Electric Fireplace Flames

This Is What’s Inside An Electric Fireplace

In Electric Fireplaces, Indoor Fireplaces by James O'Kelly2 Comments

Electric fireplaces can come in many different shapes and sizes, and can be found placed on walls or on the floor.

My own electric fireplace is a freestanding unit that’s located on the floor. As it’s quite large, I recently opened up my fireplace to see what’s inside, and I’ve put this article together to show you exactly what’s inside an electric fireplace.

Inside a typical electric fireplace you’ll find two main components:

  • A heating element with blower.
  • Either an LED screen or a rotisserie-style light that provides the flame effect.

Depending on the type of electric fireplace, you’ll also find plenty of open space for ventilation and air circulation.

My own freestanding electric fireplace is designed to look like a wood burning stove. It whole unit has a similar design, with legs, a glass door that opens, and an ash pan compartment cover.

Electric Fireplace Upright
My freestanding electric fireplace stove

Behind the area that resembles the ash pan compartment on a wood burning stove is the controls to my electric fireplace. The cover helps to hide the controls when they’re not being used, and the cover is held closed with a magnet.

Electric Fireplace Controls Cover
The cover to the fireplace control panel
Electric Fireplace Controls
The controls on my electric fireplace

The glass door can also be opened in my electric fireplace, and inside is the plastic fake logs, and back screen that the flames are projected onto.

Electric Fireplace Behind Door
Behind the door or an electric fireplace stove, showing the fake plastic logs

The back of my fireplace simply contains a metal backing cover.

Electric Fireplace Back

When taking off the back panel of my electric fireplace you’ll find both the heater and flame effect components.

Electric Fireplace Back Removed
Taking off the back panel
Inside Electric Fireplace


Inside an electric fireplace you’ll find the heating component. It works just like a traditional space heater where a blower sucks in cooler air, and blows out warmer air into the room that has been heated up as it passes through a heating element.

Here’s what the heater component looks like in my electric fireplace:

Electric Fireplace Heater
The heater components of an electric fireplace

The main heating component that you’ll see in an electric fireplace is the blower. The blower in my fireplace is cylindrical in shape and is made up of a number of metal fan blades, driven by a motor at one end, that forces air through the heating element in front of it.

Electric Fireplace Heater Blower
Heater blower

Here’s a video I took of me turning the heater on and off, highlighting how the blower works and how noisy you can expect it to be.

The clicking sound is me turning the low heat and then the high heat setting switches on an off. There isn’t much difference in the amount of noise the heater makes between the low and high heat settings.

You can see what the heating element coils look like from the front of the electric fireplace through the vents:

Electric Fireplace Heater Outlet

Here’s what the heating coils look like after the heater has been on for a while:

Electric Fireplace Heater Coils

The wires leading above the heating element are to power the flame effect on the electric fireplace.

Flame Effect

As well as heating element, inside an electric fireplace you’ll find the component that creates the effect of the flickering flames.

Depending on the model of electric fireplace, it will either have an LED screen or a light source with rotating mirrors that produce the flame effect.

An LED electric fireplace works just like your TV or mobile to produce an image.  Wall-mounted electric fireplaces typically have a screen to show the effect of a real fire, as it is helps prevent the fireplace from sticking too far out into the room.

My freestanding electric fireplace uses rotisserie-style mirrors to produce the effect of the flames by reflecting light onto the back of a plastic screen. The amount of space required to create this effect means that my freestanding electric fireplace is much deeper than a wall-mounted one.

Here’s what the flame effect components look like inside my fireplace:

Electric Fireplace Flames

Just behind the rotating mirrors further into the fireplace unit is the light source. My electric fireplace comes with a strip of LED’s, but some older types of electric fireplace can instead have a traditional bulb as the light source.

Electric Fireplace LED
The strip of LEDs providing light for the flames

When my fireplace is turned on, the LEDs automatically come on. The LEDs are located inside the electric fireplace underneath the fake logs, and so light up the logs to look like a real fire.

Electric Fireplace Logs

The rotating mirrors located inside the electric fireplace provide the effect of flickering flames. These flames can be seem just above the logs.

To create the flames, a motor at one end controls a series of strategically placed metal plates along a rod. At the rod spins, light from the LEDs reflects off the metal plates and onto the backing screen of the fireplace.

Electric Fireplace Rotating Mirrors
The rod which rotates to create the flickering flames
Electric Fireplace Flames Inside
The light reflecting off the metal onto the back of the screen

Here’s a video showing the flame effect being produced from inside the electric fireplace:

Inside An Electric Fireplace

Below is another video I took showing both the heater and flames operating inside an electric fireplace.

Further Reading

How To Use An Electric Fireplace

Common Electric Fireplace Problems And Their Solutions


  1. Great article! I got mine fifteen years ago and I was intrigued by how it worked, so I took it apart. It is a very cool thing, especially the older ones that look just like a gas flame. Thanks for posting!

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