How Do I Install a Ventless Electric Fireplace?

Mikeala Jamison
Even I can do it. =)

A big reason why people are attracted to electric fireplaces is that they are so easy to install. In fact, many installations can be completed by the homeowners themselves.

A ventless electric fireplace is exactly what it sounds like: it requires no venting like gas or wood burning hearths. This factor alone reduces a significant amount of cost and work involved in the project. Furthermore, homeowners now have more options as to where they can put their hearth.

The work involved will depend on the type of electric fireplace you get. However, typically you will either plug the unit into an electrical outlet or hardwire it into your home’s existing system.

Let’s look at 6 different types of electric fireplaces:

1. Log Inserts

Dimplex Opti-Myst Log SetThis option is ideal for homeowners who want to convert their existing gas or wood-burning hearth into electric. Typically, faux logs sit atop a metal grate with a heating/flame unit located underneath. These simply can be plugged into a regular wall outlet.

There are a couple of options here.

  1. You can choose to have an electrician add an outlet behind where the logs will be placed so that the power cord is easily concealed.
  2. If you have a wall outlet located near the outside of the hearth, you may be able to forego the cost of the electrician. Run the power cord along the floor/wall and cleverly conceal it with a fireplace screen, planter, basket or other home decor accessories.

2. Plug-in Firebox Inserts

Paramount Electric Fireplace Insert in Living RoomThese models can either be placed into an existing hearth (like above) or into a mantel purchased or built separately. As the name states, these inserts come with a power cord which you plug into a regular wall outlet.

If you plan on using an existing fireplace surround, the most complicated aspect of the project will probably be matching the size of the insert the frame of the hearth. To make your installation easier, look for firebox inserts that have adjustable frames that you can move to custom-fit the size of your space.

Classic Flame Fireplace Inserts

3. Built-in Firebox Inserts

Built-in fireplaces are designed to be flush-mounted into a wall and therefore need to be hardwired. There is more cost and work involved, since many times this involves cutting a hole into the wall.

This version offers a very clean, modern look and takes up virtually no space since it sits within the wall itself. This type of fireplace can work well in a small room such as a bedroom or bathroom. That said, sizes range quite large and make an impressive focal point in a living room or family room.

4. Wall-Mounted Units

Wall mounted ventless electric fireplace in a living roomWall-mounted fireplaces are generally the cheapest styles and the easiest to install. They are designed to hang on a wall like a painting or piece of artwork and plug into a regular wall outlet.

Although they are not meant to look like a real fireplace, some people position them above an entertainment center or within a wall shelving unit or armoire for a more built-in look.

If you prefer to center your fireplace on a wall, here is a diy tutorial for concealing wires and cords. You can even construct your own mantel, although this project requires a little more work.

Another great feature of wall hanging units is that they can easily be moved around. Here’s a video showing the easy installation process:

Wall-Mounted Fireplaces

5. Free-Standing Electric Stoves

Plow and Hearth Portable Electric FireplaceMany of the free-standing electric stoves are designed as moveable space heaters. At the same time, they are cleverly disguised as wood burning stoves. These stoves look great in a corner or right up against a wall. They simply plug into a wall outlet.

Many styles are usually inexpensive and lightweight, yet they can add charm and ambiance to any space, not to mention heat! They work better in smaller rooms because of their smaller size and the amount of heat that they generate. Many units can heat up to a 400 square foot space and are energy efficient if you don’t want to heat your entire home.

6. All-in-One Unit Including Mantel or Cabinet

If you have a plain room with a blank wall and want to add a custom looking fireplace, an all-in-one fireplace unit makes your job easy. Choose from a variety of styles, ranging from rustic river rock mantels to modern entertainment centers with room for a TV.

Electric Fireplace Media Console in Family RoomGenerally, the all-in-one’s come with power cords that plug into a wall. Since these versions have frames larger than stand-alone inserts, you can easily hide the power cord behind the unit itself.

Faux fireplaces look more and more attractive. Whether you choose a style that passes as the real thing or you opt for a fascinating color-changing unit that will entertain your guests for hours, know that you can save a lot of time and money on the installation!

Can Electric Fireplace Mantels Increase Home Value?

Can Electric Fireplace Mantels Increase Home Value?

A wood burning or gas fireplace can be an asset to virtually any home. Not only are they functional, but they can add a level of ambiance to a living room, kitchen, bedroom or den.

So what if your home doesn’t have a fireplace?

Adding on a traditional fireplace with chimney and vent can get expensive. You can expect the price of a fireplace add-on to cost more than the value that it adds to a house.

But what about an electric fireplace?

They are cheaper and easier to install. At the same time, they still offer the heat and ambiance of their competitors. The question is, “Does an electric fireplace increase a home’s value?”

These days, most electric flames use energy efficient LED lights as well as adjustable thermostats so you can keep your energy costs low. You can even operate most fireplaces without the heat feature, keeping operating costs low at just pennies per hour.

Long story short, I believe that they can. Let me explain why:

1. Electric Fireplace Installation is a Cheap Remodeling Project.

Compared to other home renovation projects, well-designed electric fireplaces can really pay off. Keep in mind that many installs don’t require special wiring, and of course the cost of venting is avoided altogether.

In most cases, homeowners don’t even need to hire a contractor and can complete the entire install themselves in an afternoon or less. This can result in a huge cost savings.

2. Electric Fireplace Mantels Can Add Lots of Functionality

Many of these units can put off a good amount of heat, some covering up to 1,000 square feet. Smaller models can be perfect for guest rooms or dens, while larger heaters can be great for guest cottages, living rooms or even small homes.

In addition, some units include a tv stand (with a high weight capacity) or a bookcase surround. These can be nice for additional storage and added functionality in rooms that otherwise don’t have storage or lack a focal point. That said, they may not work so well in smaller rooms with limited space.

3. You Don’t Need Design Skills to Install an Electric Fireplace

Since an electric fireplace is typically a super simple installation process, you don’t need to hire an interior designer or have design skills yourself. In fact, it’s fairly easy to transform a dull and boring room into one that is charming and inviting with a well-designed fireplace that you pick out yourself.

I suggest looking for an electric fireplace with a custom-looking mantel that matches the design of the home (ie stone, wood, modern, rustic, etc..). I don’t think it necessarily needs to appear “built-in” as long as it fits well in the space.

Media Fireplace
Media Fireplace
TV Stand Combo

Wood TV Stand Fireplace in Living Room
Wood TV Stand
w/ Fireplace Insert

Whiskey Maple Fireplace with TV on top
Whiskey Maple
Faux Stone Fireplace

Faux Stone Fireplace with Pine Mantle
Rustic Pine & Stone
Electric Fireplace Mantel

Antique White Gossamer Fireplace in Country Home
Antique Ivory Gossamer
Wall Fireplace Mantel

Black Fireplace Media Console with Entertainment Center
Modern Electric Fireplace
Entertainment Center

Another tip…

…is that painting the wall behind a fireplace can enhance the look of the unit. A darker shade or contrasting color can make the space look more elegant, help the mantel stand out or even blend in. This is a cheap and easy re-decorating tip that homeowners can do themselves. Of course, a fresh coat of paint is yet another way to increase the value of your home.

My Advice:

Don’t add lots of clutter around your new fireplace. If you choose to add accessories around the hearth like planters, vases or other decor, I suggest using more “expensive-looking” items rather than knick-knacks. This will give the appearance of a more expensive-looking fireplace and more, which in turn has the tendency to increase the home’s value.

As you might expect…

The actual value increase amount depends on the electric fireplace you choose as well as the design and layout of the room. Ideally, you want to go for quality plus value. You don’t want to install a cheap-looking unit, while at the same time, you don’t want to over-spend if you don’t have to.

Here’s What to Look For to Maximize Your Home’s Value:

  1. Fireplaces with heaters
  2. Custom-looking design that provides ambiance and style
  3. Features that add function, like storage

So, Can Electric Fireplace Mantels Increase Home Value? Yes, I think so.