10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy an Electric Fireplace

1. How Does an Electric Fireplace Work?

10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy an Electric Fireplace

Electric fireplaces work just like space heaters in regards to their heating element. Many use a series of coils that produce heat via electricity within the fire box. Then, a fan blows the heat into the room.

Flames are typically created using LED lights, which give the illusion of flickering flames. You can turn the light and heat function on and off with the push of a button, and they can run independently of each other. In other words you can usually operate the flames with or without the heater.

Because electric fireplaces don’t require gas or produce smoke, they don’t require a chimney or venting. As a result, they cost significantly less to install. Plus, you have more versatility as far as where you can place them.

2. What are the Benefits of Electric Fireplaces?

Electric fireplace inserts offer several advantages over gas, pellet or wood-burning hearths.

1. Electric Fireplaces are Convenient: First of all, electric units don’t need a chimney, flue, or vent, which makes installation a lot easier. In fact, many homeowners can do the install themselves without hiring a contractor.

Walker Edison Electric Fireplace TV Stand

Note: In addition, some units conveniently hang on your wall, while others are freestanding and simply plug into a standard wall outlet. You can even get fireplace TV stands or portable heaters that look like wood burning stoves.

No matter which style you choose, you can turn the fire on and off with the click of a button. Plus, most units include a remote control and come with a timer/auto shut-off function. Using a fireplace can’t get much easier.

2. Energy-Efficient: Electric fireplaces can heat rooms or areas of your home without you having to heat your entire house – thus saving you money. Plus, when you turn on the flames without the heat function, you can enjoy the ambiance for virtually pennies per hour.

3. Safe and Clean: LED flames don’t produce any harmful emissions or ash, so they’re more eco-friendly. In addition, the glass fronts stay cool to the touch, so you can worry less about kids and pets.

4. Cost-Saving: You can save money on both installation and your energy bill every month. Not to mention, you don’t have to a chimney sweep to clean your flue every year.

Portable Electric Fireplace Heater with Remote Control

5. Portable: Like I mentioned above, some of the smaller units are portable, so you can move them from room to room. For example, you can use on in your home office during the day and move it to the bedroom at night.

6. Fireplaces that are Beautiful to Look At: The newer high-tech fireplaces are stunning to look at, with their fire glass and color-changing flames. You can also get them in extra-wide styles or 3-sided glass for a modern, sophisticated look.

Alternatively, you can find cabin-style fireplaces with wood-and-stone mantels. They come as an all-in-one package, so you don’t have to build your own mantel.

3. Are Electric Fireplaces Energy Efficient?

Yes, electric fireplaces can be energy-efficient when used as a supplemental heat source. In other words, you may not save much money heating your entire house with one, but you can cut energy costs by heating areas of your home as you use them. You can read more here: What it costs to run an electric fireplace.

4. Can You Use an Electric Fireplaces in Any Room?

You can install wall inserts or freestanding units anywhere they fit and have proper electrical connections. can be used in almost any room. For example, some people add them in bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, entryways and more.

MagikFlame Electric Fireplace Mantel on Wall in Bathroom by Tub

Most units are designed for indoor installation only. However, you can find some electric fireplaces that are rated for outdoor use on a patio or deck.

5. Do Electric Fireplaces Produce Heat?

Yes, as we talked about above, electric fireplaces produce heat. Generally, the manufacturer will state how much space the unit will heat, which usually falls between 400 square feet and 1,000 square feet. In addition, many models offer different heat settings and a thermostat.

6. Are Electric Fireplaces Safe?

Electric hearths don’t produce harmful emissions, like carbon monoxide. You also don’t have to worry about hot open flames around kids of pets.

In addition, most models include some form of overheating protection. Some even have a timer function, so you can set your fireplace to shut off automatically after a certain period of time.


7. Can You Use an Electric Fireplace as a Primary Heating Source?

You can, but these “space heaters” are designed for use as supplemental heat. IN other words, they work best when used to heat specific rooms or areas of a home.

That said, let’s say you have a small cabin or cottage under 1,000 square feet. An electric fireplace (with a 1,00SF heating capacity) has enough power to heat the space, although maybe not the most efficient.

MagikFlame Holographic Electric Fireplace with Realistic Computer Generated Flames and Sound

8. Electric Fireplace Maintenance Requirements:

The maintenance requirements vary by model. However, here are some general guidelines:

  1. Clean any dust off the front with a dry microfiber cloth.
  2. Check that electrical connections are secure and there are no frayed wires.
  3. Inspect the heating element for signs of wear or damage, and replace it if necessary.
  4. Replace the LED bulb if needed. Typically LED bulbs last a long, long time, and you may never need to replace them.

9. How Easy is it to Install an Electric Fireplace?

Wall Fireplace Surround Idea with Wood Planks

Wall hung, freestanding and cabinet fireplaces don’t really involve much of an installation process. You simply plug them into a wall outlet. If you want to place a fireplace on a wall without an outlet, you may need to hire an electrician to add or move an electrical outlet.

If you want to get a fireplace insert and recess it into the wall, this involves more work, but is typically not that expensive. You will need to cut an opening into the wall and hardwire the fireplace, usually the job for a pro or someone with handyman skills. Alternatively, some people build a mantel around the firebox out of 2×4’s so that it looks recessed. Therefore, you don’t have to cut a hole into the wall.

10. What to Look for When Buying an Electric Fireplace:

  1. Type: Choose between a freestanding, wall-mounted, TV cabinet or insert fireplace.
  2. Size: Decide the dimensions to fit your room (bigger fireplaces look better in larger rooms).
  3. Heating Capacity: Do you want to heat a large or small space? Larger capacity heater cost more money.
  4. Fireplace Style: Modern, rustic, traditional, 3-sided glass. What type fits best with your home’s decor and your style? Compare fireplace styles here.
  5. Hearth Style: Do you want modern fire glass or a traditional log and ember bed?
  6. Price: Electric fireplaces can cost between $200 and $2,000 and more. In general, the bigger and more powerful the fireplace, the higher the price.
  7. Smart Electric Fireplaces: A few of the newer models are called “Smart Fireplaces” where you can control the unit with your phone.
  8. Installation: Do you ant a super easy installation, a portable heater or a permanent fixture?