What’s New with Electric Fireplaces?
Today’s electric fireplaces are more stylish and realistic than ever, offering homeowners, and their builders and designers, a wealth of options for every lifestyle. Before I share some of the latest designs, let’s review the basic features and benefits of an electric fireplace:
- Zero-clearance design allows installation into, or on, any material. This means that you do not need to have a fire-proof surround, because there is nothing burning inside an electric fireplace. If you wish to install in drywall or wood cabinetry, you may do so.
- No combustion means no venting required. Because there is nothing burning inside an electric fireplace, there is no need to vent it as you would with gas or wood fireplaces. This means that you do not need to limit installation to an outside wall.
- Plugging into a regular 120 volt outlet means easy installation. There is no special connection required, and some models offer the option for direct-wired installation and 240 volt connections, for added flexibility.
- Operation with or without heat means a more comfortable environment. The flame effect in an electric fireplace may be operated with or without heat, as the heater is a separate element that does not have to be turned on when the flames are turned on. This means that you don’t have to turn off your fireplace because the room is too hot; you simply turn off the heater and continue to enjoy your fire.
- Flame generation by light bulbs means greater efficiency. The flame effect in an electric fireplace is created with light bulbs, either incandescent or LED. It costs from less than a penny an hour, up to 3 cents per hour, to operate an electric flame without the heater. With the heater turned on, an electric fireplace will use a maximum of only about 18 cents per hour, far less than a gas fireplace. Plus, there is no standing pilot light required in an electric fireplace, for even greater savings.
The latest Optimyst insert from Dimplex, shown here in the Thompson mantel, uses ultrasonic technology to turn cool water into mist. When light hits the mist, it creates a realistic burning effect unequalled in the industry. This insert is designed to fit into existing wood-burning fireplace openings, so you can easily retrofit almost any fireplace.
Because of their zero-clearance design, electric fireplaces lend themselves to media cabinets. With a place for the TV and its components, as well as storage for DVD’s, these cabinets offer an all-in-one solution for many family rooms and basements. They come in a host of wood finishes; only this one, the Portobello from Dimplex, comes in a light painted finish. The heat from the fireplace is blown out the front vent, and will not affect the TV above.
Presented by Jeanne Grier, Design Consultant, Stylish Fireplaces by