With energy costs sky high, fireplace inserts and freestanding stoves can help keep utility bills in check this upcoming cold season. By heating just the rooms you use the most when you're in them, you can turn down -or even turn off - your whole-central heating system to save massive amounts on your energy bill. Another benefit is electric fireplaces are unlike any other fuel in that they produce zero emissions.

The burning of wood is the largest use of energy derived from a solid fuel biomass and while considered one of mankind's most important inventions, is actually being rethought because it is restricted or prohibited in some urban areas, especially in condos and apartments, due to unsafe levels of toxic emissions. Epa.gov has more info on the environmental impact and substitutions for burning wood.

Choosing between electric fireplace inserts and stoves is easy: If you have a fireplace, retrofit it with an insert. If not, select a freestanding electric fireplace.

There are countless options  from inserts with wood mantel surrounds in every style and finish, to small portable fireplaces on casters for zone heating and antique-looking cast iron stoves. Logs and advanced lighting technologies allow every style of electric fireplace to simulate a wood-burning look without any of the toxic debris or hazards.

Compared to other options, electric fireplaces require very little upkeep and no day-to day or monthly maintenance. Electric inserts require no venting so there are low to no installation costs – simply hardwire or plug them into a standard electrical outlet.

Since they produce no emissions, so they can be used anywhere and are safe for children and pets. They are also 100% energy efficient as no heat will escape up the chimney as with standard fireplaces. The warming effect can even be turned off so the flame can provide relaxing room ambiance year-round.

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