Electric fireplaces are more popular than ever. They can be installed anywhere in your home. But can you count on them for much heat? If your expectations for an electric fireplace are to heat a 2000 - 3000 square foot home, you may want to keep reading.
Electric fireplaces, and all electric heaters for that matter, are considered to be 100% efficient. Venting is not necessary since there is no natural or LP gas being used. That means no heat being lost out a vent pipe and no fumes or by-products from combustion.
A heating element or coil is warmed by electricity. Heat moves from the element into the room. There are some electric fireplaces that use infrared technology that directly heat the objects in the room.
Electric fireplaces typically operate on 120 volts of electricity. That’s the voltage in a standard wall outlet. Electric heating elements supply 1500 watts of power on high and 750 on low. Since one watt equals 3.41 BTU/hour, heat output on most electrics will be about 5000 BTU’s/hour. 5000 BTU’s/hour is enough heat to make a 300 or 400 square foot room comfortable . . . . or, less space in a cold climate with poor insulation. [LINK: BTU Calculator]
You’ll feel the heat from an electric fireplace within a zone of 10 – 15 feet from the unit. But if it’s a great room you’re attempting to heat exclusively with an electric fireplace, you may be a bit disappointed. Think of electrics more as supplemental heaters. If it’s primary heat in a 1000 or 1500 square foot great room or a whole house heater you’re after, think gas or wood instead of an electric fireplace.
That being said, there are loads of advantages with an electric fireplace. Probably the biggest plus is the versatility and the ease of installation. Since there’s no vent pipe or chimney pipe to deal with, an electric fireplace can literally be installed anywhere in your home. They can be hung on a wall or recessed into a wall. Bedrooms, bathrooms, hallways, open stairways, foyers, dining rooms are all great locations for an electric unit.
Use an electric fireplace year ‘round! Just turn off the heating element and enjoy the light show! Many customers think the blue lights and sparkling diamond chips give a subliminal cooling effect in warmer temperatures!
The lighting and mirror effects of today’s electric fireplaces will astound you! The glistening fire glass can be adjusted to several colors. The intensity of the dancing flames can reflect your mood! Pebbles, logs, colored and clear fire glass, rocks and glowing embers are options for the “media” in the fireplace. If you haven’t seen today’s electrics, you’re going to be astonished!
Maintenance on electric fireplaces is almost insignificant. There’s no ash or soot clean up. Properly installed, about the only thing you need to keep an eye on is to make sure the glass is clean.
Electric fireplaces are energy efficient. Since no venting is required, no heat is being lost through any pipes. Efficiency of electric heating elements; 100%. They’re economical to operate too. More on that in a minute.
Electric fireplaces today operate with a multi-function remote control. The remote adjusts the lighting effects and flame patterns, turns the heat on or off, adjusts the color combinations and can even maintain the room temperature. The good news regarding electric fireplace remotes: they’re much easier to use than your TV or satellite remote!
In terms of pricing, most quality electric fireplaces will range in price from $500 on the lower end to $3500 on the higher end. The size and shape of the fireplace and media options mentioned above, will affect the final cost.
So all this sounds great, right? But what about the negatives of an electric unit? Only a couple come to mind. The first we’ve already mentioned, limited heat output. Think supplemental instead of main heat. Although during many conditions during the colder months, there may be times where a little supplemental heat is all that’s necessary to help zone heat those areas you spend the majority of your time in.
Secondly, without power, you’re out of business with an electric fireplace.
WHAT ABOUT OPERATING COSTS?
We’ve heard for a long time that heating with electricity can be expensive. Heating with it can, but supplemental heating with an electric fireplace is not particularly pricey.
Obviously, this cost can vary a lot from region to region and depends on the electric rates in your area. Check last month’s bill to get a sense of your current electric rate.
If an electric fireplace is on for 12 hours a day, this chart should give you an idea of the approximate cost at different electric rates. For this example, we’ve assumed 1525 watts with the heating element on and 25 watts with the heating element off.
.04ȼ/per KWH.08ȼ/per KWH.12ȼ/per KWH
|With heat on:
|.75ȼ per day
|$1.50 per day
|$2.25 per day
|With heat off:
|.01ȼ per day
|.02ȼ per day
|.03ȼ per day
Or, extrapolate between the cost per KWH or the length of time the fireplace is on each day. For instance, if you’re using your electric fireplace 6 hours/day and your electric rate is about 10ȼ/KWH, you’d be spending approximately $.93 per day to operate the unit.
SO, DOES AN ELECTRIC FIREPLACE PROVIDE HEAT?
You bet it does! Regardless of where you live in the USA or Canada, you can set the mood for any occasion, any time of the year with an electric fireplace. Just remember to have the right expectations . . . . and we guarantee you’ll love your new electric fireplace!
Come see your nearby WE LOVE FIRE dealer and be prepared to be amazed!