Gas fireplace inserts are slowly replacing wood fireplaces thanks to their heat efficiency and the ease of maintenance. Basically, gas fireplace inserts are made up of a log and a burner surrounded by a steel or cast-iron firebox. A colorful face plate stands in the surround gaps to add finesse to the fireplace. While some models are easily recessed into a wall, some are easily installed in a pre-existing fireplace cabinet.
This article helps homeowners or business people with offices to install gas fireplace inserts with ease. It looks at the materials required, a rough estimate of cost, the inserts options, and installation steps.
How to Install Gas Fireplace Inserts – Main Steps
#1. Choosing an Insert Option
The process of selecting an insert option is as crucial as the installation process itself. Options include vented and vented free; a homeowner’s choice will be influenced by space, design preferences and the existence of a fireplace. Direct vent inserts come handy for homeowners with existing fireplaces as their flue systems are structured to fit into chimneys. Vent-free systems are ideal for homeowners with no fireplaces; they can be fitted on fireplaces, free-standing cabinets or on walls.
While shopping, homeowners are advised to choose models with oxygen deficient sensors; these are able to switch burners off when oxygen levels get low. To install gas fireplace inserts, one needs pipes for gas, electrical wires for switches, flue placement and a firebox. The process, plus materials, can cost as low as $2000 and as high as $4500.
When selecting inserts, one should ensure they get the correct size too. A large room can hold an insert with 25,000 BTU while a bedroom or another smaller room can hold an insert with 5000 BTU or lower output.
#2. Connecting Pipes
Connecting gas fireplace inserts in existing fireplaces is quite easy. In the event that there is no fireplace, a homeowner should recess the insert on a wall and let the gas vent out. The first step is screwing two vent pipes into place; this should be where the fireplace is to be mounted. Exhaust pipes should then be connected to the exhaust outlets; the chimney in a pre-existing wood fireplace or an outlet cut on a wall for a free standing fireplace.
#3. Place Firebox Strategically
Firebox should be positioned in place inside the existing fireplace or just placed free standing. After positioning the firebox, an electrical line to service the fireplace should be run. Electricity comes handy when one needs to have a fan for heat distribution. However, there are restrictions on gas and electricity installations. Even when following a DIY for this kind of a task; it is imperative to get the input of a professional.
#4. Positioning the Gas Fireplace Inserts
The gas fireplace insert should then be placed as close to the firebox as possible. This should be followed by pulling up the house wiring to the fireplace insert and attaching it as instructed in the user manual. The gas line should then be connected to the insert, and all pipes checked to ensure they are tightly connected.
After connecting the house wiring and gas lines, one should slide the fireplace insert into the firebox, carefully to ensure no damage is done to the gas line. Homeowners must then insulate the fire damper opening around gas pipes and placing the mounting plate and vent pipes on the insert. Moreover, you must also slide the mounting area into the slots at the top of the insert; it should line up the holes on the insert with the vent pipes.
The plate must be secured with self-tapping screws, and afterward, the leveling legs should be adjusted to ensure the fireplace insert is in position.
#5. Setting the Fireplace Insert
After fixing gas fireplace inserts, the next step is to remove the glass and make adjustments to the insert. Glass can be removed by taking out the locking clips at the front glass panel. Glowing embers should then be placed about 1/2 inch from the glass. Next, you need to scatter the mystic embers on the burner plates and place ceramic logs strategically as instructed in the user manual.
The placement of the logs and the embers should enhance the aesthetics of gas fireplace inserts as well as ensure efficiency in burning. After adjustments, you need to replace and clip the glass panel into the right position.
#6. Installing the RC Receiver
A remote control receiver will accompany gas fireplace inserts along with its manual. This receiver should be installed outside the firebox, away from the heat, for its safety. The instruction manual details the process of installing the receiver; it is a cinch. Do a test to confirm the functioning the various components of the fireplace insert.
Then, you need to slide the firebox surround above tabs on top of the fireplace insert and then attach it to the base of the insert with screws. Moreover, a screen should be installed on the front for safety; to ensure no one touches the hot glass.
#7. Install a Mantel
Mantels are not sold together with gas fireplace inserts, but a homeowner or an office owner who needs one on top of their fireplace can buy one separately. When purchasing a mantel, make sure that it fits the height of the fireplace. Markings should be made on the wall for the mantel. Measure mantel downwards up to where the upward and downward ledgers meet. Ledger’s board should be attached using drywall screws, and then the mantel lifted and secured into position using nails.
Putting It All Together
Gas fireplace inserts emit more heat, emit fewer pollutants, eliminate drafts and hundredfold easier to maintain. Better yet, they are operated at the touch of a button. By installing a fan, the heat is well distributed. Shoppers should compare burner systems, fireplace cabinets, and face plates when buying inserts.
Irrespective of the insert chosen, one must carefully consider all the above steps when installing the insert to make sure there are no gas leakages and there are no naked wires. Gas and electricity restrictions and regulations should always be followed for safety.