Surprise Working Fireplace

In retrospect, I have no idea how we didn’t notice this right away. We moved into our house thinking that the decorative fireplace was a completely pointless ornamental hole in the wall, and we never suspected that there might be more to it than that. Even though, looking back, there were clues visible in a number of photos I’ve taken, including one that I posted in the virtual house tour a few months back. Take a close look at this shot of our fireplace:

Notice anything interesting in this picture?

It turns out, that dark square thing under the log is an electrical outlet. And the log itself isn’t just a decoration, but an actual electric log.

We’d already been living here for a couple months when I finally noticed the wire tucked away behind the log, and the electrical outlet beneath it, and then tried plugging the wire into the outlet to see what would happen. This was the result:

Glowy electric fireplace!

Nifty, right? I’ll admit I got way too excited when I made this discovery. (Just imagine me yelling through the house, “Oh my god! Joe! Joe! Come look at this!” until he came running.) Judging from the style of the plug, it seems pretty old, and it’s just a simple steady glow — no fire-like flickering or anything like that.

Still, knowing that the outlet is right there, we could easily swap out this electric log with a more modern one down the road. A quick Google Shopping search for “electric log” turns up all kinds of (relatively inexpensive) options, with LED’s and flickering effects and even some that generate heat.

Anyway, even though it’s still purely decorative, the warm glow is a welcome addition to our living room — it adds a cozy atmosphere that should be perfect for winter and the holiday season. And the whole thing makes me wonder what other neat little details we might just be overlooking in this old house.

What about you guys? Did you ever discover anything surprising about your home after already living there for a while?


  1. Wow! That is so cool! That will definitely be nice when entertaining. Definitely look into the kind of logs that generate heat. I love to feel the warmth from the fireplace at our house. Love you all!

  2. Very cool . . . or hot? LOL, can’t think of anything I have found like that, BUT . . . sheepish admission, I have never been in the attic of my house, and I am not sure ANYone has been beyond the ductwork since we bought it in 1993, so who knows what is up there?

    Nice you have a “Yule Log” for Lillian’s first Christmas!

  3. I’m sure that was an exciting moment! And a positive one! We moved into an old remodeled home in Wedowee, Alabama where Bill had been employed as lab and x-ray person for a small hospital. We found out that the added water heater had been placed in a dug out hole under the house; when we had heavy rain the hole filled up and turned out the pilot light. Major problem!

    I agree with Julie, I have electric logs in my living room fireplace, but no heat. It would seem more real if it was warm!

  4. Thanks for the comments! It is really nice that the only surprises with the house so far have been happy ones. I hope that trend continues and we don’t end up finding our basement flooding out the water heater, or a family of angry raccoons living in the attic, or anything like that. :)

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