An electric fireplace is a great way to warm up a room without worrying about smoke or paying for gas. Electric fireplaces are quick and easy to start, and they are relatively energy efficient.
Are electric fireplaces safe? The short answer is yes, they lack combustible fuel, dangerous fumes and gasses, and the inclusion of electrical safety features make these a safer alternative to a wood or gas fireplace.
But, read on for a more detailed explanation and excellent information to ensure that you don’t have any issues with your electric fireplace.
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Is An Electric Fireplace Safe?
As I mentioned in the intro, yes – overall they are quite safe. But why exactly is that?
No Combustible Materials
As much as some models can look like they have real flames, the reality is they don’t. And they don’t actually burn any fuel.
This means that as long as the fireplace is installed correctly, there is nothing within the actual heater itself to catch fire that isn’t meant to.
Because there is nothing actually burning inside the fireplace, there are also no byproducts such as fumes, smoke, or gas release by the electric fireplace itself.
So, there is no risk of anything dangerous like carbon monoxide leaking into your home and endangering your family.
Lower Operating Temperature
An electric fireplace typically operates at a much lower temperature than a wood or gas fireplace.
And while children and pets should still keep their distance, the chance of an accidental touch causing a bad burn is very low.
Choose a Good Model
But, as with anything – cheaper is not always better. This is even more important when you are talking about something that produces heat in your home.
Choosing a well known brand that produces quality products will ensure that your family is as safe as possible.
Our recommended brand is MagikFlame.
Safest Electric Fireplace
- Made in the USA using premium materials
- Most realistic faux flames
- Includes crackling sounds for ambiance
Are Electric Fireplace Flames Dangerous?
Everybody knows that putting your hand into a flame will result in a nasty burn. With an electric fireplace, this is not the case.
Electric fireplaces will produce some heat, but the flames are just an illusion. While the most realistic electric fireplaces are very convincing, in fact, you can touch the flames without worrying if you need to go to the emergency room for a burn treatment.
This, however, does not make an electric fireplace completely safe. An electric fireplace emits heat through its vents. If you put your hand on it, you can still sustain minor burns. Henceforth, you should still keep your distance from an electric fireplace. Knowing that the risk of burns is considerably less makes the electric fireplace a better choice for many people.
Are Electric Fireplaces Safe to Leave on Overnight?
Leaving an electric fireplace overnight can be dangerous, depending on the type of fireplace you have. Some electric fireplaces are designed to run 24/7 and will cause no issues if left on overnight. Other more portable electric fireplaces may only be designed to run for a few hours at a time.
Many of the current models on the market come with a quick-toggle off switch for convenient shut down, which is incredibly handy if your home is already toasty and warm. Other electric fireplaces have a timer which automatically turns off the device after a certain period. If you love sleeping with the fireplace on, you should definitely consider getting an electric fireplace with this feature.
The problem with leaving the electric fireplace on overnight is that it is still an electric appliance. As we all know, there can be issues that come up with electric devices. Staying awake and aware when you are using any kind of electric appliance is a smart choice.
Is an Electric Fireplace Safer than a Real Fireplace?
There are a few reasons that the electric fireplace is safer than a real fireplace. Although safety often boils down to the user and how closely they follow recommendations and protocol, there are some positives to the electric fireplace that you don’t see with gas and wood burning.
Babysitting the Fire
With an open wood burning fire, you cannot leave the fire unattended. Lots of things can happen when you are burning wood. For instance, a large piece can fall and sometimes even fall out of the fireplace. If you fall asleep while a wood burning fire is still hot, it can be a safety hazard.
One small piece of ash that comes out onto a carpet or a newspaper could start a large fire. With the electric fireplace, you won’t have to worry about this.
Clearing the Area
You don’t have to make too many adjustments when installing an electric fireplace. Most models are safe to place near carpets, furniture, and any type of flooring.
With wood and gas fireplaces, you need to make sure that people and objects don’t get too close to the fire. The electric fireplace is great for smaller spaces because it doesn’t need to have a safety barrier around the fire itself.
When you have a wood or gas burning fireplace, you need to have the chimney checked at least every year or two. The chimney is what helps keep the home safe from carbon monoxide. If it’s clogged or dirty, toxic fumes can circulate in your home, harming you and your family’s health.
With an electric fireplace, you won’t have to worry about ventilation. Electric fireplaces are essentially electric appliances. You don’t need to vent your toaster oven, do you? Therefore with an electric fireplace, you will eliminate the need for a chimney sweep and save money on cleaning services.
Poking The Fire
Have you ever built a beautiful fire using hardwood, only to turn around and see that it has gone out? This happens quite often. In fact, there is an art to building a great fire. It takes quite a bit of attention, the right amount of air, and sometimes several different types of woods and kindling to get the fire started.
With an electric fireplace, you don’t have to worry about the fire going out. Unless, of course, your electricity goes out. This makes the electric fireplace an excellent option for entertaining as you can enjoy time with your guests and not have to think about tending to the fire.
Electric Fireplace Safety Tips
Now that you know electric fireplaces are generally safe, here are some tips to ensure that you are always using them the right way.
- Don’t leave the electric fireplace unattended for long periods, unless you have a brand or model that comes with an automatic shut-off.
- Make sure children and pets stay away from the vent or other external areas of the electric fireplace that could be hot
- Remove anything flammable from the area where the heat is dispersed from the fireplace
- Do not allow any liquids near the fireplace; liquids and electricity do not mix well!
- Periodically check the outlet where the electric fireplace is plugged in, look for any signs of issues or electric shortages
- Do not alter the electric fireplace in any way; use it precisely as the manufacturer recommends
Using an electric fireplace is a safe way to bring a little extra heat and ambiance to your home. Plus, it works like any other electric appliance in your household – just plug it in and turn on the switch.
However, that doesn’t mean you should be careless. Pay extra attention while it’s operating, and make sure to shut it down when you are done. In the meantime, stay warm!