Nothing says cosy or romantic like a crackling fire. Modern technology has eliminated the need for hours of cutting wood and hauling kindling into the house: with an electric fireplace, we enjoy the warmth and atmosphere afforded by a heart-warming fire without the back-breaking hassle.

Electric fireplaces are becoming increasingly popular thanks to their low cost, ease of use and overall safety. Choose from wall mounts, inserts, stoves and corner fireplaces, all with a variety of features and finishes. But before you settle on one particular model, you should first consider its location, the style of the room, and the heat output required.

Think about the size of your room and what is in it by way of furniture, carpet, drapery, etc. Is your room large enough? Where will you put the fireplace? The fireplace may not use “real” flames, but the heat output is still very real, so you will want to ensure that your chosen location is far enough away from curtains and other flammable materials. Measure your room to ensure that the fireplace is to scale and will be safe.

There are many fireplace styles available to match your decorating style.

Wall-mount, plasma-style fireplaces are similar to flat screen televisions: they are ideal for small living spaces as they do not take up floor space and can fit equally well in a bedroom or a living room.

Corner fireplaces
Corner fireplaces maximize room space, tucking neatly away into a corner, and offer ambiance and heat without being the focal point of a room.

Inserts are ideal to integrate into your existing décor as they can be surrounded by a number of materials and design possibilities. Additionally, they can be “inserted” into an existing fireplace opening as a wonderful substitute to a labour-intensive and messy wood-burning fireplace.

Electric stoves
Electric stoves provide a modern twist on an old favourite: electric cast iron and steel stoves offer many of the same features as their traditional counterparts, but tend to be more compact and portable.

Heat Output
Heat is measured in British Thermal Units (BTU). The size of the room dictates the power of the fireplace you will need: the larger the room, the more BTUs required to heat it. It is important to choose the right number of BTUs – if you don’t have enough, the fireplace won’t heat the room, but if you have too many, you will overheat. Consult with your in-store expert to determine which model is appropriate for your room.

Adjustable heat settings, remote controls, and built-in thermostats are more modern advantages of an electric fireplace. In fact, if you don’t want heat but still want the ambiance of a glowing fire, you simply turn off the blower.

Additional considerations:

  • While a traditional fireplace is “set in stone”, an electric fireplace can be moved when it comes time to renew your décor.
  • Call an experienced electrician to confirm if you have the electrical capacity to handle the additional load.
  • Ensure your electric fireplace is plugged directly into an outlet and not through an extension cord.
  • If you have children or pets, consider buying an electric fireplace with glass that remains cool to the touch when in use.