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Buying Guide: Best Electric Fireplaces

Buying Guide: Best Electric Fireplaces
Electric fireplaces have recently moved from luxury item to mainstream popularity as more consumers choose to avoid the mess and hassle of a traditional fireplace or wood stove. Since they do represent a very new concept in home design, some confusion may exist over what an electric fireplace is, for whom they are best suited, and how they can add to both the heating solutions and the aesthetics of any home.

What Is an Electric Fireplace?

An electric fireplace, at its heart, is simply a heater. It produces varying levels of heat to make a room more comfortable in cold conditions. Electric fireplaces, however, offer much more than just heat. They also use a lighting effect to mimic the look of flames. This feature adds much to the aesthetics and ambiance of any room. You get the coziness of a fireplace without the cleanup or air pollution of a real fireplace.

They are perfect replacements in many homes for unsafe and unsightly baseboard style heaters because their design is more pet and child-friendly. The surface remains cool to the touch as it emits heat.

Like other portable heaters, electric fireplaces can help you save energy. You can choose to only turn on your electric fireplace when you are in the room and need extra warmth. This will help you save money over turning on your central heating system, which affects rooms both used and unused. Many have found electric fireplaces to be a perfect secondary heat source.

Electric fireplaces can add to the ambiance of any room all year long. Many people find the flames of a fireplace or campfire soothing and calming. An electric fireplace can give any room this effect no matter what the season because you can turn off the heat but continue using the light feature. In this way, electric fireplaces provide the best of both worlds.

Benefits of Electric Fireplaces Over Wood, Gas, or Coal

The first and most important benefit of an electric fireplace is the low cost of operation. No matter how much money you spend on an electric fireplace, from the most basic to the most extravagant designs, electric fireplaces cost between 0.3 and 3 cents an hour to operate with the light feature only. When you turn on the heat, they still only require about 16 cents per hour worth of electric power to operate.

A gas fireplace, by comparison, could cost up to 20 cents an hour, depending on BTUs and also where you live. Additionally, gas fireplaces lose between one-fourth and one-third of their heat to venting while electric fireplaces are 99 percent heat efficient. Since electric fireplaces require no venting, all of the heat comes into the room.

Traditional wood, coal, and gas fireplaces have no portability unless you want to spend thousands to move a chimney or create a new vent. Once in place, they never move. Electric fireplaces can rest against any wall, so long as it has access to electric power. You can rearrange your electric fireplace right along with the rest of your room. Even better when you move to a new home, take your fireplace with you!

Because they rest against or are mounted upon a wall, electric fireplaces install very simply with no need to build a chimney or cut holes into the side of the house.

Electric fireplaces have almost no maintenance or mess compared to traditional and gas fireplaces. No more worrying about chimneys clogged with combustible ash, dealing with a flue, or clearing away debris to start a new fire. Even more important, electric fireplaces produce no fumes or particulates that can pollute your air and leave extra dust on your furniture.

Finally, the LED lighting used to create the flame effect can last for two or more years without needing replacement. It can be used on its own to light the room when lower light levels are desired, saving your reliance on overhead lighting or lamps.

Types of Electric Fireplaces

Electric fireplaces come in five different types. Manufacturers categorize electric fireplaces based upon different methods of installation.

The wall mounted electric fireplace may be the easiest to install and move. They require no special modifications to the wall and can be hung on mounting brackets just like a flat-screen television set. Every manufacturer will include all of the materials needed, except perhaps a screwdriver, to set up your electric fireplace.

Conversely, if you want a built-in model that occupies a recessed space, you will need either a contractor or some do-it-yourself-style skills. The extra expense or effort, however, is worth it. Frameless linear electric fireplaces present a very elegant look that can beautifully transform your space.

Within the past two years, the three-sided electric fireplace has emerged as a popular option. It offers more versatility to consumers. You can place it against a wall in such a way as to allow viewing from the front and also the sides. Other options allow for one of the exposed sides to be covered, or the model can also be recessed into the wall. The three-sided fireplace gives you more options when you move or when you wish to rearrange or redesign a room.

Got an old traditional fireplace that you no longer use because the mess, time, and effort proved to be too great of a hassle? Electric fireplace inserts are the best convergence of the traditional look with modern technology. Imagine an old brick or masonry fireplace not used for years full of life once again as the center of your room. Fireplace inserts can take a forgotten and neglected feature and revive it. You have different types to choose from to fit your home's decor and your needs.

Different Types of Fireplace Inserts

You can choose from two different types of fireplace inserts. The firebox simply fits inside the existing fireplace recess, although you will have to measure carefully to ensure the right fit. Electric log inserts go inside your existing fireplace where you would normally burn wood. Their LED inserts project flame style lights on the logs and the surrounding stone or brick while emitting comforting heat when needed.

Other electric fireplace options offer dual functions as heat and light producers, but also as functional pieces of furniture. They can stand alone against the wall or even in the center of the room. Some manufacturers have combined the electric fireplace concept with that of the television stand or entertainment center. Others produce somewhat simpler and more cost-effective models, which still have the same key features as wall mounted or recessed electric fireplaces.

Closely related are the electric fireplaces that come with mantels. Some look more like furniture containing a fireplace while others more fully mimic the traditional look while providing a display surface.

Electric Fireplaces Can Offer a Variety of Features

Electric fireplaces, in addition to all of the other perquisites, often offer a variety of special features, including:
  • A sleep timer to automatically shut off both heat and "flames"
  • Multicolor back lights that give you control over your fireplace?s look and the room?s ambiance
  • A touchscreen panel on the fireplace itself that gives you total control over all functions
  • If you don?t want to get up to use the touchscreen, remote control of the fireplace functions is often available as well.
These features, at the same time, enhance your electric fireplace experience and make it one of the easiest furnishings in your home to use and to enjoy.

Questions to Ask Before Buying

When considering whether or not to purchase an electric fireplace, or when deciding on which style, consider asking yourself some questions.

Is your primary interest the lighting effect? If so, what kind of effects do you prefer? Some models have a very traditional appearance that produces realistic looking flame effects. Others go beyond the realistic flame look by adding surrounding light features and different colored flames.

If you have more interest in the energy efficiency of an electric fireplace, consider which type of heating you prefer. Electric fireplaces utilize two types of heating. You can choose forced air or infrared quartz. Forced air costs less but it also is limited to being able to heat 400 square feet. On the other hand, infrared quartz can effectively heat up to a thousand square feet.

You also want to think about aesthetics and ease of installation. Consider the following questions:
  • In terms of installation, do you prefer an easy option or one that is more permanent
  • What style do you want? Do you prefer frameless or a framed design option?
  • How much room do you have? What will fit the space?
  • Do you want your electric fireplace to be a dominant centerpiece or a smaller room accessory?
  • What is the budget? Which options fit your needs and what you are willing to pay?
An honest analysis of your wants, your space, and your budget will go a long way toward helping you select an electric fireplace that fully meets your needs.

Special Electrical Requirements

Although highly energy efficient and cost-effective, with most electric fireplace models you need to research the special electrical considerations it could require.

You can plug your electric fireplace into the wall just like any other appliance or home furnishing that requires power. That being said, it is recommended that you plug your electric fireplace into a dedicated circuit breaker or fuse. A dedicated circuit breaker means that it only serves a single outlet. Overloading a circuit with multiple outlets can cause you problems ranging from the minor inconvenience of a tripped circuit to more dangerous safety hazards. Most major appliances, in general, should be used with a dedicated circuit breaker or fuse. Manufacturers also warn that your electric fireplace should never be plugged into an extension cord. The amount of power used could overload the cord.

Wall mounted or stand-alone electric fireplaces can be moved near dedicated outlets, but hard-wired options may require you to retain the services of a professional electrician.

And, finally, as with any other electrical appliance, always follow all manufacturer directions and warnings.

Appliances Connection Offers a Great Selection of the Best Electric Fireplaces

Check out Appliance Connection?s website to browse one of the best selections anywhere of America?s favorite electric fireplace manufacturers. You can choose from hundreds of options offered by dozens of respected brand names.

One of our most popular sellers is the Dimplex BF45DXP. This frameless design has a built-in fireplace with a brick refractory that produces a very realistic flame effect.

Or, for a more traditional look, consider the Napoleon NEFP240115E. This design features a mantel and pedestal that help to create that beautiful traditional fireplace look. The dark wooden frame and mantel will complement any room dominated by traditional decor.

Also popular is the dual function Argo Furniture L17S16. This beautiful piece with dark wood and glass doors can function as both an electric fireplace and either a curio cabinet or a small entertainment center. It has plenty of space for storage or display and a flat screen television set could easily fit on top.

For the cost-conscious that still seek an upscale and elegant look, Appliance Connect offers the Fire Sense 60757. At a very reasonable sub-$200 price, you get a beautiful dark wall mounted electric fireplace that will provide heat and add charm to any room. It has a soft touch control panel and 3D flame effect.

Take a look at these or browse the rest of our copious selection. You are sure to find an option that fits your home and meets your expectations.

Contact Us Today

Appliances Connection is ready to serve you today. Our staff can guide you through the many electric fireplace options while also answering questions about everything from style to safety. We have the most professional, courteous, and experienced staff in the business and they are ready to serve you. Whether you are looking for the perfect electric fireplace or another home furnishing, our staff can help.

Call today at 1-800 299-9470 to ask for more details or to place an order. Or you can click on our help desk feature and chat live with one of our customer service personnel. At Appliances Connection, we pride ourselves on providing an easy and pleasurable customer service experience. Check out our website then call today!
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