Why they’re so much better than you think.
When many of us think of electric fires, we think about the 3-bar type with a front grill that used to feature in our grandparents homes but, over the past decade, electric fires and stoves have quietly been undergoing a revival with some gorgeous modern designs to complement contemporary homes. With this in mind, we’ve put together a guide to showcase the new era of electric fires and stoves plus reasons why you might want to choose one.
There are many reasons to choose a modern electric fire for your home. However, the purpose of this guide isn’t to try and convince you that a modern electric fire is suited to everyone’s home and lifestyle. We’re here to offer you our help, and advise, on what we believe are the main benefits of buying and owning a modern electric fire or stove. This will hopefully help you to make better, more informed buying decisions.
So, Why Choose An Electric Fire?
The main advantage is cost. Electric fires are generally cheaper to buy, run and maintain than other types of fire.
They rarely need parts replaced (even bulbs)! Most modern electric fire flame effects are produced with LED lighting meaning over the course of an electric fire’s lifespan (around ten years) you shouldn’t have to change any light bulbs. Also, the heat from a modern electric fire is generated from a simple element and fan system that very rarely breaks down.
So, as you can see a modern electric fire or stove has virtually zero maintenance cost. Gas fires need yearly serviced and generally will require replacement parts over their lifespan such as gas valves, oxi-pilots and fuel-beds. Multi-fuel and wood burning appliances require regular chimney sweeping and need replacement parts such as fire bricks and door rope. These tend to need replaced every couple of years. Electric fires don’t require a service and as mentioned above, rarely need replacement parts.
Generally, these appliances also have vastly cheaper installations than gas or a wood burning stoves too. A modern electric fire is very easy to install, they mostly just need plugged in and are set to go. Therefore, often there is no requirement for professional installation at all.
Electric fires can be a great option if your house doesn’t have a chimney (you’d be surprised how many houses don’t!). If you have a chimney and an electric fire, you won’t’ lose any heat up it either, making them a more efficient way of heating your room than a gas or solid fuel stove.
Because there is no actual fire, an electric fire is a great option if you live in an urban smoke control area. They also don’t produce gasses such as carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, or carbon monoxide, a dangerous gas to have in your home.
Electric fires also come in a huge range of designs giving you more choice for your home.
When choosing an electric fire, there are a lot of options to select from: Inset electric fires, wall mounted electric fires, freestanding electric fires and electric stoves.
Gas and multi-fuel fires and stoves have various regulations around what you can and can’t do in your home. For instance, if you’re fitting a gas fire, you’ll need a hearth that is bedded in on top of cement, it can’t sit on top of your existing flooring. There’s also your distance to combustibles to think about so you’ll need to be careful where the fire is situated and what type of material your fireplace surround is made from.
Electric fires don’t have these regulations as they don’t produce a real flame and therefore, hold no more fire risk than any electrical appliance. This means there is a huge variety of designs and materials to choose from.
A modern electric fire or stove can also be placed anywhere there’s power. With gas you either need a chimney or an outside wall so you can flue through to the outside. Wood burners either need to go through the roof or up and through a wall, extending up the side of the building to beyond the pitch in the roof. Electric fires don’t have these restrictions and can be situated in most places, offering up many more design possibilities.
Electric fires and stoves are a safer for children, the elderly and infirm as they don’t have a direct flame that can be touched. Furthermore, when the fire is on ‘flame effect only’ mode then there is no heat off the appliance at all. When the heater is turned on, the element and fan are fully enclosed behind a metal grill, making it much less likely that someone could be burnt.
The introduction of new regulations requiring electric fires (with heaters) to come with a built-in thermostat means that the heater will turn itself off once a certain room temperature has been met. This is a great reassurance for those who worry about elderly or less able family members.
ENVIRONMENT AND EFFICIENCY
No fossil fuels are being burned. Therefore, there is zero pollution produced from an electric fireplace.
Electric fires and stoves are 100% efficient. This simply means they output the same amount in heat as they take in as electricity. The most modern gas fires are typically around 75% to 85% efficient, meaning some heat loss is expected. Wood burning stoves are typically around the same.
Note: Whilst electric fires are more efficient, electricity is a more expensive fuel than gas and most likely more expensive than burning wood also. So, the heater part of an electric fire should be used sparingly in combination with your central heating. Most people buy electric fires and stoves as a feature, not as primary heating appliances.
Unlike gas or multi-fuel stoves, electric fires give out heat you can feel within a couple of seconds. Great for when you need a quick blast of heat to take the edge off the room temperature.
As previously mentioned, most people buy modern electric fires and stoves as a focal point or feature in their home. They don’t buy them simply as heating appliances. The reason for this is that the flame effect of the electric fire is separate to the heating element. This means you can have the ‘glow’ without the heat unlike gas or stoves where it only looks pretty when the appliance is on. With most electric fire flame effects now being LED based it is a cheap of way of adding ambient lighting and cosiness to your home.
THE CONCLUSION IS CLEAR
If you want the benefits of a real fire but with minimal fuss, an electric fire or stove is a simple way to add warmth to your home at the flick of a switch. They’re also a good alternative if you don’t have a gas supply to your home or if you want a cleaner and more environmentally friendly option than a wood-burning stove.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a fire or stove, why not give us a call and get some expert advice?