Decorative fireplaces are an easy and
inexpensive way to add charm, beauty,
and warmth to just about any room in
They can be ordered in a variety of styles
and finishes complete with stained glass
accents or curio cabinets.
Decorative fireplaces are also called
ventless portable fireplaces by some
online retailers. Most of the time they are
referring to gel fireplaces, but the term is
also used to describe electric fireplaces.
Clean and eco-friendy
Whether gel or electric, they don't require a chimney, don't emit harmful gases
or particulates into the air, and are completely portable.
Improvements such as LED lighting and the OptiMyst technology have made
the flame displays of electric fireplaces more realistic looking than ever, but
they're still no match for the dancing, multi-colored flame display of a real fire in
a gel fireplace.
Gel and electric fireplace prices
Each type of fireplace has a wide range of prices starting at a few hundred
dollars on up to thousands for an electric fireplace with a real marble mantle
and surround. But with over 300 models and styles to choose from, you're
sure to find what you're looking for in your price range.
Shipping costs also fluctuate a great deal. But many retailers that sell gel and
electric fireplaces online, such as MantelsDirect, offer free shipping which should
be taken into consideration when comparing prices from different sellers.
Whether you purchase your fireplace online, or from a local retailer, you can
look forward to spending some quality time with your tools. Normal set up time
is less than an hour.
There are two common complaints from gel fireplace owners. One is the slight
odor of alcohol from the burning gel. This can be solved by placing a scent stick
in the gel or buying one of the newer scented gels.
The other problem is replacing the cover on a burning gel container without
burning yourself. A simple magnetic opener/closer for $10 solves this problem.
How much heat does a decorative fireplace produce?
Electric fireplace heaters are rated at 1,500 watts (5120 Btus) and will heat
200-400 square feet depending on the number and type of windows - single or
double pane, the quantity and quality of insulation and other factors. .
Although gel fireplaces are more decorative than a dependable source of heat,
they do generate a measurable amount of warmth. According to Sunjel
Industries, a single can of their gel generates 3,000 BTUs. If this is the case,
you would have to burn two cans of gel to approximate the heat output of an
electric fireplace running at the high setting.
How much does it cost to operate a decorative fireplace?
An electric fireplace rated at 1,500 watts uses 1.5 kilowatts of electricity per
hour. When you multiply 1.5 x $0.12 per kilowatt hour (the average price for
electricity in the U.S.), the resulting cost to operate is 18 cents per hour.
A 7 ounce can of gel costs around $3 and burns for 2-3 hours. So the cost to
run a gel fireplace (with real flames) is $1-1.50 an hour.
Decorative Fireplaces: Gel vs Electric