Written by Wayne Visbeen, AIA, IIDA, principal & founder of Visbeen Architects, Inc.
Fireplaces are a great way to add ambiance to various rooms in a home. Fortunately, not all fireplaces require extensive construction, costs and space. As electric fireplaces continue to progress, in both function and design, I have started incorporating them into my new constructions—even in my own home. Here are four reasons why I elect for electric in certain home designs.
1. Electric Fireplaces Offer More Creative Freedom
Electric fireplaces offer customizable appearances based on a client’s needs. Depending on the space, I can choose from a wide variety of electric fireplace types including wall hung, built-in flush, masonry fireplace inserts, entertainment center cabinets, and mantel packages. Once installed, all it takes is a touch of a button and I can adjust the flame height, the brightness, speed, and even the ember bed color. With the varying styles and creative freedom when choosing a surround, electric fireplaces can be adapted to homes of all styles—traditional, contemporary, transitional and rustic. Some electric fireplaces like Napoleon’s CLEARion™ are completely see-through, making the fireplace enjoyable from two rooms or as a buffer in a great room.
2. They are Easier to Install
Many electric fireplaces are easy to install, just plug them in! Some minimal drywall work can be done if you wish to have your unit flush to the wall. As easy as they are to install, they are also easy to remove. This is a great choice for someone who wants the enjoyment of a fireplace in a condo or an apartment. Electric fireplaces often adhere to the regulations set by property management companies and, when a client purchases another home, they can simply unplug the electric fireplace and take it along. An electric fireplace can be added to any room including family rooms, master suites, bathrooms and even fitness rooms like I have in my home.
3. They are Low Maintenance & Energy Efficient
Forget the required maintenance schedule of a wood burning or gas fireplace. There’s no chimney sweeping, no chimney, no smoke, saving a homeowner between $125 and $250 annually. There’s also no need for firewood or expensive natural gas, or gas pipes installation. In fact, you can turn your beautiful electric fireplace on with a remote control. Homeowners can determine their energy costs online with Napoleon’s Electric Fireplace Cost Calculator. With all things considered—the cost of the electric fireplace, installation and maintenance, electric is a great, aesthetic way to add fire to a design without breaking the budget.
4. They are a Great Source of Heat, or Not
The soothing warmth is one of the key selling points of a fireplace, but sometimes, the heat can be undesirable. Choosing an electric fireplace for certain home designs can extend the usability through hot summers with their ability to choose to emit heat or not. Using the heater function on your electric fireplace is extremely effective during the cool fall nights and brisk winter days. Heat rises, which means that with a traditional fireplace, much of the heat is lost up the chimney. This is not the case with an electric fireplace.
The technological advances in electric fireplaces have made them an easy, attractive and cost-effective way to incorporate fire into the home while still adding ambiance to a space. That’s why I have used and will continue to use electric fireplaces in my designs and in my own home. And for these reasons, electric fireplaces are becoming even more popular than gas and wood.
Wayne Visbeen, AIA, IIDA, principal, and founder of Visbeen Architects, Inc., is known for his one-of-a-kind home designs. Visbeen works with clients to understand the important aspects of their vision and then transforms these into a conceptual sketch right before their eyes. Winner of more than 100 Residential Design Awards and dozens of Best in American Living Awards, Visbeen incorporates these themes and more into his designs and his own home, located in Grand Rapids, Mich.