How safe are electric fireplaces? They are very safe if you follow our electric fireplace safety tips.
We will comprehensively address common buyer concerns and also address some commonly asked questions about electric fireplaces. After all, not only do we want you to be cozy by the fire, but also to be safe and have an easy mind.
Not only are modern electric fireplaces, electric electric log sets and electric fireplace inserts much more efficient than wood burning or gas fired fireplaces, they are safer. There is no open flame. There is also no need for chimneys or venting.
One of the most commonly asked questions is ‘Do the flames get hot?’ The answer is no they don’t. The flame effects are simply an image or projection of flames. Touching the screen is like touching your TV set when it is on.
In fact, the only part of the fireplace that can get warm or hot is the area directly near the heating element or warm air discharge. The hot air blowing is like holding your hand near a hair dryer. Generally, parts you can touch will not burn you the way the top of a wood burning stove or fireplace can.
Can you use extension cords? No. Wink, wink. Virtually all owners’ manuals do not recommend using extension cords (so do we). I think they have to say that for legal reasons.
But at least 2 manufacturers that I have seen so far then go on to recommend heavy duty cords, and give specific recommendations on the minimum ratings. So I guess they are realistic enough to know some people will do it anyway and want them to be safe.
For a 1500 Watt heater, minimum recommendation is No. 14 gauge wire (AWG America Wire Gauge) minimum and rated at no less than 1875 Watts. Here are specific safety tips compiled after reading many owners manuals:
Electric Fireplace Safety Tips
This list of electric fireplace safety tips was compiled from various manufacturers’ operating guides. Read and understand all instructions thoroughly before using an electric fireplace.
- The heating element is hot when switched on. Take care to avoid bare skin touching the hot surfaces. During the heater operations, the trim surrounding the heater outlet can also get hot.
- To avoid risk of fire, keep all materials made of combustible substances, such as furniture, clothes, bedding, pillows and curtains at a safe distance of at least 3 feet (0.9 meter) away from all sides of the electric appliance or unit.
- Do not block the fresh air intake or the hot air discharge vents. Air must move freely.
- Although generally kid and pet safe, exercise caution when electric appliance having heaters is operated by or is near children or individuals having physical disabilities, whenever the unit is ON and left unattended.
- Ensure that electric heater is always unplugged when not in use.
- Never operate the electric fireplace with a damaged plug or cord, or if you observe the unit malfunctioning or the heater has been dropped or damaged in any way. The heater must be returned to the authorized service facility for repairs or making electrical or mechanical adjustments.
- Electric fireplaces are for indoor use only, never use the unit outdoors or expose to the weather.
- Electric heaters are not to be used in bathrooms, laundry spaces and other indoor locations which likely to expose the unit to water. Water and electricity do not mix. Never install the heater at places where it can fall into bathtub or water containers accidentally.
- The cable or cord of the unit should never be run under the furniture, carpeting or other appliances. The cord should not be covered with runners, throw rugs and similar materials. Cord must be passed in areas safe from high traffic areas in home, so as to avoid someone tripping over the cord.
- Before disconnecting the unit, turn off the firebox and remove the plug from the socket or outlet.Ensure that the connected outlets are properly grounded before connecting.
- Do not insert or allow possibility of foreign objects enter the appliance through any exhaust or cooling openings as this can cause electric shock, fire or damage to heater or insulation.
- Do not block the opening for the air intake or for exhaust in any way so as to prevent possible fire. Take care to avoid using on soft materials like bed or clothes as this can result in clocking the openings. Electric heaters have some parts which produce sparking. Never operate heaters in areas where flammable liquids, gasoline or paints are stored or being used and in places where flammable vapors are present.
- Do not make any modifications to the unit and use it only in the manner described in the manual. Using it in any manner not recommended by the manufacturer can cause electric shock, fire, injury or death.Do not burn any material inside the heater.
- Do not attempt to lift the electric fireplace by the glass. Lift from the firebox. Do not impact or strike glass panel.
- Whenever new circuits or modifications are required, use services of only a certified electrician.Ensure that the outlets you use are grounded properly, polarized and provided with fuse units.
- Never use an extension cord or a re-locatable outlet or power strip, for plugging the heater; plug the heater directly into wall receptacle or outlet.
This may seem like quite a bit of safety information to absorb. If you really look closely the safety tips are common sense tips that apply to almost any electrical appliance. The one area to look at closely is the area around the heater. In this article on electric fireplace safrty tips, we hope we answered the question, ‘are electric fireplaces safe?’