How Electric Fireplace Inserts Work
Electric fireplace inserts are in actuality very simple systems. They use 3 main components:
- A heater/blower component
- A rotating light bar that either uses bulbs or LEDs
- A flame board that creates the flame effect
The heating units on inserts typically are ceramic with a forced fan system. They generate anywhere from 1000 to 1500 watts of power, and that translates in anywhere from 3500 – 5000 BTUs of heating power. Typically a heater of this nature can heat a room of between 300 – 500 Square feet.
What’s great about electric fireplaces in general is they send 100% of the heat they generate into the room. Many heating units only emit around 70% of the heat generated, the rest being used as energy by the machine itself. This means your electric heater is 100% energy efficient. And despite emitting more heat than a space heater (for example), electric fireplace inserts will remain cool to the touch. Even the glass on the front of the heater is cool to the touch, making it safe for children and pets.
Today there are some newer styles that actually use infrared heating cores, that are both powerful and silent. Some people do not like the infrared technology because it emits an orange light which they find distracting.
Rotating Light bar
Today’s fireplace inserts also have decent control chips that allow you to operate a timer, control flame intensity and heating power. These features are great for setting both the mood and a comfortable temperature in the room. Electric fireplace inserts are also very “green,” meaning that they do not cost much to operate in relation to other heating formats.
In terms of the flame effects, many electric fireplace inserts today have very realistic flame effects. The flame effects of today’s electric fireplaces are much better then when they started in the market around 2001. The older models used to look very chintzy, and the flame effects also made sounds, adding to the cheapness of quality.
Here’s a great video that shows the differences between the older electric fireplace models and newer electric fireplace models and installation: