How Green Are Electric Fireplaces? Their Impact and 5 Recommendations
Christmas is near and this time of year makes us get together around the fireplaces with family or spouses for toe-warming respites. In an increasingly eco-friendly society, the typical masonry model is not only the least efficient, but also an insensitive heating source. Federal agencies that protect the environment and regulate energy encourage people to try electric fireplaces instead. But how green are they really and should we be worried about their environmental impact?
Do Electric Fireplaces Really Work?
Electric fireplaces have come a long way. The flames, logs, and embers of today’s models are much more realistic than those featured by the 1970s’ tacky electric fireplaces. As a reminder, the electric fireplace generates artificial flames as well as heat, offering a great visual appeal to the room it is in.
As far as the costs are concerned, these heating units are usually less expensive and their operation requires fewer funds than other supplemental heating sources. Electric fireplaces are not just easy to install, but there’s no need for a special venting or chimney.
These hassle-free units can be placed anywhere in a room; all they need is to be within reach of a standard electrical outlet. Even though they are portable in theory, not many people move them from room to room. But do they really work? It all depends on the brand.
Indeed, some of the manufacturers make unrealistic claims that may be called into question, but the most trusted brands deliver what they promise. If you’re thinking about converting your classic fireplace into an electric one, make sure you choose the best rated ones (Underwriters Laboratories verify and certify the safety and performance of electric fireplaces).
Electric Fireplaces: Expectations vs. Reality
Some people will tell you that electric fireplaces are of no use because they don’t heat they entire house. However, that claim ignores the intended purpose of these supplemental heating units. As zone heaters, electric fireplaces can heat only a specific area of the home and they’re not designed to replace central heating and cooling systems.
As a comparison, think of the expectations you have of a traditional wood or gas fireplace. It won’t heat your entire house, but that doesn’t mean it fails to do its job. Then why would anyone expect an electric fireplace to do what a traditional one couldn’t? Electric fireplaces will supplement the central heating sources of your home.
Reasons to Choose an Electric Fireplace
Making your home more energy efficient is one of the easiest ways to live a greener lifestyle. Choosing an eco-friendly fireplace can be quite a debate, but there are some reasons that might persuade you to make the conversion.
- Electric fireplaces reduce your carbon footprint. Wood fireplaces are bad for the environment because they require trees to be destroyed. They also release a large amount of carbon dioxide that contributes to the greenhouse effect. Instead, electric fireplace ember beds and logs produce less CO2, don’t require wood, and also look like the real.
- Electric fireplaces keep the heat where you need it. With many traditional heating sources, the entire house gets warmed, regardless of the room usage. Not with electric fireplaces, though. They enable zone heating, which means you warm only the rooms you are using. Electric fireplaces manage to significantly reduce energy waste, seeing that they heat a room up to 20 feet by 20 feet without your turning up the central thermostat.
- They save you money on energy costs. If you buy a trusted brand, you can expect realistic, patented flame technology for merely 3 cents an hour, as well as flames with heat for about 8 to 12 cents an hour. If you do the math, gas or wood fireplaces operate at much higher costs.
Electric Fireplace Perks
There are many reasons why electric fireplaces have become so popular in the past few years. A lot of homeowners are beyond happy with the results, so here are some of the main benefits that might convince you to convert to an electric fireplace:
- They do not require a vent; since you don’t need a chimney, they are great for apartments and condos.
- Reduce your heating bill by at least 20-40%.
- Forget about chopping fire wood.
- Zero smoke inside the house; some models even filter the air instead.
- Extremely easy to clean up.
- No need to get the fire going as you can enjoy instant heat.
- Lowest installation and operation cost when compared to gas and wood fireplaces.
Here are our top 5 recommendations of electric fireplaces.
1. Touchstone 50-inch Onyx Electric Fireplace
The ideal fireplace for your home décor, this electric fireplace is easily mounted on the wall of your bedroom, living room, office, or basement. Touchstone is a versatile fireplace which offers two levels of heating and flames in 5 different brightness levels. It comes with a remote control and a built-in timer that allows you to limit your heat setting selection between 30 minutes and 8 hours.
2. Dimplex Compact Electric Stove
One of the most sought-after units at the moment, the Dimplex offers an upgraded contemporary charm in an electric stove. It’s a free-standing unit with a matte black finish that clearly stands out. The technology for a realistic-looking 3D fire is the result of the fan-forced electric heater. It is ready to warm your room straight out of the box—just plug it into a 120-Volt outlet.
3. Duraflame Large Stove Heater
The amazing performance is the first thing you’ll notice about the Duraflame fireplace. It’s also very easy to use; even though it’s one of the bigger offers on the list, it manages to remain compact enough to fit into smaller rooms. The electric stove comes with a remote control and features multi-function options, such as flames only or flames and heat.
4. SEI Cartwright Convertible Electric Fireplace
This stand-alone console electric fireplace requires no chimney and can be placed against a flat wall or in a corner. Thanks to the lack of combustion, the glass front is always cool to the touch. The unit comes with a remote control comes that control adjusts the ember, thermostat and flame brightness levels. You can operate your fireplace with just flames or heat also, depending on your mood and the season.
5. Moda Flame Houston Electric Wall-Mounted Fireplace
As a first-class fireplace, this Houston model features some brilliant flames. The glass front complements the contemporary black or white metal frame. The unit has three heat settings (low, high, and no heat with flame only), brightness control, and a noiseless fan. This electric fireplace requires no ethanol, gas, chimney, gel cans, or vent to work—just plug it in.