How to Convert a Wood Burning Fireplace to an Electric Fireplace
While wood burning fireplaces may look quaint and authentic, they are difficult to upkeep and maintain in the long run which is why many people are now opting for an electric fireplace. You can now have both the functionality and look of a fireplace without any of the hassle. Electric fireplaces are all the rage and becoming more and more popular by the day in homes across the country.
All you need is an electric fireplace insert which is a stove that fits into the fire box of your old wood burning fireplace. It is a metal box that contains the heat and radiates it through the room, and there are a number of different styles you can choose from.
You will also need a three-pronged outlet to power the electric fireplace and you’re set to go. Make sure you measure your hearth before you go to the store so you are able to buy something that fits. You should also check the clearance required by the manufacturer before you buy.
Step 1 – Close the Flue
An electric fireplace has no need for a vent to outside, as it does not produce harmful gases that must be expelled through a chimney. However, having a wood burning fireplace previously means that there already is one and something must be done with it.
Leaving a working flue/chimney behind when you install your electric insert will simply mean a loss of heat through the vent and likely a backdraft as well, so before you put in the unit, be sure to seal up and cap the chimney at the top, and close the flue at the bottom. For a tighter, more energy-efficient seal, cut a piece of rigid foam insulation to the dimensions of the flue and place it inside, far enough away from where your electric fireplace will be to ensure no heat can reach it.
Step 2 – Insert the Electric Fireplace
To slide the unit in place, put the electric fireplace onto a piece of heavy cardboard and slowly move it to meet the wall of the existing enclosure. Make sure that the unit is centered properly as well.
Step 3 – Mark Lines
Using chalk, mark lines along the top and sides of the insert parallel to the front and sides of the fireplace opening.
Step 4 – Position and Fix the Panels
Move the insert slightly so you can access the pre-drilled holes on the top and sides, and loosely fasten the top extender panel to the insert. Then, place the panel so it covers the chalk line and tighten the screws. Using the same method, attach the two side panels as well.
Step 5 – Caulk the Joints
Use chimney caulk on the joints between the insert and the three panels. Add caulk to the seams between the top and side panels as well.
Step 6 – Attach Insulation Strips
Finally, fix insulation strips to the back of the panel and position the fireplace back into hearth so that the extender panels are not resting against the back wall.
Installing an electric fireplace into your wood burning fireplace is a simple task that can be done within a day. The benefits of this are numerous, from an increase in heat provided to reduction of smoke in your house. Electric fireplaces provide the convenience of a rustic and charming fire in your room without any of the disadvantages that a wood burning fireplace brings.