

You’ve decided an electric fireplace is a solution to your heating needs. Now, you need to educate yourself about where and how to install your fireplace and how to install and how to take care of it and your family long-term.

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Sizing And Placement

Electric fireplaces are perfect for homeowners or renters who prefer zone heating and a centralized heating system.

Zone heating helps you save energy and heating costs because you only heat the rooms you use. You can also easily adjust the temperature in a specific “zone” to meet your preferences.

But to achieve optimal zone heating, you must get the right fireplace size and place it in the room correctly and safely.

Getting The Right Size

A fireplace that’s too small for the room it’s in won’t provide enough heat. One that’s too large will waste energy and overheat the room.

Calculate the square footage of the room you want to heat and shop for a fireplace designed for that measurement.

Where Should You Install Your Fireplace?

Where you place the electric fireplace in a room is determined by a few factors—most notably, heating efficiency and safety. Install your new fireplace on a level surface (wall or floor) and away from materials that pose a fire risk (think curtains and furniture like lamps).

There needs to be a reliable source of electricity nearby, and the area shouldn’t have high traffic. If you’re installing a wall-mounted electric-heated fireplace, ensure it is installed at a comfortable viewing height. And for inserting fireplaces, measure the existing fireplace alcove before purchase.

Installation And Fireplace Maintenance

Electric-heated fireplaces are relatively easy to install and maintain, especially compared to traditional wood-burning fireplaces.

However, there are still a few important considerations to keep in mind. These ensure the installation is safe and the unit runs efficiently.

First, carefully read and understand the manufacturer’s instructions before installing an electric fireplace. The product manual contains things like:

  • Safety precautions (wearing gloves and eye protection while operating machinery like electric drills)
  • Turning off the power supply before installation

Next, assess your current electrical system to ensure you have the necessary wiring and electrical connections for the model you’ve bought. If you’re not experienced with electrical work or have an old home, hire a professional electrician to conduct an inspection. The money you pay is worth it for peace of mind.

For wall-mounted electric-heated fireplaces, attach the bracket and screws to the wall studs securely. Also, ensure the unit is level before fixing it to the wall.

Place free-standing electric-heated fireplaces on a stable, level surface. Check to see if the electrical cord is kinked and untwist it if it is.

Electric fireplaces are low to no maintenance machines. All you need to do is run a damp cloth over the exterior and vacuum the interior occasionally. (Warning: Make sure the unit is turned off when you do this!)

Of course, some units might have unique cleaning needs, so always check the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions when you bring your new fireplace home.

If your fireplace stops working, it might need some components replaced. It’s always better to call an electrician or the manufacturer for help.

Safety Considerations

Fireplace safety considerations differ depending on the type of fireplace.

Thankfully, electric-heated fireplaces are among the safest type you can own. So long, of course, that you take precautions when buying, installing, and using them.

At the purchase stage, choose a well-known brand with an excellent track record. Check for product recalls or other issues with the manufacturer or model.

At the installation stage, work with an electrician if you’re concerned about your DIY abilities. Choose a professional with experience with your fireplace’s make or brand.

Once your electric fireplace is up and running, you must use it correctly to reduce the fire risk. This means keeping flammable materials away from it at all times, operating it only according to the manufacturer’s instructions, never leaving it unattended while turned on, and scheduling regular servicing.

Follow these safety tips, and you and your family can enjoy the warmth and ambiance of an electric-heated fireplace without safety risks.

Educate Yourself Before You Buy An Electric-Heated Fireplace

An electric-heated fireplace is an exciting addition to any home.

Despite being electric, they embody the cozy and comfortable atmosphere of a wood-burning fireplace without the hassle. What’s more, the versatility and energy efficiency of electric fireplaces make them suitable for almost any budget and living space.

Before you shop, take some time to learn about the types of electric fireplaces, their advantages and disadvantages, and their proper sizing and placement. Only then can you make informed decisions and purchase the most suitable electric-heated fireplace for your home.

For more helpful homeowner advice, browse the other articles on our website.