What are the pros and cons of electric fireplaces?

Pros
They are safer than gas or wood fireplaces. They don’t start fires, they don’t produce smoke and pollutants and they don’t get dangerously hot.

Electric fireplaces are clean and odorless. You don’t have to worry about smoke getting into your clothes or your upholstery.

They don’t have to be permanent. They can be used by renters. Even if you’re the homeowner, you can unplug it and take it with you when you move. You can even carry one along in your camper or RV.

Most require little in the way of installation. You can decide you want one this morning and have electric fireplace heat tonight. They don’t require any venting.

They’re available in a number of attractive and versatile design options. Fireplace insert log sets provide an ambiance similar to a wood fire. You can choose whatever kind of flame or glow suits your fancy. Room units can be modernistic aluminum or stainless steel. Some have a wood appearance that matches the decor. Others double as actual pieces of furniture such as cabinets and media centers. Whatever your design style, you can find an electric fireplace that will fit into the theme of your room or even enhance it.

There don’t take up space the way a wood fireplace does. There’s no fire screen, fire barrier or fireplace clearance. You don’t need shovels, pokers and brooms.

They last a long time and require little maintenance and upkeep. They’re economical. You’ll never have to buy and carry wood or shovel ashes. There’s no sooty chimney to be cleaned or ducts to be blown out.

Operation is a breeze. You don’t need paper or kindling to get your electric fireplace started. You don’t have to open a window to get the draft moving in the right direction. If you want more heat from your wood fireplace, you have to guess how many logs to add. With electric, you adjust the level with the push of a button or the turn of a dial. Many electric fireplaces even have timers so they can turn on or shut off when you’re not in the room.

There’s no heat loss. Nothing goes up the chimney. Every penny you spend on electricity stays right in the room and keeps you warm.

In pleasant weather you can enjoy the play of the flame, and you can have it without the heat.

Cons
They’re best for heating one room at a time. If you’re looking to heat an entire level, a wood burning fireplace will do a better job.

They will not work during a power outage.

For some people, there’s nothing quite like the sounds and the smells of a genuine wood fire. If you’re in love with the sizzle of a wood flame and the homey aroma of burning wood, the ambiance of a wood fire may be worth the hassle.

You can’t cook on your electric fireplace. If you want to gather the family around and enjoy charred hot dogs, foil-wrapped potatoes and s’mores, you’ll need old-fashioned burning wood.

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