Electric Fires Buying Guide

Electric Fires Buying Guide

Posted by Alex Wells on

There is a pleasant feeling when you can relax on your sofa at home with ambience and warmth coming from your fireplace. However, if it emits fumes, gases or smoke, this is not ideal for your home or the environment. This is where Electric Fires can provide you the warmth, with a simple plug in to the wall.

Stylish electric fire in a modern living room

Electric Fires provide the warmth and atmosphere of a real fireplace, without the use of gas, wood or coal as the heat source. They use electricity to generate heat in the metal coils of the electric fire. The internal fan distributes the heat throughout the room. The installation is simple, as the electric fire only needs to be plugged into an electrical socket.

Advantages of Electric Fires

  • High efficiency as heat energy is not lost through the burning of fuel or chimney
  • Less expensive than traditional fireplaces
  • No servicing costs, as they are easy to maintain and portable
  • Safe as they don't produce toxic fumes, such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide
  • Installation is simple, as you can plug and play
  • Variety of designs available, giving you a homely feel

Disadvantages of Electric Fires

  • Noisy because of the fan within the fireplace
  • Heat output is limited to 2kW for safety
  • It takes a longer time to heat up the room
  • Higher running costs in the long-term than traditional fireplaces

Considerations When Buying An Electric Fire

Flame Technology

The first consideration for Electric Fires is the Flame Technology. The customer should take into account the effect they want displayed, and the budget. There is a choice of the Optimyst, Opti-V and Optiflame three-dimensional flame effects. The Optimyst uses water mist and coloured lighting to create the effect of realistic smoke and flames. The Opti-V utilises an LCD screen and a sound element for a fully rounded fire experience. The Optiflame 3D effect adds depth and custom effects to the flickering flames, for a more cost-effective option . A fourth fire effect is the ambient glow, using light bulbs under loose pebbles or a wood effect casing. This makes it look as if the fire has been burning for a long time. A fifth common flame effect is the ribbon flame. This effect is achieved by using a fan to blow air over a piece of ribbon to simulate dancing flames, while a bulb illuminates it from below.

Fuel Bed

The second consideration for Electric Fires is the Fuel Bed. To create a more traditional look, a gently glowing log or coal bed is perfect for the Electric Fire. Conversely, if you wanted a more contemporary, refreshing style, pebbles or crystal beds are ideal for the Electric Fire. The Electric Fire usually comes with the fuel bed that suits the design of the fire. However, there are selected Electric Fires which come with a choice of fuel bed. Dimplex electric fires offer interchangeable fuel bed options, to match your style or mood.

Heating Requirements

The third consideration of buying an Electric Fire is the Heating Requirements. Electric Fires' heat output is usually in the range of 600W to 2kW. The higher the wattage, the fast the Electric Fire can heat the room. Electric Fires are 100% efficient, as they output the same amount of heat as the amount of electricity. For example, an Electric Fire which outputs 2kW of heat, will use 2kW of electricity. There is no heat loss in the process. The Electric Fires have options to select full or half power, and thermostat controls so it only turns on when the temperature in the room drops below a certain level. You can enjoy the ambience of your fire in all seasons of the year, and in any weather.

Cost

The fourth consideration of buying an Electric Fire is the Cost. The most basic Electric Fires start from £100 from high street retailers and online retailers. More sophisticated electric fires with realistic effects cost a maximum of £1500. A benefit of Electric Fires is that they are generally cheaper than gas powered or wood burning fires. Electric Fires do tend to have higher running costs in the long term. For example, a 2kW Electric Fire would cost a minimum of 28p per hour to heat your room on full power, whereas a gas fireplace would only cost 8p per hour.

Installation and Safety

The fifth consideration for Electric Fires is the Installation and Safety. Each Electric Fire should have a CE mark, to show it has met European safety and efficiency standards. If the Electric Fire is a simple plug-in type, you will not need a professional to install it. For the more intricate type such as the wall-mounted or inset fire, consult a professional if you’re not confident with DIY. It is always important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, switch off the electricity before starting work, refrain from installing the fire directly above a plug socket, and comply with building regulations if structural work is done.

Types of Electric Fires

 Freestanding

Exmaple of a stylish freestanding fire

Freestanding electric fires sit flat against a wall, and look the same as a traditional fireplace with a full surround. This is the best choice if you want a fire in a room without a chimney. This type of electric fire can be removed from the packaging, and plugged in straight away.

Inset

Example of an inset electric fire

Inset electric fires slot into a hole in the wall, and sit with flush fitting. They can either slot in an existing fireplace opening, or a surround as space for the back of the fire. As a result, the fireplaces look streamlined, and hide the wiring and cables in the cavity. As they sit within recesses in the wall, this kind of electric fire provides better space utilisation of the room.

Wall-Mounted

Stylish curved black electric fire

Wall-mounted electric fires hang on the wall or are built into the wall for a sleek look. This kind of electric fire is a suitable choice for a customer with minimal floor space in their room. They are a very contemporary looking style of electric fire, and blend well in homes with Modern décor.

Basket

Modern basket electric fire

Basket fires give a rustic, open fireplace look and feel. They can come with an optional ash bed to give a realistic effect.

Radiant Bar

Freestanding radiant bar electric fire

Radiant bar electric fires use radiant heat to provide instant, comforting warmth to your home, along with a retro feel.

Stylish black wall mounted electric fire

View All Electric Fires

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I use an extension lead with my Electric Fire?

A. No, we don't recommend using an extension lead with Electric Fires.

Q. How efficient are the Electric Fires?

A. Electric Fires are generally just under 100% efficient, which means nearly all of the power supplied to the appliance is turned into heat.

Q. Does an Electric Fire have real flames?

A. No, an Electric Fire has no real flames. They use a projection method to make the flame image look realistic.

Q. Is it possible to run the Electric Fire without the heat?

A. Yes, most Electric Fires have the option to run the appliance in 'flame effect only' mode. This allows you to have the ambience of the fire in your room when the heat isn't needed, for example in the summer.

Q. Are Electric Fires safe?

A. Yes, Electric Fires are safe for your family and for the environment. Wood fireplaces emit ashes and pollutants, which can irritate the lungs of people suffering from asthma or respiratory illnesses. Electric Fires do not release any toxic fumes into the air.

Q. How long do Electric Fires last?

A. Electric Fires can last for 10-20 years depending on how much you use them.