GardenSMART :: It’s Electric! Your Fireplace, That Is.
It’s Electric! Your Fireplace, That Is.
By Jennifer Whipple for Plow & Hearth Photographs courtesy of Plow & Hearth
Did your home not come with a fireplace or wood stove hook up? Perhaps you wish you had one in a specific room? If the expense (it costs around $2,000 to install a gas fireplace, and averages anywhere from $800 to $3000 and up for a wood-burning fireplace) and thoughts of remodeling are putting you off, take heart; there’s no need to resign yourself to a fire-less existence! Today’s electric fireplaces and stoves offer easy, cost-effective, and safe ways to enjoy the flickering flames and warmth of an open fire in just about any room.
Besides giving a room the sense of comfort and well-being conventional fireplaces and wood stoves are known for, electric models have other advantages:
They’re less work. Cutting, gathering, and hauling firewood is a ton of work; of course, you can always buy it, but that gets very expensive, very quickly. In addition, wood-burning fireplaces and stoves need regular sweeping and cleaning (that includes the chimney—another expense if you have it done professionally). And speaking of cleaning, you also have to clean your house more often with a wood-burning fireplace or stove; even so-called “clean-burning” models will cause a residue to settle on your walls and ceiling.
Electric fireplaces and stoves offer clean heat, and when it comes to starting them, nothing could be easier: just plug them in and switch them on. Some even come with remote controls—much easier than dealing with matches, newspaper, and kindling!
They help you save on your utility bills.Modern electric fireplaces and electric stoves are wonderful and efficient space heaters. They not only add to the look of your home, they help you save on energy by allowing you to keep the thermostat down while you warm the room you’re in.
They’re safer. Ah, the lovely snap, crackle, and pop of a roaring wood fire! What’s not so lovely are the sparks and embers that can singe your floor or rug—or worse, clothing or skin. Electric fireplaces and stoves not only pose less of a fire hazard, they also very often stay cool to the touch, making them a more worry-free option for homes with children and pets.
They can go just about anywhere. Unlike gas or wood fireplaces, there are no emissions with the electric versions, which means no chimneys or venting. Not only will you not have to knock holes in your wall or deal with the expense and inconvenience of remodeling, you can also move the fireplace or stove to a new location if the mood strikes you (some even have casters).
Plus, the stay-cool surfaces mean they can be placed against a cabinet or wall (or even on it!) and on a wood floor or carpeting. As long as there’s an electrical outlet handy to plug it into, your electric fireplace or stove can go anywhere you like.
They’re efficient. Wood-burning fireplaces are actually the least efficient home eating options; even though they get very hot, most of that heat goes up the chimney, and can even create a draft that sucks heat away from other parts of the house. With electric fireplaces and stoves, 99% of the heat stays in the zone you’re heating. You can also control how much heat a room gets, too, using their built-in thermostats—and if you want no heat at all and just want to enjoy watching the flames, that’s also an option!
They come in lots of styles. Electric fireplaces and electric stoves have long had a reputation for appearing fake, but modern improvements in today’s models now display a very realistic, three-dimensional flame effect with vivid, natural color. The exterior styles also come in a wide variety of beautiful options: whether you’re going for the look and feel of a traditional hearth, the more rustic appearance of a glassed-in wood stove, or even the convenience of a multifunctional furniture piece, you’re sure to find exactly the right style to enhance your décor.
So whether you live in a home or condo that never had a fireplace installed or just want a fireplace in a room that doesn’t have one, relax—the joys of warming your toes in front of a glowing flame on a cold winter’s night are within your reach with electric fireplaces and electric wood stoves!
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By Nancy Buley, J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co., Wholesale Tree Growers
Photographs courtesy of J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co.
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