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Lower your Heating and Energy Bills with the Best Electric Fireplace
Why do I want an electric fireplace?
Electric fireplaces are not only a modern, eye-catching centerpiece to your room, they help save energy, lower bills, and keep your targeted living space toasty warm.
Have you ever wanted to curl up in your favorite chair with a good book and unwind to the warming amber glow of a fire, but without the hassle and danger of a woodburning or gas fireplace? Electric is your answer! They consume very little energy and are safe to use in almost any room. The first step in adding one to your home is deciding which type best suits your space and lifestyle:
2 Styles of Electric Fireplaces
The first thing you have to decide is if you want a free-standing floor unit or a wall-hangable unit.
So the first question to ask yourself is:
Is there one particular space that I need heated or do I want to be able to move the heater from room to room?
A self contained electric fireplace means you can put it anywhere, even in the middle of the room. The main advantage to this type of unit is that with wheels you can move it around easily, from room to room as needed. Whereas a wall mounted unit is much more difficult and inconvenient to relocate.
The wall hanging electric fireplace is the best choice if you prefer the sleek, modern look of a flat-screen TV and don't plan on moving it around. Hanging these types of fireplaces require locating a wall stud and drilling into the wall for support, as they weigh too much for just a drywall anchor.
There is a 3rd type of alternative fireplace called Eco-burn or sometimes Bio-fuel. They burn a 'gel' made of bio-ethanol fuel. I'm excluding them from this article because they use an actual open-flame and for the purposes of this article we will stick to electric only.
A Popular Free Standing Fireplace
The Wall Hangable Fireplace
I decided I wanted to mount it on the wall in my bedroom like a flat-screen TV so I chose the Bionaire BFH5000-UM based on its looks and good Amazon reviews. It also has an optional base, so it can stand up on its own on a table OR be mounted on the wall like I did.
I think what I like the most about this unit is that the heat is nearly INSTANT when you turn it on. When I walk in the room and I’m freezing cold, I turn it on and stand in front of it for instant heat blasting at me, it feels great! The ‘fire’ simulation is accomplished with 2 low-wattage light bulbs, and while not extremely realistic it does give a pleasing amber glow to a dark room. The remote control is great for waking up in the morning, just reach over to the nightstand and turn the heater on! I also use the timer function, letting it run for 1-2 hours while I’m going to sleep and then it turns off automatically, like the ‘sleep’ function on a TV. Mounting the fireplace was easy, even with my very limited DIY do-it-yourself abilities. The manufacturer provides a paper template to tape to the wall, so as long as it’s level you will always drill the holes the right distance apart. Be sure to use a level and a stud-finder so you are drilling into a wooden stud, the fireplace is fairly heavy and I wouldn’t recommend a dry-wall anchor to hold it, especially since if it falls it could start a fire.
I think the only thing I do not like about the Bionaire is the “wood-crackling sounds”, it sounds more like someone is breaking into your house than wood burning, but luckily you can turn it off and as long as the unit is not unplugged it remembers your last setting and will not come on by default.