Over the years the use of electric fireplaces has been on a steady rise. I mean, this could be expected, they are great alternatives to real fireplaces, simulating warmth, and effect while eliminating the need to chop down logs. You just do everything with a push of a bottom.
However, there has been some debate in regard to carbon footprint considerations, since electric fireplaces rely, as the name suggests, on electricity. But how much electricity exactly?
Table of Contents
- Electric Fireplaces: A Quick Overview
- Environmental Impact: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
- Reducing Your Electric Fireplace’s Carbon Footprint: A Few Tips
- The Final Verdict: Are Electric Fireplaces Friends or Foes of the Environment?
Electric Fireplaces: A Quick Overview
Now before we head directly into the carbon footprint issue, let’s make sure that we are on the same page and that you know what an electric fireplace is and how it works.
- No actual flames: Electric fireplaces produce a lovely, albeit fake, fire without any real flames, making them a safe choice for the accident-prone among us.
- Easy installation: No need for a chimney or vent, just plug it in and enjoy the warm glow of an instant fire.
- Adjustable heat: With a remote control or a handy dial, you can turn up the heat or enjoy the ambiance without breaking a sweat.
- Safety features: A lot of these machines come with safety features like an anti-bump base, child-lock, cool-to-touch feature, and so on.
Now that we are on the same page, let’s check that nasty environmental impact.
Environmental Impact: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Remember the western? We can apply same trio here.
The Good: No Combustion, No Problem
One of the most significant benefits of these innovative firepit alternatives is that they don’t require combustion. This means there are no harmful emissions like carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, or particulate matter released into your home or the environment.
Talk about a breath of fresh air, literally.
The Bad: Where Does Your Electricity Come From?
While electric fireplaces themselves are clean, the source of their electricity can be a different story. If your electricity comes from fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas, your electric fireplace’s carbon footprint will be higher.
So, although you won’t be releasing harmful emissions directly into your living room, those pesky greenhouse gases are still being produced at the power plant.
I know, I know, there is not much you can do about that yourself, it’s how the house/apartment was built, but still, I felt obligated to point that out.
The Ugly: Energy Efficiency
When you compare an electric fireplace to other heating options, you might be surprised, in a negative way. An average electric fireplace consumes 1,500 watts of electricity, just so it can operate. I mean, 1.5 kWh of energy for every hour during its run is not so negligible, right?
However, keep in mind that this is an average, and most people opt for bigger fireplaces. If you decide to go for a more compact option, you can expect lower power consumption.
Reducing Your Electric Fireplace’s Carbon Footprint: A Few Tips
With that being said, that doesn’t mean you should not consider getting the machine. Remember, one is not like the other and the source of electricity is also quite important.
- Choose green energy: If you have the option, opt for electricity from renewable sources like wind, solar, or hydro power. Your electric fireplace will suddenly become a lot more eco-friendly. Who would have thought, right?
- Use it wisely: It might be tempting to keep it on all time, but try to limit its use when it’s actually needed. For example, for snuggling with your loved one.
- Insulate your home: Make sure your home is well-insulated to retain the heat produced by your electric fireplace, reducing the amount of energy required to keep your space cozy.
The Final Verdict: Are Electric Fireplaces Friends or Foes of the Environment?
As you can see, an electric fireplace can be a carbon-footprint disaster, but it can also be one of the most eco-friendly options in your home. Okay, maybe not the most eco-friendly, but you get the gist.
If you plan on getting this innovative machine, consider its energy consumption and the source it will be connected to.