Are Electric Fireplaces Safe?

electric fireplaces

The global electric fireplace market is worth an estimated $2.18 billion and is expected to grow in the coming years. Thanks to a decline in wood-burning fireplaces in new homes, electric fireplaces are becoming a popular alternative.

There are plenty of reasons why homeowners are gravitating toward electric fireplaces. They’re not as expensive to buy or install, they’re versatile, and they add warmth and ambiance to any room.

If you’re considering buying an electric fireplace for your home, there’s one question you probably want the answer to: are electric fireplaces safe?

Read on to learn why electric fireplaces are a safe option and how to ensure electric fireplace safety.

What Is an Electric Fireplace?

You can understand a lot about the different types of fireplaces just by knowing what they’re called. A wood-burning fireplace, for example, uses wood for fuel. An electric fireplace uses electricity to produce both heat and light, meaning that electricity is its source of fuel.

Unlike wood-burning and many gas fireplaces, an electric fireplace can go anywhere in your home, so long as there’s a nearby power source. That is because they don’t need a chimney or exterior wall for ventilation and many don’t require a deep recess. As we mentioned earlier, this ease of installation and versatility is what makes electric fireplaces so popular, especially for homeowners who don’t have an existing chimney or firebox.

On top of that, electric fireplaces are easy to use. Once they’re hooked up to an outlet, you can turn them on and off with the touch of a button or switch.

Do Electric Fireplaces Produce Gas or Fumes?

One of the top safety concerns when it comes to fireplaces is the impact on indoor air quality. Both wood-burning and gas fireplaces can produce carbon monoxide, which can become a serious health hazard without proper ventilation.

Electric fireplaces, on the other hand, do not produce gas or fumes, which is why electric fireplaces require no ventilation system at all. This is because electric fireplaces do not actually ignite or burn any fuel. Instead, electricity creates heat which is then blown into the room with a vent or fan.

Are Electric Fireplaces Hot to the Touch?

Another concern homeowners have, particularly if they have children or pets, is that fireplaces can be hot to the touch. For example, if you touched the screen of a wood-burning fireplace while a fire was lit, it would be very hot. The same can be true of the glass on a gas fireplace.

Electric fireplaces are not producing real flames. Instead, electricity powers lights that create the illusion of flames, which you can often turn on with or without the heating component. The vent or fan may feel hot when the heat is running, but the glass on an electric fireplace will always feel cool to the touch.

Can You Leave an Electric Fireplace On Overnight?

Although electric fireplaces don’t pose many serious safety risks, we don’t recommend leaving them on overnight. There are a few key reasons for this, although not all of them have to do with safety. In fact, one of the biggest reasons why you shouldn’t leave your electric fireplace running all night is that it can run up your electric bill.

That said, it’s also ideal to exercise some degree of supervision when you’re running an electric fireplace. That way, you’ll notice anything new and unusual, like a strange sound or smell. If you want to leave an electric fireplace running while you doze off, we recommend getting one with a timer so that your electric fireplace will turn off on its own shortly after you fall asleep.

Do Electric Fireplaces Need Maintenance?

Every component of your electric fireplace should be in great condition if you want to guarantee electric fireplace efficiency. Most of the time, you will want to call a professional if you think something is up with your electric fireplace. Is this something that you’ll need to do annually as it is with wood-burning and gas fireplaces?

The short answer is no. Many electric fireplaces run without any hiccups for over a decade. Rather than investing in an annual inspection, you can approach electric fireplace maintenance on an as-needed basis.

(Note that if you haven’t turned an electric fireplace on in several years, you may want to have it inspected first.)

Do Electric Fireplaces Pose a Fire Risk?

If an electric fireplace isn’t producing real flames, does it still pose a fire risk? Electric fireplaces can start real fires, but this isn’t something that happens often or without reason.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest fire risk an electric fireplace poses is an electrical fire. This can happen if your electric fireplace is plugged into a faulty outlet or overloads the outlet it’s plugged into (which is why you should never plug an electric fireplace into a strip or extension cord).

It is also possible for electric fireplaces to generate enough heat to set something combustible ablaze. However, this is not bound to happen. To increase your safety, keep combustible materials and textiles several inches or feet away from your electric fireplace.

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Contact Dreifuss Fireplaces to Learn More About Electric Fireplaces

Electric fireplaces are a popular choice for homeowners these days. As you can see, they’re one of the safest options on the market. If you don’t have a proper ventilation system or you want to keep kids and pets as safe as possible, consider an electric fireplace.

Ready to learn more about your fireplace options? Contact Dreifuss Fireplaces to find out how we can help.

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