Electric fireplace

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
An electric fireplace.

An electric fireplace is an electric heater that mimics a fireplace burning coal, wood, or natural gas. Electric fireplaces are often placed in conventional fireplaces, which can then no longer be used for conventional fires. They plug into the wall, and can run on a "flame only" setting, or can be used as a heater, typically consuming 1.4 to 1.6 kW to heat a 40 m2 room.


A 1920s coal basket style electric fireplace. The flickering effect is achieved by mounting a fan atop an incandescent bulb, which rotates due to the heat rising from the bulb. This fireplace has been rewired and the original heating element has been removed due to safety concerns.

The electric fire was invented in 1912[1] and became popular in the 1950s.[2]

Techniques for electrical "flame effects" have been around since at least 1981.[3]

Commercial electric fireplace techniques include the Optiflame, introduced in 1988 by Dimplex.

Dimplex claims to have produced the first electric fireplace with a "realistic" wood-burning flame effect in 1995.[4] It is unclear what specific technique is being referred to, although it may be U.S. Patent 5,642,580.

In 2008 Dimplex launched the Opti-myst effect which simulates both flames and smoke.

In 2013 Dimplex launched the Opti-V effect which combines realistic flickering flames with three dimensional LED logs that sporadically sparks and an audio element of crackling logs.

Advantages compared to traditional fireplaces[edit]

Advantages of electric fireplaces are that they:

  • do not require chimneys.
  • are often portable.
  • do not require remodeling to install.
  • are more economical.
  • are more convenient.
  • are safer to use.
  • do not require the maintenance needed for wood burning or gas fireplaces.

Disadvantages compared to traditional fireplaces[edit]

Disadvantages of electric fireplaces are that they:

  • can be more expensive to operate in rural areas compared to gas or wood burning heaters due to price of electricity;
  • are sometimes not as realistic as real flames, even those in gas fireplaces;
  • cannot be exposed to weather.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A BRIEF HISTORY OF ELECTRIC APPLIANCES". Localhistories.org. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Heating the house with electric fires in the 1940s and 1950s". 1900s.org.uk. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  3. ^ U.S. Patent 4,253,045
  4. ^ "About Dimplex". Dimplex. Archived from the original on January 20, 2007. Retrieved 29 April 2015.