Sales: 1300 219 875 Service: 1300 195 482

How Electric Fireplaces Work: A Beginner’s Guide


There’s nothing quite like the cosy ambience of a crackling fireplace on a chilly evening. But let’s be real: traditional wood-burning fireplaces can be a hassle. From hauling logs to cleaning out ashes, it’s a lot of work. That’s where electric fireplaces come in – they offer all the warmth and charm of a real fire without the fuss.

Intrigued? We thought so! In this beginner’s guide, we’ll break down exactly how these electric fireplaces work, their various types, and what to look for when shopping for one. 

What is an Electric Fireplace?

First things first, let’s understand what an electric fireplace actually is. It doesn’t have a traditional chimney!

Unlike wood-burning or gas fireplaces, electric fireplaces don’t produce real flames. Instead, they use a combination of electricity and clever visual effects to mimic the look and feel of a traditional fire.

The heating element in the electric fireplace generates warmth while the fan circulates the hot air into the room. But the real magic happens with the flames – more on that in a bit!

Types of Electric Fireplaces

Here are some of the common electric fireplaces in use: 

1. Wall-mounted Electric Fireplaces


Wall mounted Electric Fireplace


These ultra-sleek and modern units are designed to be mounted directly onto the wall, similar to how you mount a flat-screen TV. Their space-saving design makes them an excellent choice for smaller rooms, apartments, or anywhere you want to add warmth and ambience without sacrificing valuable floor space.

Wall-mounted electric fireplaces typically come in a range of sizes, from compact models that are just a few feet wide to larger units that can span the entire length of a wall. Many feature realistic flame effects created by advanced 3D holographic displays or refracted LED lighting, providing a lifelike illusion of dancing flames.

One of the biggest advantages of wall-mounted units is their versatility. They can be installed at virtually any height, making them suitable for various applications. 

2. Electric Fireplace Inserts

If you already have an existing fireplace but want to eliminate the hassle and mess of burning wood or gas, an electric fireplace insert can be an excellent solution. These units are designed to fit snugly into your existing fireplace opening, transforming it into a modern, efficient heat source.

Electric fireplace inserts come in a range of sizes to accommodate different fireplace openings, and many feature trim kits or surrounds that allow you to customise the look to match your decor. They often include realistic log sets or ember beds that mimic the appearance of a traditional wood-burning fire, complete with flickering flames created by advanced lighting effects.

In addition to their convenience and ease of installation, electric fireplace inserts can also be more energy-efficient than their wood or gas counterparts, potentially saving you money on heating costs over time.

When looking for the perfect electric fireplace, Jestmaster offers an array of stylish and practical options. The VisionLINE Linear Electric Fireplace  is sleek and modern, making it a perfect addition to contemporary homes. 

Our other standout product, the VisionLINE View Electric Fireplace, offers a panoramic view of the flames, making it a stunning focal point. If you prefer a traditional charm yet are eyeing something modern, our  VisionLINE Vesta Electric Fireplace will suit you best. 

How Do Electric Fireplaces Work?

Here’s the working of an electric fireplace explained: 

The Heating Element

At the core of every electric fireplace is a heating element responsible for generating warmth. 

Metal Coil Heating Elements

These are among the most common types of heating elements found in electric fireplaces. They consist of tightly coiled metal wires, usually made from materials like nichrome or iron-chromium-aluminium alloys. 

When electricity passes through these coiled wires, it encounters resistance, which generates heat through the process of electrical resistance heating.

The tighter the coils and the higher the electrical resistance of the metal, the more heat the element can produce. These coil elements are often mounted behind protective metal sheaths or ceramic insulators to prevent accidental contact and ensure safety.

The Visual Effects

Now, let’s get into the various techniques used to create those mesmerising, flickering flames that are the hallmark of any electric fireplace.

LED Lights and Refracted Light

Many modern electric fireplaces use LED lights and refracted light to mimic the look of real flames. But how does this process actually work?

The fireplace typically contains an array of high-powered LED lights strategically positioned behind a specialised refractive panel or material, such as a three-dimensional moulded polycarbonate panel. This refractive panel is designed with a series of grooves, ridges, and patterns that bend and distort the LED light in a way that mimics the movement and glow of real flames.

As the LED lights cycle through different colours and intensities, the refracted light creates a dynamic, ever-changing flame effect that can be incredibly realistic and mesmerising to watch.

LCD Panel Display Units

Electric fireplaces with LCD panel displays show high-definition videos of real flames. These videos play on a transparent screen, creating the illusion of a real fire.

Advanced filming techniques ensure the flame effects mimic the depth, movement, and flickering of real flames accurately. This provides a lifelike and immersive experience that looks great from multiple angles.

Rotating Logs or Mirrors

In some electric fireplace models, the illusion of dancing flames is created through the use of rotating logs or mirrors. These units typically feature a set of artificial logs or a mirror assembly that slowly rotates in front of a light source.

As the logs or mirrors rotate, the light reflects and refracts off their surfaces in different ways, creating the appearance of flickering flames. The logs are often made from durable, heat-resistant materials like resin or ceramics, and they may be sculpted or textured to enhance the realistic flame effect.

Similarly, some fireplaces use a rotating mirror or series of mirrors to reflect and refract light to mimic the movement of flames. These mirrors may be angled or have textured surfaces to enhance the flame-like effect further.

Are you looking for the best electric fireplaces for your home in Hampton, Lilydale, or Ferntree Gully? We can help. 

Benefits of Electric Fireplaces

Electric fireplaces provide numerous advantages, making them a popular choice for modern homes. Here are some of the pros- 

Easy Installation and Maintenance


Fireplace installed in room


Unlike traditional wood-burning or gas fireplaces, which require extensive construction, venting, and professional installation, electric fireplaces offer a level of convenience and simplicity that’s hard to beat. Many models are designed for plug-and-play setup, meaning you can have a cosy fire up and running in your home with minimal effort.

Most electric fireplaces also come as self-contained units that can be easily mounted on a wall, inserted into an existing fireplace opening. There is no need for costly renovations, chimney installations, or gas line hookups—just find a suitable location, plug it in, and you’re ready to enjoy the warmth and ambience.

Maintenance is equally effortless. With no real flames or combustible materials, there’s no need to worry about cleaning out ashes, scheduling chimney sweeps, or dealing with soot and creosote buildup. An occasional dusting or gentle cleaning of the exterior is usually all it takes to keep your electric fireplace looking its best.

Energy Efficiency

Compared to traditional wood-burning or gas fireplaces, electric fireplaces are generally considered more energy-efficient, making them a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly option for heating your space.

While the exact energy consumption can vary depending on the size, model, and usage patterns, electric fireplaces typically consume far less energy than their traditional counterparts. This is because they don’t lose heat through a chimney or vent, and they can be precisely controlled to maintain a consistent temperature without wasting energy.

Many modern electric fireplaces also incorporate energy-saving features like adjustable thermostats, eco-mode settings, and automatic shut-off timers, further enhancing their efficiency and helping to reduce your overall energy costs.


When it comes to home heating, safety should always be a top priority, and electric fireplaces excel in this area. Unlike wood-burning or gas fireplaces, which pose risks such as sparks, embers, and potential carbon monoxide leaks, electric fireplaces operate without any real flames or combustible materials.

With no open flames or burning fuel sources, there’s virtually no risk of accidental fires or dangerous gas leaks. Additionally, electric fireplaces don’t require any venting or chimneys, eliminating the chance for hazardous buildup of harmful gases like carbon monoxide.

Many electric fireplace models also incorporate safety features like cool-to-the-touch exteriors, automatic shut-off mechanisms, and tip-over protection, providing added peace of mind for families with children or pets.


One of the most appealing aspects of electric fireplaces is their incredible versatility in terms of design, size, and installation options. Whether you’re looking to add a cosy focal point to your living room, create a warm and inviting atmosphere in your bedroom, or even incorporate a fireplace into a bathroom or outdoor living space, there’s an electric fireplace solution to suit nearly any need or aesthetic preference.

Electric fireplaces come in a wide range of styles and finishes, allowing you to integrate them into your existing decor seamlessly. They’re also available in a variety of sizes, making it easy to find the perfect fit for your space, whether it’s a spacious great room or a cosy apartment nook.

Install them virtually anywhere without the need for a chimney or extensive renovations, giving you the freedom to create a cosy ambience in any room you desire.

Drawbacks of Electric Fireplaces

The disadvantages of electric fireplaces are as follows: 

Limited Heating Capacity

While electric fireplaces offer many benefits, it’s important to understand their limitations, particularly when it comes to their heating capacity. Unlike central heating systems or powerful space heaters, electric fireplaces are designed to provide supplemental heating and ambience rather than serving as the primary heat source for a large or open space.

Most electric fireplace models are rated to heat areas ranging from approximately 37.16 to 92.90 square meters, depending on the size and power output of the unit. While this can be more than sufficient for smaller rooms, bedrooms, or cosy living areas, it may not be enough to heat an entire home or larger, open-concept spaces effectively.

Consider the size of the area you want to heat and choose an electric fireplace with an appropriate heating capacity to ensure optimal performance and comfort. In some cases, it may be necessary to combine an electric fireplace with a primary heating system or use it as a supplemental heat source for specific zones or rooms.

Lack of Authentic Ambiance

While modern electric fireplaces have made great strides in mimicking the visual appeal of a real fire, some people may still find that they lack the authentic ambience and charm of a traditional wood-burning fireplace.

Despite advanced technologies like LCD displays and refracted LED lighting, the flames produced by electric fireplaces are ultimately simulations, and some may find them lacking in the depth, movement, and subtle nuances of a real wood fire.

If you value the nostalgia and sensory experience of a traditional fireplace, an electric unit may not fully capture the same level of ambience and atmosphere, no matter how realistic the visual effects.

Reliance on Electricity

One inherent drawback of electric fireplaces is their reliance on a consistent electricity supply to function. Unlike wood-burning or gas fireplaces, which can operate independently as long as there is a fuel supply, electric fireplaces will cease to operate in the event of a power outage unless you have a backup generator or alternative power source.

This can be a significant limitation, particularly in areas prone to frequent power outages or during severe weather events when a fireplace’s comforting warmth and ambience can be most desirable.

Potential for High Energy Costs

While electric fireplaces are generally considered more energy-efficient than traditional wood-burning or gas fireplaces, it’s important to note that their operating costs can still add up over time, potentially offsetting some of their energy-saving benefits.

The exact energy consumption and associated costs will depend on various factors, including the unit’s size and power output, the heating elements’ efficiency, the frequency and duration of use, and your local electricity rates.

Larger, more powerful electric fireplaces or those used as primary heat sources for extended periods can consume a significant amount of electricity, resulting in higher utility bills.

Choosing the Right Electric Fireplace

Now that you understand the ins and outs of electric fireplaces, it’s time to discuss how to choose the right one for your needs. Here are some key factors to consider:

Size and Heating Capacity

First and foremost, you’ll want to consider the size of the space you need to heat and the fireplace’s heating capacity. Electric fireplaces typically range from about 1,500 to 2,000 watts, with larger units providing more heat output. As a general rule, you’ll need around 10 watts of heating power per square metre of space.

So, if you have a 20-square-metre room, you’d need an electric fireplace with at least 2,000 watts of heating power to keep it comfortably warm.

Style and Aesthetics

Electric fireplaces come in a wide range of styles, from traditional and rustic to sleek and modern. Consider the overall aesthetic of your space and choose a fireplace that complements your existing decor.

Installation Requirements

Some electric fireplaces are designed for specific installation types, such as wall-mounted, or inserts. Make sure to choose a unit that fits your desired installation method and space constraints.

Features and Functionality

Electric fireplaces can come with a variety of features, such as adjustable flame brightness, thermostats, remote controls, and even built-in speakers. Consider which features are most important to you and your lifestyle.

Energy Efficiency and Operating Costs

While electric fireplaces are generally more energy-efficient than traditional fireplaces, some models are more efficient than others. Look for units with Energy Star certifications or other energy-saving features to help keep your operating costs low.

Brand Reputation and Warranty

As with any major purchase, it’s important to consider the brand reputation and warranty coverage of the electric fireplace you’re considering. Look for reputable brands with solid customer reviews and comprehensive warranties to ensure you’re getting a quality product.

Install a Modern Electric Fireplace in Your Home

Choosing the right electric fireplace is easy with Jetmaster.  Our award-winning designs are stylish and practical, offering a wide range of options like wall-mounted units, freestanding stoves, and inserts for existing fireplaces. Our fireplaces are also energy-efficient and create realistic flame effects, keeping your home warm without high energy costs.

Jetmaster also provides strong warranty coverage, so you can trust our quality and reliability. Visit our store in Richmond, Melbourne or explore our online collection to find the perfect electric fireplace for your home. 

With Jestmaster, you can enjoy the cosy atmosphere and stylish design of a beautiful fireplace that enhances your living space. Contact us today to discover the ideal fireplace for your home and experience the comfort and elegance it brings.

Contact us now to find out more about our range

Make an enquiry

No comments

Categories: Electric Fireplace

Got a question for our fireplace specialists?

Call Us Now 1300 219 875

Get in Touch