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Pros and Cons of Electric Fireplaces with Mentions of Top Brands
Brief History of the Fireplace
From its popularity in the Victorian era (1837-1901) to the present, the fireplace continues to evolve. It is mainly due to changes in home design and technology. We now have the choice of wood, natural gas, biofuels, and electricity to ignite the home or office heating system. We can even sit back and light it, depending on energy source, by remote control.
The focus of this article is on electric fireplaces. Today they look so realistic; it is tough to distinguish them from the traditional ones. They are designed to fit any area of any room in your home be that apartment or house, and they produce the same amount of warmth as wood and gas-heated fireplaces. The website http://www.fireplaces-fireplaces.com reports that there are electric fireplaces producing as much as 10,000 BTUs of energy. But as with everything else, there are pros and cons to these heating systems. Thankfully, regardless of brand, the pros outweigh the cons.
Electric Fireplace Pros
When compared with other methods of home or office heating, electric fireplaces are the safest. Here is why:
- The flames are not real.
- There are no flying embers or errant log roll out.
- There are no exposed hot surfaces to cause accidental burns, especially of small children and/ or pets. Materials are usually cool to the touch.
- Materials are usually fire-retardant.
- Many hearths have built-in protective doors and finger guards.
- There is no buildup of carbon monoxide or other lethal gases.
- No buildup of sulfur and nitrogen oxides, formaldehyde or other toxins to cause or aggravate respiratory issues such as wheezing, asthma, or bronchitis.
- There is no harmful mold growth in pipes or ducts (there are no pipes or ducts).
- There are no disgusting oil odors.
- No chimneys requiring open doors and/ or windows to prevent creosote (flammable tar) buildup, which can lead to fires.
- No experts or specialists required for maintenance.
- Most brands of electric fireplaces are CSA certified (They were tested by Canadian Standard Association, a nonprofit organization, and met the electrical industry requirements of both the United States and Canada). This certification is no required by law.
- Electric fireplaces leave a much smaller carbon footprint because no harmful gases and toxins are released into the environment.
- Most manufacturers claim that their electric fireplaces are 100% efficient.
- Once you collect measurements of the room and area of installment as well as the outlet voltage, you can purchase the appropriate size, style, and wattage that will provide ultimate warmth.
- With coils producing heat via electricity, and fans or blowers distributing the warmth, all energy is fully used. None is wasted.
- In many models there are built-in heat output and automatic temperature controls.
- They ignite quickly.
- They are reliable.
- Unlike gas or wood-heated fireplaces, you can easily replace the parts of electric fireplaces.
-They come in various sizes, materials, styles, colors, and wattage.
- They are versatile and can fit any area of any room in any style or size home. There are wall-mount electric fireplaces, free-standing electric fireplaces, electric fireplaces with mantels, and ones that fit in spaces already built-in.
- Most of them are so simple and easy to install, you can do it yourself, unless you purchase one that will require you to modify the installation area.
- They take up little space.
- They are portable and can be stowed away when no in use as during the summer.
- You don’t have to collect and store logs/ wood.
- With the touch of a button they can be turned on or off, so you don’t have to work to ignite a fire or wait around for it to go out completely.
- There are no vents, ducts or flue blockage to worry about.
- Some electric fireplaces have digitally-controlled temperature, and LED function on-screen indicators.
- Most come with a multi-function remote control accessory that changes your fire intensity, height, heat output, and cabinet lighting.
- There is no messy ash and soot to clean up. Dust can be removed with a simple, damp, soft cloth or vacuum cleaner.
- You can find an electric fireplace to fit just about any budget. Some cost as little as $200.00 and even less on a good sales day.
- Replacement parts are also less expensive than parts in gas or wood-heated fireplaces.
- No expensive home modifications are required as with a full, built-in, wood fireplace with chimney, etc.
- Your overall monthly heating expense could be cheaper.
- There will be no extra medical bills for accidental injuries due to heat or fire.
Electric Fireplaces Cons
- You could blow a fuse or circuit if your outlet is overloaded.
- You might need to use a surge protector.
- If the model or brand your purchase has the firebox or blower low to the ground, you will have to install it away from carpet, drapes, or flammable material.
- If the fireplace cabinet is not sturdy, it could fall over.
-Winter storms can create power outages, which can stop your electric fireplace from working.
- You are totally dependent on an electric grid to heat your home.
- Some customers find certain brands or models difficult to install without help.
- Some handheld remote controls are not multi-function. They only have on/ off switches.
- High-end electric fireplaces can cost thousands.
- Depending on size or style of fireplace you want to purchase and room you want to install it in, you may have to make modifications.
Some Top Brands of Electric Fireplaces
Three of the top or leading manufacturers of electric fireplaces are Heat & Glo, Dimplex, and Monessen (Majestic).
Heat & Glo’s Simplifire Wall-Mounts, Built-in Series, and Cabinets come in traditional and contemporary styles. They have a choice of two viewing area sizes; four different flame heights or intensities; quick, versatile installation in any room; 4,800 BTUs; are 100% efficient; CSA certified; one-year warranty; multi-function remote control. The Wall-Mounts have LED lighting and a starting cost of $579.00. The Built-in Series start at $649.00, and the Cabinets at $549.00. Check with off and online retailers for sales and the best prices.
Dimplex is known for creating and manufacturing the first electric “wood-burning flame effect” fireplace in 1995. They offer Wall-Mounts, Mantels, and Media Consoles supporting up to 150 pounds. Installation is versatile, easy, and do-it-yourself though some customers find that difficult; flame and heater work separately; flame is adjustable, thermostatically-controlled, and under 300 watts; they provide full, even warmth; are CSA certified; have one- to ten-year warranties, depending on type and amenities you purchase; the remote control only has an on/ off switch.
The company says if you use the heat with the flame, you are using 1,500 watts, so your electric energy cost will be about $0.8 cents an hour (just flame will cost you about $0.3 cents an hour). Cost for Wall-Mounts begins at $ 319.00; for Mantels, it is $899.00, and for Media Consoles, it is $599.00. You must purchase Dimplex fireplaces from a dealer. Be sure it is a reputable one.
Monessen Allura-Fire, also called Majestic Allura-Fire since Monessen purchased the Majestic Company in 2008, offers quick, easy, and versatile installation; two viewing area sizes; wattages between 1,500 and 3,000, depending on model; adjustable flame, ember, heater, blower, and backlight controls; a concealed control panel and a multi-function remote control; cool to the touch glass panel door; automatic back-up battery; CSA certified; one-year warranty. The company says you can save as much as $200.00 in annual fuel costs. Starting cost is $700.00. Again, check with off and online retailers for the best prices.
Other top brands of electric fireplaces you may want to research: Burley, Sears, Amish, and, Charmglow.