Electric fireplaces: device, principle of operation, installation features


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.

Internal organization

The two main ele­ments in the design of any elec­tric fire­place are:

  1. 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.
  2. 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%.

Mounting Features

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.


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