We get a lot of questions about the heating capabilities of electric fireplaces. Some people don’t realize that electric fireplaces have heaters at all. Others aren’t sure how much heat they will get from an electric fireplace. The good news is that electric fireplaces are very flexible when it comes to heating, more flexible than either gas or wood fireplaces. So, can electric fireplaces heat 1000 square feet? Here’s what you need to know.

Can electric fireplaces heat 1000 square feet on a regular household outlet?

The maximum heat output, for an electric fireplace that’s connected to a regular 120 volt electrical line, is around 5000 BTU’s. We normally equate that heat output to be enough to take the chill off a 400 square foot area.

Electrical note: In order to get this heat output, without tripping the circuit breaker, the electrical connection needs to go straight to the panel. This is what is known as a ‘dedicated line’. That means that nothing else is connected to that circuit breaker. A dedicated line is not the same as a separate outlet on the wall. There are normally several of these outlets connected to a single breaker on your electrical panel.

Can electric fireplaces heat 1000 square feet on a 240 volt connection?

There are some electric fireplaces that are called ‘dual voltage’, which means that they can connect to both 120 volts and 240 volts. When connected to 240 volts, the heat output of an electric fireplace increases by about 60 percent, to about 8000 BTUs. That doesn’t quite equate to 1000 square feet, but it’s much closer than an electric fireplace on a regular 120 volt connection. With a powerful blower and ideal conditions, you may find that these electric fireplaces heat 1000 square feet.

Electrical note:  A 240 volt connection will always be a direct-wire, not a plug-in. That’s why some of the dual-voltage units don’t come standard with a plug.

dimplex RBF36P fireplace insert
Dimplex RBF36P dual-voltage electric fireplace

Why do some manufacturers claim that their electric fireplaces heat 1000 square feet?

Not all electric fireplace heaters are created equal. We would suggest that an electric fireplace with a powerful heater and blower may eventually heat up a 1000 square foot area, under ideal conditions, but not likely in a reasonable time frame. If there’s an exterior door opening frequently, or drafts of any kind, or vaulted ceilings, you’re not likely to get the warmth you’d like from an electric fireplace in an open space larger than 400 – 800 square feet.  It’s best to take these claims with a grain of salt.

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