Are Electric Fireplaces Tacky?

Are Electric Fireplaces Tacky? (No And Yes)

You know the winter is approaching and you need a heater, preferably an electric heater, to keep the home livable the entire season.

Besides efficiency, you want something aesthetically pleasing.

Hence, Are Electric Fireplaces Tacky?

They used to, not anymore! The pioneers were visibly cheap and drab. Devices came with obvious fake flame effects that wouldn’t look right by today’s standards. Modern electric fireplaces, like the members of the extended Regency Skope family of heaters, are designed to work flawlessly in modern homes while providing realistic 3-D displays. Long gone is the era you’d be compelled to only choose from nothing but cheap 2-D TV-style electric fireplaces.

Today’s Designs Aren’t Tacky (mostly)

We’ll talk about price later but for now, let’s look at the design: are modern electric fireplaces aesthetically appealing?

Yes, certainly. Most of the devices you will find in the store combines style and affordable pricing. Take a glance at this device:

Lemberi 42” Recessed Infra-red Electric Fireplace

You’d surely look twice at this recessed electric heater and even proceed to buy it.

The real attraction is not the stunning looks but the fact that you can change the color by mixing the available 12 color options in different combinations.

Slim wall mount electric heaters are highly adored in urban homes as they flow smoothly with modern interior design.

There seems to be a trend in the direction of controllable technology. Many designs are pleasant to the eye and easy to control as well.

Post-2000s designs feature ‘smart technology’ encompassing smart meters, internet-enabled thermostats, and Wi-Fi-controlled heating elements. The smartphone has made it even easier to control modern designs through an app and Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections.

Some Designs Are Tacky Though – The Panel Type, For Example

While modern electric heaters are largely stylish (and priced accordingly), some designs still come across as tacky and drab.

Panel electrical fireplaces are designed to be mounted on the wall and some of them permit fresh paint on them to match the rest of the wall.

These heaters, especially the wood panel type, are the least stylish of all electric heaters. They seldom feature a unique aesthetically pleasing look, just a flat endless panel flooding the wall! They are cheap as well.

Note that panel heaters fall in a class of low-cost heaters that warm the room purely by convection.

This means that panel heaters, oftentimes described as (erroneously) “panel radiators”, ought to be accurately referred to as “convection heaters.”

Besides the tackiness, panel electric heaters are less efficient compared to other designs because of the convoluted nature of convection heat. Low efficiency translates to high energy bills.

Another problem in addition to their tackiness is their tendency to ruin your wall with soot over a certain period of use.

The soot is a result of the direct contact with air and dust that settles on the innards.

The good news – or bad news – is that the soot problem only becomes real when you use the heater frequently.

The soot problem seems to be a common problem in all convection heaters but panel heaters are the most prone to it.

Modern Electric Fireplaces Make Fake Flames Too, But They Are More Realistic

Believe it or not, those flames you see on an active infra-red electric heater are fake – you didn’t know that, did you?

The tackiest part of the old devices is that the flame decoy is badly done that you can easily tell without a second guess.

Different modern fireplaces produce their “flames” differently but they are all made to look as realistic as possible.

Perhaps the most often applied technology involves a bunch of carefully timed LEDs or plasma on a panel.

The Regency Skope, one of the most popular electric fireplaces out there, comes with Chromalight Technology to form stunning and super realistic flame effects.

They Are Probably the Only Environmentally Friendly Warming Option in Cities

Cities tend to have stricter environmental regulations regarding the use of wood and gas.

Electric fireplaces are the best alternative option to these fuels.

Furthermore, urban homes are built very close to each other, meaning some of them don’t feature proper venting for wood and gas fireplaces.

Those who live in strata units, for example, usually don’t have access to access to venting.

Such homes can only work with electric fireplaces that guarantee the warmth, comfort, and ambiance of a traditional gas or wood-fueled fireplace with no need for gas lines and ventilation.

Electric Fireplaces Are Cleaner and More Efficient Than Regular Wood Fireplaces

Traditional wood-burning stoves are messy as they burn real wood to generate heat energy.

An electric fireplace uses electricity to generate heat. If they are not plugged directly into your wall, they are directly wired into the socket.

Unlike wooden stoves that dissipate heat through convection only, electric heaters are designed to dissipate heat through convection or radiation.

Those designed to send heat waves via convection start by heating the air then transferring the heat throughout your space to warm the physical objects and people.

Convection is probably the fastest and simplest way of heating indoor spaces of all sizes and shapes.

The main disadvantage with convection as a heating method is that the air in a room needs to be constantly reheated to keep the space warm.

Then there are those designed to dissipate heat through radiation.

These are more efficient and ensures that the heat stays on the surface of objects longer.

Radiation utilizes harmless electromagnetic waves to heat surfaces.

Unlike convection heating designed to heat the air in an enclosed space, radiant heating emits infra-red radiation, which travels in the room unimpeded until it hit a solid object.

The item warms up once it absorbs the radiation.

As mentioned earlier, using radiant heat at home ensures that the objects retain heat better.

This means that your desired temperature stays longer in the environment, something that makes this method of heating more efficient than convection.

Note that, just like convection heat, radiant heat can be adjusted at different strengths to suit your needs.

Let’s talk price…

It is possible to bump into a decent electric heater with a price tag as low as $90 especially those slim line white or grey heaters.

Most small energy-efficient electric heaters fall in the brackets of $120 and $200.

Small portable units are even cheaper, those with ceramic coating and limited functions (maximum of 3 modes) have their price tags in the region of $30.

Of course, the more features the device has – and the more stylish it is – the more you will pay for it.

Also, large spaces require more powerful electric heaters, meaning you will pay more for a unit designed for a large room than that designed for your office.

Conclusion

So, are electric fireplaces tacky? They used to, not anymore!

The pioneers were visibly cheap and drab. Devices came with obvious fake flame effects that wouldn’t look right by today’s standards.

While modern electric heaters are largely stylish (and priced accordingly), some designs still come across as tacky and drab.

Panel heaters are designed to be mounted on the wall and some of them permit a fresh paint on them to match the rest of the wall.

These heaters, especially the wood panel type, are the least stylish of all electric heaters.

They rarely feature a unique aesthetically pleasing look, just a flat endless panel flooding the wall! They are cheap as well.

References

Free guide to electric radiators

https://magikflame.com/learning-center/questions-and-answers/are-electric-fireplaces-tacky-a-new-look-on-home-luxury/

https://www.houzz.com/discussions/2777124/how-tacky-is-an-electric-fireplace-really

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