Do Electric Fireplaces Give Off Heat (7 Things You Should Know)

When weighing the best electric fireplace options, you may wonder – do electric fireplaces give off heat? An electric fireplace is an efficient, economical, and convenient way to enjoy warm indoor temperatures that don’t require the use of fossil fuels or the costly installation of a gas-burning unit.

So, Do Electric Fireplaces Give Off Heat?

The answer is a resounding yes! Electric fireplaces do produce heat. Electric fireplaces provide warmth and ambiance to any room. They are an efficient way to heat up to 400 square feet alone or heat a larger room up to 1000 square feet as a supplement heat source.

Many people like the idea of an electric fireplace heating an entire room to save on their monthly electric bills.

However, choosing an electric fireplace as a primary heat source is probably not your best option. These electrical appliances work better as a supplemental heat source than a primary one.

Whether you’re looking for supplemental heat or want to replace your existing wood-burning fireplace with something more modern, an electric fireplace can be the perfect solution for your heating needs.

Do Electric Fireplaces Give Off Heat?

1. How Do Electric Fireplaces Work

Modern electric fireplaces use an electric heating coil to produce heat and a fan to warm the room. Electric fireplaces generate heat using electricity, much like any home appliance such as a space heater or a hair dryer.

Electric fireplaces use about the same electricity as an average microwave oven per hour! You can plug the units directly into any standard 120V wall outlet, so installation is simple and does not require professional assistance (unless you’re dealing with an older home that may need an electrical upgrade).

Options exist to hardwire built-in fireplaces to a dedicated circuit breaker which can prevent the circuit breaker from tripping if other electronics or appliances are also in use.

Many are ETL certified to ensure manufacturers adhere to stringent safety standards.

2. How Much Heat Do Electric Fireplaces Give Off?

Most electric fireplaces have two heat settings; low uses 750 watts, and high uses 1500 watts. Models with an adjustable thermostat allow you to set the temperature and go about your day. With digital thermostats, you can be set from 68 to 88 degrees and vary the amount of heat and electricity used depending on the room temperature.

Most fireplace models use about 11 amps on the highest heat setting, which can cause a 15-amp breaker to trip frequently if using other electronic devices, TVs, or lighting.

3. The Benefits of Electric Fireplace Heaters

Compared to traditional gas fireplaces, electric fireplaces are more energy efficient since they use less energy overall and don’t produce any toxic emissions, like carbon monoxide, when running. Electric fireplaces are not limited in size like their conventional counterparts—you can choose from small models up to large units that measure more than five feet wide!

They can easily accommodate any room size while still providing plenty of warmth. Additionally, electric fireplaces come with several safety features, such as adjustable flame color and brightness levels, automatic shutoff timers, temperature sensors that keep the unit from getting too hot (which could overheat your home), and child safety locks for added peace of mind.

You can even enjoy the realistic flames without using the heater in the summer months. Gas or wood fireplaces can’t operate without producing heat. Electric fireplaces are almost maintenance-free, whereas wood and gas-burning fireplaces require more cleaning to keep them burning cleanly.

You can conveniently control the electric heater output and flame effect with remote control from your easy chair.

4. The Disadvantages of Electric Fireplace Heaters

Electric fireplace heaters can be quite expensive. While you can purchase some models for a couple of hundred dollars, some cost up to $5,000 due to the technology required for operation, which may not include installation. Some custom electric fireplace installations can cost up to $10,000.

The average cost of a good quality electric fireplace is about $700 plus installation, ranging from $300 to $5000.

In addition, electric fireplace models may not be eligible for rebates or other incentives power companies offer to offset purchase costs. Therefore, homeowners may not save as much money on their monthly heating bill as they would with other heating solutions.

Electric fireplaces are primarily meant for supplemental heating rather than primary heating solutions. While they can provide a cozy atmosphere and take off the chill on cold nights, they will not be able to warm up an entire house independently like traditional fireplaces.

Consequently, homeowners who want higher heat output or complete heating coverage will still need to consider alternatives such as central HVAC systems or space heaters. For higher heat output, look for gas-burning fireplaces or a furnace that provides zone heating.

Electric fires do have some safety risks. While they don’t have real flames, they can cause house fires if installed incorrectly or if the circuit is overloaded. You should also keep small children away from the heater vent as it could get hot.

5. Do Electric Fireplace Inserts Give off Heat?

Electric fireplace inserts are popular for those looking to add an inviting and cozy ambiance to their home. Electric fireplace inserts sit in your existing conventional fireplace opening to create a more authentic fireplace experience.

Ultimately the heater output is virtually the same as wall mounted electric fireplaces and freestanding fireplace stoves. Freestanding electric stoves are a type of fireplace available in various sizes and styles. They are a great way to enjoy the ambiance of a fireplace while remaining portable, like a space heater.

6. Can an Electric Fireplace Heat a Room?

Electric fireplaces are powered by electricity and feature a heating element that warms up when activated. While they don’t provide the same heat level as gas or wood-burning fireplaces, they still effectively warm up the living space around them. Most models also have a built-in fan, which helps distribute the heat evenly throughout the room.

On average, electric fireplaces can heat rooms between 400 square feet as a primary heat source and up to 1,000 square feet as a supplemental heat source. However, that number can vary depending on insulation levels and weather conditions.

7. Electric Fireplace Can Be Primary Heat Source in a Small Room

While electric fireplaces can add aesthetic beauty to any home, they may not be ideal for those looking for a primary heat source. Electric units provide strong warmth but do not compare to the intensity radiating from a gas or wood fireplace.

You must plug them into an outlet, so you can’t just move them around the house like portable space heaters, even though electric fireplaces can produce up to 5,200 British Thermal Units (BTUs of heat per hour. That energy is typically not enough heat to keep an entire home warm in cold climates or high altitudes.

Because electric fireplaces cannot generate enough BTUs to maintain comfortable temperatures throughout your entire home, they should not be used as the sole heating source for your home.

Sometimes, using an electric fireplace as a primary heat source can make sense. For instance, if you live in milder climates where temperatures rarely dip below freezing, using one or more electric fireplaces may be sufficient for keeping your home warm during winter.

Additionally, if you don’t need full-house coverage but are looking for spot heating – say for just one room – then an electric fireplace may be all you need during the winter months. This is especially true if you already have a central heating system.

Electric fireplaces are an ideal solution for homes with effective insulation since the heat they generate remains inside the room instead of dissipating throughout your house.


When weighing, do electric fireplaces give off heat? You’re sure to have some questions. These are some of the most frequently asked questions: Do electric fireplaces give off heat?

Do electric fireplaces heat a room?

Electric fireplaces are very effective at heating rooms up to 400 square feet. They can heat larger rooms to 1000 square feet with help from another heat source, such as a central furnace, electric fireplace, or space heater.

Is it cheaper to run an electric fireplace or heat?

Electric fireplaces typically use less energy than traditional heating sources, such as natural gas and propane so they may be more cost-effective in the long run. However, the upfront cost of an electric fireplace can be higher than other options. Additionally, electricity rates can vary greatly depending on your location, so it’s important to research and explore all available options before deciding.

Do electric fireplaces cost a lot to run?

Electric fireplaces generally cost very little to run. It is estimated that they use only about 2 to 3 cents per hour, depending on the size and model of the fireplace. This makes them more efficient and cost-effective than traditional wood fireplaces, costing up to 10 times as much to operate.

Do electric fireplace heaters need 240 volts?

No, electric fireplace heaters do not use 240 volts. Electric fireplaces only require 120 volts, and you can use a standard wall receptacle or a dedicated 120-volt with a 20-amp breaker.

Are electric fireplace heaters toxic?

No, electric fireplace heaters are not toxic. They do not produce any smoke or fumes, so there is no risk of inhalation of toxins like carbon monoxide. Electric fireplaces also do not require a venting system, which eliminates the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning.


Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.