Will an electric fireplace heat a room?

One of the most frequent questions we hear in our showroom is “Will an electric fireplace heat a room?”  There is a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation around the heat output on electric fireplaces, so let’s clear that up.

Will an electric fireplace heat a room?  Yes!  All electric fireplaces operate on 120 volts, and some will also operate on 240 volts. On 120 volts, an electric fireplace will heat up to 400 square feet. Some manufacturers claim that their units will heat up to 1000 square feet on 120 volts, but we feel this is a bit misleading. If you leave any electric fireplace heater running long enough, it will heat up more than 400 square feet. However, most of us want to know how much space we can heat up in a short amount of time, so we will stick with 400 square feet. If an electric fireplace can connect to 240 volts, then the heat output almost doubles, and we can comfortably say that it can heat up to 800 square feet.

Dimplex Ignite XLF60
Dimplex XLF60 can operate on 120 volts or 240 volts, and has both an Eco and Heat-Boost setting.

Having said all of that, not all heaters on electric fireplaces are created equal.  Rather than asking “Will an electric fireplace heat a room?” we should be asking “How well will an electric fireplace heat a room?”  If heat is a primary reason for buying an electric fireplace, then you should look for a unit with a thermostat, so you can set the heat output to a specific temperature. This way, when the room gets up to temperature, the heater will turn off, just like on your furnace. This will avoid overheating the room, and wasting power.

There are also electric fireplaces with heaters that have an ‘Eco’ feature, which means ‘Economical’ or ‘Ecology-friendly’. This will reduce the fan speed and heat output, to reduce energy usage. The added benefit is that it makes the fan quieter when you are watching TV!  Other electric fireplaces also have a ‘Heat Boost’ feature, which provides a timed blast of extra heat, to bring a cold room up to temperature faster. This is perfect for those basement rooms when you’ve forgotten to go and turn the fireplace on a few minutes before you want to use the room.

Here are a few more nifty features you should be aware of when asking “Will an electric fireplace heat a room?”

  • The heaters on electric fireplaces have blowers, to push the heat out into the room.
  • The heat on an electric fireplace will not have detrimental effects on a TV mounted on the wall above, as long as the heat vent is on the front or bottom of the fireplace. If the heat vent is on the TOP of the fireplace, then it should not be positioned below the TV! This type of fireplace should also NOT be mounted inside the wall.
  • The front glass on an electric fireplace will not get hot, even when the heater is on. This is because the heat is not being generated by the flames behind the glass – those are just light effects made to look like flames.
  • The beauty of an electric fireplace is that the flames will continue to show even with the heater turned off.

Stylish Fireplaces & Interiors specializes in electric fireplaces and custom designs. They have over 50 units on display in their all-electric showroom in the Toronto area. Their staff have the expertise to advise on design and installation, and they carry all of the finishing materials to complete the project.

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