Electric Fireplaces – More to Love and Less Hassle
There’s nothing quite like a wood-burning fireplace in your custom built home, but so many homeowners are less than keen on the upkeep, and many locations within a home are not even conducive to wood burning. So what now? Is there a way to include the cozy look-and-feel and ambience of a fireplace in your custom home or home renovation without the space, venting and hassle required for wood burning or gas models?
An Expert Opinion
The absolute perfect person to speak to about this is Jeanne Grier of Stylish Fireplaces and Interiors by Huntington Lodge in Vaughan. Stylish Fireplaces is a fireplace showroom strictly dedicated to the electric variety. Many of us remember the electric fireplaces from the eighties and how little they looked like a real fire. Well, they have come a long way; trust us! Read on to learn more about the exciting options that you have when choosing electric fireplaces.
Questions and Answers with Jeanne
Alair: Jeanne, thanks for helping us out with educating our clients on electric fireplaces. To get us started, could you tell us what you would say is the biggest misunderstanding or false assumption that folks have about electric fireplaces?
Jeanne:Every day we talk to people about heat output and the cost to operate. Most people assume that electric fireplaces have no heat, but they do. An electric fireplace with a regular 120 volt connection can take the chill off an area of about 400 square feet; an electric unit on a 240 volt connection can heat almost double that area. The best part is that the heat is completely autonomous from the flames; you can have the fire on without heat if you want to.
As for cost, it actually costs less to operate an electric fireplace for a year, than it does to run a gas fireplace. That’s because the flame effect is all LED now, and the heaters are only used when it’s cold outside. So, there isn’t a big consumption of electricity. Conversely, a gas fireplace burns a lot of fuel just to create a nice looking flame. Some of the heat that’s generated is also lost in venting, so they aren’t as efficient as electrics when it comes to heating an area.
Alair: What is your best-selling electric fireplace?
Jeanne: Any linear style, i.e. wide and slim, in widths from 50″ – 70″
Alair: What is your favourite electric fireplace?
Jeanne:The one I have in my own home is the Dimplex XLF100. It’s got an amazing flame, gorgeous LED colours, and who doesn’t want an 8′ long fireplace in their living area?!
Alair: What are the benefits of an electric (vs. wood burning or
Jeanne: First off, electrics cost less – to operate, to purchase, install and maintain (there is no maintenance!) Secondly, electric fireplaces are much more flexible for heating – the flames can be on without the heaters, which means you can use an electric fireplace all year round. Third, electrics take up much less space than gas units of similar size; they are much shallower, so they don’t project into the room as much as their gas counterparts. Electrics have zero-clearance, so designing around them is a breeze. They won’t have an adverse effect on TV’s installed above, nor do they heat up the walls around the fireplace.
Alair: Sometimes people picture the old-school electrics from decades ago, can you briefly touch on some of the advances that have been made and the differences in the contemporary models?
Jeanne: As electric fireplaces have gained acceptance, the manufacturers have focused on making the flames even more realistic. The longest-running company in the field, Dimplex, has been around for more than 40 years. They’ve put a lot of research and development into making the most realistic flame they can. Incandescent bulbs have been replaced with LEDs as the light source, which has virtually eliminated maintenance on electric fireplaces. LEDs have also lead to the option of adding colour light effects around the flames.
Alair: What brands do you recommend for electric?
Jeanne: We recommend any brand that stands behind their products with warranties and parts for servicing. Many box store fireplaces don’t have warranties, or don’t have parts for servicing the units when they break down. This makes them throw-away fireplaces. We don’t want to see anyone build a wall around a fireplace that can’t be repaired if it breaks down 5 or 10 years into the future. Currently, we recommend Amantii, Dimplex, Dynasty, Modern Flames, Napoleon, Remii, and Sierra Flames.
If you would like more information on electric fireplaces and how to incorporate them into your upcoming renovation, please contact Alair Homes Aurora or Jeanne Grier, Stylish Fireplaces & Interiors by Huntington Lodge.