Electric fireplaces are an excellent alternative to traditional wood and gas fireplaces. They’re also cost-effective, easy to install, and don’t create any mess. However, when you’re choosing an electric fireplace for the first time, it can be difficult to know what to look out for.
To help you make a more informed decision, we have put together a list of what to consider before you purchase and install an electric fireplace.
Process of Choosing an Electric Fireplace
Choosing an electric fireplace might seem overwhelming but it does not have to be. The first step of choosing an electric fireplace insert is to consider your heating needs and the size of the room. Furthermore, keep in mind deign preferences and functions of the electric fireplace. More specifically, here are 9 things to consider when choosing an electric fireplace.
What to Consider Before Buying an Electric Fireplace
1. The Placement
One of the first considerations is where you want to place your electric fireplace. This will already help narrow down your choices quite significantly. On the plus side, since an electric fireplace doesn’t need to be vented, there are far more placement possibilities. You can place it almost anywhere in your home, but consider where it would be most useful. Do you want it for your own enjoyment or do you want guests to be able to enjoy it as well?
Once you decide which room to place your new electric fireplace in, you will need to find a spot for it in that room. Different models are designed to be placed in specific locations. For example, an electric fireplace insert can be placed directly into an existing fireplace. This way you can utilize existing space and not worry about an electric fireplace mantel.
Don’t have a lot of floor space? Then a wall-mounted electric fireplace is an ideal option. There are even slim wall-mounted models available, ensuring the unit doesn’t protrude too far into the room. Just place an electric fireplace away from furniture or objects that could block the heater inlet or outlet. So, when choosing an electric fireplace, keep in mind the exact location of the insert and choose the model accordingly.
2. Your Electric Setup
Most electric fireplaces only need a standard household outlet. However, that outlet also needs a dedicated circuit breaker. What electric outlets are available in the room you want to place your fireplace in? Keep in mind that using an extension cord is not recommended. You may find that you need the assistance of an electrician to make a specific room a viable option for an electric fireplace.
3. Heat Output
Heat output is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units) - the higher the BTU, the more heat an electric fireplace gives off. The size of the room you want to heat will determine the heat output you should consider. Most electric fireplace produce 5,000 BTUs which will heat up to 400 square feet. Therefore, when choosing an electric fireplace, you should keep in mind its heat output. If you want an electric fireplace insert just for decorative purposes, then you can choose the one without heat.
4. Your Fireplace Preferences
The fact that electric fireplaces are efficient and don’t create a mess is a big part of their appeal. However, it’s important to remember that you won’t be able to use your fireplace in a power outage. How important is it to you to be able to use a fireplace in any situation? If you live in an area where power cuts are a regular occurrence, you may want to consider a wood or gas fireplace. Moreover, as mentioned above, you should decide if you want an electric fireplace as an additional source of heat or just a part of the interior design.
5. The Design of an Electric Fireplace
Next, consider what type of fireplace design will complement your home. There are a large variety of shapes, sizes, and designs available, so you won’t struggle to find a fireplace that suits your home.
If you are still not sure what type of electric fireplace design suits you, then look for inspiration. "You Should Get an Electric Fireplace" article by Architectural Digest will certainly help you with the process.
Take a look at our top 7 electric fireplace recommendations to help you get an idea of the design possibilities.
6. The Installation
Choosing an electric fireplace is not an easy job. In addition to the design, you should also consider technical details. For example, the installation. The type of electric fireplace you decide on will determine whether you need a professional to assist you with the installation. Free-standing fireplaces don’t require any installation and in most instances, it’s easy enough to install a wall-mounted unit yourself. It’s only if you decide on a built-in unit that some modifications may be required.
Find out more about Electric Fireplace Installation Costs in our article.
7. Additional Requirements
Many homeowners want to be able to have their television set above their electric fireplace. If this is one of your requirements, you will ideally need a fireplace with a front vent. If the fireplace you have in mind has a top vent, you will need to place enough space between the television and the fireplace. There is also the option of a fireplace suite, which comes with a mantle.
Keep in mind that electric fireplaces come with various features. Electric fireplace insert might have remote control function
8. The Flame Effects
What effects do you want your electric fireplace to have? Some units have a number of different flame and color settings, while others only have one or two customization options. Most units use LED lights and mirrors to create the flame effects. Some take it one step further by using rotating mirrors to create unique flame movements. In any case, you want a fireplace with realistic flames and feeling of a traditional fireplace.
9. A Warranty
Lastly, before you purchase an electric fireplace, check for a manufacturer’s warranty. A warranty ensures that your investment will be well cared for should something go wrong. Most manufacturers offer a warranty of 1 to 2 years. An electric fireplace generally requires little to no maintenance but having a warranty just offers some additional peace of mind.
Buying Your First Electric Fireplace
Now that you know what you should look for when shopping around for an electric fireplace, making the right choice for your home will be much easier. Electric fireplaces offer a nice way to make your home feel more comforting. It is a convenient and affordable investment in your home. If you have any further questions about the fireplace you’re considering, don’t hesitate to get in touch.