Electric fireplaces are used for heating up your home during cold winter months. They provide warmth to your house when it’s not needed anymore. There are many types of electric fireplaces available today, but they all have one thing in common: they’re powered by electricity. A good quality electric fireplace will last for years if properly maintained and kept clean. Electric fireplaces are also known as gas or coal fired furnaces. Some electric fireplaces use natural gas while others use propane tanks. If you want to heat up your home using electricity, then you’ll need an electrical outlet for your new appliance.
You may be wondering what type of outlets do I need?
Well, there are three different kinds of electrical outlets: wall receptacles, plug sockets and power strips. Wall receptacle outlets are usually found near the wall where you install appliances. Plug socket outlets are often located in rooms that don’t require much space such as bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms. Power strip outlets are typically found in areas like living rooms, dining room and family rooms. These outlets come in various sizes so you can choose which size works best for your needs.
Gas and coal fired furnaces use real flames to heat up rooms. This kind of heating is the most common because it’s cheap and easy to find. These furnaces can come in different sizes and shapes that are suitable for your living space. They all have one thing in common: they produce a realistic looking flame that isn’t too hot to touch.
If you have a fireplace, a gas or coal furnace can make it look more appealing. It can also heat up your home during cold winter months. Unlike wood fireplaces that can be messy and dirty, gas and coal fireplaces are much easier to maintain. Like wood fireplaces, they can double as a center piece for your living space. They both provide a source of light and generate considerable amount of warmth. However, gas fireplaces can be a bit expensive than wood fireplaces.
Gas is cheaper than oil and is often used in recreation vehicles, because it doesn’t leave any residues, unlike oil.
Best Gas Fireplaces
Mantels are decorative frames that go over your fireplace and provide a surface on which you can place items such as photos and statues. They come in different styles ranging from traditional designs to more ornate varieties. You can choose the style that best suits your home. Most wood mantels are painted black to prevent the wood from being damaged by the heat of a fire.
Stone and metal can also be used in mantel construction, however they’re not as common because they can get very hot. Smaller mantels can be made from glass or ceramic, however these aren’t as strong as their stone or metal counterparts.
Gas fireplaces can be vented through a chimney or through the wall. A vented fireplace will produce more heat than an unvented one. These fireplaces are ideal for large rooms because they produce a lot of warmth. If you want a vented gas fireplace but you don’t have a chimney, then you have the option of going through the wall.
Many people like this option because it allows them to have a cleaner look. However, if you go through the wall, you will need to make sure the room is sealed properly in order to prevent cold air from leaking in.
The structure of your home can greatly affect how a gas fireplace will look and operate. If you have an older home, then you may have to get a professional to install the gas line. Newer homes usually have gas already installed so you just have to have a professional come in to hook up your fireplace. If you go through the chimney, then the installation process should only take a couple of days.
If you go through the wall, then it can take a few weeks. Once everything is hooked up, a professional will come in and fine tune everything so you get the most out of your fireplace.
For the cleanest look, some people decide to tile the area around the fireplace. This can be done with either ceramic, stone, or even glass. Some people will use different colored tiles to create patterns or scenes. If you want your home to have that authentic medieval look, then you can use large stone slabs with no mortar.
Some people also like to cover the floor around the fireplace with floor tiles so that there is a seamless transition between the floor and the fireplace surround. There are also kits that you can purchase that allow you to cover unsightly metal pipes with tiles that match your other decor.
This is a big decision that can greatly affect the look and feel of your home, so you should take some time to look at different options before making a final decision.
Do It Yourself Fireplaces
Vented fireplaces are more expensive but they do provide more heat then their unvented counterparts.
Unvented gas fireplaces are more for ambiance then heat.
Before you start your fireplace project, you need to check your local building codes to see if you even can install a fireplace. While most places allow them, there are some that don’t for safety reasons. You also need to find out if you’re allowed to vent the fireplace into the attic or if you have to run pipes up through the roof. This can greatly affect both the expense and difficulty of the installation process.
Ideally, you should have your fireplace installed by a professional. If you’re handy enough though, you can do it yourself. To save money, you could also ask a handy friend to help you with the installation. Remember that you’ll need some basic tools like hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, etc.
You’ll also need some heavy duty saws to cut the hole for the pipe as well as a chisel to make brick joints if you’re installing a masonry fireplace. You’ll also need a strong ladder if you’re going to be installing a chimney from the top.
You’ll also need to acquire some masonry bits for your drill. Masonry bits are specially made for drilling concrete and brick. Using a regular drill bit will almost certainly destroy it and if you use a power drill, you run a good chance of breaking your wrist. Ask the person at the hardware store which bits they would recommend for your project.
As far as safety goes, make sure you wear goggles to prevent any debris from getting in your eyes. It would also be a good idea to wear a dust mask since you’ll be working with concrete and brick dust. You’ll also need to wear ear protection since the drilling can be quite loud. At a minimum wear ear plugs, but you might consider more elaborate ear muff protectors.
Step 1: Decide Where To Put Your Fireplace
The first thing you need to do is pick a wall for your fireplace and then make sure that wall is sturdy enough to support the weight of the chimney and mantel. If you’re installing a masonry fireplace, like a traditional brick or stone fireplace, then you’ll only need to make sure the wall can support the weight of the material. However, if you’re installing a prefabricated fireplace, you’ll need to make sure that the wall can both support the material and the equipment that’s required to vent the flue (smoke chamber).
Basically, what you need to do is hit a metal stud. If you can feel the metal of the stud behind the drywall, then your wall is reinforced and you can proceed with your project. If you can’t find any metal then you’ll need to have a carpenter come in and shore up the wall before proceeding.
Step 2: Make the Opening for the Fireplace
Now that you’ve decided where to put your fireplace, it’s time to make the hole for the materials that will compose the fireplace and chimney. The first thing you need to do is shut off your utilities. This means shutting off the gas line, electric socket, and water to the area you’ll be working in.
Next, pick a side of the wall to start the opening. Using a drill, make a small hole about a foot above the floor and then using a flashlight look for the first metal stud. If you can’t see one then skip making a hole there and move up or down until you find one. Once you’ve found the stud, measure up five and then over ten and make a hole there.
At this point, you should have two holes, one above the other, with a metal stud in each. If you reach your hand into the bottom hole you’ll be able to feel the top of the metal stud. If you were to run a nail between the two walls, it would hit the stud. This is what you want to do next.
Using a nail and a hammer, start a nail into the top of the stud and then using the pliers, bend it so that it can’t fall out. Do this for each side of the hole and then put your arm through the hole you’ve created and feel around for another stud. If you find one then repeat the process of nailing into the stud. If you don’t find another stud, then you’ve found what’s called a “secret” wall.
These were often used to hide valuables or keep people away from less desirable rooms like bathrooms or servant areas. If this is the case then just keep moving your arms around the perimeter of the hole and you’ll find a way through to the other side.
When you’ve made it through to the other side, start making your hole pattern over again. From here it gets easier since you only have to find the studs on one side of the wall now instead of having to search through a wall and a half’s width on each side.
Step 3: Build Your Chimney
Now that you’ve got your framing complete, it’s time to build your chimney. The first thing to do is build your clay flue. Your chimney needs a flue just like your furnace does. A flue is nothing more than a passage way for the smoke to travel up and out of your house.
The chimney needs this because, well…fire produces a lot of smoke.
The purpose of the clay flue is simple: it keeps the moisture in the chimney or the rain outside of it. If the moisture is allowed to escape, it can weaken the mortar used to hold your log walls together and it can cause cracks in your chimney.
The second purpose of the clay flue is to keep the rain out of your house. A chimney full of rain is a sure way to start a chimney fire since the water will put the fire out and then the chimney will no longer be able to vent the smoke outside. This causes a back draft (when the air pressure is higher inside a fireplace than what is outside) which then sucks oxygen into the fire from the surrounding area while pulling the smoke back in. This creates a large explosion and could level your house.
The chimney needs to exit your house above the highest point of your roof. In other words, if your highest roof point is in the front of your house, then that’s where your chimney needs to go out. If you have a double-story house, then the chimney needs to exit out of the highest point of the second story.
The clay flue should extend at least a foot beyond the top of your chimney. This will keep it from being covered in snow in the winter and protect it from other potential hazards.
Once you’ve built your clay flue, it’s time to build your chimney. The chimney needs to be at least six inches wider than the flue on each side. So if your flue is six inches wide, then your chimney needs to be twelve inches wide. You will need to build your chimney out of stone or brick since wood is a combustible material and could catch fire itself.
The first layer of your chimney should be mortar and small stones, about three quarters of an inch think. Over this layer you will lay your bricks. The second layer of brick should be laid flat with each one overlapping the middle part of the previous one by a quarter of an inch. The final layer should be laid on its edge to give it that “stack” look.
Make sure to always use a mortar as this is what holds the chimney together.
Once your chimney is complete, make sure that your clay flue fits nicely into it. If it doesn’t, you may need to do a little remodeling. Once this is done you can move on to the final step and that’s adding a vent up top to let the smoke escape.
Step 4: Add a Vent on Top
The vent needs to be made out of metal so that the rain cannot get into your chimney. It should also have slits going in the opposite direction of the chimney so that the air will be forced into it.
You can purchase a vent from a local metal shop or you can simply ask a local blacksmith to make one for you. The cost should be minimal.
Once your vent is in place, light the newspaper underneath the wood and get ready to enjoy some piping hot fire. The vent will push the smoke up and out of your house giving you a nice, clean fire.
Tips & Warnings
Make sure that your vent is always clear of any leaves, twigs, or other things that may clog it up. The last thing you want is for your vent to backfire and cause a buildup of smoke in your house.
There are several different options when it comes to building your own brick, the easiest (but least expensive) is to use a common cardboard box. Just cover the bottom with aluminum foil and place the bricks (or rocks) on top of that. Cover with another layer of aluminum foil, crumple up a piece of newspaper and place it over the bricks, then cover that with another layer of aluminum foil.
Make sure to wear protective gear when building your chimney as brick and mortar are very unforgiving materials to have falling on your head.
You may want to have a qualified, licensed professional inspect your chimney and chimney components to make sure everything is up to code. Also, if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow you may want to have a secondary way for the smoke to exit your house in the event that your vent becomes clogged with snow.
Sources & references used in this article:
Electric fireplace with light randomizer, filter and diffuser screen by CA Martin, DR Jamieson, A Luu, D Diep… – US Patent …, 2004 – Google Patents
Three-dimensional panel for use in electric fireplaces and fireplace incorporating the same by GJ Gorby – US Patent App. 11/964,910, 2008 – Google Patents
Electric fireplace with light randomizer, filter and diffuser screen by CA Martin, DR Jamieson, A Luu, D Diep… – US Patent …, 2002 – Google Patents
Electric Fireplaces with Heater Home Depot Menards by EE Garcia, C Kimura, AC Martins… – Brazilian Archives of …, 1999 – knozy.koom.ma
Panel for use in electric fireplace and fireplace incorporating the same by SN Patil, GJ Gorby – US Patent App. 11/699,727, 2008 – Google Patents
Ornamental fireplace grate by RW Auer – US Patent 1,692,021, 1928 – Google Patents