How Electric Fireplaces Differ From Traditional Gas Fireplaces

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There’s a lot of confusion among consumers about the benefits of electric fireplaces. In our last article, we talked about the differences in types of electric fireplaces, but in today’s article we’re going to explain how they work. Electric fireplaces have a lot of great benefits from providing optional heat to being considered much more environmentally friendly, to being cheaper to run in your home than many of the other fireplace options out there. So it pays to know. 

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Difference Between Electric & Traditional Fireplaces

The principle difference between an electric fireplace and a wood-burning or a gas fireplace are as follows: Electric fireplaces are completed self-contained units that don’t require any professional installation or venting. Wood-burning fireplaces require a flue so fumes and gases can be expelled to the outdoors. Gas fireplaces require piping to bring in the natural gas from the city or the private seller. But electric fireplaces require only electricity. They are plugged into the wall, often with a standard wall outlet, and they use that electricity to generate the beautiful image of a (simulated) flame and heat, in units that have a heat option. 

How Do Electric Fireplaces Work?

Electric fireplaces pull in cool air, heat in internally using a heating coil, and gently force the warm air back out into the room, usually with a fan. The is a simpler process than gas and wood-burning fireplaces because it creates no smoke or fume by-product and it doesn’t need a fuel such as natural gas, which requires it’s own infrastructure to be brought into the home. 

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Can An Electric Fireplace Heat My Living Room?

Electric fireplaces are good for supplemental heating for rooms approximately 1000 square feet in size. This means that you shouldn’t rely wholly on your electric fireplace to heat your house, especially if you live in a colder climate. But you can count on it to bring instant warmth to a moderate-sized room. And almost all units have heat that can be turned off. Which means you can enjoy the beauty and visual element of flames flickering in your living room without heating up the room at all. This is much harder to do with a gas fireplace and impossible with a wood-burning one. 

What Else Should You Know

Electric fireplaces have many benefits. Many units allow the customer to change the size and shape of the flame to find something they enjoy looking at. And the tech behind electric fireplaces has improved and grown a lot in the last few years. There are now multiple mechanisms to create a realistic looking flame, which means you can find something that has a great look at many different price levels.

Safety Assurances

Electric Fireplaces are much safer than traditional ones. This is especially true if there are small children or small animals in the home. Remember that with gas and wood-burning fireplaces there are actual flames that can burn and cause severe pain, but with an electric fireplace the flame is usually a projection on glass or a simple LED screen recording representing of what a flame looks like—not a real flame. And as for the heat aspect, it’s just hot air blown into the room and it can be turned off. 

More questions?

Be sure to check the square footage for your unit to see if it will adequately heat your room. And if you’d like to read more about the difference in kinds of electric fireplaces and learn how different flames look, read our article here.