When you are shopping for a fireplace, there are several very important factors to consider.
What style of fireplace do you want?
What colour and options do you want for the fireplace?
What are the running costs likely to be?
Is it going to be easy to maintain?
How big a fireplace should you get?
What fuel do you want the fireplace to run on?
What are the advantages of electric fires?
All of these questions can be researched and answered before you even set foot in a store or on a website with serious intent to purchase. There will be a rich depository of information online, and among your friends, families and colleagues as to the best options for your fire and fireplace surround.
Then it is just a case of finding the one that you think looks just right. The fireplace is going to be a major feature in the foot it will be installed in, so getting the look right is essential.
One major factor we have not yet mentioned, is likely the most important of all. Safety.
How safe is the fireplace you are looking at? What are the risks or dangers? Are young children or pets going to be in close proximity to the fire? What are the potential threats from the fuel source? What are the environmental risks associated with the fire?
Well, this article will hopefully help to answer some of these questions for you.
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.
What is so different about electric fires?
Well, unlike coal/gas/solid fuel fires, they do not require a fuel source to ‘burn’. This means there are no exhaust gasses, which need to escape from the fireplace. As they are simply not present, there is no requirement to hook your electric fireplace up to a chimney or other ventilation – making the installation a lot simpler, reducing smells in your home and also removing the dangers associated with solid fuel and gas fires – there is no chance of the fireplace releasing toxic gas into the home if the chimney is blocked. Just as electric cars are much better for the environment at the point of usage, electric fires are infinitely cleaner than fires that require wood, solid fuels or fossilised dinosaurs from the deep below the surface of the Earth to run.
This is also one of the reasons that makes electric fires so much safer too.
The solid fuel and gas fires literally combust their fuel. Expending the energy as they burn their fuel and distributing this energy as heat. The majority of which will be lost up the chimney, whereas with electric fires they achieve 100% efficiency as no heat is lost through this action of heat rising through the vents.
Electric fires do not require a fuel to be burnt to generate their heat and flame effects. They heat the air instead of burning a fuel source. This means the fireplace and surround themselves do not heat up as they would do with a solid fuel or gas fire. Put simply, when a coal or gas fire has been for a while, it can be daunting to try and remove the front plate to get at the control or to empty the ashes. Many a fingertip is burnt in the action of trying to extinguish a fire! With electric fires this is not an issue, the elegant glass screen at the front of the fire will not get to a temperature that can burn you. This is of the highest importance when we consider children and pets. As adults we know not to touch the fire, or the grate. Even though we tell them not to, sometimes children can touch the fire, the grate or the guard and get a nasty surprise. It could be a trip or fall that sees the child come into contact with the fire. The consequences do not bear thinking about.
With electric fires, the front panel of sturdy, laminated glass will not heat up to the levels where it becomes a danger. It simply is not a part of the heat transmission process, making the glass completely safe to touch even when the fire is in extending operation.
This makes the electric fire completely safe for young children, pets and adults – as we are all prone to the odd mistake every now and then, aren’t we?
Referring back to the lack of requirement for a flue, chimney or vent, the fact that electric fires don’t need these means they are much more environmentally friendly. “But there is probably a big power station that has burnt fossil fuels to produce the electricity for the fire to use!” I hear some of the people at the back vociferously shout.
Unfortunately, in the not too far back past this would likely have been true. In 2006, just 15 years ago, only 4% of UK electricity production came from renewable sources – with coal and gas providing 39% and 35% respectively. (Ofgem, 2006)
Fast forward to 2020 and renewables now account for 43% of all electricity produced in the UK – a rapid rise which shows little sign of slowing as we increasingly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels (Pv Magazine, 2021).
So electric fires are safer to be around in the home, with less risk of burns or poisoning, and they are better for the environment – and will only get better as energy production gets cleaner and greener in the years to come.