Electric fireplaces are growing in popularity. You don't have to worry about cutting wood, cleaning a chimney, or dealing with the maintenance associated with a wood burning fireplace. An electric fireplace offers the beauty and warmth of a fire without the hassle of building one.
How They Heat
An electric fireplace utilizes metal coils to create heat. As the coils heat, a blower motor, or fan, forces the heat in to the open. Since only the coils are heated, there is no danger of getting burned by the casing of the fireplace. Caution should still be taken if the fireplace is set near upholstered furniture or drapery.
How They Create Flames
Most modern electric fireplaces create a realistic looking flame. This is done by using regular light bulbs and refracting the light. Once the light is refracted, it creates the illusion of a dancing flame.
Whole Units vs Inserts
Electric fireplaces can be purchased as a stand alone unit. These fireplaces simply plug in to any standard electrical outlet. If you already have a fireplace, you can purchase electric inserts to use instead of building a real wood burning fire. The insert works the same as the whole unit. It simply needs to be placed in the firebox of the existing fireplace.