Category Archives for Electric Fireplace Tips

Best Wood Stoves: Which Should You Buy For Your Home?

There’s nothing like the smell of wood smoke. Coming home to a wood stove is one of the greatest joys in life for many people. Some people actually give nicknames to their wood stoves and treat them like members of the family. Creating comfort and warmth, wood stoves are a natural part of life.

Wood stoves use bio mass for fuel instead of propane, gas, or electricity. These stoves conserve nature’s resources. They add to the environment, rather than just take away. It is a natural thing rather than artificial. Many people love wood stoves for just these reasons.

If you’re one of these people that loves wood stoves, and you are looking to get an exceptional model for your home or for camping, you need the right information to be able to make a good selection. We have assembled enough information for you to be able to find the right wood stove for you and your needs right here.

We created a rating system for reviews of the 10 best wood stoves for you In order to create the ratings in the reviews we evaluated customer testimonials and reviews. We also assembled information about product specifications and practical considerations from real life examples. We wanted to give you an honest and unbiased review of what these wood stoves were like in the real world.

Many different criteria were used to evaluate the wood stoves. High quality workmanship is at the heart of a good wood stove, and we wanted to find out how they were built and what they were made of. Before you buy a good wood stove you need to know what you’re getting into. So, we got into the information available and developed these reviews and ratings here below. Let’s take a look:

The Top 10 Best Wood Stoves

1. Sedore Model 3000 Biomass Stove USA

Biomass Stove

Image source:





Consumers who reviewed this product had an overwhelmingly positive experience to report overall. People had comments such as they were no longer afraid of winter and they had named their stove and treated it like a family member. Consumers reported that they were able to heat their entire large home with the stove when using the optional heat coils. There were no negative reviews or reports from consumers that were available. Customer service is reported to be acceptable with no issues or concerns. Everybody seems to love this stove that had purchased it.

Some of the features of this stove include:

  • Auto draft mechanism
  • Burns substandard biomass fuels
  • Comes with a variety of different cook tops
  • Optional water heating coil

No products found.

No products found.





Consumers who reviewed this product were mostly satisfied with its overall performance and quality. Several people reported that it kept rooms warm in their campers and tents as well. It was said to be well worth the money. An excellent little stove, there were no negative reports from the consumers. There were some small technical issues to consider such as smoke coming from the door, but this was easily fixed in most cases. Customer service had no issues or concerns that were reported. 

Some of the available features include:

  • For outdoor use with proper ventilation
  • Made of galvanized steel
  • Heat resistant high temperature black finish
  • Easy to transport and set up
EcoZoom Dura Rocket Stove
  • Biomass stove
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Energy Efficient





There are many satisfied consumers for this very cool little stove. Those who did purchase it reported that it works very well to keep them warm and was attractive as well as functional. People enjoy this sleek appearance of the stove as well as the well-crafted workmanship and materials used in the manufacture of this unit. Everyone was pleased to purchase the stove and there were negative reviews. Customer service seem to be acceptable to all of the consumers. The general consensus was that this is a very satisfactory product and was recommended by many. 

Some of the available features include:

  • Fits a 6-inch stovepipe
  • Holds log lengths up to 12 inches
  • Comes with high tech firebox
  • Air washed door design
  • EPA Certified
  • Non-catalytic design  

No products found.

No products found.





Everybody who reviewed this stove pretty much loved it. They reported that it really pumped out a lot of heat. People were pleased by its performance overall and said it was reliable and efficient. There were some minor technical issues to report that needed to be repaired to make the stove operate correctly, which stove owners were able to do easily. Customer service didn’t have any issues or concerns that needed to be reported. People were overall mostly satisfied with their stove purchase. 

Some of the features included in stove:

  • Heats up to 1,800 square feet efficiently
  • Large hearth surround
  • Manufactured with heavy gauge 3/16-inch reinforced plate steel
  • One fueling burns up to 8 hours long
  • Cast iron feed door
  • Ceramic glass window

No products found.

No products found.





This stove was favorably reviewed by everyone who used it. Some people reported that it was expensive, but worth the money. People reported that modifications were necessary in order to make the stove work properly. There were no issues concerning performance and it was said to generate a good deal of heat. People were satisfied as to how warm it kept them during the winter time. Customer service had no real issues or concerns to speak of. Most people were pretty happy with this stove overall. 

Some of the features included in stove:

  • Heats up to 1600 square feet efficiently
  • Heavy duty door latch
  • Air washed ceramic glass window 
  • Firebrick lining
  • 130 CFM variable speed blower with heat activation  

No products found.

No products found.





Most of the consumers who did purchase this product were overall pretty happy with it. Most of the people who purchased it reported that it created a good deal with heat. Some even claim that they had to open windows in their house because it was too warm. Some people claim that they would purchase another one just like it if they needed to. You overall quality and performance reported by the consumers who reviewed this product was more than satisfactory. Customer service didn’t seem to have any problems to report. People seem to like this stove and were overall pretty happy with it. 

Some of the features included in stove:

  • Made in USA with high quality steel
  • Blower included free
  • Fully lined firebox
  • Air washed ceramic glass window
  • Highly efficient, EPA certified

No products found.

No products found.





Those who reviewed this stove were pretty pleased with it. It is said to handle 14-inch logs and be a good value. Users of the stove reported that it was inexpensive and worked properly. There were no technical issues to overcome setting up and installing the stove. It was reported to produce a good amount of heat. Customer service issues and concerns didn’t seem to really be that important for the consumers. Most of the consumers who reviewed this product claim that this stove is a bargain. 

Some of the features included in stove:

  • EPA certified high efficiency design 
  • Fits logs up to 21 inches wide 
  • Includes ash drawer
  • Includes blower
  • 6-inch flue collar
  • Heats up to 2,000 square feet  

No products found.

No products found.





Of the consumers who purchased this stove, many were pretty much satisfied by the overall quality and performance of this unit. People said that it pumped out quite a high degree of heat. There were some concerns about damaged units by some of the consumers. However, most people were overall satisfied. There didn’t seem to be too many problems with using the stove by most consumers. People enjoyed it and were pleased by it mostly. Customer service didn’t have any glaring issues either. Not a bad stove overall for the money. 

Some of the features included in stove:

  • Long lasting, durable, and efficient
  • Ecologically friendly design
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • High quality parts and materials
  • For outdoor use only  
US Stove BSK1000 Barrel Camp Stove Kit, Black
  • Installation materials are not included (i.e. floor protector, chimney connector, thimble, radiation shield, flue)
  • Light weight, portable and easy assembly
  • Made of heavy duty cast iron





This is a pretty neat cast iron barrel stove kit that was well loved by the majority of consumers who reviewed it. There were modifications necessary by several of the consumer prior to use. Installation was said to be somewhat difficult in some cases. People did seem to enjoy this stove and reported that it was efficient and pumped out enough heat to keep entire house is warm. There didn’t seem to be any issues with customer service to report. Most people seemed to enjoy this stove, although there were some people who did report problems. 

Some of the features included in stove:

  • Heavy duty casting kit converts 36 or 55-gallon steel drums into stoves 
  • Not for residential use





Those who reviewed this stove had favorable things to say about it overall. It was said to be a good value for the money as far as small stove. There were no negative reviews. People reported that it was good as far as creating enough heat. It was said to be made of good quality material. Problems with installation were reported. Customer service reported no issues or problems. People seem to be pretty happy with this little stove. 

Some of the features included in stove:

  • Thermostat
  • Programmable
  • Remote control
  • Energy efficient
  • Dimmer
  • Bio mass fuel type

How to Pick up the Right Wood Stove

cast-iron teapot on wood burner

Image source:

If you’re in the market for a wood stove, you need to know a few things before you get out there and actually purchase one. For instance, you need to know what kind of wood stove would be ideal for the space you are using it for.

If you are using it in a cabin or a home you will need a certain type of wood stove that may be heavy and hard to lift. If this is the case, you will need to be able to transport it to your home or cabin. Then make accommodations to do so.

If you’re using a wood stove for camping, you will need to test it out and try it out before you go on your trip to make sure it works properly.

Wood stoves have different characteristics. Someone holds logs up to a certain width. Some have different parts that work optimally through the use of modifications. The installation of your wood stove is also consideration you’ll have to deal with.

It may still be kind of expensive depending on the model you are choosing. There are some inexpensive models of camping wood stoves that will get the job done on a low budget, however.

Proper evaluation of your needs and the product specifications of the wood stoves in questions will yield enough information for you to be able to make a buying decision. With the right amount of information at your disposal you should be able to easily select the stove you want from all of the available models.

You will definitely want to quality wood stove above all other things, something that will stand the test of time.

Above are all the factors you need to find a safe stove. And make sure that when you were using your wood stove, you comply with all regulations and rules in the area that you were using it.

The Different Parts of a Fireplace That You Need to Know About

Do you wish you knew more about how your fireplace works and operates? Whether you want to do some home repair, or are just curious, we have all the information you will need to learn the different parts of a fireplace.

A fireplace has long been the center of the home — the one thing that attracts every person in the house (especially on cold nights). If you have never owned a house with a fireplace before, then you might be curious about what specific type you own.

You also probably want to know all the different parts of a fireplace so you can operate it and maintain it. While fireplaces can be a great addition to any house, they can also be dangerous if they remain neglected.

As such, we recommend paying careful attention to all the different parts of a fireplace we list here. But, before we get started looking at the various components, let us first familiarize ourselves with the various types of fires typically found in most homes today.

What Are the Different Types of Fireplaces?

fire wood on fireplace

Image Source:  Unsplash

Before we go over the different parts of a fireplace, it is essential that we discuss the various types of fireplaces you can get in your home. There are four main types of fireplaces. Chimney services classify the fireplaces according to what method of burning they use.

As such, there are standard wood burning fireplaces, gas fireplaces, ethanol fireplaces, and electric fireplaces. Each of these classifications comes with a variety of subsections that we will further explore.

Open Hearth

When you envision a traditional, old-school fireplace, then the open hearth model probably comes to your mind. People used these types of models frequently since the early 1700s. As such, they add an old-fashioned, but also authentic feel to the home they occupy.

Typically people use stone or brick when making these types of fireplaces which connects to a chimney ventilation system. They also give off a lot of heat; not only from the crackling wood but also from the heated stone itself.

Glass Enclosed Fireplace

Glass-enclosed fireplaces are much more prevalent in today’s modern homes. Typically these indoor models feature a glass enclosure separating the fire from the room. These types of fireplaces come with slightly more efficient heating methods than the open hearth model.

Since a glass barrier separates the fire from the chimney, you get less of a draft going through the room and out the chimney. As such, less heat escapes through the chimney, which gives the room a much cozier feel.

Fireplace Inserts

opened electric fireplace

Image Source: Unsplash

Fireplace inserts primarily work a premade models that fit into an opening created by a preexisting open hearth model. People use this feature when they want to make an inefficient design hearth system waste less heat when it operates.

Direct-Vented Fireplaces

A direct-vent fireplace is a gas-powered model that you can build either into an existing fireplace or install as a new one. The flame that comes with this fireplace produces a yellow color, so it feels a little more like a real fire.

Ventless Fireplaces

A ventless fireplace comes with a lot of convenience because it is a gas-powered fireplace that, unlike the direct-vented model, does not require a chimney.

However, it does feature a blue pilot light frame, which might detract from the “fire” experience for some people. But it adds the feel of a fireplace to the room.

Converted Fireplace

If you already have a fireplace but want to replace it with an ethanol power source, then you can easily install a converted fireplace insert. These types of converted fireplace allow you to change the look to something more traditional or something more modern.

Mounted Wall Fireplace

Specific models of fireplaces now hang from the wall! The new products function both as a source of warmth and the centerpiece of any room. It can easily replace the function of a wall-mounted big screen television.

Table Fireplace

As the name suggests, a table fireplace is a portable model that vary in size and function. They can be found both in indoor and outdoor models, and they come with a lot of conveniences. The most significant benefit is the fact that you can quickly move them from room to room depending on your needs.

Electric Mantel Fireplace

Today, there are also fireplaces that mimic the design of real fire. You can install these models, which give the characteristic appearance of a fireplace in your home. But, instead of any flame, it just produces a projection. The product is an illusion, but a pretty good one that is a lot safer than an actual fireplace.

Not all fireplaces need to come with a real fire. Today, many video programs simply feature a realistic, crackling fire. If you own an excellent enough television and sound system, then one of these entertainment center fireplaces can quickly feel like the real thing.

Why is There a Need for Fireplaces?

fire place

Image Source: flickr

It is true that with the introduction of modern heating, the practical usage of fireplaces has gone down. But, the home addition still packs some great benefits. First, there is the benefit of a cozy home with the familiar scent of burning wood.

A roaring fire on a winter night can make the icy months of December and January truly enjoyable. You can also save some money with a fireplace if you heat your home by a fire while turning off your heating system when you do not need it.

This way of heating is also better for the environment since it uses fewer fossil fuels. A fireplace is also a high back up in case the power dies in winter, and you need to heat the house. Plus, they add a lot of value to the home for style and design reasons.

What Are the Different Parts of a Fireplace?

long exposure photography of fireplace

Image Source: unsplash

In this section, we will go over the various parts in a fireplace. Specifically, we will look at the traditional open hearth model. Some model designs differ from this version that we go over, but most designs utilize at least some form of it.

Traditional Open Hearth Model Parts

The traditional hearth starts with a foundation structural support that wraps around the ash pit. As the name suggests, the ash pit is the part of the fireplace that collects the ash. Located above the firebox, you can usually find the ash dump. The ash dump allows the ash received from the fire to fall into the pit.

Next, comes the fire pit doors. Some fire pits may not come with these doors, but usually, the company makes them out of glass, or a sheeted metal that wraps around the hole. These walls improve the retention of heat. The hearth is the extension of brick or stone in front of the fireplace.

The purpose of the hearth operates to prevent the spread of fire if it falls. A mantle is a decorative shelf that lies above the fireplace. The next part of the chimney, the damper, is vital.

The damper prevents hot air from escaping through the chimney and also keeps cold air from coming in through the vent. Above the damper lies the smoke chamber. The smoke chamber and its floor, also known as the smoke shelf compress the combustion while preventing a backdraft.

Next, comes the flute which transfers the heat and smoke up the chimney. Most flutes feature a liner that prevents the interior of the part from overheating.

Lastly, we come to the chimney crown. As you can guess, this part lies at the top of the chimney. Its function serves to keep any rain or moisture outside of the chimney.

Why It is Important to Know the Different Parts of A Fireplace

the barn basment had this fire place

Image Source: flickr

One of the main reasons people might look into fireplace parts is to repair or replace them. Some problems that arise with your fireplace or chimney can actually be taken care of reasonably quickly by yourself. However, if you want to repair them, then you most know about that various parts of your fireplace.

Still, there is an even greater reason you should know about the different parts of your fireplace. It is vital that you know when a problem arises with one of the parts of your fireplace. While you might not need the expertise to fix it, you need to identify it and take action before it becomes a severe problem.

If you do not know when something is wrong with one of the parts in your fireplace, then it can have potentially devastating effects. Things like indoor fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and explosions are some of the worst case scenarios that can result in severe injury or death.

As you can see, it is crucial that you possess a working knowledge of how the different parts of a fireplace work. We hope you walk away from reading this article with more knowledge regarding fireplace identification and an understanding of the various elements.

Flush Mount Electric Fireplace: How to Choose & Install

Installing a flush mount electric fireplace involves a lot of work. For a handy DIY person, it can be a pretty simple job to take on but very challenging to a first-time Do-It-Yourself installer. Consider hiring a licensed technician to install the fireplace for you if not sure of how to go about it.

Flush Mount Electric Fireplace Installation Guide

Make sure to follow the guides for installation given in the manual that came with your flush electric fireplace. While the flush mount electric fireplace installation guides vary based on model and manufacturer, following the below simple and general steps and choosing tips will help you to successfully install your flush mount electric fireplace as well as be able to choose the best.

5 Steps on How to Install a Flush Mount Electric Fireplace

a wall-mount electric fireplace in a living room

Step 1: Designate the Right Location

Move a stud finder across the sheetrock to locate studs. The tool has a little magnet, so when it senses a nail, you have situated a stud. The next stud should be about 16 inches to the right or left. If the studs are spaced such that they don’t match the mounting brackets of your wall fireplace, use an anchor bolt to secure the mismatched end of the bracket. Never mount your wall fireplace to drywall.

Check to ensure that your electric outlet is located near and below the unit. With the power outlet located below the fireplace, it will not be blown by the rising warm air. You also want to cover close outlets with coverings that are non-flammable.

Step 2: Install Hardwire and Plugin Units

Choose between a hardwired and plugin unit. Then, install the selected one. Connect the hardwired unit directly into the electric wiring of your home. Hardwired units are hidden in the sheetrock, and due to the way they are installed, it’s hard to find loose connections. Only a licensed electrician can install these units for you.

You can fix the plugin units yourself. Plug the units straight into the wall outlets. Try and hide the wall outlets that look unsightly. Caution: Never connect your flush mount electric fireplace using extension cords.

Step 3: Open the Wall and Build a Frame

Cut open the sheetrock using a saw. Once you have cut open your wall, measure the dimensions of your fireplace using a tape. Then, build a frame in the opened-up wall based on the size of your frame that you measured.

Fit the fireplace unit inside the wall. After that, level the unit using shims. Using a leveler will help see that the frame unit is leveled. Once you do this, it’s time to mount the fireplace to the frame using brackets and screws. You want your house to look even more cosmetic with the fireplace mounted, and making sure that the frame unit sits straight is one of the most important steps in the entire process of installing your flush mount electric fireplace.

Step 4: Wiring

Using a wire stripper or a skinning knife, strip your wires about half an inch starting from the end. Fasten the electrical connections using twist-on wire connectors. Doing this will ensure your safety and good connections. Test your electrical connections before finishing everything up. Your flush mount electric fireplace is connected to the power. Turn it on and check all programs, and see whether or not they are functioning properly.

Step 5: Add the Finishing Touches

Once you finish working on the entire internal installation, it’s time to patch up the wall. With the trim piece of the unit, you can cover the empty area where the sheetrock and the fireplace meet. Make it your own. For a clean finish, make your wall come as close to the fireplace as possible.

Cover your flush mount electric fireplace with painters tape and plastic to protect it from getting the pain. Add some textures and paint the wall. Once the paint is dried, attach the trim pieces to cover the area where the fireplace and wall meet. You can now enjoy your fireplace.

Now that you know how to install your flush mount electric fireplace, it’s time to look at the best rated electric fireplaces to be able to choose the best.

Choose a Recessed Wall Flush Mount Electric Fireplace

1. Sydney Pebble Recessed 50-Inch Electric Fireplace

a Gibison Sydney Pebble electric fireplace

This fireplace can be used as mount wall or flush mount electric fireplace. It’s beautiful from edge to edge. It’s fan forced, meaning the heated air is pushed out and away from the wall heating your room perfectly. The fireplace is smokeless and has a timer to allow you to set time when the equipment will automatically shut off in case you forget to turn it off yourself.

2. Black Touchstone Sideline Recessed Electric Fireplace with Heat

a large flush mount electric fireplace

The fireplace offers a great combination of aesthetic and operational features. Its flame is produced by LED lighting; thus, it doesn’t produce smoke. This wall-mount fireplace comes with a remote, allowing the user to operate it anywhere within range. It’s perfect for heating large spaces, warming up to 400 square foot. This flush mount electric fireplace doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, only a simple cleaning occasionally. The LED can last for quite a long time.

3. Moda Flame Black Cynergy Pebbles Recessed Wall Mount Electric Fireplace

a Moda Flame wall-mount electric fireplace

This fireplace can blend seamlessly with any décor. It’s fumeless and smokeless. So, you don’t need any vent, but the indoor air is still so safe to breathe. This flush mount electric fireplace is simple to upkeep; you only need to do some dusting. It comes with three settings that allow you to control the flame using a remote. This means that you can use it even during the warmer months. It has a timer and produces fan-forced heat.

Benefits of Owning Electric Fireplaces

1. Electric Fireplaces Are Safe

The most significant issues people have with owning fireplaces involve safety. This is totally understandable when you look at the facts. Fireplaces an incredibly hot, and this makes them dangerous for children. Another barrier is that they give off toxic fumes to those who breathe in the fire.

If you are to switch over to electrically powered ones, you will no longer have to worry about children burning themselves on an open flame, or about your family being exposed to smoke. Electric fireplaces are created with programmed shut-off modes, so you don’t have to fear your house burning down because you left the fire on when you leave your home. Now electric fireplaces are no powerless forces, they do heat up an entire space. But the benefit of it is that they will remain cool enough to touch, which means you won’t have to think about the potential of your kids and pets getting hurt if they get too close. The fear of having an open hazard is gone, but you still have the luxury of a fireplace.

2. No Smoke Involved

Wood burning fireplaces let out cancer-causing fumes that are extremely dangerous into the air in your home. These fumes include carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. As you know, breathing in these fumes can be hazardous to everyone involved. Thankfully, electric fireplaces give off no fumes and do absolutely no harm to your family and pets.

Another aspect is catering to people who have allergies and breathing issues like asthma. Owning electric fireplaces means these people can be comfortable while also enjoying the warmth and beauty of a fireplace.

You need to remember as you weigh your options that even switching to other types of wood that are said to be better for your lungs and the atmosphere still add to deforestation and emit harmful smoke fumes. With electric fireplaces, the days of having your entire house filled with smoke fumes is a reality far far away. This new and innovative way of having a fireplace takes the opportunity for the smoke to fill the crevices of your home with a stench away altogether.

3. Good for the Earth

Compared to the life-sucking energy it takes to participate in wood burning in a traditional fireplace, an electric fireplace demands less energy to generate heat. It is very simple, really. With no wood, no gas, nothing to clean. This way of enjoying a fireplace is done with pure electricity.

4. The Options Are Endless

Electric fireplaces have a ton of varying styles that will satisfy even the pickiest buyer. They can be purchased in traditional, contemporary, and modern styles to match modern looks and architectural styles. These gems are so much more versatile than you can imagine. They are built to perform as decorative mantels and entertainment counsels, providing your family with extra storage in a stylish way.

If you need more reasons to love the many things that can be done, electric fireplace inserts can be placed in existing fireplaces. Wall mounted units, corner units, and compact units allow electric fireplaces to work in any space and any décor and can be moved around from room to room whenever you desire.

Electric fireplaces are also versatile in the sense that they can be put in locations that you would never think to put a fireplace traditionally, like a basement or garage. Electric fireplaces give the user to be complete control over the flame. Things like how brought the fire is, the speed of the flame, the darkness or lightness of the color, and many other aspects can be shifted depending on how many modes the electric fireplace you purchase has.

Putting It All Together

How much you’re going to enjoy your fireplace will be determined by the flush mount electric fireplace that you choose to purchase. A good choice and proper installation will go a long way to ensuring that your house is heated up and has a professional look. A professional can help you choose the best fireplace that suits your heating needs.

Image sources: 1, 2

The Key to Transforming Your House Into a Castle: The Ultimate Guide to Fireplace Decor

Tips For Transforming Your Mantel into Livingroom Art


Image via Pexels: Fireplace

It's been said that the problem with today's society is that nobody drinks from the skulls of their enemies anymore. This is probably due to the fact that most people don't have a central fireplace to lounge around and hoist their ale brimming skull cups.

Back before there was television, people sat around in their living rooms and watched the fire greedily consume all the fuel that was thrown upon it. There were no cable bills, and no mention of the Kardashians, it was a glorious age.

These days people sit in climate conditioned rooms and stare at artificial screens rather than interact with each other. Many of the fireplaces of old have been sealed up, dismissed as a relic of another time.

That is a trend that must be reversed!

people staring on their phones

Image via Pexels: People staring on their phones

A fireplace is the kind of feature that adds tremendous value to any home. With the slip-shod construction of most modern furnaces, you'd be lucky to get one that lasts you five years before it fails, only to drop your house into an expensive deep freeze that bursts all your water pipes.

The plumbers and the furnace people are in league together. Their skulls adorn my mantel.

With a functional fireplace, you never have to worry about the decaying infrastructure of a diseased and dying society. All you need is wood to transform your house into a raging sauna. You control your destiny; you may use your strength to hew your existence from the formidable wilds.


Image via Pixabay: Sauna

Whether you are in the market for a house, or you are looking to improve your current residence, it is time to draw your attention to the potential glory of your fireplace mantel.

This article will help you unlock the raw beauty of the mantels of old, and perhaps you'll be inspired to toss that 65-inch television upon the grate and roar with laughter as it is consumed by flame.


Image via Pexels: Flame

Congratulations, you have expelled all images of the Kardashians from your house for good.

What is a Fireplace Mantel?

A fireplace mantel is the hood that extends over your fireplace to catch the smoke and direct it out of your house. The word mantel can refer to the whole hood, or can specifically reference the mantel shelf.

another fireplace

Image via Pexels: Another fireplace

A raging fire has traditionally been a gathering place for the human animal, and there's a certain raw energy that is produced by staring for long hours into a fire.

If you live in a cold climate where the cost of your central heating is controlled by an evil corporate overlord, you are probably forced to endure the winter at a house temperature around fifty-seven degrees (or face bankruptcy).


Image via Pixabay: Thermostat

A central fireplace, however, is capable of massive temperature outputs, and there's nothing better than curling up on a bearskin rug to bathe in the heat of burning wood.

All animals drift to the warmest place in their living environment. You even see cows or horses huddled together in fields in dips that protect them from the wind. Because of this tendency, the fireplace mantel will naturally draw your family to gather around it.

horses huddled

Image via Pexels: Horses huddled together

The attraction of the heat makes the mantelshelf the most revered space in your entire home. The shelf above the raging fire becomes something of an altar, and your ability to seize upon the natural prominence of that space will greatly contribute to your home enjoyment.

Fireplace Safety

Modern homes hide their furnaces in the basement as if they are ashamed of them, but a living room fireplace literally allows you to stare into the raging inferno that brings heat into your home.

house burning down

Image via Pexels: House burning down

A fireplace is beautiful, but it also performs a vital function, and it is a serious piece of equipment. Treat your fireplace with the same respect that you treat your basement furnace and have it regularly examined by a professional.

Dangers that can be caused by a fireplace are:

  • Popping embers
  • Creosote buildup
  • Smoke build-up
  • Backdrafting
something exploding

Image via Pixabay: Fire Explosion

Popping Embers

When wood burns, it sometimes pops, sending flaming embers a great distance from the fire itself. This is great when camping as nothing is funnier than when a friend catches an ember on his leg and goes sprinting and howling into the wilderness.

However, in your home, the embers are potentially launched onto your floor, walls, or furniture. In a best-case scenario, you are left with little scorch marks on your cushions. The worst-case scenario is something of a disaster.

fireplace with screen

Image via Pexels: Fireplace screen

If you have a beautiful polyurethane finished floor, a popping ember could potentially turn your house into a raging wall of fire. If that happens, try to grab your insurance policy and a bag of marshmallows on your way out because there's not a whole lot you can do.

Popping embers is the reason it's vitally important to have a screen in front of your fire. The screen blocks the embers and greatly reduces the chance of you and your whole family getting burned to death.

ember from logs

Image via Pexels: Embers popping off a log

Sure, it's a minor inconvenience to move the screen when adding wood, but it's less inconvenient than skin grafts.

In addition to a screen, it's good to install a tiled, fire-resistant space in front of your fireplace. The space a few feet in front of your mantel is the area most subject to be scorched by embers.

fireplace tiles

Image via Pexels: Tiles in front of fireplace

Creosote Buildup

Creosote is the mix of tar and ash that is left over when wood burns. As smoke goes up through your chimney, this stuff is allowed to collect over time. When a significant amount of creosote has built up in your chimney, you risk having a chimney fire.

Chimney fires can be catastrophic to your house and result in severe structural damage, or the complete loss of the home. If your fireplace is in regular use, have your chimney cleaned at least once a year.

chimney tops

Image via Pixabay: Chimney tops

Smoke Buildup

If your chimney isn't venting properly, it can lead to excess smoke being expelled into your living room. It is not good for you to breathe this smoke, so make sure that the ventilation system for your chimney is properly installed and in good working order.

chimney sweeps

Image via Pixabay: Chimney sweeps


A raging fire consumes a lot of air, and if you have a fire in your fireplace, it might begin to pull the air from the rest of your house to feed itself. If that air is drawn in through the ventilation systems of your gas or oil burning furnace, you might be bringing Carbon Monoxide into the house.

For this reason, it's important to have Carbon Monoxide detectors throughout your house. Also, if you're restoring a fireplace that has not been in use for a while, make sure the inspector notes the compatibility of your fireplace and your existing, modern furnace.

smoke detector

Image via Pixabay: Smoke detector

Restoring or Refurbishing Your Fireplace Mantel

Now that we've established that you have a safe and functional fireplace, you may begin to consider ways to give your fireplace mantel a major facelift. As long as you don't interfere with any of the ventilation components of your fireplace, you can safely tile it.

There are a huge variety of tiles available with which you can restore your fireplace. Restoring a fireplace is a fairly large project, and you should make sure in advance that you pick a style that will fit your preference for the room's final decor.

Stone tile

​Image via Pixabay: Different Tile patterns

Virtually any large home improvement store will have a huge selection of tiles to go and choose from to refurbish your fireplace mantel. In addition to tiles that are available in stock at the store, most places will have access to special order tiles.

The experts at the store will assist you in recommending the perfect styles that will help bring your fireplace mantel design to life. Here is a very brief overview of the tile types that are available:

  • Stacked Stone
  • Round Stone
  • Colored Tile
  • Marble
men at lowes

Image via Pexels: Men Shopping in Hardware Store

Stacked Stone

A stacked stone look is very popular because it goes with virtually any room decor. The fireplace looks like it's made of flat stones that were stacked upon each other giving a unique and interesting appearance.

The various angles and random shapes and colors of a stacked stone fireplace is a very nice compliment to the dancing colors of a raging fire.

stand sandstone colored tiles

Image via Pexels: Stacked stone tile

Round Stone

The round stone look may be achieved in a variety of ways. You might use artificial stones with a flat side, or tiles which are composed of small stones glued to a mesh backing. If you've got a limitless amount of time, you could simply go and collect river rocks.

Round stone achieves a rustic settler look.

round stones

Image via Pexels: Photography of Stones

The smooth edges of a round stone fireplace are absolutely beautiful and soothing to look at. Once again, a round stone fireplace becomes a kind of universal room component that matches virtually any decor.

Colored Flat Tile

For a bit more of a modern look, you might want to consider colored flat tile. The options for colored flat tile are limitless, and there are additional style choices you can make by putting in tile patterns.

various colored tiles

Image via Pixabay: Various colored tiles

Colored flat tiles allow you to create a more subtle, sleek fireplace that doesn't dominate the room in quite the same fashion as the stone tile options.

Marble Fireplace

Nothing quite says elegance like marble, and there are a lot of ways to achieve a marble fireplace look. It can be done with tile, or with a custom designed fireplace facade that is built to order to accentuate your space.

marble fireplace

Image via Pexels: Marble fireplace

Marble is beautiful to look at, but it will probably prove to be costlier than the other options mentioned.

Hiring a Contractor Vs. Doing it Yourself

Tiling a fireplace isn't rocket science, but it is one of those jobs that has the potential to be a major disaster if you don't know what you're doing. Remember that your fireplace is essentially the heart of your home, and if you make a mistake, it will be in the most glaringly obvious place.

rocket ship

Image via Pexels: A rocket ship

The good news is that tiling is the type of job that you become an expert at after about a day's work. If you have never tiled before, you don't have to cross off the option.

Tiling involves working with quick set, and once you mix up your mud, the clock begins to tick. If you don't correctly place your tiles before the mix hardens, the only way to remove them is with a hammer and chisel.

a pallette of quick dry cement

CC0 Creative Commons by KVDP Image via Wikimedia

By watching a few YouTube videos, you should be able to learn the process for tiling. However, it's recommended that you do a practice run on something other than your fireplace mantel before you begin your major project.

It's worth spending a hundred dollars to tile up the dog house or something and make your mistakes there, instead of jumping right into the main project and making mistakes that you'll have to look at every single day. But if you're confident, then, by all means, go for it.

Woman in ared shirt checking her phone

Image via Pixabay

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Contractor

Contractor looking at plan

Image via ​Pexels: Contractor looking at plan


  • Will probably be done right
  • It saves you the trouble of doing it


  • Expensive
  • Some contractors don't do good work
  • The contractor will be at your house for a long time
  • Have to schedule the job
alarm clock

Image via Pexels: Person pressing the two-bell in alarm clock

Sometimes hiring a contractor means you're basically adopting a stranger to come and live with you for a few months. Also, there's never any guarantee that the contractor will do good work, and you might be stuck with an expensive, slip-shod job.

However, if you get lucky, or you do the proper research and find the right individual, hiring a contractor can be a great way to get a beautiful, high-quality fireplace.

professional fireplace

Image via Pexels: Professional fireplace

If you're the type of person who can't hang a picture without smashing all of your fingers and both of your thumbs with the hammer, don't quit your day job as a neurosurgeon, and go ahead and hire that contractor.

Pros and Cons of Doing it Yourself

man repairing a vehicle

Image via Pexels: Man repairing a vehicle


  • Cheaper
  • You get the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself
  • You get to learn a skill
  • You can start whenever you want


  • It's a big job
  • It might turn out absolutely terrible
awful fireplace

Image via Pixabay: Awful fireplace

There is a tremendous satisfaction to be gained from doing a home improvement project. The cost of skilled labor is so high that you can basically buy the materials four or five times for the cost of hiring a pro to do the job.

Doing a prep job is a great way to make the final decision as to whether you want to take on the fireplace facelift project. Go tile the entryway to the laundry room or something and see how that goes. If it seems easy and you gain confidence, do the fireplace. If not, dial up a contractor.


Image via Pexels: Telephone

Styling the Mantel Shelf

Once the fireplace has been rejuvenated, you now have to consider the central piece: the mantel shelf. The mantel shelf will be the focal point of the fireplace room, so carefully consider the placement of items on the shelf and how they interact with whatever is hung on the chimney behind them.

mantel shelf

Image via Pixabay: Fireplace with mantel shelf

Just as there were many options for the look of the fireplace mantel, there are many options for the look of the mantel shelf. These looks include

  • Rustic Wood
  • Stainless Steel
  • Marble

Rustic Wood

rustic wood mantel shelf

Image via Pixabay: Rustic wood mantel shelf 

The rustic wood mantel is another universal mantel that fits well with any decor. The beautiful wood grains are a perfect compliment to stone fireplaces.

Rustic wood mantels come in all shapes, sizes, and thickness and create a great baseline for mantel place decoration.

Stainless Steel

fire in living room

Image via Pexels: Modern Fireplace  

A stainless steel mantel provides a great option for more of a modern look. Again, there are many thickness options which can help to create the overall effect you desire.

Before selecting your mantel, it is good to try a variety of options in a virtual design program. Sometimes a mantel that appears unattractive out of context in a catalog transforms into something absolutely stunning when you affix it to your fireplace.


Modern mable fireplace

Image via Pexels: Modern Mable Fireplace

The universal material of elegance, a marble mantel provides a splash of class to any fireplace. A marble mantel is the perfect finish to a marble fireplace, but it also looks fantastic on tile or stone.

There can be some complexities in affixing a marble mantel. Due to the cost of the item, installation of your marble mantel might better be left to a professional.

Affixing the Mantel Shelf

Some mantel shelves are easy and simply sit on legs that are placed on either side of the fireplace. With this model, the legs are affixed to the wall with stone adhesive, and then the mantel is set on top of them and also affixed.

A mantel shelf that sits on legs is very sturdy and can hold a tremendous amount of weight.

mantel shelf that sits on legs

Image via Pixabay: Mantel shelf that sits on legs 

Floating mantel shelves are affixed to the walls by drilling holes with a masonry bit. Once the holes have been drilled you insert lag bolts which extend outward and will be inserted into holes drilled in the mantel shelf.

Take note that a floating mantel shelf is very strong, but it will not withstand the weight that can be supported by a mantel shelf that is resting on legs. You don't want a mantel shelf that comes clattering to the ground the second somebody leans on it, so don't overload it.

driling into style

Image via Pexels: Drilling into style

The Mantel Shelf Arrangement

After all of the other work you've done to rejuvenate your fireplace decor, the mantel shelf arrangement will be a piece of cake. This is an external feature, so you can arrange and rearrange the decorations with ease.

Decorated mantel shelf

Image via Pexels: Decorated mantel shelf

Keep in mind, however, that the mantel shelf sits above the fire and is, therefore, an area of extreme temperature fluctuation. You often see oil paintings hung over fireplace mantels, but the heat and dry air is not a good environment to ensure the life of an expensive painting.

Mirrors make for a classic and interesting backdrop. Or perhaps you can hang the practice tile pattern you did in preparation for the fireplace tiling project.

Wooden fireplace mantel with mirror

CC4.0 by Chris Light image via Wikimedia

Plants are a nice option for a mantel shelf because they add a splash of appealing color to the overall scheme. However, the heat fluctuations might again prove to be detrimental to the life of the plants.

There's always the old favorite: hang your high powered firearms over the mantel.

Antique gun handles

Image via Pexels: Antique Guns 

Options for mantel shelf decorations include:

  • Vases
  • Framed pictures
  • Antique Clock
  • Mirror
  • Shells
  • Plants
  • Rusted antiques
Rusty antique on a mantel

Image via Pexels: Rusty antique on a mantel

Please, just don't put a television up there. You've done far too much work to make this awesome fireplace, and now you're going to ruin it by covering it up with an artificial box that only shows pictures of Kim Kardashian? Also, the heat just isn't good for a TV over time.

Symmetrical Vs. Non-Symmetrical Arrangements

apartment architecture fireplace

Image via ​Pexels: Apartment architecture fireplace

When planning out your mantel space, keep in mind various geometric arrangements. It can be convenient to give yourself a guideline of an imaginary shape and then place your items to outline the form of that shape.

In Leonardo Da Vinci's drawing of the 'Vitruvian Man,' you can see that the image of the man is set in a square that has a backdrop of a circle. Allow yourself invisible guidelines such as squares, circles, triangles, or rectangles to guide the placement of your mantel shelf objects.

vitruvian man

Image via man

Some individuals prefer a perfectly symmetrical mantel shelf arrangement where every item that is placed on the left has a matching object on the right. A symmetrical arrangement is part of a classical style and is pleasing to the eye.

A nonsymmetrical arrangement plays with the concept of randomness, but might also be indicative of a less subtle pattern. For example, you might wish to experiment with an ascending type display with smaller objects gradually increasing in size from left to right.

living room

Image via Pixabay: mantel arrangement 

There are literally infinite choices for your mantel shelf display. Consider the overall look of your room along with the fireplace, and don't be afraid to change up the arrangements.

Holiday Decorations

As the leisure time gathering point of your house, the mantel is a great place for making festive declarations to celebrate various upcoming holidays. There's a reason we have the Christmas tradition of hanging stockings from the fireplace mantel.

Stringing lights for Christmas around the mantel is a fantastic way to add to your holiday cheer. You might wish to do a rabbit theme for easter, or a harvest arrangement to celebrate autumn.

halloween decor

Image via Pixabay: Harvest mantel arrangement 

It can be very rewarding to make artistic changes to your mantel shelf decor to help you set your mind to upcoming tasks and events. Rather than leaving a simple mark on a calendar to designate an imminent trip, why not create an artistic reminder out of found items on your fireplace mantel?

Your fireplace is the center of your home, and you have permission to change it to reflect your current mood or the mood of the season around you. Engaging with your fireplace mantel is a great form of personal expression, and it can help you relax and prepare your mind for the challenges ahead.

The Fireplace is the Heart of the Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

CC by-SA 3.0  by Ximonic Neuschwanstein Castle Image via Wikimedia

Sitting around and watching a fire with friends and family activates a primordial circuit in our mind that is both relaxing and rewarding. Modern life is filled with absurd stress and manic frenzy, but pouring yourself and watching a fire crackle banishes all that artificial stress to oblivion.

It has become fashionable to abandon the hearth in favor of other pursuits, but none of the replacements provide nearly the comfort and satisfaction of a well-considered fireplace decor.

If you have an old fireplace in your home that you only use to drop off your wallet and keys on the way to bed, I suggest you pause and take a few moments to consider how you might better utilize that space.

It could be that your fireplace is the key to nourishing a deeply rooted hunger that's been growing inside you without your knowledge. Don't think of it as a fireplace mantel, think of it as the trophy case for all the conquests of your life.

7 Best Electric Fireplace Brands for Quality Products

Important factors to look at when you're choosing an electric fireplace brand are safety and quality. You don't want to buy an electric fireplace that's a fire hazard to your home or business. In search of the best electric fireplace brand for quality products, we narrowed our list down to the following seven reputable and safe companies. We ranked them based on quality, reputation, and safety.

1. Dimplex

Price range: $200-$3,000.

Dimplex has been in the electric heat industry for more than 40 years. The company has over 8,500 employees around the world and exceeds $3 billion in sales. An innovator in electrical heating, Dimplex has 30+ patents, including the patented electric flame technology. Their electric fireplace heaters are certified for safety. If customers ever have any problems with their products, they can call Dimplex for troubleshooting assistance. Dimplex is the best electric fireplace brand for reliability. Different types of electric fireplaces Dimplex offers are wall mounts, inserts, mantels, media consoles, and stoves.


  • Realistic flame technology.
  • The company's customer service team can help you troubleshoot and give you design advice.
  • Variety
  • Certified for safety.
  • Innovative company.


  • Some of their products are over $1,000.

2. Real Flame

Price range: $276-$900.

Real Flame manufactures electric fireplaces that meet CSA certification guidelines. A unique type of electric fireplace they sell is corner electric fireplaces. These products fit in the corner of the room. Real Flame is the best electric fireplace brand for corner electric fireplaces. Other types they sell are entertainment consoles, free standing, and wall mounts. The company has been in the fireplace market for over 30 years.


  • Company has been around for over 30 years.
  • Their electric fireplaces meet CSA safety guidelines.
  • Corner, entertainment consoles, free standing, and wall-mounted electric fireplaces available.


  • Not many options in recessed electric fireplaces.

3. ClassicFlame

Price range: $368-$724.

ClassicFlame offers TV stand electric fireplaces that are sound-enabled. These TV stand electric fireplaces can support up to 155-lb TVs and can easily serve as your entertainment system. Other common features of these electric fireplaces are two-touch latch side cabinet doors, adjustable shelves, and A/V hookups. ClassicFlame also sells inserts, wall mounts, and infrared inserts. Infrared quartz heat maintain's a room's humidity to avoid drying out the air. Many of ClassicFlame's products are equipped with fire prevention technology like Safe Sensor and Safer Plug. Safe Sensor automatically turns off the device when something blocks heat output. Safer Plug turns off the device if the plug becomes too hot.


  • Safe.
  • Fire prevention technology.
  • Realistic flames.
  • Top-notch selection of TV stand fireplaces that have built-in soundbars.
  • Good value.


  • Not many options in recessed electric fireplaces.

4. Amantii

Price range: $1,200-$2,900.

Amantii has a good selection of contemporary electric fireplaces that you can install in the wall. Many of their products have mood-setting backlighting. Their electric fireplaces are suitable for use in commercial settings as well as at home. Amantii is the best electric fireplace brand for restaurants and commercial establishments. In addition to recessed, Amantii offers wall mounts, inserts, and free standing.


  • Many contemporary designs.
  • A lot of options in recessed and wall mounts.
  • Offers a selection of electric fireplaces that can be used in restaurants and commercial settings.
  • Multicolor flame options.


  • Not many options in TV stand electric fireplaces.

5. Touchstone

Price range: $300-$3,000.

Touchstone is the best electric fireplace brand for outdoor electric fireplaces. Other types of electric fireplaces they offer are inserts, wall mounts, recessed, and mantel. Common features of their electric fireplaces include realistic LED flames and variable flame colors. Sizes range from 28"-100". Some models have built-in audio speakers.


  • Outdoor electric fireplaces available
  • Sizes range from 28"-100".
  • Realistic LED flames.
  • Some have built-in audio speakers.
  • Many have variable flame colors.
  • Contemporary designs.


  • Some models are pricey.

6. Puraflame

Price range: $111-$900.

Puraflame offers several types of electric fireplaces, such as wall mounts, inserts, free standing. A unique option is their portable mini electric fireplace heaters. The brand offers technical support for customers and designs electric fireplaces that comply with safety standards. Puraflame's portable mini electric fireplace heaters have tip over and overheating protection. Their recessed options come with log and crystal sets, so you can use which style you prefer.


  • Variety
  • Log and crystal sets available
  • Safe
  • Portable mini electric fireplace heaters available.
  • You can receive help from tech support.


  • No options in 100" recessed electric fireplaces.


Price range: $60-$255.

AKDY manufactures several types of electric fireplaces, including inserts, wall mounts, portable, and recessed. Common features of their electric fireplaces are multi-heat levels, realistic flames, the ability to operate it without heat on, and LED backlights. LED devices are usually energy-efficient, allowing you to save money on energy bills.


  • Low prices.
  • Portable options.
  • Adjustable heat on most models.
  • You can operate many of the electric fireplaces with the heat off.
  • LED backlighting available.


  • Not ideal for those looking to splurge.

Bottom Line

All of the brands above produce quality electric fireplaces, so it's hard to label just one as the best electric fireplace brand. Although AKDY has the lowest prices, the other brands have good options in the $300 price range too. Which brand you choose depends on your budget and what type of electric fireplace heater you want. If you have ever owned one of these electric fireplaces, let us know in the comments below.

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