Electric fireplaces are a very flexible form of fireplace, allowing you to place them in many locations around your home because they don’t need any form of chimney or vent.
Electric fireplaces need a source of electricity in order to work and many types of electric fireplace come with a standard plug. There are a few things to consider when it comes to providing power to one of these units and so what are the outlet requirements for an electric fireplace?
Electric fireplaces that come with a power cord should be plugged straight into a standard electrical outlet. An electric fireplace should not be plugged into any type of extension cord.
We’ve explained in more detail below why it’s not recommended to plug an electric fireplace into a surge protector or power strip, and shown how we plug our own electric fireplace in.
Can You Plug An Electric Fireplace Into A Surge Protector, Extension Cord or Power Strip?
Using a surge protector or power strip/extension cable would allow you to increase the distance an electric fireplace is located away from a standard electrical outlet, but you can you plug an electric fireplace into a surge protector or power strip?
For safety reasons an electric fireplace should not be plugged into any form of extension from an electrical outlet, such as a surge protectors or power strips. Electric fireplaces should only be plugged directly into a standard electrical outlet.
Electric fireplaces work by generating the flames artificially, typically using a combination of lights and rotating mirrors in order to project the look of flickering flames onto the front of the fireplace.
As the components in an electric fireplace that produce the flame effects don’t also produce heat like a real fire, electric fireplaces also typically have a form of heater integrated into the unit, such a fan forced heater or infrared heater.
These heaters inside an electric fireplace work much like a space heater (see our other article here explaining why), and so electric fireplaces should be treated much like a conventional space heater would be in terms of where it can be plugged into.
We have an electric fireplace stove and we always plug it straight into a nearby wall electrical outlet, in whichever room in our home we use it.
We never plug it into any form of surge protector or power strip/extension cable. If our electric fireplace can’t reach a wall outlet then we’ll move it to another location where it can.
This is because the instruction manual for our electric fireplace states that it’s not recommended to use an extension lead with it.
Furthermore, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) states that:
Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire.ESFI
Indiana University Southeast also explains that:
Power strips/surge protectors can only be used for low power load equipment such as computers. They are not allowed to be used for high-power loads such as space heaters. Doing so creates a serious fire hazard.IUS
The heater in an electric fireplace can work much like a conventional home space heater where a large amount of power is drawn in order to generate the heat.
It’s therefore not recommended to plug your electric fireplace into any form of power strip, extension cable or surge protector.
Can You Plug An Electric Fireplace Into A Regular Outlet?
It’s not recommended to plug your electric fireplace into a surge protector, power strip or extension cable, but can you plug an electric fireplace into a regular outlet?
The majority of electric fireplaces can be plugged straight into a regular home outlet without any other requirements.
Our electric fireplace stove came with a standard (UK) plug out of the box.
We simply needed to plug it into one of our home electrical outlets, turn the outlet on and electric fireplace could be used straight away.
When buying an electric fireplace look for details on what way it receives power. If the specification for the electric fireplace states that it’s plug-in then it will be able to plug into your standard home electrical outlet.
However, some electric fireplaces need to be direct-wired but can be bought with an optional adapter to use in a regular outlet.
Some ‘built-in’ electric fireplaces that are designed for in-wall installations or catered towards bespoke installations, for example entertainment centers, typically come ready to be hard-wired into your home electrics.
In this case when buying an electric fireplace you would need to look out for direct-wire (or a similar term), which would describe that the fireplace isn’t designed to be plugged straight into a regular outlet.
However as shown in the above image, electric fireplaces that are predominantly direct-wired may also come with a plug-in kit or can come as an optional extra. This will also allow you to use this type of electric fireplace with a regular outlet.
Other than ‘built-in’ electric fireplaces many of the other types of electric fireplaces will be plug-in and will simply need to be plugged into a regular outlet to work straight out of the box. These can include:
- Electric fireplace TV stands
- Electric fireplace stoves
- Electric fireplace log sets
- Electric fireplace inserts
- Electric fireplace heaters
Other types of electric fireplace can also be plug-in such as electric fireplace mantels. See of all our electric fireplace buying guides here for more information.
Check before buying an electric fireplace that it can be plugged straight into a regular outlet. The majority of electric fireplaces on the market are able to do so as they will comes with a power cord and plug specific to your area of residence.
If the electric fireplace you want needs to be hard wired look to see whether it comes with a plug-kit or can be bough as an optional extra.
Electric fireplaces should not be plugged into any form of extension cable and always be plugged directly into standard electrical outlets located around your home.