The fireplace is a classic way to add ambiance to any room. Whether you have a large or small home, your fireplace can be a beautiful focal point, warm and inviting.
If you’ve ever thought about getting rid of your gas-powered fireplace and converting it to a more pocket-friendly electrical one, then this one’s for you.
Electric fireplaces are a convenient alternative to gas and wood. They are safer for indoor use, relatively cheap to run, and efficient, offering a more straightforward, cost-efficient way to enjoy a fire. However, the flames are fake, it doesn’t heat as well, and it has limited style options.
An electric fireplace is an excellent way to make your living room come alive with the glow of an electric log fire.
Even though they have been around for a while, they have recently become increasingly popular.
Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of having one.
For more information on efficient ways to heat your home using electricity, try reading our article on the subject.
The Pros of Electrifying Your Fireplace
Electric fireplaces are the perfect solution for people who want to enjoy the look and feel of a beautiful fireplace without the hassle.
Maybe you already have a fireplace or are considering installing one in your home. Either way, you should consider the benefits of an electric fireplace.
Below are a few pros as to why you should consider one.
The Least Expensive Option
Installing a gas fireplace with no previous gas line can cost you as much as $7000.
Alternatively, if there was a prior gas line before installation, buying and fitting a gas fireplace can cost anywhere between $1000 to $3000. That’s a pretty hefty price.
Electric fireplaces do not require vents, lines, or unique connections like their gas or wood counterparts. A nearby electrical outlet is the only necessity for your electric fireplace to work efficiently.
While you may have to consider costs such as adding a new outlet, opening up the wall for a built-in feature, or other installation specifics, you should only be expecting to pay between $800 and $2000.
This makes an electric fireplace a much cheaper option.
An electric fireplace is significantly more straightforward to install than wood or gas ones.
Gas and wood fireplaces require extra features such as vents and gas lines, which significantly contribute to their costs and the space they take up.
Features such as these make for expensive designs to ensure everything is safe and looks aesthetically pleasing.
On the other hand, electric fireplaces need an outlet to plug into. If an outlet doesn’t exist, it’s simple and easy enough for an electrician to install at a minimal cost.
Additionally, this feature ensures the portability of your electric fireplace too. You can move the fireplace wherever you need it, provided an outlet is nearby.
Alternatively, if you’d prefer your fireplace to be in a fixed position (in a living room), it can be easily recessed into the wall.
While this will require someone with expertise, once a recess is formed in the wall, installing the fireplace is straightforward and only takes a few minutes.
A gas fireplace requires a professional to install it to ensure everything is done safely and according to code. The convenience and simplicity of electric fireplaces eliminate this requirement.
If a homeowner knows what they are doing and wants to mount the fireplace or install an outlet, the installation job can be done without a professional. Although, for most of us, it makes sense to bring in a qualified contractor.
Little to No Maintenance
While gas fires are more low maintenance than wood fireplaces, there is still some general upkeep that any homeowner must consider.
This upkeep is to be conducted yearly to ensure everything, such as vents and valves, are in working order.
Electric fireplaces are a complete contrast to this. They use electricity as their power source, do not require features such as vents or gas lines, and do not create any mess.
Therefore, they require little to no regular maintenance.
You won’t have to worry about how much gas you have left or paying for gas refills while using an electric fireplace.
It simply uses the electricity supplied to your home, and if you’re using solar power or alternate means of efficient energy, this comes at little to no extra cost.
Small Safety Concerns
Safety is one thing that should never be overlooked when it comes to fireplaces.
A fireplace might provide a welcoming feature in your living room and a much-needed heat source for your house, but it can also be a significant safety risk. Heating is one of the most common fire hazards.
Electric fireplaces are an intelligent alternative to an open flame. They’re safer because they don’t emit toxic fumes or carbon monoxide and can give off a more pleasant ambiance with their state-of-the-art LED lighting effects.
If you want to take your fireplace look even further, beautifully designed electric inserts are available that fit into your existing fireplace and can be easily installed by your local handyman or contractor.
While gas fireplaces are considered safer than open flame wood burning designs, they still have the potential to become super-hot very quickly.
However, the most concerning safety issue would be a gas leak.
A gas fireplace can leak if it has not been appropriately maintained, resulting in health risks and potentially significant fire hazards for you and your family.
Electric fireplaces do not create an open flame and typically operate at lower temperatures than gas ones, making them less of a safety concern.
However, there are still potential hazards, such as an electrical fire. That said, modern electric models have shut-off features in case overheating occurs.
With the option of an electric fireplace available at a much lower cost than traditional and gas fireplaces, why wouldn’t you choose one of these as opposed to a less safe, less convenient alternative?
If you have children or pets, thinking carefully about the potential dangers of fireplaces and how best to mitigate these is vital.
Even though gas fireplaces are more energy efficient and convert 90% of their energy to heat, they are often far more expensive to run than electric ones. Costs associated with purchasing or refilling gas bottles are the culprit here.
Homeowners with electric fireplaces rely on electricity that their local utility company provides. This form of energy is much cheaper yearly than refilling gas.
It is estimated that a gas fireplace will cost as much as $350 a year to run, whereas an electrical one only costs as little as $100.
Therefore, when looking at the overheads, an electric fireplace will be the cheapest option to purchase, install, and run.
The Cons of Electrifying Your Fireplace
There are a lot of great reasons to consider electrifying your fireplace.
It could be for the money you save on heating bills, or perhaps you just like the convenient aesthetic, but like all things in life, there are some drawbacks, too.
Electric Fireplaces Don’t Heat As Well as Gas
The winter season brings a variety of cold-weather phenomena, from frosty mornings and snow-covered roads to the unavoidable chill of your living room.
The heat produced by a gas fireplace fills the room quickly. And while electric and gas fireplaces create heat immediately, gas is more efficient in rapidly heating a room, thanks to its higher output.
Electric fireplaces have the advantage of being low-maintenance, easy to install, and easy to use.
They can also be cheaper than their gas counterparts, but the way they work means their flames will never be as natural or as warm as those from a gas fireplace.
Electric fans circulate the heat and light from their “flames.” However, they don’t generate as much heat as a gas fireplace.
So if you want to feel like your house is a nice cozy space, it might take more than just plugging in an electric fireplace to get there.
Artificial Production of Flames
Gas and electric fireplaces cannot compete with wood when looking for that rustic, natural, ambient feeling you get from an open flame.
Despite this, gas fireplaces have a real flame and a slightly more realistic look than their electric counterparts.
While gas fireplaces produce a flame that you can see and immediately feel warmth, electric ones do not. An electric fireplace has heat, but its flame is entirely artificial.
Electric fireplaces produce artificial flames designed to give the impression of a burning fire without the potential danger and ongoing hassle of dealing with burnt ashes, smoke, and soot.
Some electric fireplaces can be controlled by remote control and can cycle through different settings and effects, such as logs burning in a fireplace or embers floating up from a campfire.
They project an image of a burning log to simulate the look of a fireplace. Some more modern models (depending on how much you’re willing to spend) will have excellent quality-looking designs that look very real. However, cheaper models are likely to look more fake.
Various designs will have LED lights to simulate wood burning and other features to make the design look more authentic, such as sounds that replicate wood cracking in a fire.
In many cases, electric fireplaces are designed to look like their real-life counterparts and can be placed in rooms where a fully functional fireplace would not fit.
However, it’s just not the same, and this artificial look will not suit what many homeowners are looking for. It’s challenging to beat the warmth and ambiance that an authentic flame adds to a room.
Detrimental to the Environment
Suppose you’re considering an electric fireplace to save energy and reduce your carbon footprint. In that case, you may be astonished to find out that they aren’t as environmentally friendly as you might think.
While electric fireplaces use less energy than gas ones, gas converts almost all its energy into heat.
However, gas fireplaces release a small number of harmful gasses, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), into the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming.
Depending on how your electricity is generated, an electric fireplace might also have a global warming impact, but obtaining your electricity from renewable sources can offset this.
While only a few homeowners can say they are “off the grid,” many still rely on sources of power like nuclear, coal, and oil that, when burned, are toxic to our planet and atmosphere.
The non-renewable resources used to electrify your home and, more importantly, your fireplace are likely to release more harmful gasses into our atmosphere than gas used to heat a household.
It takes an enormous amount of fossil fuel or nuclear energy to create electricity, more than it does to create natural gas that is burned directly in a fireplace.
This means a higher environmental cost is associated with using an electric fireplace than with a gas one, even if both are used over the same amount of time.
If you’re looking for a course of action to decrease your environmental impact, consider using an older-style fireplace that uses natural gas instead.
While a natural gas fireplace is still not as efficient as other heating methods, it’s often better than using an electric fireplace to reduce your carbon footprint.
The exception is if you are completely off-grid and get your electricity from renewable generation, such as solar or wind turbines.
Another way to achieve the same is by buying your electricity from a company that offers green energy tariffs sourced from renewable generation.
Limited Style Options
If you’re considering getting an electric fireplace, it’s essential to know that they are often more limited in style options than their gas counterparts.
Gas fireplaces often have a much more comprehensive range of styles and designs, making it easier to find the one that suits your taste, home decor, and budget.
Electric fireplaces offer a few different options regarding the style of the flames, but the effect will almost always be pretty much the same. The differences are more in terms of how realistic they look and less in how they match a room’s decor.
Enjoying a fireplace is a luxury that we often associate with wood or coal and lots of work.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way. An electric fireplace can achieve many of the same benefits without much of the work.
Some people may still be put off by the lack of realism in electric fireplaces and prefer the more realistic look of a gas model.
Others might find having an electric fireplace is more convenient and easier on their wallets.
Sure, you can electrify your fireplace and eliminate those worries, but there’s plenty more to consider before deciding.
An important step in ensuring your home is warm and cozy is upgrading its insulation. We’ve put together lots of useful articles over the last while, which you can browse here.