How Electric Fireplaces Work

Whether you’re the current or soon-to-be owner of an electric fireplace, you’ve probably asked yourself, “how do electric fireplaces work.” It doesn’t take a physicist or electrical engineer to know this marvel, so let the experts at teach you how electric fireplaces and electric inserts work.

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What is Electricity?

Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and flow of electric charge. – via Wikipedia

It is a form of energy that results from the existence of charged particles such as protons and electrons. When these particles move from one place to another, it creates what is known as an electric current.

Electricity can be expressed using three entities, namely

  • Voltage (V), an expression of the potential difference in the charge between two points in an electrical field
  • Current (I), the flow of electrical charge
  • Resistance (r), a measurement of how material reduces a current

If you’re having trouble understanding these terms, imagine a water tank with a hose attached to it. The voltage is the water pressure, the current is the flow rate, and the resistance is the size of the pipe. Increasing water pressure increases the flow rate, and the same applies to increasing voltage to increase flow rate. Similarly, a bigger pipe will lead to lower resistance, and therefore the flow rate, or current, will increase.

How the Terms Relate

Voltage, current, and resistance are all related. A current is equivalent to the voltage divided by the resistance, thus

I = V/r

Electrical power, (P), is the rate of energy consumption in an electrical circuit. It is equivalent to the voltage multiplied by the current, meaning

P = IV

Imagine a waterwheel at a mill, powered by the water tank and hose. If the pressure of water coming out of a hose to increase water flow, the wheel will turn faster to generate more power. Likewise, when a current increases, electrical power also increases because more electricity may be consumed.

What is Electrical Efficiency?

Electrical efficiency is how well a device can utilize its power output. Although power can be increased almost indefinitely, a device may not be able to consume it at the rate which power is generated.

READ: Heating Efficiency Put to the Test: Wood, Electric, and Gas Fireplaces

How does this Relate to Fireplaces?

Creating realistic, aesthetically pleasing, and electrically efficient products is a consistent challenge for portable fireplace engineers. Homes are constantly powered by electricity, so it’s in a homeowner’s best interest that they do not have devices that require excessive amounts of power.

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Electric fireplaces have come a long way since first being introduced by Dimplex in 1988. They would required more power to make the home look more comforting, and were nearly as efficient as modern fireplaces have become today.

Since then, many companies have worked towards making products that are electrically efficient, so they can create more realistic fireplaces while also reducing energy usage. They are better for the environment, and are also have less additional costs.

Now that you understand how electricity works and how it affects portable fireplaces, you’ll be able to understand your current or future device. If you want to find a product that will warm your home and use power efficiently, will have everything you need and more.

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