Using Electric Fireplaces for Beginners

Posted In Tips & Trends - 05/14/2021

Electric fireplaces are simple to use: no flames, no smoke and no mess. The electric fireplace has made modern house-heating a smooth exercise, but it’s not always easy to turn on – let alone operate!

Imagine you’re staying in a cozy Airbnb in the countryside, only to arrive and have the unit’s electric fireplace staring back at you, demanding to be lit. You’ve searched the room top-to-bottom with no luck, and have no idea where to start.

Luckily, this quick guide will teach you how to start electric fireplaces, as well as efficiently use them so that you’ll have artificial flames toasting your marshmallows in no time.

How To Turn On An Electric Fireplace

The average electric fireplace comes with a built-in control panel that serves as a master control for all its functions. It is sometimes covered by a decorative element like an ash grate but can be on full-display for easier access.

Usually, these controls include:

  • Power: The on and off switch.
  • Temperature Control: Make the temperature warmer or cooler.
  • Lighting: Turning the backlight on or off, or choosing a different color.
  • Timer: Sets time limits for automatically turning the unit off.

While every electric fireplace should have the following options on it, some devices come with a remote that has all the same functionality.

Remotes are useful because they let you control the device easily and from a distance. However, remotes also run out of batteries and get lost – therefore, it’s important you know how to use an electric fireplace without one.

With this in mind, let’s see how you might go about starting an electric fireplace:

  1. Locate the ‘Power’ button: As mentioned earlier, you can activate the power by locating the Power switch or button. In most cases, this will be on the control panel. If there is no power button, look for an On / Off ( I / O) switch on the side of the device. If this fails, look for an assigned switch on a wall nearby.
  2. Choose the temperature: Most electric fireplaces will include temperature control. This can be numeric (specific temperature grades), or it could be a dial that controls low-to-high temperature. This lets you set the temperature of the room.
  3. Enable The Lightning: Electric fireplaces are unique in that they don’t require light to make heat, just like a car heater. In some units, it is possible to simply turn the light out if you want the room to be completely dark.
  4. Set A Timer: Timers help if you’re anticipating that you might fall asleep, or if you want to warm the room for a certain period. You can activate the timer and simply insert the time period for which you want the device to run.

Essentially, these are the controls that your fireplace will need to operate.

Keep in mind that more expensive devices can have more advanced controls, like varying controls for the flame’s light, or, to switch between Celsius (°C) and Fahrenheit (°F). If you’re in doubt about what any controls mean, simply review the owner’s manual or look up the device online.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the individual features of electric fireplaces.

How To Use An Electric Fireplace

Every electric fireplace will have different features that make using it more convenient. In this section, we’ll cover the different features and how they work.

Using The Heater On An Electric Fireplace

The heater on an electric fireplace ensures that warm air comes from the device, which will warm the room or area.

It is possible for the fireplace to release warm air while not having the ‘flame’ enabled. You will need to ensure that the fireplace is turned ‘on’, and then simply select the heater button, or option.

The unit won’t show any light or ‘flames’, but the heating element will run and the fan will blow warm air into the room.

Note: It’s important to note that the heater won’t work if the thermostat temperature has been set to a level that is below room temperature.

Control The Flames Or Make The Fireplace Brighter

Most electric fireplaces have an option for how much light they emit, as this mimics a real fire and adds ambiance to the room.

If you’re watching a movie – or, simply want the ‘flame’ to be less bright – there is an option to reduce the amount of light that comes from the device. Similarly, if the flame isn’t bright enough, you can simply turn it up.

The easiest way is to use the button assigned to ‘light control’, which should be indicated by a flame.

How To Set A Timer On An Electric Fireplace

If your electric fireplace comes with a timer, it’s a convenient solution that lets you fall asleep without worry – or, warm a room for a certain amount of time.

You’ll know if your fireplace comes with a timer if there are buttons that have a clock symbol. These typically count in minutes and should be easy enough to set. Simply input how many minutes you want the electric fireplace to run for, and that’s that!

Why Would You Need To Start An Electric Fireplace?

In many ways, electric fireplaces are almost as simple as turning on a light: there’s one switch and a few buttons that let you make it warmer or cooler.

However, because they’re still considered fireplaces – they have been made with certain precautions in order to put some protection in place.

The main power switch is typically found under the unit’s protective covering, which also holds other buttons that relate to temperature control and ambient lighting. In some devices, the power switch could be located on the side of the unit. This makes it slightly out of reach, which protects it from any wandering children, animals or a stray heel that could potentially activate it.

On the odd occasion, your electric fireplace could be wired separately to an assigned wall switch. This makes the fireplace more aesthetically pleasing, as it reduces the need for wires and control panels.


If you’ve followed the above guide, you should be sitting toasty with the gentle hum of an electric fireplace keeping you warm and content.

While getting an electric fireplace started the first time can be complicated, a little investigation into the control panel should easily provide a solution. If you’ve turned the electric fireplace on with no indication of power, always ensure that it’s activated at the power source.

Alternatively, you can always contact your retailer or the company that provided the unit for more information – or, simply look up the device’s name online.