There are many reasons to choose a modern electric fire for your home. However the purpose of this guide isn’t to try and convince you that a modern electric fire is suited to everyone’s home and lifestyle. We’re here to offer you our help and advise on what we believe are the main benefits of buying and owning a modern electric fire. This will hopefully help you to make better, more informed buying decisions.
For more information on buying and owning an electric fire check out our ultimate guide to buying an electric fire in 2020.
Here are the 10 best reasons to buy a modern electric fire:
Most modern electric fire flame effects are generally produced with LED lighting meaning over the course of the electric fire’s lifespan (around ten years) you shouldn’t have to change any light bulbs. Also, the heat from a modern electric fire is generated from a simple element and fan system that very rarely breakdown.
Note: If you’re unlucky enough to have a problem with your fan heater and you’re not in warranty then it can often be better to buy a new electric fire than to pay for the replacement parts and labour as it is hard to justify the cost of this service.
Gas fires need yearly serviced and generally will require replacement parts over their lifespan such as gas valves, oxi-pilots and fuel-beds. Multi-fuel and wood burning appliances require regular chimney sweeping and need replacement parts such as fire bricks and baffle plates. These tend to need replaced every couple of years.
Electric fires don’t require a service and as said above, rarely need replacement parts.
A modern electric fire is very easy to install. They generally just need plugged in and away they go. Therefore, often there is no requirement for professional installation at all. Although you’re likely to need installation if you go the bespoke fireplace route. However, this cost will be far less than the cost involved in putting in a gas or wood burning stove which can run into the thousands.
Note: One thing you might need to think about is where your power point/socket is located. Under EU regulations an electrical appliance must be able to be isolated externally from the appliance I.e. with the switch on the socket. So, you can’t hide the power point behind the fire. Generally, a fuse spur around 6” from the side of your fireplace is the best way to hide wiring away.
No fossil fuels are being burned. Therefore, there is zero pollution produced from your electric fireplace.
Electric fires are indeed 100% efficient. This simply means they output the same amount in heat as they take in as electricity. The most modern gas fires are typically around 75% to 85% efficient, meaning some heat loss is expected. Wood burning stoves are typically around the same. An electric fire usually has two settings a 1kW and a 2kW heat output. On average a kilowatt of electricity costs around 15p an hour, therefore you could expect to pay 30p an hour on the 2kW setting.
Note: Yes, electric fires are more efficient, but electricity is a more expensive fuel than gas and most likely more expensive than burning wood also. So, the heater part of an electric fire should be used sparingly in combination with your central heating. Most people buy electric fires as a feature, not as primary heating appliances.
As just mentioned, most people buy modern electric fires as a focal point or feature in their home. They don’t buy them simply as heating appliances. The reason for this is that the flame effect of the electric fire is separate to the heating element. This means you can have the ‘glow’ without the heat unlike gas or stoves where it only looks pretty when the appliance is on. With most electric fire flame effects now being LED based it is a cheap of way of adding ambient lighting and cosiness to your home.
Gas and multi-fuel stoves have various regulations around what you can and can’t do in your home. For instance, if you’re fitting a gas fire, you’ll need a hearth that is bedded in on top of cement, it can’t sit on top of your existing flooring. There’s also your distance to combustibles to think about so you’ll need to be careful where the fire is situated and what type of material your fireplace surround is made from.
Electric fires don’t have these regulations as they don’t produce a real flame and therefore, hold no more fire risk than any electrical appliance. This means there is a huge variety of designs and materials to choose from.
Unlike gas or multi-fuel stoves, electric fires give out heat you can feel within a couple of seconds. Great for when you need a quick blast of heat to take the edge off the room temperature.
Electric fires don’t have a direct flame that children can touch. Furthermore, when the fire is on ‘flame effect only’ mode then they’ll be no heat off the appliance at all. When the heater is turned on, the element and fan are fully enclosed behind a metal grill, making it much less likely you could be burned.
Note: We tested this theory – After 30 minutes of continuous use we could still touch the metal grill, it was hot but not hot enough to burn through direct contact for a second or so. Still common-sense approach here, we advise you not to try this and take every precaution around any electrical heater as every heater will be different.
The introduction of new regulations requiring electric fires (with heaters) to come with a built-in thermostat means that the heater will turn itself off once a certain room temperature has been met. Great for relatives who worry about elderly or infirm family members.
A modern electric fire can be placed anywhere there’s power. With gas you either need a chimney or an outside wall so you can flue through to the outside. Wood burners either need to go through the roof or up and through a wall, extending up the side of the building to beyond the pitch in the roof. Electric fires don’t have these restrictions and can be situated in most places, offering up many more design possibilities.
For balance we thought it was only right to point out three reasons you shouldn’t buy an electric fire. For further information you can always check out our ultimate electric fire buyers guide.
Using an electric fire for an extended and continuous period will be expensive. Plus, a modern electric fire isn’t designed to be ran for long periods of time. If you’re on mains gas and can feasibly have one installed, then this is more likely to suit your lifestyle.
Some electric fires, generally cheaper ones, can have fan heaters that make a noise while the heater is on. For most people, this wouldn’t be a problem but, in my experience, a small percentage of people are irritated by this noise. Something worth checking out if you think this applies to you.
Electric fires warm air instead of warming physical objects. This means air becomes dryer as it is warmed. Heat from an electric fire is not as pleasant as heat from a gas fire or stove.
Something to bear in mind – these negatives are only a problem if you intend to use the heating element of the fire. As said above, nearly all consumers in the UK use their electric fire mainly for the appearance and as a focal point, not for the heat.
There you have it, 10 reasons to buy a modern electric fire plus three reasons not to. If you liked this guide and others like it on our website, then feel free to share it. Thanks for reading and all the best with buying your new electric fireplace.
Co-founder and Managing Director at wowfires.com