Replacing A Fireplace Insert: Concerns, Options & Cost

Can you replace the fireplace insert? Yes. This is what we’ll be discussing in this guide.

Fireplace inserts are great combustion stoves that are retrofitted or inserted into existing masonry or prefabricated wood fireplace. These inserts are designed for specific fuel types.

There are those for gas and others for wood and pellets.

Fireplace inserts come in a variety of designs and sizes and are built to improve heat output generated from combustion as well as enhance fuel efficiency. There are three types of fireplace inserts.

These are categorized according to the fuel they burn. They include wood, gas, and electric inserts.

Things To Know Before Fireplace Insert Replacement

Multiple factors come into play when replacing a fireplace insert. These include getting the right fit or dimensions for your fireplace, and also your preferred fuel type.

Cost may also play a role in determining your fireplace insert replacement preferences.

  • Finding the Right Fit

Most traditional masonry fireplaces are aesthetically appealing.

However, the problem with these is that they hardly burn fuel efficiently. Efficiency is determined by the heat generated and the amount of fuel consumed.

The problems of efficient heating and fuel efficiency which traditional fireplaces are known for are solved by fireplace inserts. Now, every insert has a lifespan whose expiration requires replacement.

The need to have an old fireplace insert replaced is evidenced in its inefficient operation.

To have the old replaced with a new insert, you’ll need to find the right fit. Measurements are needed to get a full dimension of what you need to buy.

Key areas to measure include the distance from the firebox to the mantel, the front width, the front opening height as well as the depth from front to back.

The back width also needs to be measured to enable you to pick the ideal size for your fireplace. This leaves little to no room for speculation.

  • Preferred Fuel Type

Fuel preference is an easier decision to make based on the fact that you’re buying a new insert to take the place of the old. Part of the reason why an insert needs to be replaced is that it’s old and no longer burns fuel efficiently.

Here, you only need to consider the fuel type being used by the old. If you need to replace a gas fireplace insert, then an insert that uses gas for combustion is likely to be preferred.

Here, there’ll be no need for modifications as your fireplace and chimney are already designed for gas combustion.

However, there are situations where a fireplace insert that uses a certain fuel type, (say gas) needs to be replaced with one that uses a different type of fuel (wood for instance).

Such decisions rest entirely with the homeowner and their needs.

GUIDE: Wood Fireplace To Gas Conversion

Using a ‘fuel type’ parameter for choosing and replacing a fireplace insert is a possibility. Therefore, preference will play a vital role in this regard.

  • Fireplace Insert Replacement Cost

To replace a fireplace insert, you’ll need to figure out how much a new insert will cost.

Newer and more innovative designs may be available. Cost also plays a key role when choosing a fireplace insert that uses a different fuel from the one being replaced.

For such, modifications to an existing fireplace and chimney may be necessary. For wood or pellet inserts, these will produce some smoke, unlike gas inserts that burn clean.

Changes to your chimney such as the installation of flue liners may significantly increase your total costs.

Can I Perform the Replacement Task Myself?

Replacing a fireplace insert will require an understanding of its basic operations. Technically inclined persons will consider going ahead with the replacement process. For others, this might be a tall order.

If you’re interested in taking the DIY route, you’ll find the rest of this article interesting.

This isn’t to say that persons having little to no interest in carrying out this task can’t benefit from this article. It will be fun to know what needs to be done in theory while watching an expert carry out the replacement job.

Fireplace Insert Replacement Process

Having bought the right type of fireplace insert replacement, what remains is the installation process. You’ll have to remove or uninstall the old insert before fixing the new one in place.

First, you’ll need to turn off utilities. This is followed by removing the fireplace doors and unhooking all connections holding the old insert in place.

Having pulled it out, insert the new stove in place and make necessary adjustments before fastening it in place.

Let’s consider each of these steps as follows.

  • Turn off Utilities

What actions you take during replacement is mostly determined by the fireplace fuel type. For gas and electric fireplace inserts, all utility connections must be turned off.

This is done for safety reasons and ensures no accidents result from the installation process.

  • Remove Fireplace Doors

With utilities switched off, the next step to take is to remove the fireplace doors. These doors could be held in place by screws. Using a screw, remove the doors by unscrewing all points holding the hinges.

  • Unhook All Connections

With the fireplace doors successfully removed, remove all connections attached to the old fireplace insert. These could include electric cables (for electric fireplace inserts) and gas attachments.

Having done that successfully, pull out the fireplace insert and set it aside for the next installation step.

  • Insert the New Stove

The new stove or insert is now ready to be installed.

Place this in the same position you removed the first and hold it in position by making all necessary adjustments. It’s important to check for available instructions accompanying the product.

Every piece of information is important when it comes to installation. When encountering difficulties with the installation process, it’s necessary to stop and seek the help of an expert.

Getting the job done perfectly is key to smooth functioning.

The Easiest Option

Do you consider the DIY option as being complicated?

A lot of people will share such an opinion with you. If you do, consider calling a chimney sweep or technician to have the fireplace insert replaced.

Although it costs money, it’s the easiest option for replacing a fireplace insert as you won’t have to stress yourself.

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