Informational Guide

Are Electric Fireplaces Safe To Use?

Home heating is a must in most climates but being safe is more important. We explore the safety of electric fireplaces and what to look for.

by Josh M

Electric fireplaces are the modern solution to heating that combines functionality with aesthetics in a way that can transform a room. Many homeowners opt for electric fireplaces because they are efficient and give a cozy feel for our room, but some people have concerns about the safety of this style of heater.

So, are electric fireplaces safe? We’ll answer that question in this article and give some tips on how to use them safely.

Woman Reading a Book Beside a Fireplace

No Real Flames Produced

No Flame But Realistic Electric Fireplace

Electric fireplaces don’t use any flames at all to generate heat. Electricity is used to heat coils within the machine, and this heat is then circulated throughout your room. Despite the fact many electric fireplaces have a flame effect, you won’t have any fire which could spread throughout your home.

Artificially Generated Heat

All heat from an electric fireplace is artificially generated and relies on heating coils kept safely within the machine. This is much safer than other methods used by heaters.

No By-products, smoke Or Wasted Gases Released

Other forms of heating use gas or natural wood to produce heat, giving off fumes or smoke. These can be harmful to your health, and a gas leak can be a real hazard in the home. On top of that, wood-burning and gas heaters are much higher maintenance and can create a lot of dirt or mess in your home.

Heat And Flames Can Be Turned Off In An Instant

You’re completely in control with an electric heater, and you have a control panel to turn the unit off instantly, unlike other heaters where you have to wait for the fuel to be used up.

Front Part Are Not Hot To Touch

Many electric fireplaces use LEDs to mirror the look and flicker of real flames, but there’s no real heat there. The front panel isn’t hot to touch, which makes them safe for infants and pets.

Electric heaters, whether freestanding or mounted, are relatively safe, but as with all electricals, you should take precautions. Make sure you keep them away from water and avoid installing them near any water sources as this could cause an electrical malfunction or even electrocution.

Can You Leave an Electric Fireplace Overnight?

Many people ask whether it’s safe to leave an electric fireplace on overnight, and the answer is yes, it’s safe, but you should avoid it if possible. Electric fireplaces have no real risk of causing a fire because of the way they work and the fact no fuel is used.

However, you should always avoid leaving electricals on overnight because if they do malfunction, then it could cause an electrical fire. You’ll also find you’re using more electricity than you need to if you leave devices on overnight, which can lead to a spike in your energy bills.

Our advice would be to turn it off overnight, but it’s not going to be a major hazard if you forget every now and again.

How To Use Your Electric Fireplace More Safely? (Important Tips)

We’ve already covered some of the features of an electric fireplace and shown how safe they are compared to other types of heaters in the home. However, as a homeowner, you have a responsibility to use your fireplace safely, and there are some things you can do as a user to make it even safer:

  • Don’t Use Extension Cords
    Your electric fireplace should always be plugged directly into an outlet and not into an extension cord. This limits the risk of malfunction and protects your home from an accidental electrical fire breaking out.
  • Remove Flammables
    An electric fireplace can generate a lot of heat quickly, so you should make sure there are no flammable objects nearby when you turn it on, or they could become a fire risk.
  • Don’t Leave Unattended
    Electric fireplaces are relatively safe, even for pets and children, but you should never get complacent. Make sure you don’t leave kids unsupervised around the heater when it’s turned on.
  • Avoid Water Sources
    The fireplace is electric and should be kept away from water sources. Never install them in a bathroom and have them located as far away from water sources as possible.
  • Unplug When Not In Use
    When you’re not using the electric fireplace, you shouldn’t just turn it off; you should fully unplug it. This protects your home and the device if there’s any malfunction with the plug socket.
  • Professional Installation
    Your electric fireplace is usually wired directly into your mains, and this should be done by a certified electrician. This will help ensure everything is done correctly and limit the risk of any malfunction.
  • Don’t Modify The Unit
    This should go without saying, but don’t make any modifications to the unit yourself. This could damage the device or make it unsafe to use.

How To Make Your Electric Fireplace Child Safe?

Heaters and young children do not mix, and you need to take their safety around any heater very seriously. Electric heaters are considered the safest for kids because they shouldn’t be hot to the touch. If you have a gas fireplace currently, you should consider switching. Even with an electric heater, there are some precautions you can take:

Fit A Fire Safe Baby Gate
Fire Safe Baby Gate

You can install a baby gate around your electric fireplace to stop your child from getting near the device. This will prevent them from touching anything hot or playing with controls on the fireplace. Make sure the baby gate is at least 3 feet away from the electric fireplace for it to be completely safe.

Turn Off When Not In Use

By turning off your device completely when it’s not in use, you’ll stop tiny eyes from being drawn to the flames on the heater. This will also help to lower your energy bills each month.

Supervise

Make sure you never leave your child unsupervised around the electric fireplace because it only takes a minute for them to injure themselves.

Kids by the Fireplace

Can an Electric Fireplace Be Placed on Carpet?

One of the main benefits of a good electric fireplace is how versatile they are. They can safely be placed on any surface, including carpets, hardwood floors, and tiles, without any risk of damage.

You should always ensure your fireplace is on a level surface. Otherwise, it may tip over, and if vents become blocked, it could become a fire hazard. Most modern electric fireplaces come with an automatic shut-off feature if the device falls over, but it’s never worth taking the risk.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Can you get carbon monoxide poisoning from an electric fireplace?

No. Electric heaters don’t emit any gases or fumes, so there is no risk of any harmful gas poisoning from this type of heater.

Are electric fireplaces safer than space heaters?

Yes. Electric heaters produce a flame effect without any real fire being produced. Space heaters, by comparison, are a greater fire hazard but are still relatively safe in your home.

Do electric fireplaces get hot to the touch?

No. All the heating components are safely within the electric fireplace, and the outside should never get hot to the touch. This makes it the safest option for kids and pets.

Does the back of the electric fireplace get hot?

The back of an electric fireplace is likely to give off some heat but should not be hot to the touch.

Conclusion

Electric fireplaces have a bad reputation, but they’re actually one of the safest heaters on the market. As long as you take precautions and are sensible with electrical components, you shouldn’t have any issues and should enjoy your fireplace safely. Hopefully, this article has given you some valuable information to help keep you and your family safe.

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.

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