So, you wanna buy an electric fireplace for your family. But, you are very scared about the risk factors of using it because you have kids and pets. Every electric product has some limitations, particularly regarding safety issues. Although improper use without following any kind of safety precautions of the manufacturer can lead to severe damage to your appliance. In the worst-case scenario, it may cause fire hazards. However, electric fireplaces are very safe to use, in fact, most people nowadays are switching to electric fireplaces because they are pretty safer than traditional wood or gas fireplaces.
Why Electric Fireplaces Are So Much Popular?
A home or apartment without a good heating system is not complete particularly if you are living in an extremely cold area like Alaska, Montana, or New York. A quality heater will not only ensure a warm and cosy environment in the house during extremely harsh winter but also help us to fight against deadly cold diseases like Hypothermia, Frostbite, Trench Foot, Chilblains, and Common Cold and Flu. In the past, wood was used to burn in the fireplace or stove which was the only source of the fire at that time. Warm from live fire is very good for health but they produce smoke and toxic gases. Thus, they are not safe to use inside your residence. For this reason, modern scientists have come up with the idea of an electric fireplace that is more compact and user-friendly. The first electric fireplace was introduced back in 1912 which was very first used in the theatre as a prop. The old models of electric fireplaces had a lot of limitations; they were expensive, hard to install and the flames were not at all realistic. This is quite normal with the first inventions of any product. With the passing of time, this appliance upgraded tremendously. Now you may find freestanding electric fireplace models as well as wall-mounted electric fireplace models that can be hung on a wall which was pretty much rare in the past. Manufacturers continue to flood the market, especially during the winter season.
Are Electric Fireplace Safe to Use?
These worries come to your mind thinking about the potential risk that you envisage possessing wood or gas fireplaces at your home. So, many people assume that they have to encounter similar safety issues if they bring an electric fireplace. But, the truth is they are a safer option compared to wood and gas-burning stoves/fireplaces. Furthermore, they are pretty easy to use and maintain.
First and foremost, the flames on the electric fireplace are not real, rather they are fake. It is nothing but just an illusion of lights which is created with the combination of light bulbs and LED screens. Besides, some electric fireplace models are integrated with a special mechanical device that creates the sound of cracking and burning wood to make the fireplace more realistic. Therefore, unlike the gas or wood fireplace, there you have to deal with real fire. There are some special types of heating elements that are used to generate heat waves artificially and a fan is used to distribute the heat all around.
Secondly, unlike the gas or wood fireplaces, an electric fireplace is completely carbon-free, neither produces other toxic gases. Although the toxic residual gases produced by wood or gas or other fossil fireplace are always vented through a vent pipe outside of the home, you are not out at the risk of toxic gas leakage. Without a doubt, blowing of toxic gases from the vent pipe can cause a deadly situation in your home. On the other hand, an electric fireplace is clean and they don’t have to deal with such emissions of toxic gases. So, you don’t have to maintain or think about the deadly consequences of vent pipe hazards.
Thirdly, an electric fireplace doesn’t need air (oxygen supply) to produce heat like a pellet stove or gas stove. Lack of air supply in a wood-burning stove or fireplace may increase the production of toxic gases, smoke, and creosote.
Lastly, some gas fireplaces or traditional fireplaces do not have glass between the flame and people. This means it is hazardous and you could get hurt or burn yourself by sparks of fire. Also, there is a potential chance of a fire being spread by virtue of a spark of fire coming out from the burn pot of your wood-burning fireplaces. On the other hand, an electric fireplace is absolutely free of fire spread because you don’t have to deal with real fire.
Here are the main points and features of an electric fireplace that make it one of the safest heating sources for your house:
- The flame effect is not real. It is completely fake. So, you don’t have to deal with real fire.
- Heat is artificially generated from power supply.
- No toxic gases like carbon-di-oxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen, etc. release from electric fireplace.
- No byproduct like ash, slate, etc. product like wood fireplace.
- Don’t need a constant supply of oxygen to keep the fire burning but you must ensure the continuous supply of electricity to keep your electric fireplace running.
- Easy to control the heat. Don’t need to think about controlling fire and supplying fuel to your fireplace or stove.
- Minimal change of fire hazard.
- Very safe to touch; even your kids can touch it.
Other Questions Regarding Safety Issue of Electric Fireplace
Is it Safe to Leave an Electric Fireplace Overnight?
Many users of electric fireplaces commonly ask this question if they can leave their electric fireplace turned “ON” overnight? The answer to this is “Yes”. You can leave your electric fireplace overnight but it is not a good practice. Our expert recommends the users of the electric fireplace to turn it off if they are not in the home or the temperature of the house is fairly warm or whenever it is possible.
Even with it being safe there are things that you need to remember, do not overheat the appliance by running it for a long period. Before using it for a long time check the specification of your purchased model very carefully that how long it is capable of running at a time. It is always a good practice and many experts recommended using an electric fireplace at moderate temperatures to avoid overheating which may lead the fireplace to get burnt.
Also, ensure that there are no flammable ingredients or items near your fireplace or next to a power cord. Because leaving electronic devices turned on for a long time in many cases results in a short circuit.
So an electric fireplace is the safest to leave running overnight, but it is good that before you do so, you take necessary precautions.
Is It Electric Fireplace Safe to Use On A Carpet?
Yes, you can place an electric fireplace on a carpet, although the carpet isn’t made of fire-resistant material. However, your particular model of electric fireplace may not be suitable to place and install on the carpet if one of the vents of the fireplace is located on the bottom or base of the fireplace body.
Nevertheless, you can place it on the carpet if you make sure that the carpet isn’t blocking the inlet or outlet venting system of the electric fireplace. It is not safe for your heater to use in this way. In case, your fireplace blocks the inlet or outlet of the fireplace, it may cause an overheating problem which may create an auto shut-off problem to your fireplace due to lack of air supply.
Certainly, you should attach the legs if your fireplace is freestanding, and also the heater is located at the bottom or base of the unit. If there are no legs available with the unit, you should avoid placing it on a carpet. Even if you need to place it forcefully on your carpet because of lack of space, you must try to keep a minimum clearance between the carpet and fireplace base so that the inlet and outlet system of your electric fireplace can operate freely.
So, when it comes to deciding whether your particular model is safe to place on carpet or not, you must take the following points in your account:
- Check the user manual and find if the manufacturer allows the fireplace to palace it on carpet and also what type of carpet.
- Location of the heating unit of the electric fireplace is very crucial. If the heater is located on the top of the unit then you don’t need to be tensed at all. You can place it on carpet without any protection or precaution.
- Inspection of the length of your carpet is very essential. Because most of the top class manufacturers of electric fireplaces don’t allow their customers to put electric fireplaces on high pile carpet owing to the fact that they are more likely to interrupt the heating system by blocking the inlet/outlet.
Electric Fireplace Safety Tips
Just like any other electric device, there are safety tips that are given by manufacturers of the appliance. We have compiled some from different manufacturers.
- To avoid cases of fire, keep flammble things like curtains, furniture, pillows, and clothes far away from the electric fireplace. Ensure that they are at least 3 feet away from the unit all sides.
- Make sure you unplug the cord while the appliance is not in use.
- Don’t use your electric fireplace if it is malfunctioning. Also, if the cord or plug are damaged do not use it either. In such a case you are supposed to take the broken fireplace to nearby authorized people or HVAC experts for repairing.
- Do not allow any foreign object to enter the appliance through the openings for it might cause electric shocks and fire.
- Do not try to make any modification to the unit. Only use it where it is recommonded to use by manufacturer or experts. Otherwise, it may get electric shock or catch fire by short circuit.
- Before connecting the appliance to electrical outlet ensure that the socket is well grounded or not.
- Never attempt to lift the unit by the glass. Always lift it by holding the firebox. Do not strike or impact the fire glass.
- It is always good to take precaution when the appliance is near pets, kids or physically handicap people. They will not burn by it but still has a chance of electric shock.
- The electric fireplaces are strictly meant for indoor use only. Do not use it outdoor or expose it to the outside weather.
Electric Fireplace Kids Safety Tips
So, after so much discussion, we have come to a decision that electric fireplaces are very safe to use in our home or apartment. But, you should follow some safety tips to be safe, but they are just the same tips that apply to any other electric appliances.
If you are using gas or a traditional log fireplace, it is high time you upgrade with new technology. At an affordable price, you get something beautiful, easy to use, effective, and safer.