How to Control Your Electric Fireplace with your Smartphone
Electric Fireplace Features
If your favorite room has no fireplace and you would like the ambiance of flickering flames, consider an electric fireplace with built-in mantel such as the Dimplex model pictured above.
Or, if you have a wood-buring fireplace, consider sealing it up and installing an electric fireplace insert.
A good example of the convenience and realistic-looking electric fireplace inserts available today is the unit I installed in our home. I describe how later in this article: the Dimplex DFI2310 Electric Fireplace Deluxe 23-Inch Insert, available from Amazon.
- 1,375 watts, 4,695 Btus per hour of heat
- 11.5 amps, plugs into wall outlet
- no venting required, no gas hookup, no firewood needed
- realistic-looking LED glowing logs and flames
- operates with heat+flames or flames only.
- remote control from anywhere in room with a remote control add-on
Electric Fireplace: The Sensible Alternative
For me, a room with a fireplace offers a very special ambiance -- that sense of home, a feeling of warmth and coziness. I like to curl up in myfavorite chair with a good book and enjoy!
Many people, both renters and homeowners, have found that an electric fireplace is a sensible alternative to wood-burning fires, or propane gas fire-logs.
I have written elsewhere about the advantages of electric fireplace inserts vs. propane firelogs -- electric fireplace inserts cost less to operate, they require less maintenance and attention, and they are safer and healthier as well.
In another article I wrote about the advantages of electric fireplace inserts vs. wood-burning fires -- no ashes to clean up, no firewood to collect and cleaner air in your house.
Both wood-burning and vented propane fireplaces waste valuable heated air up your chimney.
If your favorite sitting room has no fireplace, you can create one with a combination mantel and electric fireplace. There are designs to fit every décor -- like the one shown above.
Control your electric fireplace with your smartphone
Did you know that you can control your electric fireplace using your smartphone?
Let's say it's wintertime and you've been away from home on a long trip.
You turned your thermostat down before leaving home to save energy and money on your heating bill.
You know your house will be cold when you arrive home, unless . . .
. . . someone turns the heat up before your arrive home.
You grab your smartphone, connect to your home automation controller, and adjust your thermostat back up to your comfort level.
Next you turn on your electric fireplace in your favorite room using your smartphone.
Since you will arriving home after dark, you switch on a couple of lamps with your smartphone -- one on your porch, the other in your living room.
When you arrive, your home is well lighted, warm and comfortable -- Welcome home!
You sit by the fireside and warm up from the bitter cold outside.
How does Insteon work?
The Insteon set-up described in this Hub is extremely reliable.
That's because its commands are sent over Insteon's own radio frequency AND over the powerlines in your house -- a dual band system. Responders (the devices that receive commands and respond accordingly) may be receive commands via radio (such as the Insteon adapter in a thermostat). Others responders may receive commands over powerline only. Still others such as dual-band dimmers receive commands over both
That's not all. The commands are repeated throughout your house until action is accomplished. Insteon designers call this a MESH of command signals assuring greater reliability. Of course, all of this works in the background and is invisible to you and your family.
In the words of it's engineers, "Insteon embodies the optimum combination of simplicity, affordability and reliability."
I agree. My personal experience with my Insteon set-up has been excellent.
How to set up a simple home automation system including an electric frireplace
Home automation now-a-days is affordable and easy for do-it-yourselfers. Here's how to set up a simple automation system that you can control through your iPhone. Let's assume you already have Internet service, a modem and router.in your home.
An easy way to start is with an Insteon® Starter Kit. It comes with modules that you plug into wall outlets -- a hub and two lamp dimmer modules. Also get the Insteon Remote Control Plug-in On/Off Module rated up to 18 amps. Plug the electric fireplace insert into the appliance module. Then plug the module into a convenient wall outlet.
NOTE: Check the electric current rating of your wall outlet electrical circuit and the electric fireplace unit you plan to buy. Make sure the fireplace rating is below your electrical circuit rating; and that the your fireplace rating is below the 18 amp rating for the On/Off Module.
Next, set up your Insteon Hub. Find a wall outlet near your home network router. Connect the router to the Hub using the Ethernet cable. Then plug the Hub into the wall outlet.
Add a couple of lamps to your starter system using the lamp dimmer modules that came with the starter kit. Plug the lamp cord into the lamp dimmer module, and then plug the module into a wall outlet.
Download the app for the Insteon Hub app for your Smartphone. Follow the setup instructions, After linking your modules to the Hub you are ready to go. That's it!
Grab your Smartphone and tap on the Insteon Hub app. With a few touch strokes you turn on the Insteon ON/OFF module turns on the electric fireplace.
Note: The setup described above works when a separate remote control for the fireplace has not been installed.
My personal experience
The family room in our home is a comfortable place where my wife and I relax and enjoy personal time together. An attractive stone fireplace is the focal point of the room. It was built as a wood-burning fireplace with a large wooden mantel. Several years ago we cleaned the fireplace lining and flue and sealed it up to save on our heating bills by preventing heat loss up the chimney.
In place of burning wood, we installed the Dimplex 12310 Electric Fireplace. The unit fits into the well of the stone fireplace and is an attactive focal point.
Although you can have this unit installed by a professional, I chose to install it myself and did not experience any difficulty. You can do it!
We can curl up with a good book or watch television in the cozy ambience of our clean and more energy efficient fireplace -- a comfy place to watch television mysteries which we both enjoy, a warm and inviting setting for family gatherings.
The fireplace has three modes depending room conditions -- we can set it for:
- Flames, heat and fan.. The setting presents a realistic appearance with flickering flames, glowing coals, and heat blowing gently into the room. After a short while the room is cozy warm and inviting..
- Flames and fan only. This setting presents only the appearance of the flames as described above. I use this setting when the room is already warm but I want air circulating in the room.
- Flames only. This setting shows the flames but without heat and fan. It creates the ambiance of a working firerplace when heat and air circulation are not needed.
The hand-held remote function is a separate add-on. I also installed that myself. You can avoid the extra expense and simply use your smartphone to turn the power on or off as I have described. In that event you must manually set the mode condition to one of the three (described above) that you want when you turn the power on.