Electric fireplaces have become widespread as many people want to enjoy having one during the cooler months but may not have a real one installed in their home. Electric fireplaces give the feeling of having a fireplace and most can heat your home. But in some cases, you may want to enjoy your electric fireplace outdoors.
Electric fireplaces can be used outdoors. There are specific electric fireplaces that are rated for outdoor use. Attempting to utilize any other type of electric fireplace could present a fire hazard, as they are not designed to be exposed to moisture or any other element from the outside.
So, while electric fireplaces can be used outdoors, how do you know it’s safe to use?
Electric Fireplaces for Outdoor Use
Many different options are available for outdoor-rated electric fireplaces. Some are freestanding (on legs) that can be moved around. Others can either be mounted inside or on an outside wall. If you are wanting to mount the fireplace, it is recommended that you do so:
- In an enclosed porch
- In an area not prone to heavy rainfall or snowfall
- Underneath some type of roofing to protect the unit
Outdoor electric fireplaces typically come with some type of weatherproofing case and specialized electrical cord that is designed to get wet and still function. Make sure that these parts are intact before using the fireplace outdoors to prevent any fire threat.
If you are going to mount an outdoor-rated electric fireplace, it is best to do so in an area that is not going to get rained or snowed on directly. Even though the fireplace may be rated for outdoor use, that does not mean that it is designed to be soaked.
How to Use Electric Fireplaces Outdoors
How you use an electric fireplace outdoors depends on what you are trying to accomplish, and which fireplace you are using. If you have decided to mount one on a back porch, then the use of it is simple: turn it on and enjoy the heat that is created while sitting on your porch.
If you have one that is freestanding and you want the option to move it around, you are free to do so with this type of model. You can move the electric fireplace anywhere you choose, provided you can plug it into a power outlet or power source.
As stated above, even though the electric fireplace may be rated for outdoor use, that does not mean that it is designed to sit through rain or snowfall. Also, ensure that the power source is not sitting in any puddles of water or snow as that could be a fire hazard.
If you are going to use your electric fireplace instead of a backyard fire, you can safely do so provided you do not sit too close to the unit. Remember that heat is coming out of the fireplace. Anything too close to it could start a fire.
Which Brands Have the Best Outdoor Electric Fireplaces
According to Amazon, there are three top-rated brands of electric fireplaces that are designed for outdoor use. They are:
- Amantii Panorama
Outdoor Basic Infrared Quartz Electric Fireplace Stove
One of the top-rated outdoor electric fireplaces is the Outdoor Basic Infrared Quartz Electric Stove. This unit is portable, so you can move it around your backyard or throughout your house.
This electric fireplace comes with two different heating modes, 1000w and 1500w, which are designed to give you the ability to change the settings based on your needs. Additionally, it comes with a remote control so that you can change settings without ever having to stand up.
The Outdoor Basic comes with a wood-burning flame that provides the fireplace with a realistic look and feel. It also comes with a built-in 12-hour timer setting which means that it automatically shuts off if you forget to turn it off yourself at the end of the night.
Amantii Panorama Indoor/Outdoor BI-40-XTRASLIM
This indoor/outdoor electric fireplace is manufactured by Amantii and is designed to be mounted either inside the wall or to a wall. The wall in which the unit is mounted be can be:
- An interior wall
- A bathroom wall
- An outside porch wall
The Amantii unit comes with LED lighting that provides different colors for any faux flames that are shown. Additionally, the unit comes with a thermostat so you can set a certain temperature for the unit to get to, and then it will shut off on its own.
Remii 45 inch Extra Slim Indoor or Outdoor Electric Fireplace
Another great option for an outdoor electric fireplace comes from Remii. This particular model will work well in any room in the house, including the bathroom, or an outside installation.
The faux flames created are multi-color and come in yellow, orange, blue, violet, and rose. Additionally, the electric fireplace will heat areas comfortably up to 500 square feet.
Where the Amantii comes with a built-in thermostat, this one does not. However, it does come with the capability to add it on after your purchase.
Installing an Outdoor Electric Fireplace
When it comes to selecting an outdoor electric fireplace, there are some things to be aware of after you have made your decision. The key is understanding that, even if the fireplace is rated for the outdoors, if you do not install it properly or it is unnecessarily exposed to the elements, it could present a fire hazard. Other things to consider:
- Installation costs
- Need for extension cords
- Use of a GFI
If you decide on an electric fireplace that has to be installed inside of or onto a wall, keep in mind that there may be some additional costs and time involved in the installation process. If your fireplace can just be mounted directly to the wall, the cost and time will be minimal.
However, if your model necessitates being installed in the wall, or if you prefer that for design reasons, know that there will be additional installation costs. Not only will the wall have to be cut out to make room for the unit, but you will also have to run electricity to the area.
Check with your local electricians and/or handymen to see what they will charge to do this type of job. Make sure you consider that cost when considering the final price to get a good idea of what you will be paying in total.
Most, if not all manufacturers of electric fireplaces strongly recommend that an extension cord is not used to power their units. This is because the draw on energy is too great for most extension cords. This will present fire hazards if the cords are not rated highly enough.
If the desired placement of your electric fireplace makes it impossible to pull power to it, instead of using an extension cord, consider hardwiring electricity to the unit. While there will be a cost associated with doing so, it will be far cheaper in the long run than causing a fire and damaging your home.
Use a GFI
If you can plug your electric fireplace into an outlet, make sure that it is a ground fault circuit interrupter or GFI. This will enable the circuit to shut off should there be any electrical problems presented with your fireplace.
If the location in which you are installing the electric fireplace does not have a GFI, consult with a local electrician to see if it is possible to install one near the unit. As stated above, any slight additional cost will be far cheaper in the long run than the potential of your home catching on fire.
It is common to want an electric fireplace for use outdoors. Spending time outside is now just a pastime for the warm weather months. Having a fireplace outdoors adds atmosphere, ambiance, and coziness to any outdoor space. Luckily, there are electric fireplaces rated for use outdoors.
As long as you take the proper care in installing and utilizing your outdoor electric fireplaces, you should be able to get a great deal of use out of them.