The Winter season requires you always to stay warm. Clothes help in warming your body but achieving a warm house is an added advantage. Fireplaces have always proven a convenient method of heating indoors. Traditionally, heating the home required the hassle of hauling to acquire or buy firewood to prepare a fireplace. Electric fireplaces are an alternative to wood burning fireplaces, gas, or any other solid fuel. Instead of depending on fuels, electric fireplaces run on electricity. In addition to the ease of acquisition, an electric fireplace fits easily on a pre-existing fireplace, and even without, you can still enjoy the benefits of a small and homey fire.
If you are relocating to a cooler place or looking for a solution to the winter season’s extremes, installing an electric fireplace offers a convenient solution as you search around for a suitable electric fireplace to install at your concerns about safety and efficiency rock throughout. Are electric fireplaces safe? How efficient are electric fireplaces? Since invention, electric fireplaces provide supplemental heat to your home safely and efficiently in addition to providing a cozy environment.
What is an Electric Fireplace?
An electric fireplace is an appliance that resembles a solid fuel’s fire but offers exceptional convenience as it easy to install and does not require additional venting. An electric fireplace operates by collecting all the cool air into a coil that heats it before gently forcing warm air to circulate in the room. In addition to a heating coil, an electric fireplace has a small fan located either on the interior or exterior side of the unit. The fan is responsible for assisting in the circulation of warm air and increase heat penetration in the room.
Understanding the Efficiency of Electric Fireplaces
Before walking into a supermarket or electrical appliances shop to buy an electric fireplace, it is always advisable to research the various models available. The research helps in unveiling the most suitable model depending on the size of your house and the amount of energy consumed.
The first aspect to check out is the power required for heating the room. The power is given in terms of voltage, electric current, and rate of energy transfer (wattage). The most common electric fireplaces are labeled 120 volts (voltage), 1500 watts (rate of energy transfer), and 12.5 amperes (electric current). The recommended rate of energy transfer for the appliance chosen should always be ten times or more than the room’s size. If your room is one hundred and forty square feet, an electric fireplace with a 1500 wattage is enough to heat your room adequately.
Additionally, electric fireplaces are energy efficient. Compared to gas, wood, and other solid fuels used in fireplaces, an electric fireplace is efficient in terms of energy. All the fuels mentioned above produce heat by forcing a large amount of hot air into the entire house or using a whole-house heating system. On the other hand, electric fireplaces do not force warm air in the whole house system but only allow heat to circulate in the room in current use or used chiefly. Heating a section of the house instead of an entire system offers massive savings.
One of the most significant efficiency aspects attached to electric fireplaces is that they operate without chimneys. A fireplace fitted with a chimney is said to lose more than eighty percent of the total amount of heat produced. An electric fireplace, unlike conventional fireplaces, forces all the hot air built where it is needed without any heat loss. Also, the heating process is gradual, and the room retains the hot air as long as it is in use.
Efficiency aspects of an electric appliance compared to conventional fireplaces include:
- While supplementary heat sources result in heat loss and massive energy bills, you save on the constant need for temperature adjustment and save money using an electric fireplace in your room by containing the hot air in a single room.
- A chimney requires regular cleaning to restore its efficiency and safety. When using an electric fireplace, you save on the standard money paid to clean the chimney.
- Electric fireplaces also offer extreme versatility. It is portable and easy to install an electric fireplace as you only need to plug it in. Unlike when using wood or any other solid fuel for heating where you are only limited to the room with a chimney, you can move with an electric fireplace from one room to another.
Electric Fireplace Safety
An electric fireplace, like any other electric appliance, operates amidst extremely high safety concerns. If you are wondering if an electric fireplace is safe, the answer is yes. Other than the convenient warmth and heat electrical appliances produce, they offer an extremely secure house heating system. Various aspects ensure electric fireplace safety making it a preferred choice than conventional fireplaces. Provided you adhere to the model’s guidelines on its use, instructions on maintenance and installation procedures, safety concerns are minimized when using this heating system.
- The first aspect is whether it is safe health-wise. When using wood, the air is forced up, causing dust and other allergic particles to blast. It is very uncomfortable to stay in a room where dust and other allergic particles have swirled throughout the house if you are allergic or have sinuses. With electric fireplaces, this issue of cleanliness and air quality is eliminated since the system is automatic.
- The dangers of gas leaks and the emission of hazardous fumes are always a safety precaution issue raised by many. Unlike traditional fireplaces that rely on gas, wood, and other solid fuel attached to problems such as building up of creosote, gas fumes, smoke, and leaking gas, it is safe if there is insufficient oxygen supply to say that an electric fireplace is gas-free. With an electric fireplace, you need not worry since all you need is an electrical outlet to plug your appliance to enjoy the warmth and heat around your room.
- Are electric fireplaces safe around kids and pets? The answer is also yes. An electric heating system is safer compared to conventional fireplaces since they operate and maintain a lower temperature. If you are concerned about hot surfaces or sharp corners unsafe for your kids and pets, electric fireplaces are a super-safe heating system. Many models are built with an outer glass that maintains a lower temperature throughout the usage of the system; hence you will not suffer a burn or discomfort if touched. Also, if you are concerned about chimney fire hazards or fires raging out of control causing danger to your children and pets, your concerns are reduced with electric fireplaces as it does not produce an actual fire.
- Issues with electric fireplaces are easy to maintain. If you are faced with a technical hitch when using this electrical heating system, you only need to unplug it. If the hitch is extreme, you must get your system inspected by an expert.
Unsafety Concerns of an Electric Fireplace
While the only concern raised against an electric fireplace is that the warm air produced is not enough, safety and efficiency are a priority. You can beat this problem in icy conditions by using the electric fireplace to complement your other heat sources.
Also, while electric fireplaces are highly advantageous, you need to be concerned about a few cons of this element.
- An electric fireplace, like any other electrical appliance, presents similar risks of using electricity. Dealing with faulty appliances is one of the risks you may deal with when using this electric heating system. The best way to minimize this safety concern is by buying a model from reputable brands.
- Also, electric fireplaces are expensive. While the market offers cheap options, they have more unsafety concerns that you must check out regularly. Most of them fail to incorporate safety precautions such as timers and technologies to prevent overheating. It does not hurt in both the short and long run to dig deeper into your pockets to buy a recognized and trusted model.
- There are concerns about blockage of the heaters’ inlets and outlets of airflow. The blockage leads to overheating or complete shutting off the fireplace. To deal with the airflow blockage issue, you must place the electric fireplace on a hard surface away from anything that could hinder the free flow of air into and out of the system.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can electric fireplaces cause a fire?
No. The flame produced by an electric fireplace is not a real fire but a resemblance. Electric fireplaces use a blend of lights and mechanical parts or LED screens to display an imitation of fire in the form of flickering flames. Hence, it is safe to say that there are no potential fire risks attached to using an electric fireplace.
Is it safe to run an electric fireplace all night?
Yes. There is no imminent danger that has been established if an electric fireplace is left switched on all night long. However, to avoid any safety concerns, switching off the electrical outlet when leaving the house for a long time or sleeping prevents any possible hazard. If it is freezing, you can set the appliance’s climatic controls at moderate temperatures.
Are electric fireplaces safer than space heaters?
Yes. While space heaters produce an actual flame, electric fireplaces produce an imitation. The danger of using electric fireplaces around table cloths, furniture, drapes, etc., is limited when using an electric fireplace as the chance of embers escaping from the fireplace is eliminated.
Do electric heaters use a lot of electricity?
No. The amount of electricity consumed when using an electric fireplace is approximated to be close to a space heater. Electric fireplaces operate on a standard household electrical outlet. Also, the efficiency elements of electric fireplaces save significantly on energy bills.
Are electric fireplaces bad for your health?
No. The most significant health benefit of an electric fireplace is that it does not emit dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. The carbon footprint attached to an electric fireplace is negligible since the environment is safe from harmful gases and toxins.