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Comparing Electric and Gas Fireplaces

Comparing Electric and Gas Fireplaces

Electric v Gas Fireplaces: Common Questions

A lot of customers are asking about the cost efficiency and safety features of electric fireplaces. Most homeowners still have wood-burning or gas units, and they want to know if it’s really worth it to switch to an electric fireplace.

Here are the common questions when comparing electric and gas fireplaces:

Does an electric fireplace actually produce heat, or is it just pure aesthetics?

Electric fireplaces generate enough heat to take the chill out of an area of up to 400 square feet. Once the room hits the desired temperature, the heater will just turn itself off and you can just enjoy the flames without the heat on. Take a look at the Touchstone Sideline 50-inch recessed wall fireplace. It has a BTU unit of over 5,000, and it can certainly heat up most rooms. It also operates in dual mode, with or without heat.

Isn’t it more expensive to run an electric fireplace?

Compared to a gas fireplace, no. Actually, an electric fireplace is substantially less expensive. It typically costs about 3 cents per hour to run it without heat. With the heater on, it costs around 16 cents per hour to run. There’s a big difference when comparing electric and gas fireplaces in terms of cost. It’s about $50 to $80 per year for an electric fireplace. On a gas fireplace, it’s typically around $200 to $400 to run.

What are the installation requirements for an electric fireplace?

An electric fireplace plugs into a standard 120-volt outlet. There are some units that can be hard-wired into 240 volts. Here’s a great example of a 60-inch recessed wall fireplace that runs on 120 volts.

Can I convert my existing wood or gas fireplace into electric?

Certainly! A gas fireplace will simply need to be removed. Most gas fireplaces have an electric fan hooked. So you can plug your electric fireplace into that existing power supply. Slide the electric fireplace in, and you’re done.

With a wood-burning fireplace, you need to get power in the opening. Typically, that is done either coming up through the bottom or the side of the fireplace. An example would be pulling the wire from another outlet and it needs to be drilled through the built in electric fireplace walls.

Will the front glass get hot enough to burn kids’ hands?

No. The great thing about an in wall see through electric fireplace is that the glass never gets hot. There’s nothing burning, so the glass can never get hot. So you won’t worry about burning yourself at all. Even if the heater is on, the glass isn’t going to get hot. All the heat would come through the vent. The area around that vent will be warm to the touch, but not hot enough to burn anyone.

Can I hang a TV above an electric fireplace?

Yes. You just need to choose the right model of your electric fireplace. The heat should come out at the bottom or front of the unit. This way there’s no heat directly wafting up to the television itself. Make sure to read the specs for each model -- many of them specify how far the TV must be installed from the unit.

We hope this article clears any concerns about electric fireplaces. 

Want to see just how much variety is available? Shop our Electric Fireplaces Collection here, and make sure to use the filters on the left to find what you're looking for.

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