Did you know that built-in electric fireplaces are suitable for both new construction and retro-fit applications? Fireplace inserts can be permanently built-in and hard wired within a wall or plugged into an existing socket. Just as easily, they can be inserted into an existing firebox.
In either case, it's really just a matter of some measuring and electrical planning. Here's how to do it.
1. Choose the Location & Measure
Select a suitable location for the fireplace. Ensure it meets the manufacturer's recommendations for clearance from combustible materials and adequate ventilation. In many cases, electric fireplaces don't require clearance.
If you are retrofitting an electric fireplace into an existing fireplace, measure the interior of the firebox carefully for height, width, and depth. It can also be helpful to measure the opening and exterior measurements of your fireplace as you consider trims, hearth, mantels, etc.
2. Prepare the Space
Clear the area where the fireplace will be installed. Make sure there are no obstacles or hazards in the vicinity. Don't forget to assess the inside of the wall you will cut into. Ensure that you will not disturb any plumbing, electrical, or other elements.
If you are retrofitting, be sure to thoroughly clean the fireplace.
3. Check Electrical Requirements
Ensure that there is a nearby electrical outlet that meets the voltage and amperage requirements of the fireplace. If not, you may need to hire an electrician to install a dedicated circuit.
Or, you may wish to hardwire your electric fireplace into your home's electrical system. Hire an electrician to prepare either your existing firebox or your new recessed space with the appropriate wiring.
4. Complete Construction
Built-in fireplaces are generally recessed into the wall to some degree. If you are adding a fireplace rather than retrofitting, you will want to have a contractor build this out for you.
If you are mounting your fireplace, no construction is necessary.
5. Assemble the Fireplace
Follow the manufacturer's instructions to assemble the fireplace unit. This typically involves attaching the firebox to the frame and connecting any additional components, such as a mantel or trim.
If the fireplace is designed to be wall-mounted, use appropriate mounting hardware to securely attach it to the wall. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper installation.
For your retrofit or recessed built-ins, carefully slide the unit into the prepared space after connecting the electrical components. If the fireplace is larger, this may require two people to ensure a proper fit and installation.
8. Test the Fireplace
Before finishing the installation, test the fireplace to ensure that it functions properly. Check that the heating element, flames (if applicable), and any other features work as intended.
9. Finishing Touches
Once you're confident that the fireplace is installed correctly and operates safely, you can complete any finishing touches, such as adding trim or decorative elements around the fireplace.
10. User Manual
Keep the fireplace's user manual in a readily accessible location for reference, especially regarding maintenance and troubleshooting.