by Kate McFarlin
Electric fireplaces are quickly becoming a staple in many homes. These efficient, installation-friendly indoor fireplaces have allowed homeowners and renters the look of an expensive fireplace without the hassle of a wood-burning fireplace. In addition to beauty, an electric fireplace can be a beneficial source of radiant heat. Look below to learn how to buy an electric fireplace.
Pick a design. Decide on the type of design you want for your electric fireplace. There are hundreds of variations available, including indoor fireplaces that resemble wood stoves, complete with realistic flames, or models that come with attached mantles. In addition, you may select an electric fireplace insert that installs into an existing firebox.
Measure. Measure the space for your fireplace. Electric fireplaces range from ultra compact to large wall units. If you have a smaller space, a more petite size will give you the warmth and feel of a fireplace without overwhelming the room.
Select the wattage. Select a fireplace with the proper wattage. Much like space heaters, electric fireplaces will typically range from 700 watts to 1500 watts. If you have a small room, a fireplace that uses 700 watts will be sufficient to warm the space economically. However, if you live in a colder climate or you are heating a larger room, pick a fireplace that uses at least 1500 watts but is still energy-efficient.
Make sure you can handle it. Check to see if your home's electrical system is capable of powering the fireplace. This is an issue for older homes where the wiring may not be sufficient for the needs of the electric fireplace. In this case, if you are running the fireplace at the same time as another large appliance, it may overload the circuits.
Find a portable fireplace. If you're renting a home or apartment, or you want to move the fireplace around to different rooms in your home, select a model that is compact and portable. Fireplaces with mantles are generally heavier and may be more difficult to move.
Consult an electrician about installing a separate breaker to service only the fireplace.