a wall mount electric fireplace in a living room

Electric Fireplace Installation – A Step-by-Step Guide

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An electric fireplace installation is simple. Moreover, it provides a fireplace fire without any work. You’ll no longer need to gather and chop wood, purchase it, or store it. Instead of starting the fire with paper, kindling, and matches, you just push a button. There’s no need to shift logs around in the fireplace.

You’ll never again need to clean ash and soot from the fireplace or the chimney. Also, electric fires produce no sparks, making them safer than wood fires. Depending on electric rates, electric fires may be cheaper than wood fires. The advantages make the installation well worth it.

Tools You Will Need for Your Electric Fireplace Installation

  • Electric fireplace insert kit to fit your fireplace opening.
  • Owner’s manual from insert kit.
  • An electrical outlet that matches requirements of the insert.
  • Measuring tape.
  • Screwdriver.
  • Drill with a masonry bit.
  • Cold chisel.
  • Level.
  • Help from a friend.

Preliminary Steps

For an insert that fits your existing fireplace exactly, call a retailer with a builder box program. Firstly, use the tape measure to get the exact measurements of your existing fireplace. Then, give those measurements to the retailer. They will provide an insert of the correct size.

Secondly, check the electrical outlet nearest to your fireplace. Be certain that it matches the requirements of your insert. Usually, that will mean it must be a 120v, 15 amp, 60Hz outlet.

The outlet may also need to be on its own separate, dedicated circuit. That means no other outlets, appliances, or other household items may draw power from the wiring that powers that outlet. Find the circuit in your fuse box that powers that outlet and turn the power to that circuit off.

Check the other outlets, light switches, appliances, and household items that might be drawing power from that circuit. If they are still operating, they are on separate circuits from the outlet you want to use. Also, an electrician will need to rewire circuits if the outlet you want to use shares a circuit with other items.

Additional Things to Consider

Avoid using an extension cord. However, if you must use an extension cord, make sure it meets the requirements listed in the owner’s manual for your insert.

To eliminate a visible cord, an electrician can install an outlet inside of your fireplace. An electrician could also hardwire your insert to the household wiring. Both of these alternatives are more or less permanent ones. Be certain you want to keep your electric fireplace installation before utilizing either of the above options.

To prevent drafts during your electric fireplace installation, close the damper in your fireplace. If your electric fireplace installation is permanent, consider installing fiber-free insulation inside the firebox of your fireplace.

Remove your fireplace grate, and clean out all of the ash and soot.

Before beginning your electric fireplace installation, read the entire owner’s manual completely through. Every manufacturer and insert model will have unique installation steps. Still, you should be familiar with them and make sure that you understand them before beginning.

Electric Fireplace Installation

a dining room with a fireplace

1. Unpack your electric fireplace insert.

2. Remove all of the packing materials inside of your insert and discard them.

3. If your electric fireplace installation kit includes mounting hardware, install it first. However, the mounting hardware won’t be necessary if you used a builder box program.

4. As an optional step, drill a hole for the electric cord with the masonry bit and cold chisel. Furthermore, you can pass the cord through the hole to plug the insert into the outlet.

5. Slide the glass front to your electric fireplace installation in place, if you have one. Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual to secure it.

6. If necessary, have a friend help you lift your insert into the interior of your fireplace. Tilt it, if needed, to pass it through the fireplace opening. Be careful not to bump and damage the case.

7. Place your insert upright within your existing fireplace. Also, use the level to be certain its feet are sitting evenly on the floor of the firebox of the fireplace.

8. Pull the cord under or around your insert and through the hole if you drilled one. Draw the cord across the hearth to the nearest outlet. Avoid both allowing the cord to rub against sharp edges and pinching the rope.

9. Plug your insert into the outlet. Use the remote to turn the insert on and adjust the flames, and enjoy.

Safety Precautions for Your Electric Fireplace Installation

Always unplug your insert when it’s not in use.

Periodically check the outlet, plug, cord, and extension cord, if you are using one. Look for signs of wear, damage, or overheating.

Customizing Your Electric Fireplace Installation

Kits and built-in options help customize your electric fireplace installation for your lifestyle and decor. For example, an electric fireplace installation with LED lighting reduces operating costs by reducing energy consumption.

Models with glass ember beds come with glass rock media that duplicates the look of glowing embers. When you have completed your electric fireplace installation, simply pour the rock media into the front tray of the firebox.

Kits with decorative moldings complement your decor while also hiding gaps between the insert and the existing fireplace. Do-it-yourselfers can create their own moldings and mantels. DIYNetwork.com offers ideas for fireplaces on angles, in corners, or in the middle of the wall. The styles fit decors from traditional to country to modern.

Summing It Up

If you need more reasons for an electric fireplace insert, listen to the seven reasons in this YouTube video entitled Electric Fireplace Overview from AsktheChimneySweep.com.

It’s so easy. Measure to purchase an insert the right size for your fireplace. Make sure the outlet you will use is on a dedicated circuit. Follow the simple steps above for your electric fireplace installation, and instantly enjoy a beautiful, glowing fire whenever you want.

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