Choosing an Electric Fireplace


As I sit here writing this, I’m reminded of when I was looking to purchase a new home. There was never a question that I wanted a cozy den with a fireplace in it.

Nothing compares to sitting quietly, reading by a real fire on a cold day. Or so I thought.

Surprisingly, I ended up purchasing a condo in the city. It seemed to have everything I was looking for, but of course owning a condo meant no real fireplace. Even a gas insert wasn’t an option, so my dream slowly started to fade away.

But then I had another idea. I could improvise. I turned the second bedroom into a den with double French doors that open into the living room and planned out how I would enhance the focal wall that was visible from the living room.

Even if I couldn’t have the real thing, I was going to make it work. Thus began the search for a faux fireplace.

New Technology Makes Fireplaces Reasonable for Everyone


It didn’t take long to find a great option. The technology and design features of electric fireplaces have improved since the old tin foil and incandescent light bulb days.

I was intrigued by the advantages of an electric option, such as no fumes, no venting, no high operating cost or difficult installation. It’s a cost effective supplementary source of heat, it requires no maintenances (no ash to clean out) and it’s safe.

I checked out a number of options and purchased an attractive unit that mounts directly to the wall. Mine sits about 20” off the floor.

I then designed a Shaker-panel surround with a nice chunky mantle to hold artwork, candles and seasonal décor.

The added heat source is delightful on colder days and visually it’s as comforting as the real thing. It’s probably my favourite place in the world, well, in my condo.

Design Options


The most impressive thing I learned was there are great design choices available. Options like full-sized media consoles with shelves flanking the built-in fireplace, can be purchased through Canadian companies like Napoleon fireplaces out of Barrie, Ontario.

If you prefer modern, there are sleek boxes that can be hung at eye level, a super idea in a dining room or bedroom. Even the electric inserts and stove styles are impressive.

If you have a chimney with a non-functioning fireplace, or you want to build a feature wall with a chimney-like stone or brick façade, consider an electric insert.

Add an optional trim kit to give it a polished, custom look. Or go for the sleek contemporary design of a wall hung fireplace with the horizontal flame.

It can be recessed or hung directly onto the wall. Most are just 5” deep. For that traditional fireplace feel, look for a ‘floor’ model fireplace with a mantle.

Whether it’s modern, transitional or traditional, it is going to make a statement in any room. The cabinetry now being manufactured or custom built for electric fireplaces is as well designed and constructed as its gas counterparts.

Electronic Fireplace Features


And how about that flame? Technology meets artistry in newer models. The cool thing is that many models can be remote controlled.

Want higher, faster flames? A different colour? Just touch a button. You can also set it on a timer.

Some models come with LED lights that change colour and offer a nightlight feature, too. When you’re really ready to turn it off, the embers slowly fade just like the real thing.

Extra features on some models include the sound of a burning fire and some include a product that can create a smoke effect for an amazing virtual fireplace experience. This technology is available at Dimplex in Cambridge, Ontario.

If you were sitting beside me now, you would be enjoying the wonderful, carefree warmth from my fireplace. It may even inspire you to write…about fireplaces.