You arrive after a long day of stringing Christmas lights, kick off your boots, and warm your toes by the dancing fireplace. You curl up in front of the flames on a cold, blistered night and read a good book. You warm your hands ahead of the hearth after a snowball fight.
A fireplace is a perfect addition to any winter, but for some homeowners, installing a wood or gas fireplace is too expensive and invasive. Fortunately, electric fireplaces allow you to enjoy all the warmth and comfort of a regular fireplace, without the costs of installation, maintenance, or hassle. Here’s what you need to know before investing in an electric fireplace.
An average electric fireplace costs between 7 and 13 cents per hour to run, compared to 20 cents for a gas fireplace. And you don’t need to worry about expensive installation – electric fireplaces don’t require a vent or chimney and most simply need to be plugged in to function.
How to choose an electric fireplace
No matter what type of house or room you are trying to heat, there are a plethora of electric fireplaces to choose from.
Let’s start with the types of units available:
Fireplace Inserts: Inserts are an excellent thanks to modernizing an existing fireplace, especially if you’ve already covered it. These electric fireplace inserts are completely enclosed or may look like a pile of shiny logs.
Freestanding: Freestanding units are the most common type of electric fireplace and are generally designed to resemble a built-in fireplace. These units can be used as a mantle or centerpiece in a living room and can also display a roaring flame without the heat.
Wall Mounted: Similar to freestanding units, wall-mounted electric fireplaces allow you to display fire and heat almost anywhere in your home. Like all wall-mounted appliances, these fireplaces require a touch of setup, but it’s nothing compared to taking down a wall for a hearth.
Electric fireplaces also are available in a spread of heating options, counting on what proportion of heat you would like. This comes down to the size of the room you want to heat and how much you plan to rely on the fireplace to heat you.
Forced Fan: Forced fan units force outside air over electrically heated coils and pump that hot air into space They are ideal for rooms less than 400 square feet.
Infrared: If you are looking to heat a larger area, infrared is the way to go. This type of fireplace uses infrared light to provide ambient heat in areas up to 1,000 square feet.
Ceramic: Ceramic fireplaces work in much the same way as forced fans by blowing air onto a hot ceramic plate. They generally provide heat for the smallest of the three areas.
As fireplaces are no longer the main source of heat in most homes, more new homes are being built without a chimney, which means that installation can be an expensive prospect. But if you want to keep your toes warm this winter without breaking a wall, an electric fireplace may be the perfect solution.