How Long You Can Run An Electric Fireplace For

In Electric Fireplaces by James O'KellyLeave a Comment

Electric fireplaces can be considered safer forms of fireplace because there are no real flames and no waste gases or smoke can be produced.

Even though electric fireplaces have these safety benefits, they must always be operated with care and used as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. This includes making sure that an operating electric fireplace is never left unattended.

So how long can you run an electric fireplace?

Electric fireplaces can be operated for as long as desired, but it must be ensured that they aren’t left unattended and all other manufacturer guidelines are followed.

We have an electric fireplace stove and we’ve explained below what the manufacturer of our fireplace recommends, and also discussed how long an electric fireplace should be left on for.

How Long Can You Run An Electric Fireplace?

Rather than using other forms of fuel such as firewood or gas, an electric fireplace is a form of fireplace that uses electricity to generate the heat and flame effects.

A key benefit to using an electric fireplace is that as long as there’s an electrical supply powering an electric fireplace it can be left running for as long as desired. With an electric fireplace, there’s no need to setup, maintain, put out and clean the fire.

An electric fireplace has two main components:

  • The flame effects
  • The heater

We’ve discussed how an electric fireplace works in more detail here, but the flames effects are typically created by reflecting light onto the back of a screen to imitate the look of flames, while the heat is commonly generated by a form of heater such as fan forced or infrared.

As long as an electric fireplace is plugged into one of your standard home electrical outlets or hard-wired into your home electrics, then these components of an electric fireplace will be able to run indefinitely, within reason.

While the flame effects in an electric fireplace typically won’t be a major safety concern, the issue lies with the heater.

Electric fireplace heaters work much like a space heater, in which electricity is used to generate heat.

The most common type of heater found in an electric fireplace can be a fan forced heater, while infrared heaters can typically be found in more expensive models of fireplace because they can generally heat a larger area.

These forms of heaters draw a lot of power and can get very hot when operating, particularly on the higher heat settings.

Our electric fireplace stove uses a conventional fan forced heater to produce the supplementary heat for the room. A blower forces cooler air from the back of the fireplace over a heating element, and warmer air is blown out into the room.

This heating element can get very hot during longer periods of operation.

Electric Fireplace Heater Coils
An electric fireplace heater can get very hot during long uses and so should not be left unattended while operating

As electric fireplace heaters draw a lot of power, for safety purposes electric fireplaces should always be plugged straight into an electrical outlet and never plugged into any form of power strip, surge protector of extension cable. (We explain outlet requirements for electric fireplaces in more detail here.)

The instruction manual for our particular model of fireplace outlines the recommended safety procedures to follow when using the fireplace.

One thing to note is that there is no specific mention of how long the electric fireplace can run for before it should be turned off.

The manual states however that our electric fireplace should not be left unattended.

Electric Fireplace Manual

It’s not recommended to leave an electric fireplace unattended, and is one of the main reasons why an electric fireplace should not be left on overnight.

When running electric fireplaces for long periods of time other safety measures should be followed that are common practice when using any form of home space heater.

To reduce the risk of using an electric fireplace to the minimum, the manual for our specific model of electric fireplace recommends:

  • Not to leave the unit unattended.
  • Always unplug the appliance when not in use.
  • Not to cover over the unit, in particular the outlet the heater.
  • Leave a gap of 1m between the fireplace and all surrounding objects.
  • Not to use the fireplace on long pile carpets (more about using electric fireplaces on carpets here).

Many electric fireplaces, like ours, can also come with an integrated thermostat that allows the electric fireplace to turn itself off when the desired room temperature has been reached.

[Image] thermostat

An electric fireplace with a thermostat will turn itself on and off to regulate the temperature of the room.

Many electric fireplaces also come with a number of safety features such as automatic thermal shut off if temperatures within the unit become too hot due to prolonged operation.

Running Electric Fireplaces For Long Periods Of Time

An electric fireplace can replace a conventional home space heater as a way to heat a room in a home and so it should ideally be able to be used for as long as possible in order to bring a room up to a desired temperature.

As long as safety guidelines are followed an electric fireplace can typically be operated for as long as required. When an electric fireplace is left unattended it should be switched off before doing so.

Always check the instruction manual for your particular model of electric fireplace for any maximum specific lengths of time it should be operated for.

We periodically use our electric fireplace stove anywhere between 1 and 4 hours in order to bring our living room up to a toasty temperature during the winter months.

We don’t see the need to run our electric fireplace for a longer period of time than this because, as we’ve shown in another article here about whether an electric fireplace can really heat a room, they can typically heat a room very well.

When we’re running our electric fireplace for extended periods of time we always ensure that:

  • The fireplace is plugged into a wall socket and not into any type of extension lead.
  • The unit is on a flat surface.
  • Plenty of space is left around the unit for ventilation.
  • Nothing is blocking the outlet to the heater in the electric fireplace.
  • The fireplace is turned off every time we leave the room.
Electric Fireplace In Existing Fireplace
We leave plenty of room around our electric fireplace for ventilation
Electric Fireplace Heater Outlet
Ensure that the inlet or outlet to the fireplace heaters aren’t blocked when running for a long time


Subject to the manufacturer’s guidelines on usage time, an electric fireplace can be used for as long as desired as long as general safety precautions and the operation requirements outlined in the instruction manual are followed.

An electric fireplace can heat a room very well and may not be needed for more than a few hours of operation.

When running electric fireplaces for a long time, ensure that no objects block the heater outlet and that plenty of space is provided around the fireplace for ventilation purposes.

An electric fireplace should also always be plugged into a standard electrical outlet and never into an extension cable, and also turned off if it is going to be left unattended.

Further Reading

Electric Fireplace Buying Guides

Do Electric Fireplaces Get Hot To The Touch?

Electric Fireplace Common Problems & Solutions

How To Use An Electric Fireplace

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