Things To Know Before You Buy An Electric Fireplace
Four Key Considerations when Buying an Electric Fireplace
It's true. Many people are converting their traditional hearths to electric fireplace options, or they are simply installing electrics in locations where no fireplace is in place. For rooms where you don't want to (or can't) built a chimney or flue, electric fireplaces are a great option.
With so many designs and installation options, you can have warm, flickering flames with electric fireplace either by doing it yourself (with some models) or with a little help from a professional.
Here are the things to know before you buy:
1. Know the Heating Capacity of the Electric Fireplace
This is the first thing that you need to know. What size heater do you need? An average size heater like in this Touchstone electric fireplace will run at 120 volts. This is the standard for most units. The average heater also runs with 1500 watts and 12.5 amps. To know the heating capacity, simply divide the watts by 10. So with 1500 watts, that electric fireplace should heat a room of 150 square feet. If you want a unit that generates more heat, some electric fireplaces can heat up to 450 square feet.
2. Is it Easy to Install?
Ease of installation is one of the things to know before you buy an electric fireplace.
For fireplace conversions: some electric fireplace inserts install fairly easily -- just slip into the heart and the surround will cover any gaps. Just move them into position and plug into your standard 120-volt wall outlet.
For NO installation: you can simply look at a free-standing fireplace and put it anywhere on the floor.
For DIYers: Wall-mount electric fireplaces are the easiest way to go -- it will require some planning and math, but is similar installing a wall-mount television.
For a designer-look installation: If you are installing into a wall, you will want to hire a professional to install built-in/recessed electric fireplaces. These are a little more involved but a good general contractor will know their way around getting you the finish you want.
3. Safety & Health
If you have kids and pets, it is definitely worth considering an electric fireplace. There is always a safety issue with traditional fireplaces - even when the flame has gone out it may leave very hot embers. Most electric fireplaces are built with safe-to-touch tempered glass. Since nothing’s burning, the glass will not heat up.
Then there is the issue of environmental sensitivity. Wood burning fireplaces create dust and can have a strong smell if not vented properly, which can irritate people with asthma or allergies -- thus an electric fireplace would be a practical alternative.
4. Prioritize Features
One of the things to know before you buy an electric fireplace is how it can fit in your interior. Electric fireplace models come in different sizes and varieties, so you want to pick the one that fits your needs. You also need to look at specific features of the unit. How realistic are the flames? Do you absolutely positively want blue flames? Do you want a remote control? What are the heat settings and do you require auto shut-off?
It’s true that wood heat feels different. But electric fireplaces generate a different warmth and feel that you can enjoy. Plus, they look absolutely beautiful! Before you buy an electric fireplace, make sure that its features meet your needs. Consider its heating capacity, ease of installation and features.
Ready to see what's available? Shop our Electric Fireplaces Collection here.