How to Buy an Electric Fireplace

When gloomy weather threatens outside, there’s simply nothing better than settling in for the night in front of a crackling fire. A fireplace can instantly add not only physical warmth, but emotional warmth to any room. It can be a romantic escape for two or just a cozy accompaniment for reading a good book. Either way, an electric fireplace may be exactly what you need to take your room from nice to fantastic.

Having a real wood-burning fireplace installed in your present home is a headache waiting to happen. It’s incredibly expensive, a tedious project and it can pose a number of structural problems. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still experience the warmth and ambiance of a fireplace. In fact, with today’s electric fireplaces, most guests to your home would be hard-pressed to tell the difference.

Electric fireplaces are becoming increasingly popular thanks to:

  • Low cost

  • Ease of use

  • Overall safety

With an electric fireplace, you don’t have to worry about extinguishing the logs before you go to bed at night. Plus, there is no reason to head out into the snow to pick up a few more logs -- and there’s no risk of spilling ashes all over the carpet!

When you decide to add some warmth to your home, you will have a host of options to choose from. Electric fireplaces come in a wide range of styles. From old-fashioned kettle-stoves to wooden-mantled masterpieces, you can find exactly the right look for your room.

Most large home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes offer a complete line of electric fireplaces. Or take your search online to the many reputable electric fireplace dealers which can be found there.

Regardless of the method you use to shop for your electric fireplace, there are a few things you should consider before finalizing the purchase.

Location: Is it a very large room? Where is the ideal place to set the electric fireplace? Is it away from curtains or any other materials? Although electric fireplaces do not use real flames, the blower motor does blow out warm air, so keeping it clear of curtains and fabrics should be considered.

Style: Is the room’s design a rustic look? If so, then a kettle-stove may look perfect in the room. On the other hand, if the room is classically designed, then an electric fireplace with a traditional mantle would probably look best.

Heat Output: The size of the room will also determine what BTU the electric fireplace should include. The last thing you want is to have an electric fireplace in a room and not feel the effect of its heat! Then again, you don’t want to oversize the fireplace and feel as if you are slowly roasting either. Take measurements of the room’s dimensions and the expert at the store can help you select an electric fireplace with an appropriate BTU for your room.

Electric fireplaces allow flexibility whereas wood burning fireplaces to not. With a wood burning fireplace, there’s no real way to reduce the heat being emitted from the flames. With an electric fireplace, all you have to do is turn off the blower motor and you get all of the joy and ambiance of a roaring fire without the excessive heat.

Electric fireplaces also make it easy to personalize your room. A regular fireplace is set in place and cannot be moved. An electric fireplace offers the flexibility to rearrange the room, including the fireplace, so you can have a fresh feel to the room whenever you wish.

Lastly, before buying your electric fireplace, you should have an experienced electrician determine if you have the electrical capacity to handle the additional load. In the worst of cases, a new circuit may have to be run to support the electric fireplace, but usually the living room’s circuit can handle it.

You will also want to ensure that your electric fireplace is plugged directly into an outlet and not through an extension cord.

With your new electric fireplace installed, simply grab your favorite book and a glass of wine and settle in for a cozy night of reading. Or make it a romantic escape, complete with the (faux, of course) white bear rug!

Wondering how much space your electric fireplace will heat? Check out our forum!

Dave Donovan is a freelance copywriter living in Atco, N.J. An electrician for 15 years, an injury forced him to pursue his true passion - writing.