How to Start an Electric Fireplace

Written by: Paul Cathro

Updated on: May 14, 2022

If you’ve never owned an electric fireplace before, you may not know how to operate one safely. Find out how to use it safely and also any installation and safety precautions to take.

dimplex-revillusion-20 in fireplace

In this article, you’ll find a user-friendly guide telling you how to turn on an electric fireplace, how to adjust its temperature, and how to switch it off.

We’ll also look more closely at the safety precautions you need to take so that you can be confident that you and your family will remain safe at all times while staying warm and cozy at home.

Read on to discover all you need to know.

How to Turn on an Electric Fireplace

An electric fireplace will let you enjoy all of the benefits of a fire that looks real inside your home, but without needing a flue or chimney, and with virtually no cleaning or mess.

When it comes to how to start an electric fireplace, it may depend on the model that you own. It’s always wise to check your owner’s manual for specific instructions. 

This article will help you to get familiar with the basics of starting your fire since controls are almost the same for most types.

If your fireplace comes with its own remote control, you should have no difficulties in using it.

However, it’s important to also know how to turn it on without using the remote supplied just in case your batteries run flat or the remote gets lost.

Closeup of electric artificial fireplace

You’ll need to plug your electric fireplace into a wall socket, then switch the socket on.

You should never connect your fireplace to a surge protector or extension cable. Once you’ve plugged your fireplace in, you must find the fireplace’s controls to switch it on.

The controls may be in different places depending on whether the fireplace is a recessed, freestanding, an insert or wall-mounted model.

Yet, typically, they’re located on the sides or front of your unit, often behind some type of cover.

You will need to turn on the main on/off switch to switch on.

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dimplex small fireplace

How to Turn an Electric Fireplace off

If you want to turn your electric fireplace off, you simply reverse the process you used to switch it on:

  • Turn off your high setting switch and your low heat setting switch.
  • Next, switch off the power switch – this will also switch off the flames.
  • At the wall outlet, turn the switch off.
  • Take the power lead out of the socket.

You may need to check your manufacturer’s manual to make sure that you are using the correct procedure for switching your electric fireplace off since all models are different.

Recommended: Why does my fireplace switch itself off?

How to Control the Flames on an Electric Fireplace

To control the flames, you’ll need to turn on the fireplace and the flame effect if it is controlled by a different switch.

If there is a flame dial, you can then turn it up to down to control the flames’ brightness.

Electric fireplace background

Usually, if you turn the brightness dial left, it will reduce the flames’ brightness, and if you turn it right, the flames will become brighter.

Some fireplaces do not allow you to turn off the flames unless you turn the entire fireplace off, so the flames must be switched on for the heater to function.

How to Adjust the Temperature on an Electric Fireplace

Make sure your fireplace has been switched on and the main power switch is also on.

Some fireplaces will have both a lower and higher heat setting, with a separate switch for each, so you will need to select the most appropriate setting for your needs.

Some electric fireplaces will also feature a thermostat which helps to keep your room at the correct temperature.

Should the room be cooler than the pre-set temperature on the fireplace’s thermostat, then the heater turns on and functions until the right temperature you desire for the room is achieved, and if the room temperature is hotter than the pre-set temperature on the thermostat, the fireplace won’t switch on.

You simply turn the dial to your preferred temperature, turn on the heater and you’ll be good to go.

Recommended: How do electric fireplaces actually work?

napoleon cinema-27 inch in room

Installation Precautions

When you’re installing your electric fireplace there are several precautions to keep in mind:

  • Make sure the power lead isn’t pinched or pressed against sharp edges.
  • Secure or store the power lead so you won’t trip or snag it.
  • Make sure that all electrical wiring complies with building codes to reduce the chances of injury, electric shock or fire.
  • Never wire your own circuits or outlets. Use a professional electrician.
  • Never use or store flammable vapors, liquids or gasoline near your heater.
  • Choose a location away from high traffic, furniture, drapes or moisture.
  • Keep all combustibles a minimum of 3’ from the front of the heater.
  • Locate the fireplace close to an existing power outlet.
  • Whenever possible use a dedicated circuit to prevent the circuit breaker from tripping. Using multiple appliances on a single circuit can result in frequent circuit breaker trips or the fuse to blow regularly.
  • Store your fireplace in a location that is dry and free from dust.

Follow these installation precautions and you can be confident that your electric fireplace will be installed as safely as possible so you won’t be at risk of fire or injury whenever you use it.

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Electric fireplace with the Christmas tree

Safety Precautions

When you’re using an electric fireplace, there are certain safety precautions that you need to follow to make sure that you don’t experience any injury or electric shock or put yourself at risk of a fire hazard.

Here are some of the considerations you need to keep in mind:

  • Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before you use the fireplace.
  • Never allow bare skin to touch the hot surface of the heater when it is in use, including the trim around its outlet.
  • Take extra care when using the heat close to invalids or children, and when using the unit unattended while in operation.
  • Unplug the fireplace if it is not being used.
  • If the heater is malfunctioning do not use it. Disconnect it and have it inspected by an electrician before you use it again.
  • Don’t operate the unit if the plug or cord is damaged.
  • Never use an electric fireplace outdoors, in a laundry area or bathroom.
  • Never cover the cord with carpet, rugs or runners.
  • Arrange the cord away from high traffic areas so it won’t be tripped over.
  • When disconnecting the unit, switch off the controls and take the plug out of the wall outlet.
  • Never insert any foreign object into the exhaust or ventilation opening.
  • Don’t block the exhaust or air intake.
  • Never use the heater on a soft surface.
  • Never use the heater in an area where flammable liquids are stored or used.
  • Never modify an electric fireplace.

About the Author Paul Cathro

Paul is an ex-HVAC engineer with 5 years 'in the trade'.

He acquired in 2022 and aims to make it the internet's most comprehensive HVAC resource for small homes in the next few years.

You can learn more about Paul's story here.

Browse his published work on the website here.

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