When outdoor temperatures drop, the ambient glow of a warm fire in the fireplace draws around family, friends, and pets, too. But, as much as everyone swoons over their heat and light, indoor fires do come at a price.
The Drawbacks of Traditional Fireplaces
As a secondary heat source, a traditional fireplace can cut the chill from a room while reducing the strain on overworked gas or electric central heating units even though, according to the EPA, they lose about 90 percent of their heat through the chimney!* So, while they’re helpful, they’re really not very efficient as interior heating sources. And, the savings they may offer from utility costs can easily get usurped by the expense of yearly inspections and maintenance by a chimney sweep, increased homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, and a large enough store of wood or fuel to last the cold season. Plus, as with any open flame, fireplace usage creates safety risks to homes and those who live in them.
A risk many fireplace users never think about is indoor air pollution. Wood burning fires release both carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide into the air as they burn, while improperly maintained gas fireplaces can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning at any time at all. Both types of fireplaces also increase the risk secondary fires caused by sparks and ashes.
The Benefits of Electric Media Fireplaces
Lucky for fireplace aficionados, 21st century ingenuity has made way for everybody to enjoy the open flame without any of the risks. Meet the media fireplace!
On first glance, these electricity-powered fireplaces may bring to mind the old yule log video loops created for streaming on computers or TV screens. Yes, media fireplaces do offer a similar, relaxing visual, but they also give you unique control over the coziness of your home without requiring much effort at all.
What is a Media Fireplace?
Media fireplaces (aka fireplace TV stands or fireplace media consoles) offer so much more than a traditional fireplace and mantel ever could because they are, essentially, portable pieces of storage furniture that come with an electric fireplace inside.
Now, every model is different, of course, but in a nutshell, a typical media fireplace includes:
Accommodations for a flat panel TV
Open compartment storage spaces for audio/visual components
Cabinets with or without doors (some with adjustable shelves)
Cable management cutaways
A firebox insert powered by infrared technology
An energy efficient LED flame visual that features a 2D or 3D flame, log, and ember effect
The ability to heat hundreds of square feet
A digital thermostat with timer setting and remote control
Electrical plug that fits a standard 120V home electrical outlet
Media fireplaces are constructed to work as TV or media stands for family rooms, but they can work in any room with an electrical outlet. What an inexpensive way to add a cozy fireplace to the owner’s bedroom suite or a drafty basement playroom. And, don’t forget, if you ever have to move, you’ll be able to take your media fireplace with you!
“Choosing the Right Fireplace or Fireplace Retrofit Device.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 6 Aug. 2020, www.epa.gov/burnwise/choosing-right-fireplace-or-fireplace-retrofit-device.