You already know that an electric fireplace adds ambiance in abundance. But perhaps the practical side of you wonders “will an electric fireplace heat a room?” That’s a good question. You want to maximize your investment so it’s important to know the practicality of an electric fireplace too.

Will an electric fireplace heat a room? In a word, yes, but there are many variables to consider to maximize its potential. Get the facts along with these four tips for how you can heat a room with an electric fireplace. 

Traditional look electric fireplace.

Get the Right Type of Electric Fireplace

There are two types of electric fireplaces: conventional fan-forced air over electric coils and infrared. The forced air type has a coil that heats up when the unit is on. A fan blows over this coil and pushes the air out into the room, warming it.

Conventional electric fireplaces work best in smaller rooms (up to 400 square feet). The longer they are on, the warmer it gets. You’ll continue to feel their warmth after you turn the unit off. They do require some time to heat a space.

Infrared fireplaces have a special type of bulb that produces infrared light. The light is not visible to the naked eye but you can feel the heat this light produces. An infrared electric fireplace also has metal coils and reflectors around the bulbs to transfer the heat more efficiently to surrounding items and people.

They warm up quickly and can heat a larger room (up to 1000 square feet). Once you turn the unit off, the heat will cease. You may not be able to feel the heat these units produce after you turn them off because they transfer heat to objects rather than warming the air (as a conventional electric fireplace does).


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Use It As a Supplement

Electric fireplaces are not used as primary heating. They are meant to be supplementary heat. They do best in smaller rooms when used as heaters. In very large rooms or open floor plans, they provide some heat to the immediate vicinity but shouldn’t be expected to heat the entire space.

If you’re used to wood-burning stoves, an electric fireplace will be an adjustment. The heat of an electric fireplace is more constant because it’s controlled electronically. A wood fire is much hotter but the temperature varies throughout the burning process.

Though electric fireplaces don’t produce as much heat as a fire, they do a good job producing the same ambiance and some supplemental heat. 

Here's how you can save money while providing your home with supplemental heat.

Zone Heating 101


Contemporary electric fireplace.

Close the Door

Electric fireplaces are far better heaters when you shut the door. This limits air leakage of already heated air and limits the square footage to be heated.

A study found that a 1000+ square foot room could be warmed by 13 degrees in four hours if the door was closed. The same test with the door open resulted in a temperature change of eight degrees in four hours.

Be Patient

As you can see, though you’ll start feeling heat immediately after you turn on your electric fireplace, it will take some time to heat up the space.

As mentioned before, electric fireplaces are meant to be supplementary heaters so you shouldn’t expect them to heat your entire ground floor. You can expect it to heat a room that is about 400-1000 square feet depending on the type of fireplace you have.

Will an electric fireplace heat a room? Absolutely. Be sure to use the right type of electric fireplace and place it in the right sized room and you’ll be roasted out before you know it.


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