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Electric Fireplaces 

Electric Fireplaces: specifications, types

Type

— Fireplace. This category includes classic electric fireplaces, in other words, devices that are not related to fireplace sets. Their distinctive feature is the ease of design — even models equipped with decorative panels have a relatively simple and discreet look, and in many cases such panels are completely absent. Classic fireplaces are designed for those who do not need rich design; they will also be useful in cases where the necessary decor is already available at the installation site, and only the device itself is missing.

Portal fireplace (fireplace set). Fireplace sets stand out primarily for their rich design: the design of such models includes not only a heating device, but also a decorative frame (portal) with shelves, bas-reliefs, carvings, etc. Due to this, portal fireplaces are much more expensive than classic ones. At the same time, there are practically no differences in functionality; except that there are fewer installation options for a device of this type — most are designed for either side-mounted or corner mounting(see below). Note that the design style of the fireplace set can be different — from imitation of wood "antique" to strict modern with the use of glass and metal.

Installation

The installation method provided by the design of the fireplace. In some models, there may be several such methods.

Embedded. Fireplaces, designed, as the name suggests, to be installed in a wall niche — so that only the front is outside. Such devices take up a minimum of extra space and are very convenient in cramped conditions. On the other hand, the installation itself is quite complicated, it requires serious costs both in terms of money and time.

Attached. This type of installation involves placing it against a wall, so that the back wall of the fireplace is in contact with this wall. Such devices take up a little more space than built-in ones, but they are noticeably easier to install.

Wall mounted. Fireplaces with the possibility of hanging on the wall; usually equipped with loops or other devices for attaching to nails, hooks, etc. In addition to purely design moments, wall mounting is convenient because it leaves free space on the floor under the fireplace; in some cases this is critical.

Detached. Installation in the middle of the room, without contact with the walls. An environment in which such placement would be convenient is quite rare, and even less often there are situations when, from a practical point of view, a free-standing fireplace is necessary. Therefore, this type of inst...allation has not received wide popularity, and most often it is found as an additional option for wall models (see above).

Corner installation

Technically, any side-mounted fireplace can be installed in a corner, but this will not always be convenient. Therefore, models are produced that were originally designed for placement in a corner. This option can be optimal both from the point of view of the layout of the room, and from the point of view of aesthetics. At the same time, in some models, the “corner” protruding in the rear part is made removable, which allows for side mounting.

Operating modes

Operating modes supported by the electric fireplace.

Only imitation of a flame. As the name suggests, in this mode, the fireplace does not heat up and only displays a simulated flame. This allows you to admire artificial fire even in hot weather or in a well-heated room, where additional heat would be unnecessary.

- Flame simulation + heating. This mode is closest to the operation of a traditional wood-burning fireplace: the device not only displays an artificial flame, but also heats the room.

Maximum power

The highest power consumed by an electric fireplace during operation. This parameter describes both the amount of electricity consumed (and, accordingly, the load on the power grid), and the amount of heat generated by the device and, accordingly, the size of the room in which it can be used. However most manufacturers indicate the maximum heating area separately (see below); however, if this parameter is unknown, it can be determined from the maximum power using the following formula: for effective heating of 1 m² of area in a room with a standard ceiling height of 2.5 m is considered sufficient power of 100 watts.

Heat modes

It is the number of heating modes provided in the electric fireplace. The difference between the modes is the power at which the device operates and the intensity of the heating. Thus, with several intensity adjustments, one can choose the best option for any situation. For example, when returning to the house after a long absence, when the room has cooled down — the fireplace can be turned on at full power. If one needs to maintain room temperature, it's better to use a less intensive heating mode.

Maximum heating area

The largest area of the room that the electric fireplace can effectively heat. In this case, the area is calculated for a standard ceiling height of 2.5 m; for rooms where this height is noticeably different, and the effective heating area will be different. In such cases, it is possible to determine whether the power of the fireplace will be sufficient, based on the calculation that for heating 2.5 cubic metres. m of air in the room requires a power of 100 watts. The volume of a room can be derived by multiplying the area by the height.

Simulation mode power

The amount of energy consumed by the electric fireplace when operating in flame simulation mode (see "Operating modes"). Since in this mode it is not necessary to spend energy on heating, the power consumption in it is noticeably lower. Its specific value significantly depends on the principle of flame simulation (see below).

Flame simulation technology

A method used to recreate the appearance of a flame.

Electromechanical. The easiest way to create a flame effect. The design of such fireplaces includes light sources in the form of lamps or LEDs, as well as a drum rotated by an electric motor. In some models, the drum has irregularly shaped slots, in others it is covered with separate pieces of reflective film, but anyway, the idea is that the light hits the back wall of the “firebox” unevenly, imitating flames. Many of these models provide changing the speed of movement of these "tongues", which provides adjustment of the intensity of the flame (see "Functions"). Among the advantages of electromechanical systems, one can note the low cost and minimal maintenance requirements (in fact, it is required only in case of malfunctions). On the other hand, such "fire" is not very realistic, and mechanical parts can make noise when working.

Steam generator. As the name implies, the work of such a simulator is based on the creation of steam, usually with the help of ultrasound. This steam is highlighted with the appropriate colour, due to which it creates the effect of not only fire, but also smoke, and it is very realistic. And in combination with models of firewood and coals, which are usually supplemented by such systems, the steam "flame" becomes almost indistinguishable from a real fire — except that you can notice the difference up close..., and the nature of the heat (when the heating is on) is somewhat different. In addition, steam generators, by definition, have a humidification function. Their main disadvantage is the need for regular refueling with water and periodic cleaning of salt deposits.

— LCD monitor. In accordance with the name, this simulation method assumes the presence of a full-fledged LCD screen, on which a video recording of a burning fire is projected. In terms of realism, such fireplaces are noticeably superior to electromechanical ones, but they are somewhat inferior to steam generators, since the “fire” turns out to be flat. On the other hand, they can provide many additional features — for example, sets of several flame options, interchangeable backgrounds on which the image of fire is superimposed, and much more. The main disadvantage of such fireplaces is the high cost.

Functions

Temperature control. Possibility to change the heating temperature of the fireplace. Due to this, you can customize the device to suit the particular situation.

Thermostat. A thermostat is a device that provides automatic temperature control, more precisely, maintaining it at a certain level. When the air in the room heats up to a certain degree, the thermostat turns off the heating element, and when the temperature drops slightly, it turns on the heating again. Usually, the temperature maintained in this way can be set by the user as desired.

Fan heater. The presence in the design of the fireplace of a special fan that supplies hot air from the device. Due to this, the room warms up faster than with natural convection (without a fan).

The sound of wood crackling. The operation of an electric fireplace is accompanied by the reproduction of the sound of natural burning wood, the main purpose of which is to enhance the atmosphere of a real fireplace. The basis of this sound is the crackling of the brazier. The sound is played by a special emulator, which additionally allows you to adjust the volume of the fire. Depending on the model, this effect can be adjusted in volume or turned off, but anyway, this solution allows you to bring the electric fireplace closer to a real home.

Flame brightness adjustment. The ability to change the brightness of the flame visible in the "furnace" of the fireplace. This function allows you to customize the appearance of the device to suit the mood and environment: for example, in soft evening lighting, you can “mute” the fireplace so that it does not blind your eyes, and in bright light (for example, on a clear day) — you can make the flame brighter and more noticeable .

— Adjustment of intensity of a flame. The ability to change the intensity of the flame imitated by the fireplace — so that it looks relatively calm or, conversely, stormy. In models with electromechanical and steam generator simulation (see above), it is quite simple to provide such an adjustment, but with an LCD monitor, the flame intensity is entirely determined by the video that is broadcast on the screen and cannot be adjusted on the fly.

— Flame colour adjustment. Another setting for the decor of the room. Allows you to change the colour of the flame, which allows you to set both a "cold" blue fire and a "hot" red one. At the same time, the number of available colours depends on the model, and their adjustment can occur smoothly, taking into account many gradients.

Air purification filter. The presence of a filter in the design of the fireplace, which cleans the air from various impurities. However the efficiency of such cleaning is usually not as high as when using special equipment (for example, hoods in recirculation mode); on the other hand, intensive filtration is not required in residential areas. The filter can be designed both to remove small particles (smoke, dust) and to combat odours; specific features of his work in each case should be clarified separately.

— Air humidification. Possibility of work of a fireplace in the mode of humidification of air. The most comfortable relative humidity for a person is an indicator of the order of 60-70%. However, for a number of reasons, during the cold season, the humidity in residential premises may drop (the effect of “drying out” the air by heaters); humidifiers are used to restore optimal conditions. In electric fireplaces, this function, by definition, is present in models with the steam generator principle of simulating a flame (see above) — in fact, it is not even a deliberately provided function there, but a “side effect” of the steam generator. But with another type of simulation, moistening is almost never provided — not so much because of technical difficulties, but because of a number of considerations of expediency.

Shutdown timer. This timer provides automatic shutdown of the electric fireplace after the time set by the user. Thanks to this, you can, for example, turn on the device in flame simulation mode instead of a night light, set a timer and go to bed without worrying about having to turn off the fireplace manually.

Display

The presence of a display to show the settings of the electric fireplace.

Remote control

Availability in a set of delivery of an electrofireplace of the remote control. The purpose and advantages of this function are obvious: the fireplace settings can be controlled without approaching the device — roughly speaking, "without getting up from the couch." Note that the set of functions covered by the remote control may differ from those for which the built-in control panel is responsible — in other words, there may be more or less of them in the remote control, depending on the specific model. However, anyway, the remote control gives access to all basic functions.

Portal material

MDF. A classic material for the manufacture of portals and other furniture. It is a wood-fibre board that can be made in different shapes and give any look. This material is highly environmentally friendly, light weight and good strength. The closest analogue is chipboard, but unlike the latter, it has a finer-grained structure, their surface is perfectly smooth. Also, this type of portal can be additionally covered with PVC film or eco-veneer, unlike models with veneered MDF, which use natural veneer.

MDF with stone. Portals made of the material described above — MDF, which is additionally lined with natural stone. This decision gives entertainment to the fireplace and an unusual antique look. MDF, like artificial stone, is one of the environmentally friendly materials.

Veneered MDF. Another type of material directly related to MDF. Natural wood is quite expensive, so veneer from various types of wood, although it increases the cost of the model, but within reason. At the same time, the appearance is indistinguishable from a solid wooden portal, which is why this material is inherent in top-level fireplaces.

Artificial stone. A kind of fireplaces in which there was no place for MDF and it is completely made of stone. Artificial stone is created on the basis of acrylic resins, this material is also called..."acrylic stone". Differs in high durability and absolute environmental friendliness, has rather small weight, high reliability and big durability. Portals made of artificial stone always look solid and outwardly practically indistinguishable from analogues made of real marble, granite or natural stone.
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