Electric fireplaces and vent free gas models both have advantages over wood-burning models. Neither requires the expense or work of having a vent installed. But there are major differences between the two.
How Electric Fireplaces Differ From Vent Free Gas Models
Simply stated, an electric fireplace is safer. Though a vent free gas model is a better option than a messy wood-burning one, it still produces real flames and the dangers that come along with having a fire inside the home. Vent free gas fireplaces are different from vented gas versions in that they are designed to produce a very hot flame that completely absorbs the gas via combustion. Since they do have some combustion but no vent, moisture can build up forming condensation on the inside of the room’s windows.
Gas appliances are generally safe when built and installed to code; however, understanding gas hook-up procedures and applying them is not something an amateur should attempt.
Gas appliances produce real flames that can cause house-fires and deadly carbon monoxide if they malfunction or are unattended. Electric fireplaces, on the other hand, produce heat without actual fire. Since there is no combustion, there are no fumes or emissions that require a vent. They are constructed of materials that are cool to the touch, so children and pets are safe within their proximity.
Electric heaters are also much less expensive to operate. The cost of using an electric version is only an estimated three cents an hour without the heater turned off and eight cents with the heater turned on. On the other hand, gas versions cost approximately 17 to 24 cents an hour, based on the local utility rates.
The Ease Of Installing An Electric Fireplace
As previously mentioned, vent-free gas models require a professional to install them safely and to meet local safety codes. But electric fireplaces come factory pre-wired, making installation a snap.
Installation is quick and easy. Once unpackaged, the unit is ready to be placed inside a mantel or cabinet. Some electric fireplaces have glass doors that may need to be installed on the front of the unit. The second and final step is to plug in the unit. Since most electric models are freestanding, they can simply be placed where desired without having to do masonry work or making holes in walls. And since electric models don’t have any combustion, there’s no need for ventilation to run from inside of the house to the exterior of the home.
A Solution For Any Room
One of the biggest advantages to electric fireplaces is their versatility. There are many options to choose from. Many of the different plug-in fireplaces are portable and can be moved as needed from one room to another.
The popular Amish style fireplace model is a perfect solution for those who would like to enjoy a fireplace in any room of the house. The Amish style fireplace is mounted on casters so that it can be moved from room to room as needed. While the casters provide portability, they are inconspicuous, making the Amish style fireplace look like a traditional mantel fireplace when placed against a wall.
Wall mount electric fireplaces come in a variety of designs and finishes that can fit in with any lifestyle. Because they are mounted directly to the wall, these models provide space saving solutions that are ideal for condominiums, lofts, and apartments. And because they are mounted much like a mirror or artwork is, they are a great option for renters who want a fireplace, but cannot have a built-in unit.
Electric fireplace inserts are another ideal option for people who have an existing built-in masonry fireplace but don’t run it because of the mess, expense or safety hazards associated with them. A log insert can be placed inside the firebox and with very little installation-just sealing off the flue-the fireplace can once again be enjoyed.
Homeowners who want a permanent fixed fireplace, but don’t have a traditional one to convert, can opt for a built-in electric fireplace. Built-in versions can be built into new construction or retrofitted but do require carpentry and electrical hardwiring in order to be installed.
There are several kinds involving different levels of installation. Cabinet models have the look of a traditional mantel model but stand against a wall thus not requiring any recesses to be built into the wall. However, these built-in electric fireplaces can be recessed, hardwired, and provide a flush mount look.
Electric fireplaces and vent-free gas models have just one main similarity: Neither requires ventilation to operate. But with all of the advantages of electric fireplaces including safety, convenience, portability, ease of installation and cost-effectiveness, it’s easy to see why they are becoming increasingly popular in homes across America.