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An Introduction to Electric Fireplace Inserts

Updated on August 21, 2010

Many of us have traditional fireplaces in our homes that we barely use for a variety of reasons. It can be difficult and time consuming to start the fire every time they're used. Cleaning up the soot and ashes from a fireplace is a pain. It can feel like all that effort is poorly rewarded by how little heat is emitted. It can ruin the experience of being next to an open fire.

Maybe There's Another Way

A modern solution is to insert an electric heater into the fireplace that mimics the fireplaces of old, while providing an efficient modern heating solution. Electric fireplace inserts create a flickering flame effect that simulates an actual fire, but possesses none of the dangers of an open flame. Don't think the artificial effect doesn't create heat. Most electric fireplace inserts out put between 4,200 to 5,000 BTU's of heat. Enough to easily heat a 400 square foot room. Finally, they require only a simple three prong 110v outlet to power them.

How Do You Install Them?

Luckily it's easy to install electric fireplace inserts in preexisting fireplaces if you do the following.

1. Remove any fireplace grates that may be in the fireplace.

2. Clean out the fireplace of any ash, soot, or charcoal left from previous burnings.

3. Measure the dimensions of your fireplace.

4. Buy a fireplace insert that fits your fireplace.

5. Simply place the insert into your fireplace.

6. Plug into a nearby electric outlet.

Where installing electronic fireplace inserts can become expensive and complicated is putting an electric outlet into the fireplace itself. Many people dislike the aesthetic of a cord sneaking out of their fireplace into a nearby outlet. One can be installed into your chimney, but it will require both an electrician and a mason to do the work.

Electric fireplace inserts can be a cheap and convenient alternative to a traditional fireplace. They are easy to install and leave no mess. In addition they are clean burning and require no venting.


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      ElectricFireplace 7 years ago from Florence, AL

      I never realized that I can get good use out of my traditional fireplace with an electrical fireplace insert; I haven’t used my fireplace in years. The last time I used it, it took so long to build a fire. This is a really great way to get a fire – and get it efficiently. I don’t have to worry about an open flame, and I stay comfortable and warm. Thanks for these great tips.