Electric Corner Fireplace: What You Need to Know
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 can 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, there are a number of attributes about these design pieces that make them even more desirable.
1. An electric fireplace 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.
2. An electric fireplace generally requires no professional installation. In most instances, minimal assembly is required and the unit merely plugs into a standard wall outlet.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. These electric heaters are space saving. The units are ideal for small spaces, they sit flush against the wall and have a slim profile. Electric corner fireplaces in can be useful since corners are often underutilized anyway.
6. 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.
7. They are easy to clean. There are no ashes or chimney to clean at any time.
8. They emit no smoke or fumes.
What Are the Drawbacks?
There are just a couple of disadvantages to these electric fireplaces:
- The primary disadvantage versus most space heaters is merely 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 couple of things to consider before doing this.
1. Will it support the weight? Most manufacturers will indicate the weight that the unit can hold.
2. Will it be secure? You need to be sure the television is secure, this is why wall mounts are often preferred. 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.
3. 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 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 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 One Up?
As mentioned earlier, the set up is very simple. Electric fireplaces are like most ready-to-assemble furniture.
It comes 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.
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 a typical units construction.
Choosing Your 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.
Included air purifier, a remote control, sleep timer, and/or auto-shutoff.
Mantle and surround with bookshelves or incorporated media center.
- Quiet operation.
I helped my mother shop for one of these corner fireplaces. She had a three season sunroom and she wanted to make it more comfortable in the autumn and late evening. We chose this one. I was able to put it together for her without any problem despite my complete lack of experience. It was even lightweight enough for me to move it into place without help. She has used it now for several years. It's still able to warm the room well and looks very attractive.
© 2010 Christine Mulberry