8 Reasons To Buy An Electric Fireplace

March 5, 2018


I never thought I'd ever consider having an electric fireplace, yet here I am -- about to confess. While I will always remain an authentic wood-burning fireplace fan at heart, I'm moving on to a more expansive view of what it means to have a "fireplace." Read on to see how and why I got there.

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Fireplace Number 1




My husband and I used to be absolute purists when it came to fireplaces. Wood burning or nothing. Our first house had a real fireplace similar to the one in the above drawing and we loved it.


Fireplace Number 2




Our second house, however, had a beautiful brick fireplace and wood mantel that came equipped with vented gas logs. (I apologize for the quality of this photo of the old photo I took with my iphone. It's from pre-blogging days!) Not real logs, but real -- albeit very controlled -- fire. And as much as I loved that house, I was always a little bit sad about the fireplace. I will say, however, that not having to buy and/or chop and haul dirty wood into the house or clean up ash was a nice change. Especially since we had three kids under the age of 5 at the time.


Fireplace Number 3




Our current house (number three) has a somewhat similar fireplace, although it uses real wood. There's a gas line already installed with a log lighter attached to it. It uses gas to start the fire instead of kindling. You put in your wood, flick the switch and watched the fire begin. You still have to buy and/or chop wood, haul it in, stoke it, and clean up the ashes as with any real fireplace. And it's not exactly roughing it like with matches and kindling, but it's a real fire just the same. Here it is, hiding behind my DIY Farmhouse Sign From Roadside Rescue. (We eventually hung it above the mantel.)



Why We Stopped Using The Fireplace

We enjoyed this fireplace for 10+ years, having it checked and cleaned each season by a professional chimney sweep. From year to year there was always a little something that needed to be attended to -- like the year we had to install a chimney cap to keep squirrels and other animals out of the chimney. However, there came a year when we were told what no homeowner wants to hear --we needed major work done on the inside of the chimney if we wanted to continue safely using our fireplace. The quoted repair estimated made us cringe.

Money was tight at the time, so we put off having it fixed. Maybe some people would have disregarded the chimney sweep's advice, but we were talking about the potential safety of our family so it was a no brainer for us. Surprisingly, after 4 years without a working fireplace, I guess you could say that we've become accustomed to not having one. (That doesn't mean we like it, however.)




The Quest For A New Fireplace


What's not surprising, in light of my love of fireplaces, is that for all the years we've lived here I have dreamed of finding a vintage white, chippy shabby fireplace mantel at a flea market or barn sale. I fantasized having it in our living room. Not for real, just for display purposes. And once our French farmhouse living room was complete I was even more determined to find one.

My husband told me to find one on Craigslist for Christmas. I tried. But any ones I found with potential were either too expensive ($150.00+) and/or too far away (at least an hour each way). Later for my birthday I tried again. Unfortunately, I came across the same problems of high prices and long distances. In addition, we'd have to build some sort of surround for it so it wouldn't fall over -- and Mr. OHH was not too keen on that. Can't say that I blame him.

Just when I was about to give up I remembered that a blog friend of mine had a lovely white fireplace mantel, so I reached out and asked her where she got it. Her answer opened up a whole new world for me. She told me that she bought an electric fireplace mantel and surround on clearance at a big box home store, sans the electric insert. And that go me thinking. It's February, everyone has spring on their minds, maybe it's a good time to look for electric fireplace mantels and surrounds on clearance!? So that's what I did.






Here's what we bought -- a french farmhouse-inspired white electric fireplace that I absolutely love.



And here it is in our living room. (The piece of brown furniture you see on the left is an antique pump organ we're trying to sell. I will be so happy when it does and we can move it out of there!) One bonus with this particular model is that it can be transformed into a corner fireplace. I hadn't really thought about how that would work in this room until we put it all together. It's perfect for this corner. But if you prefer, you can still easily put down the back part of the mantel and use it in the traditional position flat against the wall. I love its versatility.


I absolutely love the detailed woodwork. It has some thin panels like beadboard, as well as some romantically ornate wooden applique at the top. You can see here that I'm loving using it as a place to set up farmhouse vignettes.  



Here it is plugged in and turned on. I'll be hiding the cord with a cord cover. I have to admit that the "fire" doesn't look quite real, but it's adjustable and it does emit heat. (It also looks more inviting in the dark. I took this photo during the day.) And I can remove the heating element whenever I want, allowing me to use the inside for things like stacked wood, etc. (just for effect, of course). Perhaps we'll try that once it's summer for a different look. Again, we can always move it somewhere else in the house if we get tired of having it in the living room. 

Now that I've shared all details of our fireplace history, I thought I'd share my list of pros and cons when it comes to having an electric fireplace versus a more traditional fireplace. The 8 "Pros" are your 8 reasons to buy an electric fireplace. 


Pros and Cons of Having A Wood Burning Versus Electric Fireplace 


Wood Burning

PROS

1. cozy, localized heat (see Con #7 below)

2. soothing crackle

3. romantic

4. pretty to look at

CONS

1. must buy/chop/haul in wood

2. also need kindling to start it

3. need fireplace tools/gloves/wood carrier/wood stacker

4. need to stoke constantly

5. must clean out ashes

6. must maintain the chimney inside and out with yearly cleaning/check-up

7. may actually lose heat, so increased heating costs

8. always danger (however small) of having a house fire

Bottom line: Owning a wood burning fireplace can be costly (in terms of both time and money). If you're ok with that, then enjoy it!

ELECTRIC

PROS

1. there are a ton of sizes, styles and colors to choose from

2. many of the smaller ones like mine are very portable

3. easily adds charm to any room in your house

4. much cheaper than having a real one installed

5. can really warm up a room

6. some have remotes

7. are freestanding with their own surrounds (versus a vintage mantel you would have to build a surround for)

8. still have a mantel that you can decorate!

CONS

1. Some fires seem pretty fake looking

2. No soothing crackling sounds






While I love our white farmhouse-inspired electric fireplace, I know that it doesn't rule out a wood burning fireplace from turning up again some time in my future! Do you have any strong feelings about fireplaces one way or the other? I'd love to know! 


Well, that's it until next time, friends! 
I hope you enjoyed reading about 
8 Reasons To Buy An Electric Fireplace.

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Leave a Comment!

Junkchiccottage said...

Good Monday Morning Kathleen,
I have always loved the real fireplaces. I miss having one in our new home. I might think about getting an electric one.
Hope you have a great new week ahead.
Hugs,
Kris

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Very pretty, Kathleen! We have two electric fireplaces...they add architectural interest to rooms, ambience, and warmth, too! The fireboxes on ours are very realistic. We have a gas fireplace at the lake but hardly use it, due to utility costs!

Kathy said...

I would love one for the mantel aspect and the mesmerizing flames. The cellar woodstove has a glass door--but it's in the cellar. You forgot the BUGS that come in on the wood. And the mice droppings. And, one of my personal faves, having yourself smell like woodsmoke caz it took so long to get the kindling going! We won't mention the time I got a yellow curly birch piece of wood that was TOO big for the stove door STUCK in the opening. Well, the birch bark catches on fire FAST, and I couldn't get it in (did finally) or out and there I was! Frustration adds to strength!

My thrift store addiction said...

It looks great and will save money too. Win-win! Glad I could help ;)

VintageSouthernPicks Florence S said...

That's an interesting post. We have a wood-burning one, and the hubs enjoys the stoking part, but if you have carpet as we do, you risk sparks flying clear across the room. We are fans of having the cover in front open. I like the idea, though, of the electric one. Yours looks quite cute, I must say. Surprised to hear it heats up the room. Ours is a gas fireplace and it came with the fake logs, which I was originally thrilled about. No mess. No log-hauling,etc, but when I realized that money was literally "going up in smoke" (gas bills) to keep it running, we decided to go back to real wood. In my next move if I have a choice, I'd like to try the electric. Were you able to get a good deal buying it after-season?

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