A real wood-burning fireplace will certainly decorate any room. This symbol of domestic warmth, comfort and harmony is suitable for installation in private houses and cottages, where it is possible to equip a complete smoke exhaust system. As for apartments in urban high-rise buildings, they, alas, are completely unsuitable for such delights.
For this kind of housing, an electric fireplace is perfect — a modern household appliance that performs several functions at once. Such devices perfectly imitate the play of the flame and the crackle of firewood, fill the room with cozy warmth and create a unique atmosphere.
Let’s take a closer look at electric fireplaces — find out what they consist of, how they work and how they are installed indoors.
Types of electric fireplaces
Modern electric fireplaces are classified according to three criteria. We list the main varieties:
1. By location:
- Suspended. These are compact devices that play a rather decorative function. The thickness of the body of the suspended fireplace does not exceed 13–15 cm, and heat transfer, as a rule, remains at a minimum level.
- Desktop. These devices are small in size and light in weight. They are produced in a huge variety of modifications.
- Floor. Fireplaces of this type have more impressive dimensions and are often difficult to distinguish from wood-burning counterparts.
2. By mobility:
- Embedded. These are wall-mounted devices that are installed permanently against the wall, with emphasis on the back of the case.
- Portable. Fireplaces of this type are equipped with rollers that allow you to move the appliance around the apartment if you wish to rearrange it.
3. By type of heating element:
- With open type heating element. These are electric fireplaces, in which a spiral stretched between a pair of ceramic rods, a spiral on a ceramic base or a ceramic rod with a nichrome winding can be used as a heat source.
- With closed type heating element. These are devices in which the spiral is sealed inside a glass tube. The latter can be transparent, translucent or matte.
As you can see, in the modern market of fireplace equipment you can find a device for every taste.
The two main elements in the design of any electric fireplace are:
- The hearth is an impromptu fireplace insert, the place where you can watch the play of an artificial flame. In the hearth, as a rule, there are imitations of firewood or coals made of ceramics or plastic. Beams of LEDs or lamps pass through the gaps between these structures — they create the effect of a flame. The front part of the hearth is protected by high-strength decorative glass, behind which there is a built-in fan heater that provides space heating. Some models of such equipment are also equipped with a steam generator, which creates the effect of smoke rising from the fire. If you want the most realistic imitation of a wood-burning fireplace, pay attention to models with an LCD screen.
- Portal — decorative frame of the hearth. It can have almost any shape, size, color and design and be made of plastic, ceramics, natural stone and many other materials. Often, the cost of the device depends on the design of the portal.
Along with these mandatory elements, electric fireplaces are equipped with built-in electric fans, speakers, automatic fragrances, etc.
Most models come with a remote control.
Principle of operation
Consider the most common options offered by modern manufacturers:
- Imitation of fire with fluttering strips of fabric. Behind the protective glass are strips of red fabric. An electric fan, fixed at the bottom of the hearth, sets these strips in motion, creating the effect of waving flames. The composition is complemented by incandescent lamps, and decorative models act as firewood.
- Moving reflector and glass screen. Under the artificial coals, a bright backlight is fixed. During the operation of the fireplace, the reflector begins to rotate, projecting reflections of the backlight onto a glass screen, which is located on the back wall of the hearth.
- LCD monitor. The picture is completely realistic due to optical lenses and light filters that depict a never-ending dance of fire.
- 3D hearth with a steam generator. In such devices, the effect of live fire is created by halogen lamps, and water vapor acts as smoke. The backlight is reflected in the smallest drops of water, thus forming an image of flames.
- Hearth with Opti-Myst technology. Such devices are equipped with ultrasonic generators that transform water into cold steam. The steam illuminated by halogen lamps provides a fairly reliable imitation of a smoking hearth. Fireplaces of this variety are often supplemented with the function of cleaning and humidifying the air.
Along with the above visual effects, modern models of electric fireplaces can:
- turn on and off at the specified time;
- accompany the image with sound effects;
- work in different modes;
- create background lighting in the room;
- spread a pleasant smell of needles and smoldering logs;
- work with different brightness levels, etc.
An important advantage of modern electric fireplaces is that they can warm the room in which they are located. Heating is carried out by built-in heating elements, infrared emitters and fans. However, it should be remembered that the efficiency of such a hearth is relatively low — on average, this figure varies in the range of 20%.
Electric fireplaces can be installed in almost any room. The main thing is to consider the following rules and recommendations:
- The room with such a device must be well ventilated, since the device burns quite a lot of oxygen during operation.
- Electric fireplaces should not be placed in front of windows and other light sources, as this can spoil the visual effect of blazing firewood, making the image less bright and contrasting.
- It is not recommended to brick the device into the wall — according to safety regulations, such equipment should be located so that it always has free access. The fireplace should be easy to remove.
- Make sure your home has a ground loop. If not, equip it first, and only then install the fireplace. Before connecting the device, check that the wiring is correct.
Installation methods for electric fireplaces depend primarily on the type of device. Consider some of the simplest options:
- Stationary corner. Such devices are framed by a portal in the form of a triangular or pentagonal pyramid with one right angle. The structure must be installed as close as possible to the walls, cutting off part of the plinth if necessary.
- Wall mounted. Such fireplaces are less stable than corner-type devices, so they are often fixed with brackets. However, remember that when rearranging the device, the mounting system will also have to be transferred to another wall.
- Mounted. Devices of this type are fixed with a mounting plate. Draw a strictly horizontal line with a level and fasten the bar along it with 3–4 dowels. If the wall is finished with plasterboard, reinforce the attachment point with a wooden beam.
- Embedded. These are the most time-consuming electric fireplaces in terms of installation, which, however, look much more interesting than their hinged and wall-mounted counterparts. First you need to equip a niche of the desired shape and size. The easiest way to do this is from drywall, using a light metal frame as a base. Attach the structure to the wall, and then fix the electric fireplace in the resulting opening. The socket can be equipped right inside the niche so that it does not attract attention.
Some models of electric fireplaces, for example, devices with an LCD screen, are mounted only in a special drywall niche. Corner electric fireplaces often require the arrangement of a special pedestal. Specify these details in advance, even at the stage of choosing a device.