Electric Fireplace Buying Guide
Just because your home doesn't have a built-in wood-burning fireplace doesn’t mean you can't enjoy the warmth, romantic crackle and the mesmerizing dance of flames a fireplace provides. Electric fireplaces not only look extremely realistic and provide heat, but they also have advantages over traditional fireplaces, including:
- Portability of many models
- Many designs and styles to fit anywhere
- No fire danger
- No smoke
- No messy ashes
- No need to cut or procure firewood
- No worry about going to sleep with the fire still burning
Tips for Buying An Electric Fireplace
- Check Measurements First: Measure the space where you want your fireplace to go, including clearance to nearby windows, doorways or walkways. You don’t want to find out too late that your fireplace is too large, or too small, for the location.
- Have Limited Space? If your space is limited, a wall-mount or corner unit gives the benefit of a fireplace without requiring much room.
- Electrical Wiring In The Home: Make sure your home’s electrical wiring can handle the fireplace. Most electric fireplaces simply plug into a regular outlet; some require installation that is more extensive.
- What Is Your Decorating Style? There are electric fireplaces with looks ranging from primitive to modern, and anything in between.
- Know The Watts: Most electric fireplaces range from 700 to 1500 watts. 700 watts is sufficient for a very small room; you will want a 1500-watt unit if your room is large.
- If You’re Renting: If you are a renter or want a unit that can be moved from room to room, choose a small, easily portable fireplace. Mantels are usually heavy and difficult to move, so these units are best for a permanent position.
- For Easy Access: Electric fireplaces usually come with a remote control, letting you have a fire and heat with the touch of a button. And when you want to go to bed, there is no need to wait for the fire to die down. Just switch the unit off, and have a good night!
Do You Want A Traditional Looking Fireplace?
You don’t need to burn wood to want a traditional mantel surrounding a fireplace. Whether your decorating style is mission inspired, country, rustic or traditional, there is an electric fireplace mantel to suit your tastes. Choose from mantels of beautifully stained wood, painted wood, stone or even cast concrete. A fireplace with a mantel becomes a focal point in any room and is the perfect way to turn a “blah” wall into a decorating plus.
Before choosing your fireplace, remember to measure the wall it will sit against, as well as the entire room. Most electric fireplaces with a mantel produce enough heat to warm a room around 400 square feet, or you can switch the heat off and just enjoy the faux flames.
Do You Need A Fireplace That Fits In A Corner?
If your room is small or you just like the cozy look, an electric fireplace that tucks into a corner gives you all the romantic glow and warmth but takes up less space than a traditional mantel unit. Like traditional units, there is a very wide range of styles and materials available, so whether your tastes run to the southwest or to the look of colonial days, you can find a corner fireplace to match. Measure your corner area carefully before buying, and consider the space needed to walk through the room.
Do You Want A Wall-Mounted Fireplace?
If you don’t want to use any floor space at all or like a modern, clean decorating style, a wall-mounted fireplace functions like artwork on your wall. There are wall-mounted units that are simply hung on the wall and plugged in, as well as units that are sunk into the drywall and require more extensive wiring. Consider the best viewing location for your fireplace – across from a sofa or seating area is nice and makes it easy to enjoy the flames.
Are You Looking For An Entertainment Center?
If you like to make efficient use of your space, consider an all-in-one electric fireplace/entertainment center for holding your television or music system. These units generally have the fireplace on the bottom, with an upper shelf for supporting a large television and cabinets or side shelves for storage. Entertainment center fireplaces tend toward a contemporary style, though there are units with more traditional or casual looks available.
Do You Love An Old-Fashioned Look?
If you decorate in a rustic, country or colonial style, an electric stove fireplace will fit right in. These small units are very portable and give the old-fashioned charm of a traditional wood-burning stove – with none of the mess or safety issues. They’ll warm up your living room or dining area, and the realistic flames are cheerful to watch.
Do You Want To Replace Your Wood-Burning Fireplace?
If your home has a built-in wood fireplace, but you would like to replace it with a maintenance-free electric version, remodeling is as easy as slipping an electric insert into your existing fireplace. Electric inserts let you enjoy a roaring fire, but without any need to open the flue, poke the logs or clean up ashes. If you do want to light a wood fire, you can take the insert out and then put it back when you are done. You can even take the electric insert with you when traveling or visiting friends and family.
A fireplace adds so much character, warmth and interest to a room. If you would love to have dancing flames to light up a romantic evening, but lack a built-in fireplace in your home, you can recreate the feeling with an electric fireplace. With so many styles, designs and configurations available, you can find a model that is perfect for your home, no matter the size.