Can electric fireplaces be used outdoors?
Yes, electric fireplaces may be used outdoors IF they are tested and rated for outdoor installation. An outdoor electric fireplace will be subjected to more dust and moisture than an indoor fireplace. In northern locations, they will also be subjected to extreme temperature fluctuations. For that reason, not just any electric fireplace may be installed outdoors. Electric fireplaces must be tested for safety under installation conditions for which they were intended. If the manufacturer has specified that their electric fireplaces may be used outdoors, then those units will be tested for safety in outdoor installations, following the installation instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Installing an outdoor electric fireplace
Generally speaking, if an electric fireplace is manufactured and tested for safe outdoor use, the front glass will be slightly recessed, often by tilting it back towards the top of the opening, so that air and heat vents are tucked up above the glass, and are not exposed on the front of the viewing area. Additionally, there will be specific instructions for further protecting an outdoor electric fireplace from the elements in outdoor settings. Most installation instructions for outdoor electric fireplaces will call for an overhanging structure above the front of the fireplace. This could be the roof of a covered porch or an extended overhang above an exterior wall. This is intended to prevent water from dropping directly onto the top and front of the fireplace. There is no requirement for a fireplace cover, but there’s no harm in covering the front of the fireplace in the off season, if you aren’t using it. Like patio furniture, it will ensure that there is less to clean when the nicer weather returns. Pro Tip: Because an outdoor electric fireplace will be exposed to more airborne dust and pollen than an indoor fireplace, you will need to remove the front glass and clean the interior of the fireplace more frequently, to keep it sparkling.
What is the best outdoor electric fireplace?
There are currently two manufacturers who are making electric fireplaces that can be used outdoors: Amantii and Modern Flames. Amantii has been a front-runner in this category, testing and rating the majority of their electric fireplaces for indoor and outdoor use. Their outdoor electric fireplace styles range from traditional to linear, including 3-sided, in depths from 4 to 14 inches. Modern Flames has recently begun testing and rating their ‘Pro’ series for indoor and outdoor use. This encompasses three models ranging in style from traditional to linear, single-sided and multi-sided, with depths from 6-inches to 13-inches.
Which outdoor spaces require an outdoor electric fireplace?
We sometimes encounter a bit of confusion about when to use an outdoor electric fireplace. A patio or pergola, where there are no walls to enclose the space, is definitely an outdoor space. A covered, screened porch is also an outdoor space, as the screens will not block dust and moisture from invading the space. Any space that is open to the elements during any part of the year should have an outdoor electric fireplace. This might include a pool house or gazebo, for example.
What are the benefits of installing an outdoor electric fireplace?
For all of the same reasons that we love electric fireplaces indoors, they are ideal for outdoors, as well.
All electric fireplaces have built-in heaters with blowers, to take the chill off when you need supplemental heat. However, unlike gas fireplaces, electric fireplaces may be operated with or without heat. That means that on the hottest days of Summer, you can have electric flames on, without running the heater. Or, imagine a humid, rainy day, when you want a bit of ambiance, but do not want heat – you can do that with an outdoor electric fireplace.
Electric fireplaces generally have some sort of LED accent lighting, where you can either change the flame colour or add coloured lights to the ember bed. On warm days, when you want ambiance but you don’t want to feel hot, you could add blue or green accents to the fireplace, for a cooling effect.
An outdoor electric fireplace has no combustion inside – flames are created with LED lights and illusion. This makes them perfectly safe. The glass will not get hot and there is no risk of carbon monoxide leakage.
An outdoor electric fireplace is not vented, because there is nothing burning inside. There is also no need for a gas line. All you need to install an electric fireplace outdoors is access to an electrical line. All electric fireplaces connect to 120 volts; there are also dual-voltage models that may also be connected to 240 volts, if you want more power for the heater. These should be dedicated circuits, with only the fireplace connected to that breaker.
Bonus: Because there is no combustion, and fossil fuels are not being burned, an outdoor electric fireplace produces zero carbon emissions. Gas fireplaces are contributing to climate change through carbon emissions, so making the choice to go electric with your outdoor fireplace is a win for the environment.
Stylish Fireplaces knows that adding a fireplace to your home can be challenging. With an electric fireplace and their NFI Certified Hearth Design Specialists, it’s easy to create a space you’ll love to share with family and friends. Check out all the options and connect with their experts for help to find the perfect electric fireplace for you. You’ll live stylishly ever after.