Though it’s hard to argue with the beauty, tradition, and aesthetics of a classic wood-burning fireplace the truth the matter is they are a real nightmare to own and operate.
To begin with, traditional fireplaces take a lot of time and a lot of effort to get burning – and you need to have a steady supply of wood to use as fuel on hand, too.
They burn anything but clean, with plenty of dust and suck all over the place, have the potential to smoke your entire house out, and have to be cleaned – deep clean – regularly to avoid dangerous buildup of creosote. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Thankfully though, you can get almost all of the benefits of a traditional fireplace with none of the headache and hassle – and a lot more consistent heat, too – with an electric fireplace insert.
Finding the right insert, though, can be a bit of an uphill battle but that’s why we’ve put together this quick guide and recommended products.
Additionally, you can check the 17 Best Electric Fireplace Insert Reviews.
Let’s dive right in!
Grade A Reviewed Electric Fireplace Insert Products:
Electric Fireplace Insert
Everything You Need to Know about Electric Fireplace Inserts
Important Things to Consider When Buying Electric Fireplace Inserts
Electric fireplace inserts are essentially nothing more than an electric heating system that has the same kind of look in the same kind of aesthetics as a traditional fireplace (usually leveraging LED technology) with the consistency and control only electric heating brings to the table.
Capable of operating with the heater turned on or just the look of the fireplace running, you can have your fireplace running all year round without burning up in the middle of summer – another benefit you won’t get with your traditional fireplace set up.
Before you choose a new insert, though, there are a couple of key details you’ll want to consider.
For starters, you’ll want to make sure that you are investing in an insert that runs off of a standard 120 V outlet and allows for plug and play installation.
Sure, there are a lot of great electric inserts that you can have hardwired directly into your home’s electrical system. That’s always going to involve a lot more complexity and a lot more expense, especially if you aren’t all that comfortable tackling a wiring job like this on your own.
Secondly, you’ll want to make sure that the insert you are investing in features a forced fan induction system.
This fan is going to blow over the heated elements in your insert, pushing hot air into the space that you are looking to warm as efficiently as possible. Without this kind of technology the heat will buildup in the insert and your room won’t get nice and toasty, nullifying a lot of the benefit in this kind of set up almost straightaway.
Thirdly, infrared quartz technology is featured and a lot of the more modern inserts today and for good reason.
Capable of delivering heat through 100% invisible infrared waves of light, you’ll be able to gently heat people, pets, and spaces in a 3 foot radius or so away with the kind of gentle heat you get from a traditional fireplace. This kind of infrared heating system also creates a bit more humidity and a space, helping to make things more comfortable during the dry winter months.
A couple of other things you may want to consider include detailed log elements that give your fireplace a traditional look that’s as close to the real thing as you’ll get with this kind of technology, including some solutions have built-in 3D sound effects that add even more atmosphere and ambience.
Ease of installation, cost of ownership details, and overall heating capacity round out the considerations you’ll want to keep top of mind before you pull the trigger on this kind of purchase.
How to Measure for Fireplace Inserts
Right out of the gate, there are two critical measurements you’re going to want to focus on when you are investing in electric fireplace insert solutions.
First, you’ll want to make sure that the insert you are choosing is appropriately sized for the space that you are installing it.
Perhaps you are installing a new insert into an existing fireplace opening, a fixed dimension that you’re going to have to fill with this new piece of technology so that it looks like it always belonged. Getting an insert that’s too small or too large just won’t work in these situations so you really have to measure accurately.
Before you actually install an electric fireplace insert you’ll need three measurements direct from the manufacturer:
• The height of your new insert
• The width of your new insert and
• The depth of your new insert
These three measurements give you all three dimensions of the hardware you are going to be installing in place.
With them you can measure the interior opening of the fireplace you are installing the insert into to verify that it’s going to fit – with plenty of room to spare for the trim components that address things up and cleanup the overall finished look.
Even if you are getting a standalone electric insert you’ll still want to have these measurements in mind.
You’ll need to know that you have plenty of space available for the standalone system to be set up, that it’s going to take up just the right amount of floor space in your room, and that it isn’t going to clutter or clog things up when it has been placed in its permanent position.
Secondly, you’ll need to look into the heat output of the insert you are going with.
Not only do you need an answer to be appropriately sized for the space it’s going to be installed in but you also needed to offer the right amount of heating for any given space. Most electric inserts are capable of providing heat for spaces that are measuring between 400 ft.² and 1000 ft.², though every now and again you can find larger inserts that put out even more heat or even bigger spaces.
End up with an insert designed to heat a space far larger than what you are working with and you’ll find this set up makes spaces almost uncomfortably hot in a hurry. Choose and insert designed to heat spaces far smaller and you’ll find that your electricity bill skyrockets without adding that gentle heat and comfort you were hoping for to begin with.
How to Install an Electric Fireplace Insert
Installing a New Standalone Insert
A standalone insert is relatively simple and straightforward to install.
All you really need to do is decide where you are going to install this unit (the decision heavily informed by its dimensions) and dive headfirst into the install directions straight from the manufacturer.
Floor model electric fireplaces are probably the easiest of the bunch to get up and running. These are essentially large pieces of furniture that you can prop up against the wall that look like a fireplace, hearth, and mantle all-in-one – with an electrical cord running out the back to plug into an available outlet that hides away when you are finished.
Installing a Free-floating Standalone Insert
Free-floating standalone inserts are little more complex to install, if only because you’re going to have to break out some construction tools and have a little bit of know-how to tackle this project quickly.
You’ll want to make sure that you are screwing your free-floating insert directly into studs and not just into your drywall, but you’ll also want to consider hardwiring the insert right into your electrical system for a clean finish.
The good news is that because there’s no internal combustion you don’t have to worry about venting your new electric fireplace regardless of whether or not it’s a standalone or insert model.
Installing an Insert into an Existing Fireplace
Installing your insert into an existing fireplace begin with double checking that the opening of the traditional fireplace has plenty of room for the electrical components, the blower system, and the “phony fire” elements that your new insert brings to the table.
Interior measurements in the fireplace should correlate with the largest exterior measurements of the insert itself. A couple of inches all around should give you plenty of wiggle room.
You also want to be sure that there is a bit of extra space between the back of your insert and the back of your fireplace so that you can fit the trim elements around the front of your unit to look like it always belonged.
If you have the opportunity to hide the electrical cord coming out of the unit along the hearth of your fireplace you shouldn’t have to worry about hardwiring things. Nobody wants to drill through masonry work or run wiring up and out a chimney just to get a set up like this rocking and rolling.
Of course, you can always snake the wiring of your hardwired electrical insert along the same space in your hearth that you would have run the electrical cord if that’s the kind of install approach you are shooting for.
At the end of the day, the best electric fireplace inserts like the ones that we have highlighted above are going to totally transform your fireplace from something old, outdated, and difficult to use and maintain to something that’s a real joy and pleasure to use and cozy up with.
Hopefully you have found the inside information in this quick guide useful to not only help you zero in on top inserts available today but to get a better feel for how to use and install them moving forward.
View Recommendations for Other Type Electric Fireplaces
View more about electric fireplaces at https://electricfireplacereview.com/