Do electric fireplaces need their own circuit? [Everything you need to know for a safe install in 2023]
Do electric fireplaces need their own circuit? Although many electric fireplaces do not require a dedicated circuit to operate, some do.
The reason for this is that some fireplaces have more than one heating element in them. If that is the case, then the electric fireplace might need its own circuit.
The question now arises whether to plug the electric fireplace into an outlet or to use a dedicated circuit. Both have their pros and cons.
Plugging in an electric fireplace into a wall outlet is a perfectly suitable option for lower power models or models that are used simply for decoration.
If this is the case, then it would not need its own circuit.
However, the downside to using a wall outlet is that the fireplace may not be able to supply enough heating to heat a room. This is because the outlet’s maximum amperage is 15 Amps and if that circuit is being shared with other appliances, the fireplace may not receive enough power.
By using a dedicated circuit, better results can be achieved.
If the circuit does not have enough amperage to support the heating needs of the fireplace, the elements of the fireplace might overheat and this may result in a fire hazard.
Although a fire will be unlikely, it is important to be safety-conscious when dealing with electric fireplaces.
Basically, there’s absolutely no reason not to put your electric fireplace on its own circuit, but if it’s something you don’t want to do, you need to find lower-powered models or models that provide flame effects only.
How do you know if you need additional circuits for your electric fireplace?
A regular household circuit has 120V of power. If you have multiple outlets on the same circuit, each outlet does not have access to the whole 120V of power but should be split between the number of outlets on that circuit.
By having a dedicated circuit for your electric fireplace, you know that your fireplace is safe to draw and have access to all 120V of power.
However, if your electric fireplace will be used for decoration only, it is unlikely that you will need a separate circuit. Most fireplaces these days use LED’s for the flames, which require barely any power.
How to calculate amperage for electric fireplaces
Knowing the amount of amperage that your electric fireplace will pull is necessary to determine whether you will need to get a separate circuit for it.
One of the best ways for calculating the amps that your specific fireplace uses is to look at the backside of the instruction manual that came with your unit.
There will usually be a chart of information that will tell you things like how many lights are on your fireplace, how many watts each one uses up and how many watts the whole fireplace uses up.
This is a personalized number for the fireplace, one that you will not find in the same unit that is being bought by a loved one.
These numbers are usually based off of how the unit is used, whether it be decorative or operational.
To find the total amount of watts used, add together the watts needed from each light that is on the unit . The total number will be the number that you will plug into the formula below to determine the total amount of amps that your fireplace uses.
Formula for figuring out how many amps a single element uses: watts / volts (i.e 50 watts / 120 volts).
This will give the total amount of amps used.
Determining how much power an electric fireplace operates on is an important determinant when looking at safety and the current capacity of your home.
Decide Which Electric Fireplace You Should Buy
1. Dimplex Opti-Myst
The Dimplex Opti-Myst is renowned for its realistic flames. While the image doesn’t do it justice, it is one of, if not the most, realistic electric fireplace on the market.
The Opti-Myst technology creates life-like flames and smoke via a water tank at the back of the fireplace.
This electric fireplace doesn’t require it’s own circuit and is used for decoration purposes only – it has no heating element.
2. Duraflame 3D
The Duraflame 3D can be plugged into a standard 120V outlet but requires 12.5 amps. So you’d have to work out how much power is already drawn from the circuit and whether or not there is enough amperage available for the fireplace or if it would need its own circuit.
The fireplace does feature an automatic shut off feature to prevent overheating so safety should not be an issue.