How Do Electric Fireplaces Work - A Very Good Fireplaces Guide

Electric fireplaces are preferred for their flexibility and the fact that they don’t produce any fumes or soot. You can enjoy the heat on a cold winter’s night and the ambiance of the flames on those pleasant summer evenings.

How do electric fireplaces work though? 

In a nutshell, electric fireplaces work with a heating element that doesn’t require any venting. These units draw in cool air that is heated internally before expelling the warmer air into the room.

However, not all electric fireplaces work exactly the same, so let’s go into further detail. 

How Do Electric Fireplaces Work - What You Need to Know


In most instances, an electric fireplace uses a heating element to warm the air that it draws in. However, some fireplaces use infrared technology to heat objects within the room. 

All heating functionality can be controlled directly on the fireplace or via a remote or app - many of today’s electric fireplace manufacturers have developed an app for extra convenience. 

Regardless of how your electric fireplace produces heat, it’s mostly used as a supplemental source of heat. The average electric fireplace can heat a room of around 400 square feet, but this depends on the BTU output as well as the type of fireplace. 

For example, a mantel electric fireplace can heat a larger room than a free-standing unit. 


Then there are the flames that an electric fireplace produces, which can be enjoyed with or without heat. Some flames are more realistic than others though, with LED being the most common technology used to create this effect. The LED light bounces off a three-dimensional refractor, creating the illusion of flames. 

The flame functionality of an electric fireplace can also be controlled using a remote control or an app, this includes flame effects and color. Some units offer more effect and color options than others, something to consider when shopping around for an electric fireplace. 

Here are some extra tips for how to make your electric fireplace look more realistic

Choosing the Right Electric Fireplace

Regardless of the make and model you decide on, an electric fireplace offers more options than gas and traditional fireplaces.

There are, however, a few things to consider when deciding on a fireplace that’s right for your home, placement, design, and installation being some of them. Here is a full list of what to consider as you start comparing your options.

If you need some suggestions, here is a list of the highest rated electric fireplaces to start your search.
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