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Back Issues
2012 - Summer Issue
Casas Bonitas
Article: Jessica Muncrief
Photo Courtesy: Dimplex
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A fireplace can really bring something special to a home. In addition to creating a design focal point, it can also transform a room. Whether you are planning a romantic and intimate night in or looking for a cozy place to curl up with a book, a fireplace is the perfect mood setter. Many homeowners, however, think the hassle of a fireplace just isn't worth it, and even if they have one, it sits virtually unused for most of the year. Fortunately, modern technology has taken fireplaces to a whole new level. Electric fireplaces are fantastic alternatives to the traditional gas or wood versions, providing all the benefits with none of the drawbacks.



Rawson Builders Supply
Wood fireplaces require constant attention to keep them going and they leave behind piles of ash that make clean up a real chore. Gas versions get expensive and can even be dangerous if not installed and used properly. Both types release pollutants into the air and use natural resources, so they aren't exactly on board with the eco-friendly craze. Simply opting for an electric fireplace solves all of these annoyances.

Electric fireplaces are operated with the simple flip of a switch or push of a button and they are practically maintenance-free, no ashy clean up required. Plus, they are a much greener option. A typical gas fireplace emits approximately 30,000-40,000 BTUs during operation. Compare that to an electrical which has an output of about 5,000 BTUs, and that's only if you have the heat on. Ken Scholten, owner of Embers in El Paso, says, "An electric fireplace can be used all year round to set the ambiance, which is great for the Southwest, because the heat function is optional." On top of that, electric fireplaces are extremely efficient. No ventilation or chimney is necessary because there are no harmful emissions. All the heat is resourcefully used to warm the room and no natural gases are burned into the air. If you like that authentic feel, look for versions like the Dimplex OptiMyst line which uses an easy to fill water tank to create the illusion of smoke. And, if you're worried about your electrical bill, rest assured that these fireplaces cost significantly less to operate than a gas option. "With heat on, you are looking at about 10 to 12 cents per hour," says Ken, "And without heat, it of course costs much less to operate."

If you're still not convinced, then your concern must be of style, size or placement. From neo modern to ultra formal, there are electric fireplaces that will beautifully complement any interior design style. There are traditional versions complete with carved wooden mantels and sleek versions that fit right into the wall. If you already have a fireplace, there are inserts that will easily slip into it. You keep the look you love and get all the added conveniences. Think you don't have the space? Are you already exhausted thinking about what it will take to install a fireplace from scratch? Dimplex has options that hang on the wall like a framed picture or television stands with a fireplace built right in. They both have everything you could want in a fireplace and require you to do nothing more than choose the perfect space and plug it in.

Perfect for homeowners, or even renters, who think a fireplace is out of their budget or just too much effort, electric fireplaces are an easy and cost effective way to give your room that added touch of ambiance it has been missing. ///
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