This unit is for many of us that likes to chill outdoors, perhaps to get some fresh air while at the same time do some yoga or reading. This unit will add a feel of luxury at your outdoor leisure place. Be it a pool side, a patio or backyard. It is a good option to spice up your outdoor entertainment area.

The Touchstone 80017 is by far the only electric fireplace that are rated safe for outdoors, let’s check out what it has to offer.

Fireplace visual icon

Visual Effects

Since the Touchstone 80017 doesn’t have a heating feature, so this is everything they need to bank on, and they did it right! It sports a 3 combinations with orange, blue and blue orange flame colour, which imitates a real fire pretty well. You can choose among 5 levels of flame intensity. So they are bright enough to be visible under sunlight, but not too bright that it hurt the eyes at night.

Installation Options

The unit comes with special materials needed to put things in place, it works for both on wall or In-wall installation, you can install them on both brick wall and stone wall. 

Electricity Consumption

The electricity consumption is significantly light weight since it doesn’t come with a heating feature. It uses only about 100W per hour. Which would cost you less than $2 per year.

Quality Icon

Thoughtful Design & High Quality Materials

Since TouchStone needs to design the unit to withstand outdoor weather, they can’t be using cheap materials. You can see that they design the whole unit with the intention for it to survive the harsh conditions outdoor and still looks great. For instance, the fireplace glass display unit is slanted 65 degrees backward so it doesn’t creates flare by deflecting the sunlight. Making sure the beautiful fireplace is visible and enjoyable. The overall make uses durable and high quality metal and little traces of plastic was used. Further more, the cables are extra thick to ensure it can withstand rain, cold weather and rat bites. You can be assured that this unit will last you a long time, especially because there are lesser moving parts in the unit with the absence of heater. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Touchstone 80017 offers a rugged design and beautiful flame effects that can survive harsh conditions outdoor. The only downside is that it does not offer a heater option. On the contrary, it also mean that the running cost of the heater would be significantly lower. For less than $5 per year, you get to enjoy the beautiful ambiance from the Touchstone 80017. This would make a great indoor fireplace as well if you do not need the heater option.

Why there are no options for outdoor electric fireplace with heater?

Logically speaking, there are quite some demand among potential customers that are interested in a heated fireplace.  But it doesn’t make sense does it, why no one is trying to fill in the demand? Well the answer is not that simple, let’s explore

Ergonomics: What comes to mind when you need to design an outdoor heater? Yes, you guessed it, to make it waterproof at the very least to withstand rain. Most modern outdoor heaters uses radiant heat technology such as infrared to stay warm. 

That way they can make it completely waterproof and no water can go into the appliance. But electric fireplace needs to create a visual experience at the surface design. Making it inefficient, or downright ugly if you include a huge radiant lamps right at the surface of electric fireplace.

Energy efficiency: Now let’s assume it is technically possible to invent an electric fireplace that puts out heat outdoor. But it won’t be efficient because of the lack of insulation in the outdoor area. A typical output of a traditional outdoor wood fireplace produces 30,000 BTU – 100,000 BTU, which can effectively provide enough warmth for a range of 3 – 5 feet radius. That’s an incredibly short distance. 

Now let’s do some math, a typical electric fireplace could generate up to 5,200 BTU under the power consumption of 1500KwH. To generate a minimum of 30,000 BTU, it might get up to 6 times its electric current. It will melt all the cables wires and plastics of an electric fireplace.  

Cost: Let’s again imagine every part of electric fireplace would survive under such electric current output. But it would skyrocket your cost of operation by 6 times, just for 3 square feet of effective heating range.

In conclusion, having an electric fireplace with heated option in outdoor condition is technically impossible at this point of time. So what are the alternatives?

Best alternatives to outdoor electric fireplace

Below we share some ideas some of the best alternatives or workaround to enjoy fireplace while keeping your backyard or patio warm.

Electricity Consumption

The electric fireplace stove uses infrared to directly heat up objects so it doesn’t have to generate super high BTU to heat up cold air. The display looks realistic with 3D flame technology. This is by far the best solution if you don’t mind moving this unit around outdoor and bring it back indoor after use, keep in mind it is not designed to survive rain so don’t leave it outside!

Combination of heater and electric fireplace

Purchase an electric fireplace that doesn’t use heat, such as Touchstone 80017, and invest in a radiant heat outdoor patio heater. The patio heater output is about 46,000 BTU, which heat output is comparable to a a wood fireplace. This can be a permanent solution, though the total investment will be slightly higher

Consider outdoor fireplaces

There are fireplaces in the market that uses gas or gel bio fuel, they are very good alternative as they give you good heat output and sports real fire. Gas and gel fireplace are clean burning so you don’t have to worry about damaging the environment. Gas fireplace can be a bit dangerous indoor if you do not install a vent, since it will increase the carbon dioxide content in the room and you risk gas leaks. However, when you use them outdoor, Co2 goes into the air and so it is a pretty safe option

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