I have been researching and writing about consumer electronics for over 13 years.
Electric fireplaces can help you keep a room warm, add some charm, and more. These corner heaters can be perfect when the space you have available is limited or the money you want to spend on this upgrade is restricted.
Below, you will find some answers to your questions about these devices and get some shopping tips too.
Why Would You Choose an Electric Corner Fireplace?
Electric fireplaces add a lot of ambiance to a room as well as additional heat. For this reason, they can be both charming and functional. However, these design pieces have a number of attributes that make them even more desirable.
- Electric fireplaces can be added after the fact. If you move into an existing apartment, condo, or home that has no fireplace, these models can easily be added.
- Electric fireplaces generally require no professional installation. In most instances, minimal assembly is required and the unit merely plugs into a standard wall outlet.
- They are affordable. These fireplaces don't require masonry or construction. They also don't require the added expense of gas, propane, or even firewood. They are very energy efficient.
- They are safe. An electric fireplace produces no fumes, smoke, sparks or even odors. They vent heat forward and up and can be set up against a wall with no problem.
- They don't take up much space. The units are ideal for small spaces. They sit flush against the wall and have a slim profile. Electric corner fireplaces can be useful since corners are often underutilized anyway.
- They are flexible. These appliances can easily be relocated to another room or a different area of a room with little effort. If you choose to rearrange things you don't have to work around these fireplaces, they can move as well to suit your needs. In fact, some of the models allow you to convert a corner fireplace into a flat wall fireplace within minutes.
- They are easy to clean. There are no ashes or chimneys to clean at any time.
- They emit no smoke or fumes.
What Are the Drawbacks?
There are just a couple of disadvantages to electric fireplaces:
- The primary disadvantage versus most space heaters is the cost. While they are rather affordable, they will generally cost several times more than a basic ceramic or infrared heater, thanks to the decorative firebox and mantle. Generally speaking, the cost of these can vary between $300-$700 although there are upper-end models that can cost a few thousand dollars.
- The units tend to emit noise. Not more than a space heater, but certainly they don't sound like a wood-burning or gas log fireplace.
Many people would like to place their TV on the mantel top of their new electric fireplace. There are a few things to consider before doing this.
- Will it support the weight? Most manufacturers will indicate the weight that the unit can hold.
- Will it be secure? You need to be sure the television is secure, this is why wall mounts are often preferable. Some TVs are quite top-heavy. You need to be sure that it isn't likely to be bumped into, causing the TV to become unstable and potentially fall. Falling televisions can be deadly.
- Is there excessive heat? For the safety of the television, you also want to be sure that the fireplace won't create excessive heat around it. Measure the temperature at the top of the fireplace (where you would potentially place the TV) after it has been burning for a while. If it's 90 degrees Fahrenheit or more, it's too hot for your television.
If it meets all of the above criteria, then it's probably acceptable to place a television on top of the mantle of your electric fireplace. On the other hand, there are electric fireplace units that are built into a media center for your TV rather than with a mantle.
Other common-sense safety tips include:
- Don't block the air intake or exhaust.
- Keep flammable items/materials away from hot surfaces. (For instance, be sure curtains don't fall into contact with the unit.)
- Don't use an extension cord and keep the cord you do use out of any walkways.
- Don't place an electric fireplace in a laundry room, bathroom, or outside where they are likely to be exposed to moisture.
- As with any space heater do not leave it running unattended.
- Be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions for other safety precautions.
The cost of these fireplace units varies a great deal, but as mentioned above, they nearly always cost several times the amount of a space heater for a small room. Again, they offer a mantel, embers, logs, and so forth which add to the cost resulting in a price tag of somewhere between $300 and $700 for the typical fireplace.
Beyond this, the operating cost is determined based on the energy usage of the model you choose and what your energy provider charges for kilowatt usage. This is true of course for any heater. In addition, the energy the fireplace uses will depend on whether you run it on high or low. In general, an electric corner fireplace will run on high at 1,500 watts. As a ballpark, you would spend only a couple of dollars a day to run it for 6–8 hours.
How Do You Set Up an Electric Fireplace?
As mentioned earlier, the setup is very simple. Electric fireplaces are like most ready-to-assemble furniture. They come with pre-drilled holes and all the hardware needed, which typically includes screws and nuts. There are generally 6–8 pieces involved in putting the mantle together.
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Once that is together, you just slide in the heater/fireplace insert, screw it in to secure it, then place the entire unit where you want it located. Plug it in and enjoy.
You can watch a short video below that demonstrates the construction of a typical unit.
Choosing Your Electric Fireplace
There are really only a few things to consider when choosing a corner electric fireplace. Primarily:
- Type of heating and the area you have to heat. Most of these are either forced fan or infrared quartz. The forced fan is less expensive and will heat a small room (under 400–500 square feet) Infrared quartz is a bit more efficient and works better in a larger room.
- Style and color to suit your taste and decor. Modern, traditional, old world, etc.
- A realistic flame and logs. Your preference is what matters here.
- Additional features you might want. These include an air purifier, remote control, sleep timer, and/or auto-shutoff. Mantle and surround with bookshelves or incorporated media center is another option to consider.
- Quiet operation.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2010 Christine Mulberry
theherbivorehippi from Holly, MI on September 28, 2010:
Let me say, I had my chimney swept today...what a pain in the a$$! I think I would much rather have one of these. I only burn recycled logs which are costly so I think one of these would even be more cost effective and they look nice. I'm kind of thinking one of these for my bedroom??
ElectricFireplace from Florence, AL on September 17, 2010:
A corner electric fireplace is the perfect solution to drafty rooms that never seem to get warm. They’re much more heat efficient and decorative than a standard heater. And with so many options available, as this article describes, they can fit into any environment.
Alison Graham from UK on August 22, 2010:
I think that a corner fireplace is a really excellent idea, especially in modern homes where the rooms are often smaller. It is nice to have a focal point and what could be nicer than a cosy fire!
Christine Mulberry (author) on August 22, 2010:
De Greek, yes you should definitely realize there are costs with running these too. It will cost the same as any space heater with the same output. I think it's estimated to be 7 or 8 cents per hour although certainly that varies based on the cost of electricity.
De Greek from UK on August 22, 2010:
Yes, but what about the cost of running one of these? Any ideas?
irenemaria from Sweden on August 22, 2010:
What a clear and well made hub!
Linda Tadlock from Atlanta on August 21, 2010:
I love the idea of the corner fireplace, because it is really easy to arrange furniture in this orientation making the fireplace the focal point of the room. Nice hub.