Electric Fireplace Heater Coils

Are Electric Fireplaces Hot To Touch?

In Electric Fireplaces by James O'KellyLeave a Comment

Electric fireplaces imitate the experience of having a real fireplace in your home, but there’s no real fire in an electric fireplace.

Electric fireplaces produce the flames and heat artificially, but are electric fireplace hot to touch?

The main body of an electric fireplace will not be hot to touch when either the flames or heater is running. Only the outlet area of the heater will be hot to touch when the heater is on.

We’ve explained below why only a small area of an electric fireplace will be hot to touch, and show you where on our own electric fireplace can be become hot.

Do Electric Fireplaces Get Hot To The Touch?

Electric fireplaces are a type of fireplace that uses a source of energy to generate heat and provide the experience of a roaring fire in your home.

Electric fireplaces are different compared to other types of fireplaces because there’s no real fire.

In an electric fireplace the flame effects are generated artificially so that they resemble the look of flames. As there’s no real fire the heat also needs to be produced by another component located inside an electric fireplace.

In an electric fireplace the flames are typically created by a combination of rotating mirrors and lights, while a form of space heater such as a heating element with blower or infrared technology produces the heat.

The way in which the flames and heat are produced means that the areas on an electric fireplace that can get hot to touch will differ from other types of fireplaces.

For example, we use our multi fuel stove to burn our supply of wood to provide heat to our living room.

Multi Fuel Stove
Unlike an electric fireplace, a real stove will be hot to the touch all over

Our multi fuel stove works by:

  • Starting a real fire inside the stove that gives off heat as the fire combusts the wood.
  • The steel structure of the stove absorbs the heat and radiates it out into the room.
  • The stove continues to release heat for a while even after the fire inside the stove has gone out.

Our multi fire stove will therefore be hot to the touch all over because by design it gives out the heat from the fire through the body of the stove. We need to use gloves to open the door to the stove because it’s too hot to touch without it when having a fire.

In comparison we also have an electric fireplace stove.

Electric Fireplace Upright
Unlike a real stove, our electric fireplace stove does not get hot all over the body

Our electric fireplace stove is designed to look like a real stove, with a metal body, legs, door and handles.

Although an electric fireplace stove can look very much like the real thing, the key difference is that there’s no real fire inside. Instead there’s a fan forced heater that uses a heating element to heat up the air as it’s blown over it.

This means that our electric fireplace stove works very differently to our multi fuel stove and the body of the electric fireplace stove doesn’t get hot to touch during operation (apart from one small area which we’ll discuss about below).

An electric fireplace doesn’t have a real fire and so must generate the look of the flames using other techniques. The main way in which an electric fireplace produces the flames is through a combination of lights and a rotating bar of mirrors.

Furthermore, because there’s no real flame in an electric fireplace, it must release heat using a component that is separate to the one that is used to produce the flames.

An electric fireplace will use a form of heater to generate the heat. The types of heaters used by an electric fireplace include:

  • Fan forced heaters
  • Ceramic heaters
  • Infrared heaters

Our electric fireplace uses rotating mirrors and lights to create the flame effects and uses a fan forced heater to generate the heat.

The flame effects are created using components in the top compartment of the unit.

Electric Fireplace Flames Inside
How the flames are created inside an electric fireplace
Electric Fireplace Bright Flames
These flames aren’t hot to touch

The rotating mirrors rotate the light generated by the LEDs onto the back of the front panel on the fireplace. The way the mirrors are oriented helps to imitate the randomness of flickering flames for further realism.

There’s also another set of LEDs below the flames that lights up the fake set of logs.

The fake ember bed on an electric fireplace also won’t get too hot to touch

For more information about how an electric fireplace works we have a complete guide to how electric fireplaces work here.

The electric fireplace isn’t hot to the touch when the flame effects are operating, and this includes the body of the stove and the panel at the front on which the flames are projected onto, as well as any glass.

This is the same for all other electric fireplaces. As there’s no real fire the flames aren’t hot to the touch.

As a result electric fireplaces are therefore a great way to experience a fireplace in your home while also being safe for young children or pets to touch.

When it comes to producing the heat. electric fireplaces must generate heat another way because no heat is produced from creating the flame effects.

Our electric fireplace uses a conventional fan forced heater found in many other electric fireplaces and space heaters, but other types of heaters can be found in electric fireplaces such as infrared heaters.

The heater in our electric fireplace stove is located at the bottom.

Underneath Electric Fireplace
A heater component separate to the flames is required in order to produce the heat on an electric fireplace

A blower inside the electric fireplace sucks in air from the back and forces it over a heating element, leading to hot air coming out the front of the fireplace.

Electric Fireplace Heater
An electric fireplace heater

This area where is the heat comes out of the fireplace is the only place where the electric fireplace will be hot to the touch when the heater is on.

Electric Fireplace Heater Coils
The area in front of the heater on an electric fireplace will be hot too hot to touch

This will be the same across all electric fireplaces, where the area in front of the heater will be too hot to touch during operation.

However, many electric fireplaces (like ours) give you the option to have the flames on without the heat, meaning that an electric fireplace may not be hot to the touch anywhere if only the flames effects are on.

Furthermore, many fireplaces can also have different heat settings. Our electric fireplace stove has both high and low heat settings, and so the area in front of the heater will be even hotter to the touch when the high heat setting has been switched on.

Does The Back Of An Electric Fireplace Get Hot?

The back of an electric fireplace may get warm during operation as a result of the electrical components inside giving off small amounts of heat, but the back of an electric fireplace is unlikely to get hot.

Electric Fireplace Buying Guides

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Best Electric Fireplace Inserts

Best Electric Fireplace Heaters

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Further Reading

How To Use An Electric Fireplace

Do Electric Fireplaces Look Real?

Do Electric Fireplaces Have Light Bulbs?

What Is An Infrared Electric Fireplace?

How An Electric Fireplace Works

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