UPDATE: As of 3/9/11, our Dimplex Electric Stove is about 8 years old and now occasionally "squeaks" as the digital flames roll by. It's not very loud, but I have noticed it. Guess I shouldn't complain after 8 years of enjoyable use.
We live in a little condominium. We have lived here for over 10 years and never dreamed we could have a fireplace.
When I was growing up in the Midwest, we had a fireplace, but out here in California, with so many apartments and condos, fireplaces are rather few and far between. Some would say it just doesn't get cold enough to warrant having a fireplace. I disagree. It does get cold enough. We have many, many nights each winter where our temperature dips down to 30 degrees. (Ok, so it's not nearly as cold as most places in this great country of ours, but it's definitely cold enough to turn the heat on.)
After I had looked online and learned that faux fireplaces are now available, around Thanksgiving time of last year, we went shopping at a fireplace store in town. They had a large selection of gas and electric fireplaces, with and without mantels. Although we liked what we saw, the price tags were more than we had in mind (around $1,000) and at that point we were "just looking." On our way out of the store, the saleslady whispered, "Try the hardware store, they have fireplaces for less." Like a bat outta hell, we drove to Home Depot (although I'm sure Lowe's must have similar items, but we just don't have a Lowe's in this town). We found the Dimplex Electric Stove. The picture on the large box looked good, but we wanted to be sure, so we asked a store employee if we could see what an electric stove actually looked like.
The employee cut open one of the boxes and we lifted it out. It is very similar in size to a standard bedside night table. It is made of metal and is black, but it is not overly heavy. It probably weighs about 25-30 lbs. The price was right too, so we got it, as our Christmas present. The price was approximately $199.00 plus tax. What a deal!
(The Home Depot employee also told us that the Dimplex Electric Stoves are very popular and selling like hotcakes. He said they have trouble keeping them in the store and continuously sell out.)
I was thrilled. I don't often "splurge" on an item like this that is a bit frivolous, but this is something I have dreamed about for so long, and thought it was impossible given our tight living quarters.
We took it home and simply plugged in our new fireplace! Sounds strange but that’s really all there is to it.
There are three switches. One switch is for "flames" only, one switch is for low heat and one is for high heat. I was incredulous. The Dimplex Electric Stove actually puts out heat AND looks like a real fireplace too! The Dimplex Electric Stove also does not get hot on the top of the unit. (We have our DVD player set on top of it with no problem whatsoever.) The heating element for the fireplace is underneath and it cranks out heat beautifully, but does not cause your electric bill skyrocket (I compared two consecutive month’s bills).
The Dimplex Electric Stove’s front has a little glass door that swings open on hinges. When you open the door, you can see that there are "logs" inside. There is a sort of "mirror" which creates the illusion of flames, although the flames are not real (this is an electric unit). I liked the ability to choose heat or no heat with the flames and logs.
Since the heating unit is located below the fireplace itself, our dog has taken to sitting in front of the fireplace too, because of the warm toasty feeling it gives off. I was a little concerned at first because I thought with the heater sitting almost at carpet level, it might burn the carpeting. (I considered getting some sort of tile platform to set the fireplace on, and I still might do that, but for now, it is fine the way it is.)
The "flames" look beautiful...really quite like real flames in a real fireplace. They are varied and seem to be ever-changing, as in a real log fire. There are a couple of "logs" piled up and there an orange glow has been painted on the ends of some of the logs to make them look like hot embers. To me, it is quite convincing. When I sit on the couch and turn off the lights to watch the flames in our little fireplace, it is mesmerizing and calming, as a real burning fireplace would be. Upon closer inspection, I saw that the flames appear to be reflecting off of a kind of mirror at the back wall of the unit. It truly looks like real flames, not like some of the cheesy fake fireplaces I have seen at other times.
The thing to remember is that this is a very compact and sturdy "fireplace" and is perfect for small condos or apartments. There is no cleaning up ash or procuring wood involved, which can be a plus or a minus depending on how you look at it.
With the holidays and colder nights upon us, now is the perfect time of year to shop for your own Dimplex Electric Stove if you think it would be a good addition to your living or family room.
For those of us who do not have a real built in fireplace, the Dimplex Electric Stove is an absolutely wonderful alternative.
Check out their website for all the different varieties now available:
Thanks for reading!
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