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How Electric Fireplaces Work

Views:  Update Date: Jun 20,2020

How Electric Fireplaces Work

The electric fireplaces work different from a wood-burning fireplace

With all the fireplace varieties available on the market today, many people are confused about how each one operates and which one would best fit their needs. Electric fireplaces provide more flexibility than traditional wood or gas-burning fireplaces making them ideal for warmth on a cold winter’s night, enjoyment with a loved one in the middle of the summer months or to simply replace a wood or gas-burning fireplace with a greener version.

Put simply, an electric fireplace is a heating element that looks similar to a traditional wood-burning or gas fireplace, but it does not require any venting or professional installation of any kind. Electric fireplaces work by drawing in cool air, heating it internally using a heating coil and gently forcing the warmed air back out into the room by way of a fan. Some electric fireplaces also use infrared technology which directly heat objects within a room. In both cases, supplemental heating is provided for the desired area without the mess, fumes or dangerous gas.

Electric fireplaces provide supplemental heating for rooms approximately 400 square feet in size, and all electric fireplace models allow customers to control the heating elements in addition to the flame effect. As a result, electric fireplaces can provide a flame without heat so that it can be enjoyed throughout the year. With the additional control of the flame effect, customers can decide upon a small or large flame. Because so many electric fireplace manufacturers now use advanced matching technology to help reproduce a fire’s glow accurately, the popularity of electric fireplaces has spread across the U.S. and Canada. Electrically simulated fires are much safer than traditional ones, especially around vulnerable children and animals. In fact, their flames remain cool to protect anyone from harm who touches the unit or ventures a little too close for a better view.

All electric fireplaces provided on ElectricFireplacesDirect.com list a particular amount of space they can adequately heat. The amount of space can vary by manufacturer and type of fireplace, though. For example, mantel packages generally heat a larger area than free-standing electric stoves. Because of this, most homeowners use them for larger rooms, while limiting free-standing electric stoves to smaller spaces.

Regardless of your personal tastes, an electric fireplace is a technology that gives more options than traditional wood-burning and gas fireplaces so they can be seen a viable alternative to be enjoyed for several years.

How do Electric Fireplaces Work?

Electric fireplaces are growing in popularity. You don't have to worry about cutting wood, cleaning a chimney, or dealing with the maintenance associated with a wood burning fireplace. An electric fireplace offers the beauty and warmth of a fire without the hassle of building one. 
How They Heat
An electric fireplace utilizes metal coils to create heat. As the coils heat, a blower motor, or fan, forces the heat in to the open. Since only the coils are heated, there is no danger of getting burned by the casing of the fireplace. Caution should still be taken if the fireplace is set near upholstered furniture or drapery.
How They Create Flames
Most modern electric fireplaces create a realistic looking flame. This is done by using regular light bulbs and refracting the light. Once the light is refracted, it creates the illusion of a dancing flame. 

Whole Units vs Inserts

Electric fireplaces can be purchased as a stand alone unit. These fireplaces simply plug in to any standard electrical outlet. If you already have a fireplace, you can purchase electric inserts to use instead of building a real wood burning fire. The insert works the same as the whole unit. It simply needs to be placed in the firebox of the existing fireplace.

Electric Fireplaces Garner Glowing Reports

A growing number of consumers looking to add ambiance and comfort to a home are turning to fireplaces. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, shipments of hearth products grew by 8% in 2005.

Electric Fireplaces

Many of these products reflect a growing trend — fireplaces that require nothing more than an electrical outlet to operate. Demand for electric fireplaces rose 27% in 2005. Experts say that in terms of flexibility and convenience, no other hearth product type matches electric. Electric fireplaces require minimal installation and can go practically anywhere in the home because they do not require a chimney.


Consumers looking for an easy remodeling project that can add a little ambiance to a room or warmth to a chilly bedroom or bathroom often turn to electric fireplaces. And since electric fireplaces do not burn wood, there is no ash to clean up or wood to haul.


Electric fireplaces are also highly efficient to operate because there's no wasted energy going up the chimney. It only costs about 15 cents per hour to run an electric unit. If you're paying for a dollar's worth of electricity, you're getting a dollar's worth of heat out of your fireplace.


In addition, since there's no venting or complex installation required, many see electric fireplaces as an affordable option, especially as a second or third fireplace for a home.

Today's electric fireplaces employ advanced illumination technologies to re-create a wood-burning experience. New models such as the Heat & Glo Crestfire or Heatilator Silhouette also feature a brilliant ember bed and a substantial grate and log set to add to the appeal.


These models can be used with or without the standard heaters, meaning the "flames" can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere without worrying about heat. They also offer instant gratification. Within minutes, the Crestfire or Silhouette models can be installed and plugged in. A variety of cabinets, fronts, and finishes are available to match home décors and reflect the homeowner's tastes.

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