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Two glasses of red wine sit on either side of a decanter on a table in front of a glowing electric fireplace.

How to Choose the Best Electric Fireplace for Your Home and Needs

Homeowners and renters alike are turning to electric fireplaces for their eco-friendly benefits.

Electric fireplaces offer many other advantages over other types of fireplaces as well. Cost savings, portability, and versatility are among some of the top benefits of electric fireplaces.

These fireplaces are, basically, electric heaters that simulate the appearance of a real wood, coal, or natural gas fireplace.

They plug into a wall outlet and can run with or without heat. You can use the flame setting only if you don’t want to heat your space but you want the ambiance of a fire.

For help deciding on a fireplace, contact the fireplace experts and consider the following information.

What Sets Electric Fireplaces Apart from Gas Or Wood Fireplaces?

Electric fireplaces offer a wealth of benefits compared to thier gas and wood counterparts:

Don’t Rely on Burning Wood or Gas

You don’t need to chop wood or hook up a gas line to power an electric fireplace—you just need an electrical outlet.

No Need For Permits

Depending on where you live, you may need to obtain a permit to use a wood-burning fireplace. But you don’t need a permit to use an electric fireplace, no matter where you live.

Won’t Pollute Indoor or Outdoor Air

Electric fireplaces don’t emit gases, like carbon monoxide into the air. As a result, they’re more environmentally-friendly and are much safer for indoor air quality.

Easy to Install

Electric fireplaces don’t require the installation of a vent, chimney, or flue.

Remote Operation

With the flip of a switch or the push of a button on a remote control, you can easily turn your fireplace on and off. There’s no need to chop and lug in wood to build a fire.

Safe to the Touch

The glass surfaces of electric fireplaces don’t get hot, so these are safe around pets and children.

Low Maintenance

You won’t need to hire a chimney sweep. And you won’t need regular maintenance, cleanings, and inspections to ensure your electric fireplace is safe to use.

Energy Efficient

Electric fireplaces heat areas efficiently, converting all energy into light and heat. There is no heat loss through a vent or chimney.

Cost Effective

Their costs and easy installation make electric fireplaces more affordable than other types.

Do Electric Fireplaces Need A Vent?

Electric fireplaces do not need a vent, chimney, or flue.

They do not emit smoke or toxins from combustion since they don’t burn fuel. However, there are a few electrical requirements.

Most electric fireplaces have 120-volt plugs that are grounded for protection. So they only need a 120-volt outlet to operate.

But this outlet must be on a dedicated circuit breaker or fuse. These power requirements match the power outlets of most homes.

Some larger fireplace models need higher voltages, using 240-volt plugs. These also provide higher wattages, resulting in more heat production. Make sure you have a compatible outlet that can handle this power requirement if opting for a larger model.

How Well Does an Electric Fireplace Heat a Room?

The common 120-volt fireplaces provide between 750 and 1500 watts for low and high heat settings. This wattage allows for ample supplemental heating for spaces as large as 400 square feet.

This heat output makes electric fireplaces ideal for heating living rooms, offices, and basements. But there are some that can heat up to 1,000 square feet.

To get the most energy and cost savings, use the fireplace to heat a room occupied by your household. And turn down the heat for the rest of your home.

Some electric fireplaces also have thermostats so you can have greater control over the heating of your home.

Types of Electric Fireplaces

Wall-Mounted Fireplaces

Wall-mounted electric fireplaces save floor space. These are ideal for small spaces like condos, apartments, and lobbies.

These can be mounted on the wall, or into your wall with a recession.

Although fireplaces mounted on the wall are easier to install, some people prefer the look of a fireplace built into the wall. But built-in fireplaces do need to be hardwired to a new circuit breaker.


Free-standing fireplaces can be placed against a wall anywhere in the home and can be moved easily. These models resemble traditional fireplaces with their mantels.

Free-standing fireplaces also come in corner models, so they will fit well in the corner of a room. There are also models with collapsible panels so the fireplace can sit against a wall or in a corner.

If you plan to use the mantle of your fireplace, consider the mantel support weight when purchasing this type of fireplace.

Media Consoles

To save space, media console fireplaces combine your TV stand and entertainment centre with a fireplace.

With the fireplace in the middle, these units have surrounding storage space. You can store DVDs, gaming consoles, stereos, speakers, and DVD/Blue-ray players.

Your TV will sit on top of the unit. Just make sure to check the maximum screen size the fireplace unit can hold to ensure your TV will fit safely on top.

Electric Fireplace Inserts

If you have an existing traditional fireplace at home, you can insert an electric fireplace into the hearth. This is ideal for those who no longer use their wood-burning fireplaces, but still want the warmth and ambiance of a fire.

Electric Stoves

Electric stoves work like electric fireplaces, but they look like traditional wood-stoves. These are also low-maintenance and portable so you can easily install them anywhere in your home.


Electric fireplaces come in a variety of sizes and styles to suit any home décor. You can opt for a modern, sleek design with stainless steel. Or, for a traditional, old-fashioned look, there are fireplace mantels with wood carvings.


The selection of finishes for electric fireplaces includes:

  • Stainless steel
  • Espresso
  • Mahogany
  • Oak
  • Stone
  • Black or White

Electric fireplaces also have a variety of flames and flame beds to choose from. Flame beds include traditional logs and modern glass, embers, glow logs, and rocks.

The flames can range from a basic flat panel fire image to realistic 3-D flames. There are also different colours of flames, from realistic oranges to flames that change colours based on your preference.

New models use energy-efficient LED light bulbs to illuminate the flames.

Some fireboxes also create a mist to give the appearance of smoke.

Fireboxes can also come with air treatment systems to filter dust, mold, and pet dander from the air in your home. These pull air in, heat and filter the air, then release the clean air back into your home.

Still not convinced? Stop by Burning Log in Ottawa to talk to the experts in all things fireplace and home heating. We’re more than happy to answer any and all questions you may have!