Trim Heating Costs, Create Ambience

Take the chill out of the air and the burden off of your primary home heating system with a supplemental heat source. Space heaters are handy, but often not very attractive – and can be dangerous if used improperly. The National Fire Protection Association reports that in 2006, 73 percent of home heating deaths were attributed to improper space heater use.

Consider adding a home fireplace or making an existing fireplace functional. Wood-, pellet- and corn-burning fireplaces are options for those with the ability to add a chimney. In order to effectively augment your regular heat source, these options require regular addition of wood, corn or pellets. And don’t forget the need for regular cleaning and maintenance of not only the fireplace, but also the chimney.

To reduce the need to purchase materials to burn, improve the efficiency of fireplace heat and avoid messy maintenance chores, many homeowners convert existing traditional fireplaces to gas or electric units. If your home does not currently have a fireplace, chimney or gas line access, you can easily purchase and install a freestanding electrical fireplace.

The unpredictable nature of gas prices combined with ease of installation means frequent spikes in electric fireplace purchases. After all, the only technical know-how needed is the ability to plug the unit into the wall. As an added bonus, electrical fireplace heat is not lost to the chimney as with traditional wood or pellet-burning units. The steady heat source is easily turned on or off as needed; many units even include an automatic shutoff or sleep timer.

Other than the occasional need to dust the unit and change the light bulb, electric fireplaces provide trouble-free, safe ambient heat and light. Fire safety experts note the importance of making sure the electrical outlet and set-up in your home can handle the new addition to your family room, living room, basement or other space in need of additional heat.

If you’ve decided to add a new, energy-efficient heat source to your home, browse your local home improvement centers and the internet for ideas and price ranges. Simple units are available as well as those with the appearance of a traditional fireplace with a wood fireplace surround—a key fireplace safety measure for homes with children or pets. From major furnace manufacturer brands to Amish fireplaces, there is an option to fit your needs. An investment in a finely-crafted electric fireplace can not only improve your home’s warmth, but also its ambiance.