Not all homes today come with traditional fireplaces. Renovating yours to install one, complete with a chimney, can be time-consuming and expensive. But this doesn’t mean forgetting about having an attractive centrepiece that will bring extra warmth to your home, as there are wall fireplaces available to make that happen. An electric wall fireplace will provide a minimalistic and modern look to your room.
Also called ‘wall fires’ and ‘floating fires,’ wall fireplaces are ready-made and fully assembled heating appliances resembling traditional gas or wood-burning fireplaces. But do not require venting or chimneys. They work by drawing in the cool air from the room to heat it internally, then blow the warm air out with a fan. Some models come with infrared technology to directly heat objects in a room.
Regardless of your choice, the wall fireplace can provide supplemental heat to your home without toxic gases, fumes, or soot, as the flames are not real. Instead, these flames are projected images by LED lights and a mirror element to reflect and roll the lights. However, they look incredibly realistic.
Selecting the perfect electric wall fire
Wall fires come in a wide range of options for every taste and budget. Their size and simple installation make them perfect for condos, rentals, apartments, and modern homes. They provide a linear and built-in look with a modern flair without occupying floor space. Choosing one involves some decision-making that will lead you to the perfect fireplace for your room.
To get started, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you need to cut into a wall? If you do, determine the depth available for the wall fire.
- Are you building the wall out for the fireplace? If you do, how far are you building into the room
- Do you want your flat-screen TV over the fireplace?
- Do you want the fireplace mounted on the surface of a wall?
- Do you require sufficient heating from the electric fire?
If you are cutting into the wall or building out a wall for a wall fireplace, you need to determine the depth of your preferred model. Contemporary models often have depths ranging from 4” to 9”, and up to 17” for traditional ones. If there’s a limit to the depth you can make in the wall, you need to know that before buying a wall fire.
Wall-mount or recessed?
As you explore wall fires, you’ll likely come across terms like recessed and wall-mounted, making the shopping experience quite confusing. Most wall fires can be inserted into a slot in a wall or hung directly on the wall. The recessed style is placed in a cut-out area on the wall, so the sides of the wall fire are hidden, and only the outer frame would show. The frame is flushed to the wall (flush mount installation). At times, the recessed fireplace is called a fireplace insert. It may also replace an existing gas-burning or wood-burning fireplace with modifications to the venting system.
If you prefer a straightforward installation, consider a wall fireplace that hangs on a wall, like a framed photograph or painting. The wall-mounted fireplace should come with all the wall mounting brackets for easy DIY installation. Just make sure an electrical socket is nearby where you can plug the appliance directly.
Consider your space
One of the vital things to consider when finding a wall fire is the size of the room or space that needs heating. Forced fan fireplaces are ideal for areas that are around 400 square feet, but for a bigger room (around 1,000 square feet), you may need an infrared unit. That said, remember that heating is subject to your home’s environment. Drafts, windows, and high ceilings may affect the heat retention of the room and impact the electric fireplace’s effectiveness.
You should also factor in the size of the wall. A large electric fire will suit a large wall, but you may also consider a small fireplace on a small wall in a big room. Keep in mind that the size of the burner won’t be equal to the heat output. When considering the size of the wall fireplace, it will always be about aesthetics, particularly which model will look more balanced in the area where you want it to be.
Will there be a TV?
Another thing to consider is whether you will place a TV above the wall fire. If you will, the fire’s size must balance the TV’s. That means the fireplace must be at least as wide as your TV. Remember the fireplace size is measured by the actual width, and TV size is measured diagonally, when noting the dimensions.
A 65-inch TV’s actual width is 56 to 58 inches, and a 60-inch fireplace is a minimum you can consider for that size. You can step up and choose a 74-inch fireplace if there is enough space to achieve a balanced look. Newer linear fireplaces are shorter than TVs, so you may want to provide a bit of extra width on the fire, so the TV will not appear top-heavy. Consider this rough guide:
- 50-inch fireplace for a 55-inch TV
- 60-inch fireplace for a 65-inch TV
- 74-inch fireplace for a 75-inch TV
Consider your heating needs
Your wall fireplace is not merely a decorative feature. It can provide supplemental heat for those extra cold days. So, be sure to check the BTU of the wall fire to determine the heat output and make sure it is appropriate for the size of your space or room. Most electric fireplaces can provide 5000 BTUs of heat, enough for a 400 to 500-square feet area. Some may provide 8000 to 8500 BTUs when connected to 240 volts with a maximum 2500-watt output to heat an area of up to 1000 square feet.
Don’t forget your preferences
A wall fireplace can have other features beyond heat and colourful flames. For instance, it can have variable flame size and speed, coloured lighting, or extra flame colours. Some models have a timer, a built-in thermostat, and a highly sophisticated panoramic HD+ 3-sided flame that lets you view the flames from three sides.
Where to shop
Find the perfect wall fires from a local manufacturer that specialises in making these products and provides good warranties for them. Choose an experienced manufacturer with skilled craftspeople who can customise your wall fireplace in a range of finishes and materials.