An electric fireplace is a modern and beautiful option for any home, but those who are considering their next fireplace may wonder if an electric fireplace needs to be vented. We consulted our experts for the answer.
Does an Electric Fireplace Require Venting?
No, an electric fireplace does not require venting. They use electricity, not other fuels like wood or gas to create their light and/or heat. Both gas and wood create certain emissions like carbon monoxide, which pose a danger to human health if ingested.
Because of these emissions, traditional fireplaces require sufficient venting, as well as regular chimney cleanings, to ensure that all dangerous emissions are removed from the home.
Why Electric Units Do Not Need to Be Vented
It is, of course, very important to be sure you are using your new fireplace as safely as possible. Using an electric fireplace indoors will cause certain questions to be raised. Therefore, an important item to understand before buying any electric fireplace is why these products don’t need to be vented.
Besides the fact that they produce no emissions that require venting, there are other reasons why venting isn’t needed for electric fireplaces.
How Electric Fireplaces Produce Heat and Flame
Although an electric fireplace does produce the appearance of flame, and may also generate heat, both of these are created by electricity and not through the burning of wood or gas.
Electricity causes the heating element inside the fireplace to become very hot. Once a certain temperature is reached, a fan is triggered to turn on and blow this heat out into the room.
Electric fireplace units also create light in the form of burning flames. However, these flames are artificially generated. Some models, like the Capella electric fireplace, use real-looking logs to create the glow of fire and heat, and lighting and other visual effects to produce realistic-looking flames.
Do Electric Fireplaces Need a Chimney?
No, electric fireplaces do not require chimneys. This is because they do not generate any emissions that are dangerous and would therefore require venting, such as smoke or carbon monoxide.
You may have an existing chimney from a traditional fireplace, but both the fireplace and chimney can be closed or sealed.
Understanding How Electric Fireplaces Are Installed
The installation process for an electric fireplace is a lot more simple than for other fireplace types. Electric fireplaces are “zero clearance” products; they are pre-manufactured units consisting of a heavily-insulated and self-contained firebox designed for the purpose of quick and easy installation anywhere in a home.
Zero clearance units also don’t require any space or clearance between the unit and the wall for protection against overheating because the firebox’s walls already contain sufficient insulation for this purpose.
Typically, a built-in electric fireplace must be chosen, purchased and installed at the time a wall is being constructed. These built-in electric units do have cords and plugs, but these are only used to test the unit’s operation. The final installation is wired directly. Both maintenance and servicing of a built-in unit can be accomplished through the front.
A flush-mount electric fireplace requires installation into a wall opening that has been framed. These types of fireplaces require their framed openings to be of the exact size to accommodate the firebox and the anchoring screws needed to attach the firebox to the frame.
Most of the time required for the installation of flush-mount units is invested in the creation of the wall opening, followed by direct wiring if this is the preferred method. Flush-mount units can also be corded and plugged into a receptacle.
Any electric fireplace that is mounted onto, and not into, a wall is known as a surface-mount. Installation of surface-mount electric fireplaces begins with screwing a metal bracket or plate onto the surface where the fireplace will be installed.
The next step is to mount the unit onto the plate or bracket, followed by plugging the cord into a 120-volt receptacle. If you don’t prefer the look of a cord, it is possible to install the fireplace without it. This option involves wiring the fireplace to an electrical connection directly, which requires the help of a licensed electrician.
Electric Fireplace Safety
Another concern homeowners often have is about the safety of electric fireplaces. As long as they have been professionally installed, and any direct wiring has been done by a licensed electrician, electric fireplaces are very safe. In fact, they beat both gas- and wood-burning fireplaces for safety and efficiency.
Along with the fact that electric fireplaces don’t burn or emit any harmful substances, and therefore do not need to be vented, there’s also no need to worry that someone will get burned.
Many models don’t produce heat intense enough to cause burns. Those that do produce high temperatures are encased in glass that remains cool to the touch.
Which Type of Electric Fireplace Will You Choose?
Electric fireplaces are a great choice for those who want the look, feel, and ambiance of a fireplace without the risk of smoke, chemicals, or fire that traditional fireplaces carry.
Built-in units offer a stunning visual appearance that adds wow factor to a room and are ideal when you know you’ll want the look of a fireplace for the long term.
If you prefer a more mobile option and variety of installation locations, the surface mount offers plenty of portability. Finally, the flush mount fireplace allows you to transform virtually any room in your home into a cozy hearth.
CAPO Building Specialties offers a wide range of cost-effective, energy-efficient, and beautiful electric fireplaces; start shopping our collection today.