What You Need to Know About Electric Fireplace Safety & Efficiency

Electric fireplaces have many advantages when it comes to heating your home in the winter. You don’t have to deal with buying or hauling firewood, and they can provide a homey ambiance to your home without much of the hassle that comes with traditional fireplaces and wood burning stoves. Electric fireplaces are easy to fit to any pre-existing fireplace, and in some cases, you don’t even need to have one in order to reap the benefits of a small, warm, and homey fire.

If you’ve looked into having an electric fireplace installed in your home, you may also have some efficiency and safety concerns. It turns out an electric fireplace can be a safe and efficient way to provide supplemental heat and a cozy environment to your home.

What is an Electric Fireplace?

An electric fireplace is a heating element designed to resemble a natural wood fire, but is super convenient because it doesn’t require any additional venting or even expensive professional installation. Electric fireplaces operate by drawing cool air from the room into the heating coil and gently forcing the warm air back into the room with a small fan. This provides supplemental heat for your main room without any added fumes, gas, or mess.

Electric Fireplace Efficiency

As long as you’ve done your research and determined the proper model for the size of your room, electric fireplaces are great efficient supplemental heat sources.

The first step in maintaining electric fireplace efficiency is to determine the number of volts you need in order to heat the room. Most electric fireplaces run at 120 volts, 1500 watts, and 12.5 amps.

To determine the range of power you’ll need for your fireplace and its heating capacity, simply divide the wattage number by 10. 1500 divided by 10 equals 150, so your electric fireplace will adequately heat a room that’s 150 square feet.

Image of electric fireplace in living room

An electric fireplace makes an efficient supplemental heat source. Image source: DepositPhotos.com

Electric fireplaces are fabulous supplemental heat alternatives because they are indeed energy efficient – more efficient than gas or wood burning fireplaces. Unlike large forced air or whole-house systems, electric fireplaces offer greater savings as a whole because they allow you to simply heat the room you’re using most or currently in, not the entire house.

One of the biggest reasons electric fireplaces are more efficient is that since there’s no chimney required, you’re not losing any of the heated air. All of the air you’ve warmed is staying put right where you need it most. Traditional fireplaces end up losing 90 percent of their heat due to a chimney, and this is A LOT of heat loss. Electric fireplaces heat a room quickly and the room stays warm throughout its entire use.

You probably won’t need to run your electric fireplace constantly to bring your room back up to a comfortable temperature. Heat loss can be a big issue with other supplemental heat sources, and results in higher energy bills. Electric fireplaces are great because they keep heat in the room.

Without a chimney, you’re also saving money by not having to get one cleaned several times a year. In order to keep wood burning heat sources running safely and efficiently, you’ll have to have them cleaned several times a year, and with an electric fireplace, this is a complete non-issue.

An electric fireplace is also extremely versatile – in most cases, you’re simply plugging your unit into a designated space and turning it on. There’s no installation hassle or mess, and the unit can be moved from room to room if you desire. Simple, better, and efficient heating that doesn’t come with heavy installation costs? Perfect.

Electric Fireplace Safety

Electric fireplaces offer a safer heating system for a variety of reasons, as well as super-convenient warmth and heat.

First off, electric fireplaces make great heating alternatives for those with allergies or sinus issues. There’s no forced air system to blast dust and other allergen particles up through ancient ductwork and swirl throughout your home, so your air quality will be much better and your family will be breathing cleaner air.

There are also no dangerous fumes or gas leaks to worry about with electric fireplaces. Because you’re just plugging a unit into an electrical outlet in your home and switching it on, you will never have problems with gas fumes, creosote build-up, smoke, or escaping gas — all issues you might run into with a gas or traditional fireplace.

Image of Dimplex PF3033HG 33" Multi-Fire XD Electric Firebox

Electric fireplaces like the Dimplex PF3033HG 33″ Multi-Fire XD Electric Firebox are a safe alternative to gas and wood-burning fireplaces.

Because they operate and maintain heat at a lower temperature, electric fireplaces make great child-safe supplemental heating options for homes with kids or pets. There are little to no sharp corners jutting out, or super hot surfaces that are easily accessible. Many models come with “safe-to-touch” glass that remains at a low temperature throughout fireplace use and won’t burn or cause discomfort if touched or run into. There’s also a complete lack of worry over your fire raging out of control or a chimney fire hazard.

The “flames” themselves aren’t even hot – they’re actually a projection added to make the fire seem more realistic and provide a cozy feel. The only place that gets significantly warm or hot is the element itself or the air near the heat output.

In the event that you do run into a rare issue with your electric fireplace, simply unplug it and have it inspected.

Electric Fireplaces- A Safer, More Efficient Alternative

Generally, the only issue you’ll run into with your electric fireplace is that perhaps it doesn’t burn quite warmly enough. However, this can easily be avoided by using it as a supplemental rather than a main heat source.

Electric fireplaces are safer and more efficient alternatives to standard supplemental heat like wood-burning fireplaces or stoves, and offer the bonus of being able to move the unit room to room if you desire. Browse our wide selection of electric fireplaces and find the perfect one for you.

Mickey Luongo

Mickey is the resident heating and air conditioning expert.

1 Comment

Mary L Nelson

about 2 weeks ago

Just wondering at 70 degrees how long can you run it at one time. I'm also running my furnace at around 69. Can I run it all day of should I turn it off a few times during the day?

Reply

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