Electric fireplaces are somewhat of a mystery. Even to tech lovers and gadget fiends, their mystical properties to trick the eyes and the senses are an interesting puzzle. Here’s a look behind the velvet curtain to try to make some sense of the inexplicable.

Did You Know? Electric fireplaces were first used as theater props.

Created to enhance sets, electric fireplaces were developed as stage props because they were lightweight, easy to move around and uncomplicated to wire, requiring no fuel. Set designers and stagehands originally used fabric and glow sticks to replicate the look of flames back in the early 80s until 1995 when Dimplex developed the first wood-burning flame we know today.

Did You Know? Heating equipment a leading cause in house fires during winter.

But not electric fireplaces because they’re safe to the touch and don’t tip over. In 2011, heating equipment was estimated to be involved in 53,600 fires and cause 400 deaths. Electric fireplace deaths- close to 0. Most have auto shutoff features to prevent accidents.

Did You Know? Electric fireplaces can increase your property value.

Fireplaces have been estimated to increase your home value by up to $1400. By replacing the traditional wood or gas with an electric insert, you are making the home staging process cleaner and safer for both sellers and buyers as people come in and out without sacrificing the aesthetic. You can even “stage” the fireplace area with log baskets and iron pokers to add to the illusion.

Did You Know? Electric fireplaces are not space heaters, but freestanding stoves are a form of electric fireplace.

While this may sound like a chicken and egg argument, it all comes down to their mechanics. Space heaters radiant heat while freestanding stoves and electric fireplaces use fan-forced air created by hot metal coils to warm a room.

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