Fireplaces are a beneficial addition to your home and provide warmth and ambience in any season. However, the comforts of a gas or wood burning fire also come with safety concerns, hassles, and inconveniences that may keep you from using it as much as you want to.
If you convert a wood fireplace to electric, you take away many of the downsides of a fireplace. An electric fireplace is a viable alternative to actual wood and gas fireplaces without the associated risks.
Why Convert from Wood to Electric?
Most traditional wood or gas burning fireplaces have several safety risks associated with them. Some can come as a surprise for new homeowners who do not know the full condition or history of the existing fireplace. Knowing the history of a fireplace is especially important as gas and wood-burning units require safety barriers, heat proof materials and annual safety checks.
Physical exertion can also become a concern with wood-burning fireplaces since you’ll need to cut and carry your own wood. As a result, wood and gas-burning fireplaces often remain unused throughout the year.
Electric fireplaces, however, are hassle free. In addition to being pet and child friendly, electric fireplaces remain cool-to-the-touch, require no physical exertion for maintenance and are convenient to use.
Electric fireplaces are champs at zone heating: supplementing heat to the rooms constantly used by the entire family rather than heating the entire house where many rooms are unoccupied for the majority of the day.
Units can provide 5,000 BTUs per hour of heat and deliver this to your room by using a quiet fan that blows the heat generated by the insert into the room. Electric fireplaces cost approximately 3 cents an hour to operate without the heat on and 8-12 cents with the heat turned on.
Which Electric Fireplace Is Best for Conversions?
There are two types of electric fireplaces you can use to convert your wood burning fireplace into electric: plug-in fireboxes and log inserts.
An electric fireplace log insert is composed of the logs and the electrical cord. Some models may also have a grate of some sort the logs sit on. The logs are lifelike in presentation and produce a realistic flame image.
These models do not emit fumes associated with gas fireplaces or the smells of a wood fire, yet still utilize the existing fireplace structure for an easy conversion process. They are safe and clean to operate and many models can be remote controlled. They come in a variety of sizes, from 18 to 40inch widths.
The plug-in electric fireplace has not only the logs, but is also housed in its own firebox. It may have a glass front or may be open. These, like log inserts, feature lifelike logs or may have a more contemporary bed of glass or rock instead of logs or embers.
They come in various sizes and shapes. Their realistic flame effects and energy efficient function makes this a great option for converting your fireplace.
How to Convert a Wood Burning Fireplace to Electric
An electric fireplace insert is set into an existing masonry fireplace and replaces existing wood grates, gas grates, burners or log sets. To install an electric fireplace insert all you have to do is clean up the existing fireplace box, slide the insert in and plug it into a standard outlet.
Most electric fireplace inserts come factory pre-wired which makes for a smooth installation, however with some units, a plug-kit will need to be added. There are no gas fittings, no masonry work, and no holes in exterior walls that must be added, monitored, or maintained.
Depending on the type of insert you choose, installation may look a little different. A log insert is simply placed in the existing firebox and plugged in. A built-in fits snug in the firebox and may require some shims to make it level or help it stay in the right position. Be sure to check whether the model you choose has a front trim or if you’ll need to order it separately.
Ready to convert a wood fireplace to electric? Take a look at the options.