For many of us apartment dwellers, having a fireplace seems like an impossibility. But nothing says the holidays better than a crackling fire in the fireplace. The warmth and glow turn any house into a home and brighten the evening for your family and guests.
Now, innovative designers have created a brilliant and beautiful solution to this problem. Portable fireplaces run on gas or electricity and need no flue or chimney. They can be easily moved to any room in the house, including the outdoors for a fun patio or deck party. And, when you move out, just take them with you!
How Do They Work?
There are two different types of portable fireplaces: electric and gas.
Electric - Electric fireplaces have heating coils that heat up when plugged in and blowers that blow the hot air into the room. They do not actually generate a flame. Most have the illusion of flame made with lights and glass.
Gas - Gas models, however, do generate a real crackling flame. Most run on environmentally friendly gasses such as bioethanol which is a clean burning and fume-free renewable energy source. This means that there is no ash, spark, or soot to clean up afterwards. It also means that you do not need to worry about extension cords or an electrical outlet of any kind, you have full range of movability.
One may ask whether a portable gas or electric fireplace really packs the same oomph as a traditional wood fire. In fact, a fireplace without a chimney is actually more efficient because the heat is not escaping, but radiating into the room. So, portable models will actually warm your home better than their traditional counterparts.
These fireplaces need no costly or time consuming installation and most come ready to use. Simply plug in or fill the fuel chamber and press the lighter button. Between uses, refill the gas in the chamber as needed. Wipe down your portable fireplace with a wet towel or wet wipe to keep it clean. And that's it!
Are They Safe?
Portable fireplaces have an incredible safety record and many companies have even won awards for their safe designs. But, they are associated with the same risks as a wood burning fire. Fireplaces need to be placed away from any flammable surface. For gas models, do not refill the fuel while the fireplace is operating or is hot and do not fill fuel above the "max" line. Keep fireplaces away from children and pets. Never leave an operating fireplace unattended; remember to turn the model off and wait for it to cool before leaving. As always, keep a fire extinguisher handy. Most models are backed by a strong warranty.
(Note: Do not roast marshmallows over portable fireplaces. They won't taste good and they will definitely gunk things up!)
Styles and Types
One of the coolest features of the portable fireplace is the versatility of the different models. Because they need no accessories or size accommodations for wood or charcoal, they can be as small as a shoebox and sit on a tabletop. Or, they can mimic the conventional fireplace and fill up a wall. Most are beautifully crafted from stainless steel but other models feature glass, stone, or faux-wood. The styles range from very modern to classic, simple, and traditional.
Fireplaces make an excellent focal point to any room. Some models can be purchased with a complementary stand that will raise them up and draw your eye. See-through fireplaces made from paneled glass make excellent dividers to break up a long room. Small tabletop fireplaces make beautiful and effortless centerpieces for any occasion. Vertical fireplaces are wonderful statement pieces that can fit perfectly in a corner for smaller rooms.
A mid-sized model can be moved around easily and used in every room. Move your model to the bathroom for a luxurious winter bath or to the bedroom for a ski-chalet feel. Don't forget, these models can move outdoors and create stunning warmth for any garden party or patio soiree.
Wood-burning fireplaces can be a pain to maintain and a very advanced DIY to build if you don't already have one. Consider instead a versatile portable fireplace that you can use in every room of the house. No set up, no costly installation, just clean-burning decor that adds as much warmth as it does style.