Fireplace Insert Installation

Minimal preparation to retrofit your fireplace

If you already have a traditional wood-burning (or even coal-burning) masonry fireplace (i.e. made of stone or brick) but you want to be able to burn less wood, heat your home more effectively, and cause less pollution through your wood-burning activities, then a fireplace insert certainly could be right for you. The installation of a fireplace insert is considerably less involved than the installation of other fireplaces. That being said, it still represents a significant home renovation.

The first step is to ensure that you have purchased an insert which is sized to your existing fireplace enclosure. Although the bricks can be trimmed to fit a slightly oversized insert, this can compromise the structure of the fireplace surround, meaning that the bricks could crumble and require a complete rebuild of the masonry, adding significantly to the overall cost of installation. For this reason, it is important to carefully measure the dimensions of your fireplace and find a model of insert designed to fit into that space.

Fireplace inserts are made of cast-iron or plate steel, so they tend to be very heavy – often 400 lbs. or more. As a result, moving them across tile, linoleum, or hardwood floors may be problematic. Make sure that you or your installer have a soft-wheeled cart or some other low-impact way of securely transporting your new fireplace insert from the door to its new home in your hearth.

Ensure that the hearth and fireplace themselves have been thoroughly cleaned, and that your chimney has been swept recently. Since most fireplace inserts either require or at least function much better with a full stainless steel chimney liner . This will be the last time you may need to have your masonry chimney swept. As such, make sure that it is done properly to remove all creosote, tars, or other deposits left from inefficient burning of wood. If this is not done, then the high temperatures which the steel liner occasionally reaches could start a chimney fire later on.

If local regulations require an inspection by a third party, ensure that you arrange for the inspection very soon after the insert is installed. This way you can ensure the safety of your new fireplace and be certain that it has been installed properly and that your warranty is valid.

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