Do Electric Fireplaces Need a Vent

Does an Electric Fireplace Need a Vent? (Or Even a Chimney?)

In Electric Fireplaces, Indoor Fireplaces by James O'KellyLeave a Comment

Electric fireplaces can be inserted into your existing open fireplace to replace a traditional wood-burning fireplace setup.

Electric fireplaces can provide a very realistic look and feel of a traditional fireplace without the hassle of having to set up a fireplace, continuously adding logs, and cleaning up the left over burnt logs and ashes. 

Electric fireplaces produce heat just like wood burning and vented gas fireplaces, so does an electric fireplace need a vent or chimney to operate?

An electric fireplace does not require a vent, flue or chimney. An electric fireplace does not have a real flame and so doesn’t release any byproducts such as smoke and harmful gases. As no fuel is burnt in an electric fireplace, and there’s no combustion, you do not need to vent an electric fireplace.

Whether you have standalone electric fireplace unit or an electric fireplace insert for use in your existing fireplace, it won’t require a vent or chimney to use.

So what makes an electric fireplace not require venting like other types of fireplace do, such as wood burning fireplaces and stoves, and gas fireplaces?

Why an Electric Fireplace Doesn’t Need to be Vented Compared to other Types of Fireplace

When logs are burnt in a wood burning fireplace or stove, or when natural gas is burnt in a gas fireplace, byproducts are produced as a result of the combustion process.

The processes within both wood burning and gas fireplaces are centered around an real flame that burns the fuel (either wood of gas) and produces heat, light and other byproducts.

Burning of wood in a fireplace produces smoke (quite a lot if the wood isn’t burning properly), and also releases other gases and particles. Over time, these can be seen as soot around a fireplace, up the chimney and on the glass door of a wood stove.

Vented gas fireplaces also produce gases as a byproduct of the combustion process, but can be much less visible than those produced by burning wood.

These byproducts produced by burning wood and gas are unwanted, and need to be vented out of your home for safety reasons.

(If you’d like to know more I’ve discussed how smoke and gases can be bad for your health.)

In comparison to wood burning and gas fireplaces, electric fireplaces don’t have a real flame. Instead, they have a heating element located within the appliance that warms up the air in your room.

There is no combustion process in an electric fireplace. With no flame and no fuel, there are no byproducts produced that need to be removed from home.

Therefore, electric fireplaces don’t require any form of vent, chimney or flue. They can be placed in either your existing open fireplaces or in numerous locations across your home (where there’s a plug socket nearby!)

Since an electric fireplace doesn’t require venting, all of the heat produced is fed directly into your room.  

This means that electric fireplaces are 100% efficient.

All of the energy used to produce the heat is released into your home, whereas gas fireplaces, wood stoves, and especially wood burning fireplaces, can see much of their heat lost through venting.

Can an Electric Fireplace Cause Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas that has no taste or smell. It can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, and can even lead to death if exposed to high levels.

It’s recommended that all homes have a carbon monoxide alarm, especially ones that have open fireplaces.

So can an electric fireplace give off carbon monoxide?

No, an electric fireplace has no real flame and so cannot produce carbon monoxide as a byproduct.

Carbon monoxide can only be produced through a combustion process with a real flame and fuel. carbon monoxide is only produced by burning fuels that contain carbon, such as wood, natural gas and coal.

You can therefore be at risk from carbon monoxide when using a wood burning or gas fireplace, but not from using an electric fireplace. Only when the fire has been starved of oxygen can Carbon Monoxide be produced. Burning wood or gas with plenty of air supply will create carbon dioxide as a byproduct, and not carbon monoxide.

Electric Fireplaces and Venting Summary

Electric fireplaces don’t need to be vented because:

– There’s no real flame
– No combustion process is occurring
– There are no byproducts released through heating your home
– No carbon monoxide can be produced

Are Electric Fireplaces Allowed in Apartments?

Electric fireplaces are ideal for use in an apartment as they don’t require a vent or chimney, and only require a standard electrical supply to run.

Electric fireplaces don’t have a real flame and don’t produce any smoke, fumes or other byproducts such as carbon monoxide, making them perfect for those living in apartment that want to enjoy a fireplace.

Modern electric fireplaces can now look very realistic compared to real thing, and many can be bought in a slim design meaning that they won’t be taking up much space in your apartment. Some electric fireplaces can be wall mounted to use up even less space!

An Electric Fireplace Doesn’t Need to be Vented

There you have it, you don’t need to vent an electric fireplace because there’s nothing produced by the fireplace, and nothing needs to be vented out of your home.

There’s no real flame in an electric fireplace, and so there’s no byproducts released through its use.

This makes electric fireplaces an ideal choice for homes or apartments that don’t have an existing fireplace.

There are many reasons to buy an electric fireplace over other types of fireplace such as wood stoves and gas fireplaces, such as ease of installation, low running costs and ease of use, but the fact that electric fireplaces don’t need a vent, chimney or flue is a big selling point to many.

For to find out more about electric fireplaces and their comparisons with other types of fireplaces, including the pros and cons of each, check out our in-depth guide.

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