Buying A Fireplace For My Tropical Home

A fireplace adds a certain incomparable charm to a room. It makes a house look and feels cozy and warm. And most modern style homes could definitely use a little more “cozy and warm”. Even if they’re in a warm climate, like mine.

In my opinion, a traditional fireplace just doesn’t work in a tropical home. To start with, wood-burning fireplaces require chimneys and mantles which don’t always fit in a modern-style home.  When we finally decided to add a fireplace, we needed to find another way.

Luckily, installing a fireplace in a modern home is easier than ever, thanks to electric fireplace inserts.

An electric fireplace insert is a type of electric fireplace that you can install flush in your wall or existing fireplace opening. It uses electricity, instead of wood or gas, to provide heat and/or light to a room. You can learn more about the different styles and types of electric fireplace inserts on

This means it doesn’t need a chimney or a mantle, which makes it perfect for installing underneath a large painting or big-screen flat TV (like ours). Furthermore, the best fireplace inserts today deliver an ambiance very close to that of a traditional wood-burning fireplace – without the smoke and soot.

Benefits Of A Fireplace Insert Over A Traditional Fireplace

Fireplace inserts have several advantages over traditional fireplaces. Here are a few that might convince you to install one in your home, like we did.

1. Lower Energy Costs

Wood burning fireplaces are a major source of wasted energy. Up to 8 percent of the heat they generate escapes through the chimney. When not in use, the chimney causes even more energy loss via wind/air flow – making your air conditioner more expensive to operate.

An electric fireplace does use a chimney, eliminating any loss of heat and cool air from the house. When installed in an existing fireplace, an electric insert closes up the chimney preventing heat from passing through it to the outside.

Finally, you can reduce your usage of your HVAC by using the fireplace insert as a room heater. This can potentially reduce your energy bill.

2. More Precise Climate Control

With a wood burning fireplace, there is no way to control how much heat is being produced. This is a major disadvantage during warm weather!

In most cases, a traditional fireplace is only helpful during cold weather, which of course tropical climates don’t have a lot of. As a result, you can’t enjoy a fireplace ambiance when summer rolls around because the heat would be too much.

With a modern fireplace insert, you can get the light and ambiance without the heat. During summer or if you live in a tropical climate just turn off the heat. When it gets cold, turn it on again to make the insert simultaneously function as a space heater. You can even control the amount of heat produced using a remote control thermostat.

This level of climate control is especially advantageous for people who live in warm tropical areas. Now, you can enjoy the beauty and coziness of a fireplace without worrying about the side effects.

3. Green and Safe

With increasing concern about air pollution and safety, switching to an electric insert is a wise choice. Unlike a wood-burning or gas-fueled fireplace, electric inserts do not produce carbon emissions like CO2 and carbon monoxide. Not only is this better for the environment, it is also safer for you and your family.

4. Simpler Installation

A traditional fireplace requires a lot of money and time to install. But the same is not true with an insert. All you have to do was insert it into an existing fireplace or install it in a cabinet/wall box and plug it in!

If you want to, you can even install an electric fireplace insert outside in your patio or porch.

Two Good Modern-Style Fireplace Inserts

If you are ready to start shopping for a modern fireplace insert, here are two excellent suggestions.

1. Dimplex DFI2309 Electric Fireplace Insert

This is one of the cheapest fireplace inserts you can find. It is a good place to start if you are on a tight budget.


About $169, the Dimplex DFI2309 provides 3 heat control options (full, half and no heat), a fan-forced heater to distribute heat evenly and very real looking logs and flames. Installation is super-easy.

This one has hundreds of great reviews online. It’s a little more traditional looking, but an awesome deal.

2. Moda Flame 50″ Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace

This is the one we installed in our home! I am so excited about this one.

Moda Flame 50 Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace

Moda Flame 50 Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace

If you want something super elegant and your budget allows it, try the Moda Flame wall mounted electric fireplace. At $300-400, this fireplace is a bit pricey but well worth it.  It looks awesome underneath a 60″ flatscreen.

The Moda is a cinch to install. It comes with all the hardware and instructions needed to wall mount it, including a remote control for the heat and flame.  You can set the heat at low, high or no heat.

The fireplace also contains a built-in fan-forced heater for even heat distribution. A built-in timer automatically shuts down the fireplace after a specific amount of time.

Source: Moda Flame

Electric fireplace inserts provide the benefits of a fireplace without the hassles and downsides of a wood-burning fireplace. They are the perfect answer for the tropical homeowner who wants to cozy up with that someone special, on a balmy winter night.