An electric fire can be a great addition to a home. It provides instant warmth and comfort on gloomy and cold days while providing a relaxing ambience with realistic flame effects to elevate the mood and aesthetics of a room. As you browse the selection of electric fires, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the wide range of choices. You may wonder which is best for your home and what suits your taste and budget. This guide shares some vital things you should know about them to help you make an informed buying decision.
About electric fires
An electric fire is an aesthetically pleasing heating appliance you can add to your home. It doesn’t produce real flames or smoke. So you won’t need a vent, flue, or chimney. However, it requires a dedicated electrical wall socket where you can plug it in.
You can purchase an electric fireplace to insert into an existing fireplace or consider a wall-mounted model. Just make sure the built-in heater is suitable for the size of your room.
One of the things you should remember about an electric fire is that the flame isn’t real. Instead, it creates flames with a visual screen similar to a TV or light from a bulb refracted onto the screen for flickering effect. Although the flames are not real, they look very realistic, especially on the newer electric fire models.
Electric fires are available in all sizes and shapes, but they are mainly categorised into six main styles to avoid confusion. Your choice should depend on your décor, the space in the room, and your personal preferences.
- Stove – An electric fire has the look and feel of the traditional burning stove, but without using firewood or requiring a split. Depending on your budget, it can have a bigger flame picture or opening doors. Most models are freestanding and can be set anywhere in the house.
- Suite – This is an all-in-one electric fireplace solution with a full surround and a fire. Most designs are out-of-the-box and ready to install against the wall, resulting in an instant fireplace. Some models may require the fire recessed into a wall cavity, which you can consider for a slimmer profile.
- Inset – Also known as ‘insert fires,’ inset electric firesrequire a cavity or opening, such as an existing surround or fireplace opening for installation. Given their large proportions, they appear minimally intrusive and take up less space. Some may come with spacer kits, so you can set an inset fire as a freestanding unit, which you can consider if you don’t have an opening or cavity in your wall.
- Basket – A basket fire provides an open fireplace look, with a rustic feel. Some models have an optional ash bed for a realistic effect.
- Wall-mounted – Sleek and space-saving, a wall-mounted electric fire can be hung on the wall or built-in.
- Radiant bar – A traditional bar fire that uses radiant heat for instant and comfortable warmth, with a vintage aesthetic.
Electric flame technologies have come a long way. Now, you have a range of options that differ in terms of their effects and long-term value. These options include three-dimensional flame effects, which offer a stunning view of coloured lights and realistic flames, or an LCD screen with sound effects to deliver a fully rounded experience. Some technologies provide customisation and depth to the flames.
The fuel bed is a crucial design element for electric fires. It can be a coal bed, or glowing log bed for a traditional look, or crystal or pebbles for a contemporary and refreshing aesthetic. Many fires have a fuel bed that matches the fire’s design.
An electric fire can be used, even without the heat. This lets you enjoy the relaxing ambience of the fire regardless of the season. The heat output of electric fires ranges from at least 600W up to 2kW. Higher wattage means faster heating. However, make sure the electric fire is efficient. Some models can come with a thermostat that lets you set the heating at half or full power, and they will produce heat only when the room temperature drops a certain level.
Like a traditional heater, the heat output of an electric fireplace is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). The higher the BTU, the greater the heat output. Be sure to measure the room size where you intend to install it. Electric fire with an infrared heater can heat larger rooms.
Do you want extra features on your electric fire? Remote control is one of the must-have features, so you can adjust the fire and effects without leaving your seat. You can also consider accessories to complement your electric fire, such as larger crystals or a realistic log set.
Most accessories will transform your electric fire into an attractive and extraordinary focal point in any room. The large resin crystals will turn your electric fire into an entertaining light show as they complement the flame colours of your choice. Resin logs can make your electric fire look and feel traditional.
Fire surround hidden fixing brackets prevent unsightly visible screws and mirror clips. They allow you to fix the radiator covers and wooden surrounds to the wall while enabling easy redecoration.
An electric fireplace requires to be plugged into a power socket to function. Make sure there’s one near the installation area, and never use an extension cable.
Find out where the electric fires are made and who makes them. Consider buying from a local business with an in-house team of skilled craftspeople. Thus, it can easily cater to any specification and customise your electric fire in various finishes and materials.
Shipping and delivery
Reputable manufacturers can dispatch an in-stock electric fire the next working day. However, be mindful of the time it takes to complete a custom fire and allow three to five working days to ship. They should provide a tracking number to know where your parcel is. Make sure they use a reliable courier who can deliver your item in two to five days.