Safety Features That Help Keep Electric Fireplaces Running Longer
Still on the fence about an electric fireplace in your home? What if we told you they’re not only one of the safest fireplace options for homes, but they also offer impressive energy efficiency?
Electric fireplaces are among the most versatile, safe, and green home heating options you can choose from.
Still not convinced? Keep reading to find out exactly how versatile and safe these fireplaces are, no matter the size of your home.
Hard-To-Beat Safety Features
A huge part of the safety of an electric fireplace stems from the fact that they’re impressive pieces of home heating technology designed around ease-of-use and functionality.
As such, they boast some pretty amazing safety features:
Flames Don’t Get Hot
There’s a misconception about electric fireplaces that still catches people off guard:
These fireplaces don’t produce real flames.
Strange, right? It’s true, electric fireplaces don’t actually produce flames. They’re essentially an efficient heater with an attached display panel for artificial flames. You can mount these on almost any wall quickly and efficiently as a result.
The only part of the fireplace that gets relatively hot is near the heating element or warm-air discharge. Even then, it should only get as hot as a hair dryer, not a real flame. The risk of burning yourself on an electric fireplace is extremely low.
In fact, you can even enjoy the look and ambiance of a fire without the heat. Just turn on the artificial flames while keeping the heat off!
As we said above, the flames aren’t actually producing any heat, so, therefore, you don’t have to worry about burning yourself on the protective screen.
Safe-to-touch screens remain at a low temperature when your fireplace heat is turned on. This screen prevents the risk of burning your skin on the glass and is especially useful in small areas and homes with pets and children.
Still, watch out for the heating element or warm air discharge. They can get pretty toasty, even if they won’t burn you outright. Make sure to read all safety warnings on your electric fireplace before you fire it up.
You can set your electric fireplace timer to shut off your fireplace in 30 minutes and all the way up to nine hours. This timer helps reduce the risk of your fireplace overheating and causing a fire hazard if left on for too long. As a result…
You Can Leave Electric Fireplaces Overnight—But You Shouldn’t
While it’s okay to leave an electric fireplace on overnight, it is not recommended. Like all other electronics, you should turn off your fireplace when not in use. Turning it off will help you save energy and money.
If you are planning to use your fireplace overnight for extra warmth, set its thermostat to a warm but safe temperature—e.g., 15 to 18 degrees Celsius (60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit).
Make sure to keep all flammable materials away from your fireplace, too, as they are still capable of putting out serious heat.
Emergency Shut-Off Switches
Many electric fireplaces come with automatic shut-offs and tip-over shut-offs to prevent overheating and the risk of fire. These shut-offs are also known as electric fireplace safety breakers.
Hazards: When To Switch Off
There are times when you should absolutely switch off your fireplace:
- If you’re using an extension cord on your electric fireplace. Extension cords are a fire hazard, so don’t use them to power your electric fireplace. Instead, plug your fireplace directly into the wall.
- There’s a weird smell coming from the electric fireplace. A strange smell could be a sign of an electrical problem, such as overheated wires or burning insulation.
- You’re a sleepwalker, or you have pets that run around at night. While many electric fireplaces have tip-over shut-offs, it’s not a good idea to leave your fireplace on if it is at risk of being knocked over at night.
Teaching Children About Electric Fireplace Safety
Just because electric fireplaces are safe doesn’t mean there still aren’t risks and potential hazards. If you’re a parent, take the time to educate your kids about an electric fireplace, as you would any other heater or fireplace:
- Tell your kids not to touch the fireplace or poke it with objects.
- Use a fire screen to deter your kids from going near it.
- Opt for a wall-mounted electric fireplace, mounted four to five feet above the floor, to keep it out of your toddler’s reach.
Electric Fireplace Safety Tips
- Keep all combustible materials at least three feet away from all sides of your electric fireplace to prevent the risk of fire. These materials include paper, wood, furniture, clothing, curtains, bedding, and other fabrics.
- Avoid touching the hot surfaces of the fireplace when it is operating. These surfaces include the heating element and the trim surrounding the heater outlet.
- Do not block the vents. These vents include the fresh air intake vent and the hot air discharge vent.
- If possible, unplug your electric fireplace when not in use.
- If you’ve dropped the unit, or notice obvious damage, don’t use your electric fireplace. Bring it in for repairs to make sure it’s in tip-top shape before you plug it in.
- Do not use an electric fireplace outdoors and especially not while exposed to the elements.
- Water and electricity don’t mix. As such, do not use electric fireplaces in a bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room.
- Do not rest drinks or other liquids on your fireplace.
- Do not use your electric fireplace near flammable liquids, paints, gasoline, or flammable vapours.
- Keep cords uncovered and out of the way to avoid any tripping hazards. Don’t use lengthy extension cords, and do not use daisy-chained extension cords.
- Do not lift the fireplace by the glass—only lift by the firebox.
- Do not attempt to modify the fireplace or insert anything into the fireplace. If modifications are necessary, bring your fireplace into the fireplace experts for professional repairs.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
No Gas, No CO2 Or Fossil Fuels
Oh, and did we mention how eco-friendly these fireplaces can be?
Electric fireplaces rely on electricity (obviously!) to produce heat and flames. There’s no combustion to speak of going on inside one of these fireplaces.
This means that there are zero emissions stemming from an electric fireplace. There’s no reliance on wood fuel and no reliance on non-renewable fossil fuels.
Really! There’s no carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide emitted. There’s no smoke, there are no fumes, there’s no need to worry about creosote build-up, and no concern over pollutants in the air.
Of course, not all electricity production is renewable. In Canada and Ontario, power generation is often reliant on hydroelectric dams, which harness rivers to power turbines. That said, there are still processing plants that burn fossil fuels and other polluting materials to power turbines.
This means that, while your electric fireplace might be remarkably eco-friendly, there’s still a footprint associate with it. Check out how your community generates power to get the final answer on this question.
Electric fireplaces are a safe, energy-efficient option for any home. But as with all appliances, keep these safety tips in mind to ensure you, your home, and your fireplace stay safe at all times.