Is an Electric Fireplace Worth the Money?

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Subject: DIY electric fireplace reflective panel

Hi Paul, I am a teacher at middle school and build a lot of props. I am trying to build a decorative artificial' electric fireplace' just for aesthetics. I got hold of the lights for the flames but not sure how and where to use the reflective panels to make the flames look realistic. Could you guide me or send me some links where I can get help with this please? Thanks.


Subject: Electric Fireplace

I have one in my new addition- bedroom, full bath and a walk-in closet. The heating in this addition is awful. I use to place a small electric heater in the full bath with the door open too heat the area. I purchased an entertainment electric fireplace unit, on sale of course, from Biglots. It actually warms the area.. it is officially the lounge area now-no longer a bedroom. I have a 40inch flat screen TV that's placed on it. I always get many compliments on it and inquiries about purchase. Love it!!!


Subject: Electric Fireplace

Love it. I was researching them and walked into a fireplace shop to ask questions and get pricing. When I turned around I saw exactly what I wanted on the wall..... 36" electric Simplifire. I wanted it more for the look than the heat. It has 2 flame colors and background lighting that can change color continuously or just use one of the many colors as steady background lighting. It's in my living room and sometimes when I get up in the morning I'll turn on the heater for 5 or 10 minutes to take the chill off. It's perfect for that. I've also let it run (it has 2 heat settings) continuously the last time we had a snow storm to offset my gas heat and I didn't even notice a blip in my electric bill so it must be very efficient. I love how relaxing it is to watch. I have a gas fireplace in my family room on the lower level of my home and it's such a gas hog and it leaves my home feeling parched and I sometimes notice the fumes. It IS vented correctly but I still notice a very slight smell. I LOVE my Simplifire.

Steve Schumacher

Subject: Electric fireplaces

The value of an electric fireplace is in ambiance first and as a minor heat source as the other. My wife and I researched a lot of companies finally to choose a large cabinet unit for our master bedroom. The cabinetry was superb and realistic gas flame was very good. It was a unit we bought at Lowe's. I always recommend looking and seeing to assure the photos on the internet are realistic and you are not surprised when the unit arrives for assembly. The unit we purchased from Lowe's was very heavy and we were very happy they did delivery to our second floor. Assembly took a couple hours. The electric heat source will assist in heating a large bedroom with reasonable cost. Do your self a favor and shop many good sources are available. Enjoy.

Marvin Thomas

Subject: Love my fireplaces!

I have two electric fireplaces. I use them for ambiance not for the heat.
However, in my last home I had a tri-level home and in the winter I could not use the lower level. I got a mantle electric fireplace and it kept the room toasty warm. I did not notice that much of a difference in my electric bill. I turned it on when I was using the room.
In my new home I have one in the living room and in my family room.
I use the heat occasionally to take the chill out of the room.
Like another reviewer I love to turn the fire on (no heat) and cuddle up t read a good book.

Amy Williams

Subject: Electric Fireplace

My husband & I bought an electric fireplace a little over 20 years ago, made by Heat & Glo. It was so realistic that very few people knew it was not real. It was the most realistic one we have ever seen & I would buy another one like it if I could unfortunately Heat & Glo does not make them anymore, also it did heat the room very well. The only drawback was it was a bit noisy when the heater was turned on, but not noticeable if the TV or the stereo was on. I plan to purchase another one if I can find one that is as real looking as that Heat & Glo was.

David A

Subject: Looks but don't touch

This article is spot on in my experience. Get one for the aesthetics not for the heat. With all of the options available, you can really do some incredible looking installs and/or decorating. One option not mentioned was to be built into at media stand or cabinet. DO NOT purchase/install one as a primary, secondary or even thirdary heat source. Mine will not add heat to the room that is either noticeable or measurable in a 300 sq ft room. But it sure does look good while holding my 65" TV where I want it to be. The cost to run the heater on one versus the output just does not make it cost effective for a heat source.


Subject: my fireplace

I love my electric fireplace. We only had a small space for it and it fit perfectly. Price was great at Lowes. I love to turn it on (it has 3 flame settings) ,put on some easy listening and read a book. It just makes my tiny living room so cozy. Be sure you can see it plugged in and running. I was surprised how many were a shade of orange not found in nature. Mine makes you do a double take it is so realistic. Get yourself one and enjoy the ambiance.

Louise Kelley

Subject: Electric Fireplace

I have an electric fireplace that's about 15 years old purchased at Forshaws in St. Louis, MO. Used it in finished basement and it warmed the room nicely. Two years ago the on/off switch stop working and after searching the internet for nearly a year I found a company that made a switch for me for $5.00. Couldn't believe it. Forshaw discontinued the fireplace brand and referred me to the company that would repair it for me. Didn't work. Now I have the replacement switch and don't know who to call for installation. I called several electrical companies and was told they do not handle that type of work. If you have any recommendations I would like to hear from you. Another question is should I purchase a new fireplace or fix the old one. Thanks for your help.

John Kapusciarz

Subject: Electric Fireplace

A small project like that is perfect for a retired electrician. The big shops could do it, but their overhead is high. For my small projects, I often go to our local mom & pop hardware store, think Ace, True Value, etc. The gentlemen that work at our local place seem to know everything and everyone. They always are able to direct me to the right person for small jobs. Hope this helps.

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.