Which Fireplace Insert Is Right For Me?
Why Consider An Electric Insert?
Built-in and plug in electric fireplace inserts in addition to electric log sets are practical alternatives to wood or gas units. An electric fireplace is an eye-catching addition to any home or office and provides a beautiful glowing bed of embers with a realistic looking flame effect. Each unit is designed to operate with flame effect and heat or flame effect only. Not only are they versatile and practical, but they eliminate the need to worry about fumes, smoke or the mess associated with traditional fireplaces. Here we will introduce you to three options for electric inserts – the “built-in”, “plug-in”, and the log set.
A built-in or plug in electric fireplace insert is a great addition to any home or office. However, there are differences between the two and choosing the right one for your home or business will be dictated by which one fits your lifestyle best.
Built In Fireplace Inserts
“Built in” electric fireplaces are an enclosed metal box with logs or ember bed with a glass front or glass doors. A built in electric fireplace can be placed in an existing firebox or built into a wall to create a fireplace where none existed before. You may choose from traditional logs or select a contemporary feel with a firebox that features flames rising from sleek, glass embers. These units are ventless which means they may be installed almost anywhere in the home. Built in units are zero clearance which means they can be flush mounted to drywall, tile, wood and other surfaces.
These built in units can be installed quickly and are ready to be hard wired into your home electrical system. Some units come with an optional plug kit which will fit a standard 120 v outlet. If hard wired, these units provide optimal supplemental heat with an output of 6000-9000 British Thermal Units (BTUs). This should provide extra warmth for 400-800 sf. These fireplaces can operate flame only, or heat and flame allowing you to enjoy the beauty of a fire all year. Most models have remote controls included and optional wall thermostats available.
Plug In Fireplace Inserts
A “plug in” electric fireplace is similar to a built in with some important differences. This firebox is also an enclosed metal box with logs or an ember bed complete with a glass front or glass doors. As the name suggests, these units come with the plug kit attached and are ready to be used with a standard three-prong electrical outlet (120 v). Just unpack, plug in and go!
These units are available in a variety of sizes to suit many applications. A 3” clearance around the back of the unit is required making these the best choice for existing masonry fireboxes or installed into a cabinet or bookcase with adequate clearance. These are also a popular choice for recreational vehicles. Almost all units come with a remote control and optional accessories are available including wall thermostats for some models.
Plug in fireboxes allow you to provide supplemental heat for up to 400 sf, with a heat output of up to 5000 BTU’s. The quiet fan forced heater can be used with the flame effect or you may use just the flame for ambiance in milder temperatures.
Electric Fireplace Inserts –Options to Suit Your Needs
An electric insert comes in two unique designs. The first design is a four-sided box that exists as an entire unit, which is a “built in” or “plug in” fireplace. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and would typically slide into an existing masonry firebox, a freestanding mantel or become part of a cabinet or an entertainment center. When the unit is housed inside a freestanding mantel or cabinet it could be relocated within the home, only needing placement near an electrical outlet.
Electric Log Set Fireplace Insert
The second design for an electric fireplace insert is the electric log set. An electric log insert is placed into an existing traditional masonry lined fireplace to transform it into a less expensive, hassle and mess-free fireplace.
The electric log set is a plug-in unit, which means the only thing needed to use them is a nearby electric outlet. Most units are fully assembled or require log placement only which makes installation a breeze. Because they are not built in, they are easily transported if you move to another location.
Electric inserts and log sets require no gas fittings, no masonry work, no holes in exterior walls for venting, and no contractors necessary because these units do not require ventilation. The cost of operation ranges from 3 cents per hour operating flame only and 8-10 cents per hour with heat and flame for most units. Up front purchase cost is generally less than gas units because no outside contractor is needed for most units as most homes and offices have existing electric service.
If you are looking for a great alternative to provide ambiance and supplemental heat at minimal cost, an electric insert is the solution!