If you have a covered porch, balcony, gazebo or backyard deck, you may have considered adding a fireplace to extend your outdoor season. If you have, then you may have wondered ‘Can an electric fireplace be used outdoors?’ The answer is ‘Yes!’ But you have to purchase an electric fireplace that’s tested and approved for outdoor use.
Advantages of electric fireplaces for outdoor use:
- Flames operate independently of the heater. This means that you can use the fireplace year-round, for ambience in any weather, even on the hottest days. With other types of fireplaces, like gas or wood-burning, flames = heat, so you can’t use these fireplaces on hot days or nights.
- The glass never gets hot, even if the heater is running. This means that the fireplace is safe for all visitors, even the youngest ones who may be curious enough to touch the glass. With gas fireplaces, the front glass is hot enough to burn stray fingers. With a wood-burning fireplace, there may be no glass, with just an open flame.
- The heater will take a chill off an area up to 400 square feet, with a blower that circulates the warm air away from the fireplace. This means that you can enjoy sitting around the fireplace even on the chilly days of Autumn and Spring. With other fireplaces, like gas or wood-burning, the heat can be too intense for sitting nearby.
- Electric fireplaces are easy to install, with no gas line required. This means that you can have a fireplace anywhere that you can access a 120 volt electrical line.
- Installation is zero-clearance. This means that you don’t need to use fire-proof materials around the fireplace. If you prefer to line your wall with cedar instead of stone, that’s okay.
These are all great reasons why you might be considering an electric fireplace for outdoor use.
What makes an electric fireplace safe for outdoor use?
Electric fireplaces that are purchased for outdoor installations must be tested and certified for that purpose. Most electric fireplaces are tested and certified only for indoor use. Outdoor fireplaces will be subject to more moisture and dust, and must be able to function regardless. If the owner’s manual for an electric fireplace doesn’t say it can be installed outdoors, then it can’t be installed outdoors. Those that can be installed outdoors may have a requirement for an overhang, to protect the fireplace from direct bombardment from above. Others may require a cover between usage. Such a requirement would be noted in the manual. Never assume that an electric fireplace will function outdoors, just because a salesperson has told you so. Always verify outdoor installations with the manufacturer’s manual.
If there are 4 walls and a roof, is it really an outdoor installation?
An outdoor installation is one in which the fireplace will be exposed to the elements, such as dust or moisture. Even an uninsulated building, such as studio or shed, which is fully enclosed, is not considered an outdoor installation. A more important consideration for this type of space is heat. The heat output on an electric fireplace is meant to be supplemental, and not the primary heat source. If there is no other heat source, even a small space may not stay warm with just an electric fireplace in mid-winter temperatures.
What features are available on outdoor electric fireplaces?
The same features that are available on indoor electric fireplaces are also available on outdoor electric fireplaces. In fact, they are generally referred to as indoor-outdoor fireplaces, meaning they can be used in either setting. As of the time of writing this article, Amantii (and its sister company Remii) is the only brand of outdoor electric fireplaces, with the following features:
- 1500 watt heater with blower, with a maximum heat output of 5000 BTUs. This is enough to take the chill off of a space up to 400 square feet.
- Multi-coloured flames, with choices of orange, yellow and blue, or combinations of these. This allows you to personalize the colours for the seasons, your décor, or a special event.
- Choices of interior materials, from rustic and birch logs to clear crystals. This means you can set the interior of the fireplace to suit your landscaping and décor.
- Installation depths ranging from 4-inches to 15-inches. This means that your fireplace won’t take up too much space in tight quarters.
- Fireplace sizes ranging from 34-inches to 100-inches. This means that there is an electric fireplace size to complement any size of outdoor space, from intimate to extravagant.
- Fireplace styles from traditional to linear, including 3-sided glass. This means that there is an outdoor electric fireplace to suit all tastes.
Do I need supplemental heat with an outdoor electric fireplace?
As with all outdoor fireplaces, if there’s a breeze, the heat from the fireplace will be carried away on the wind. For this reason, we recommend that you supplement the fireplace with infrared outdoor heaters, strategically positioned to reflect heat where people will be sitting. Infrared heaters warm up the people and objects below, regardless of wind, so they are an excellent way to supplement the heat from fireplaces. In this way, you get the ambiance of the fireplace, with the warmth of a dedicated heater. This is also a great way to heat up a very large outdoor space, without having multiple fireplaces.
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.