Amish heaters offer supplemental home heating for people who like the look of a fireplace without the upkeep. They are among the most popular electric fireplaces on the market. Learn about these heaters and if they are safe and effective supplemental home heating options for your home.
About Amish Heaters and Heat Surge
An Amish heater, or Amish fireplace, is an electric fireplace product first introduced by Heat Surge, LLC, an American company based in Canton, Ohio. The company manufactures a space heater called the Heat Surge Roll-n-Glow Electric Fireplace that fits inside a wooden mantle handcrafted by Amish artisans. The involvement of the Amish artisans, the beautiful craftsmanship of the wooden mantle and the company's claims about the heat effectiveness made the heating device popular quickly.
Today, there are other space heaters and electric fireplaces described as Amish style or Amish inspired that have a similar look as the Heat Surge fireplace. These heaters are usually electric fireplaces with simple rustic wooden mantles. However, the term Amish heater or Amish fireplace usually refers to the Heat Surge product.
How the Heater Works
Heat Surge describes their heaters as miracle heaters. Their Website states that the heaters use the same kind of energy as the sun, allowing it to produce 5,119 BTU (1500 watts) on the high setting and use only as much energy as an electric coffee maker.
Benefits of Heat Surge Fireplaces
Heat Surge describes the following benefits of Amish fireplaces:
- The heater will comfortably heat the whole room and use very little energy.
- The low energy usage and the effective room heating will save people money on their gas and electricity bills.
- The flames in the fireplace look realistic but are safer and cleaner than real fire.
- The device remains cool to the touch while running.
- The wooden fireplace mantles are handcrafted by the local Amish community in Holmes County, Ohio.
Reviews of Amish Heaters
Critics of Amish heaters believe they are overpriced simple space heaters with a good marketing angle. The critics also say that Heat Surge's electric fireplace is not a miracle heater and operates as effectively as any other 1500 Watt heater.
A February 2009 Consumers Affairs site article, "How Miraculous is the Amish Fireplace?" criticizes the price of the heater and accused the company of false advertising by embellishing the Amish connection in some ads and misleading customers about shipping charges.
A February 2009 New York Times article, "Amish Space Heater: Is That an Oxymoron?" describes the heater as effective, with realistic artificial flames and attractive mantle, but points out that misleading advertising is a real concern. Since 2007, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has received over 200 complaints against Heat Surge relating to misleading advertising and customer service problems.
According to ConsumerMan on NBCNews.com, Consumer Reports tested Heat Surge's heater and found it to provide heat effectively and safely like any quality 1500 watt fan-forced convection heater. They mention that the price is comparable to other electric fireplaces, but expensive for a basic space heater. The site reported the mantle of their test fireplace was well-made but had some obvious flaws like nail holes. They also mentioned that some fireplace mantles did not appear handmade as suggested in ads, but had nailed on veneers. The reviewers also mention that the ads suggest the entire fireplace is an Amish invention, but the actual heaters are made in China, with only the wooden mantles made by the local Amish craftsmen.
Customer reviews are mixed; some people are extremely happy with the Heat Surge fireplace and find it effective. Others feel like they wasted their money on a device that doesn't heat a room well.Here is a summary of customer reviews of the Heat Surge Roll-n-Glow Fireplace at Amazon.com.
- Heats a room effectively
- Heats up quickly
- Saved money on heating bill
- Using more than one heater in separate rooms still saved money on the heating bill
- Well-made mantle
- Creates a pleasant ambiance
- Doesn't heat well
- Misled by advertising
- Disappointed that only the mantle is made by Amish with the heater made in China
- Could not heat a small trailer despite ad claims to the contrary
- Overpriced because it heats the same as a 1500 watt space heater that costs significantly less
- Mantle craftsmanship didn't live up to expectations
The Heat Surge is an option for people who don't mind spending more on a portable heater to get the ambiance of a fireplace. Heat Surge's problems with the BBB may discourage some potential customers. The price may be steep for a 1500 watt heater, but is comparable to the price of other electric fireplaces. Consider the Amish fireplace if you are searching for an electric fireplace with a cozy, rustic feel.