It’s only natural that consumers and home owners compare electric fireplaces to their gas and wood-burning counterparts. After all, those fireplace alternatives have been around longer than electric fireplaces. However, there are some big differences between electric and other types of fireplaces, and that leads to some common ‘electric fireplace mistakes’ that we hear about in our Toronto-area showroom every week.
Electric Fireplace Mistakes: #1
Turning off the fireplace in warm weather. ‘Oh, I’m only going to have it on when it’s cold’ — we hear this all the time! That’s outdated thinking that assumes that all fireplaces produce heat all the time. With electric fireplaces, you always have the option to have flames without heat. Even better, many of today’s electric fireplace models have multiple colour options in the flames, so you can chill out with blue flames on a hot day, or cozy up to orange flames in the dead of winter. Most people think of fireplaces as a winter feature, but summer is the busiest season in our showroom.
Electric Fireplace Mistakes: #2
A fireplace that’s too small for your room or your wall. Traditionally, fireplaces had boxy, square openings and were designed as a heat source rather than a design feature. Gas fireplaces come in lots of sizes and shapes, but they are a bit like icebergs in that there is a lot more bulk behind the wall than you can see in the room. Large gas fireplaces are out of reach for the average homeowner, due to both space and cost limitations, as well as concerns about overheating. For these reasons, we’ve been trained by traditional hearth dealers to choose smaller fireplaces. With electric fireplaces, what you see is what you get — there’s very little bulk inside the wall. Also, the amount of heat produced in an electric fireplace does not relate to the size of the unit. A 12-foot long unit will produce the same heat as a 3-foot model. This means that you can get the size that’s right for your space, without blowing the budget or overheating.
Electric Fireplace Mistakes: #3
Assuming all electric fireplaces can be flush with the wall. We see this everywhere we travel, in restaurants and hotel lobbies — electric fireplaces that are designed to be ON the wall surface are inset INTO the wall. Usually, when we see this, the fireplace isn’t working. That’s because it has overheated from being installed incorrectly. If the fireplace is to go into the wall, the heat must vent from the front of the unit. Some units may be partially inset into the wall, with the heat vent at the bottom or top. However, the least expensive electric fireplaces are those that are NOT designed to be inside the wall, with or without the heater, and not-so-clever consumers think they can install it in the wall anyway. Luckily, most units stop working before they can create a fire hazard, but an incorrect installation voids the warranty and is a waste of money.
For help in selecting the correct fireplace for your needs, call the experts at Stylish Fireplaces & Interiors. They specialize in electric fireplaces and won’t try to talk you into more — or less — fireplace than you need. They also have the products and design expertise to help you complete your project. You can visit them in their GTA showroom or online.