Since the early 1980s, all electric fireplaces did not need dedicated circuits. You can plug them in any standard 120V outlet. An electric fireplace was invented in 1912 but became popular in the 1960s. Before 1980 electric fireplaces required a dedicated circuit because they had a huge heater coil.
In the 1970s, most American and British power generation & supply companies discovered there was a high power consumption during winter. This forced them to conduct research. The conclusion was that most homeowners, hotels, and restaurants used fireplaces during the cold season. Hence the modern electric fireplace came into existence with better technology.
How an Electric Fireplace Works
It is a simple mechanism. The electric fireplace draws in cold air and heats it using a heating coil then it forces the warm air out. There is an electric fan that gently forces the warm air out. With infrared technology, some electric fireplaces can directly warm up a person. Infrared heating uses short wave or long-wave radiations to heat up an object.
The flames on an electric fireplace are just for aesthetics and do not produce any heat. The flames use LED technology to imitate the real flame. Nowadays most electric fireplaces come with a control box that allows you to change the color of the flame.
Types of Electric Fireplaces
- Wall mount fireplace
This is a simple electric fireplace that you can hang on the wall. It is the best fireplace for an apartment because it does not need any permanent installation. Use the simple wall brackets to mount it. Nowadays some wall-mount fireplaces come with wonderful designs including one that looks like a picture on the wall.
It is easy to install it and this can save you the cost of calling an expert. Avoid installing it on a drywall and glass wall. The concrete wall is the best for this fireplace. Remember to install it near an electric outlet.
- Freestanding fireplace
These are fireplaces that stand out independently. They have a flat base or legs that support the fireplace. They are movable fireplaces that allow you to enjoy the heat either indoors or outdoors. Some come like media cabinets such as TV stands. Such fireplaces allow you to entertain yourself while you are warm. They are easy to install, just plugin and switch it on.
- Mantel electric fireplace
Of course, the mantel is the area around or on top of the fireplace. So this is a simple fireplace that only requires you to assemble the mantel and install the fireplace. Make sure you construct the mantel near an outlet. First, measure the size of the fireplace before constructing the mantel. This will avoid the reconstruction of the mantel.
- Insert electric fireplace
This is a fireplace that converts an existing wood/gas fireplace into an electric fireplace. There are two types of electric insert fireplace. These are a firebox insert and an electric log insert.
Firebox insert is simple and it only requires you to find an insert box that matches your existing fireplace. Fit in the insert box then plug it in.
Electric log insert uses somehow an advanced technology. It has in-built lights that create a wonderful flame-like effect. The flame effect appears on the walls of the existing fireplace. It has an in-built heater that produces warm air. Nowadays, most electric log insert fireplaces come with remote controls that allow you to control the flame and heat.
- Tow-sided/see-through fireplace
Wow!!! Technology is advancing and here we have a two-sided fireplace that is installed on a dividing wall. You can enjoy the flame and heat effect in either room. Some are see-through fireplaces that allow you to see the other room from the other side. Some have a big control box that allows you to make each room have a different flame effect.
- 3-D electric fireplace (three-sided)
In early 2000, electric fireplaces with flames had only the front view. The 3-D fireplace allows you to see the flame effect from any angle. Some have the option of changing the view from 3-D to 2-D or the front view only. This is the most elegant fireplace but it is also the most expensive. It can also allow you to change the colors of the flame.
Benefits of Electric Fireplaces
- Low maintenance cost
The real masonry fireplace that uses wood is very expensive to maintain. First of all, the cost of wood is very high. Then the cost of cleaning up the soot in the chimney. Sometimes cleaning up the chimney can require a professional who is expensive to hire.
Better use an electric fireplace whose flames do not produce smoke hence no maintenance cost.
- No fumes
An electric fireplace does not produce dangerous fumes like a gas fireplace. Or dirty smoke fumes like the wood fireplace. Just plug it in then switch it on and enjoy. It only uses LED lights to produce the flame effect.
- Low installation costs
From the types of electric fireplaces above, the only type that requires a professional to install is the two-sided and see-through fireplaces. The rest are easy to install and will save you the installation cost. Compare this with the wood and gas fireplace which require extra skills to install.
- Variety of designs
Electric fireplaces come in many different designs and styles. You have a chance to choose one that is most appealing to you. You can choose different views of the flames or different colors of the flame. Compare this with the wood fireplace that has only one color of the flame.
- Electric fireplaces are safe
Most homeowners worry about their children when they think about fireplaces. With the invention of electric fireplaces, the worry has reduced. Your children will not stick their hands in the hot coal. Or your house will not explode from a gas leak. Make sure the electric cables are well insulated and your whole household is safe.
There is no electric fireplace that requires a dedicated circuit right now. The heating coils are small enough to consume power from the standard 120V outlet. An electric fireplace works by drawing cold air from the room and warming it up with the help of the heating coil. Then electric fans force the warm air out into the room.