Are Electric Fireplaces Safe?

With any type of fireplace or heater, whether it’s traditional or modern, you must always take the proper safety precautions. With that said, electric fireplaces are one of the safest ways to heat up your home due to the nature of their operation. 

Unlike traditional fireplaces, electric fireplaces lack a real flame and produce no harmful byproducts during operation. This makes them a much safer option compared to wood or gas-burning fireplaces. However, there are a couple of safety tips that you should take into consideration such as the placement and supervision of your fireplace. 

At Fireplace-Factory we only sell electric fires, not coal fireplaces or gas or solid fuel – just electric. This is due to a number of reasons, but the main ones are the ease in which an electric fire can fit into your rooms, and your life. The benefits of fitting the fires, of their environmental efficiency and above all else, their safety, are hard to overstate.

How Safe Are Electric Fireplaces?

As they are one of the more modern forms of having a fireplace in your home, electric fireplaces don’t have the same safety concerns as other types of fireplaces do. Instead of running on an actual combustible fuel, electric fireplaces run purely on electricity. 

Since they don’t utilize a real burning fire, nor do they burn real fuel, electric fireplaces don’t produce any smoke or harmful gases like carbon monoxide. This makes them a significantly safer option of fireplace to have in your home compared to traditional fireplaces like coal, gas, and solid fuel. With that said, electric fireplaces are not entirely without their safety concerns, as is the case with any home electrical appliance. 

What Makes an Electric Fireplace Safe?

To summarise the safest aspects of electric fireplaces, they are safer than traditional fireplaces because:

  • They don’t utilise a real flame
  • They don’t produce harmful byproducts like smoke or gas
  • They generate heat using an artificial heating element
  • They don’t require a consistent supply of oxygen to operate properly
  • They can be switched off instantly
  • They aren’t hot to the touch

We have discussed some of the safer aspects of electric fireplaces in more detail below.

No Real Fire

Electric fireplaces are powered entirely by electricity, meaning the flames and heat that you can see and feel are not produced by a real burning fire. With traditional fireplaces, there is always the risk of the fire spreading beyond the fireplace; this risk is eliminated with electric fireplaces and their fire-free mechanism. 

No Harmful Byproducts

The lack of fire in an electric fireplace means that they don’t produce smoke, nor do they release harmful gases like carbon monoxide. This is a huge concern with wood and coal-burning fireplaces, which require the installation of a chimney or flue to safely channel the smoke and gases out of your home.

Heat is Artificially Generated

Electric fireplaces generate their heat artificially using an internal heating component. This component can either be a more conventional heating element such as those used in space heaters, or a heater that uses infrared technology. Also, many models of electric fireplaces come with a ‘flame only’ setting; this allows you to enjoy the visuals of the flames without having to turn on the artificial heater. 

No Need for Fresh Oxygen Supply

Electric fireplaces don’t require a constant supply of oxygen to operate. This is unlike traditional fireplaces which must have a constant air supply in order to keep their fire burning safely. With traditional fireplaces, if they don’t have this constant supply of oxygen, it may cause them to emit more smoke and harmful gases like creosote and carbon monoxide. 

Can Be Switched Off Instantly

As soon as you want the fireplace to stop operating, all you have to do is switch it off and/or unplug it from its power source. This is particularly useful in case something goes wrong with the fireplace and you need it to cool down immediately. 

Not Hot to the Touch

With traditional fireplaces, the flames pose a hazard to you, your children, or your pets, as they are extremely hot to the touch. Again, the heat that electric fireplaces produce does not come from a real fire, but instead from an electrical heating component housed within the fireplace. Therefore, the risk of getting a burn from an electrical fireplace is greatly reduced. 

Nevertheless, you should still take care with electric fireplaces as they can be hot to the touch around the hot air outlet. Models typically come with a safety warning to clearly indicate where the hot part of the fireplace is. 

What you need to consider when buying a fire

 

What May Make an Electric Fireplace Unsafe?

Even though they are one of the safest types of fireplaces available, you still need to take some care when operating your electric fireplace. This is because:

  • Electric fireplaces have the same risks as any other heated electrical appliance
  • Cheaper models of electric fireplace may be less safe than more expensive models with more safety features
  • The heating element in the electric fireplace may overheat if the fireplace lacks sufficient air circulation

Faulty or Malfunctioning Appliance

As is the case with all-electric appliances, there is always the chance that the model will be faulty or may malfunction. You can minimise the risk of this issue by purchasing your electric fireplace from a reputable manufacturer and following the safety guidance that comes with your model. Standard advice to avoid the malfunctioning of your electric fireplace is to never plug it into an extension cable or surge protector.

Cheaper Models That Lack Safety Features

Again, this is a rule that applies to the majority of electrical appliances; the cheaper the product you buy, the less safe it will be. Cheaper models of electric fireplaces tend to lack safety features such as overheat prevention mechanisms and timer functions. Choosing a reasonably priced fireplace from a reputable manufacturer will reduce the safety risks posed by cheap appliances. 

Lack of Air Circulation

Electric fireplaces must have sufficient air circulation on all sides of the appliance. If the inlet or outlet vent of the heater is blocked, it restricts the flow of air necessary for the fireplace’s safe operation. This will cause the electric fireplace to overheat, in turn causing the fireplace to shut off or become a fire hazard. To avoid this issue, place your electric fireplace on a hard surface, and ensure that it’s far away from objects like curtains or carpets.

Can You Safely Install an Electric Fire Yourself?

Yes, one of the biggest benefits of electric fireplaces is that they are the easiest type of fireplace to install and run safely. 

With traditional gas fireplaces, it’s essential that you seek a registered gas installer to fit your gas fire. Attempting to install a gas fireplace without the proper know-how and experience will leave you at risk of dangerous gas leaks and explosions.

Electric fireplaces, on the other hand, require minimal setup and are ready to use minutes after you have taken them out of the box. All you need to do to get your electric fireplace up and running is to plug it into a suitable outlet and switch it on. This makes electric fireplace installation an easy DIY job for those with any level of experience. 

Our electric fireplaces are boxed up with easy-to-install fittings that make fixing your fireplace in your desired place simple. You ultimately make a great saving when you purchase an electric fireplace from us as it eliminates the need to pay an expert to ensure it’s safely installed in your home. 

Our electric fires are very safe to install and because you do not need to pay an expert this is a great saving when you buy an electric fireplace for your home.

Check out the video below of just how easy it is to install one of our fires.

More Safety Tips for Electric Fireplaces

Using Electric Fireplaces on Carpet

For most models, it’s safe to place an electric fireplace on a carpeted floor if the carpet isn’t too long. Long-pile carpets and rugs are never safe as they may block the heater’s air inlet or outlet, which could cause the fireplace to overheat. Always read the manual of your chosen model carefully before use; check the safety instructions to ensure that your particular model is definitely safe for use on carpet. 

Leaving Electric Fireplaces on Overnight

You should never leave an electric fireplace on overnight or unattended at any point in the day. Always remember to switch off your electric fireplace before leaving it unsupervised.

Is an Electric Fire Safe for Children?

Electric fireplaces are safe for use around children as they operate without using real flames or burning actual fuel. They maintain heat at a much lower temperature than other types of fireplaces, meaning they can heat up a room efficiently without getting too hot to burn. 

Many models of electric fireplaces are fitted with ‘safe-to-touch’ glass that remains cool during the fireplace’s operation. This ensures that the glass won’t cause burns or discomfort if your child comes into contact with the fireplace when it’s on. Also, depending on the model you choose, there will be little to no sharp corners jutting out from the fireplace that could cause injury.