Gas Fireplace Installation

Preparation and planning make the task easier

There are a number of steps to go through in order to ensure that you get the best natural gas fireplace for your particular needs and wants, as well as to ensure that the installation goes over as quickly and easily as possible, and at the lowest available cost.

Obviously, the first step is to look at the available types of gas fireplaces. You'll want to visit several showrooms so that you can get a feel for the different models that are available so that you can decide what best fits with your home's existing décor and your personal tastes.

Ensure that the fireplace you are purchasing is sized to the area that you intend to heat. Often, these systems have a rating in square feet. These numbers are based on either 7' or 8' ceilings, so it is important to ensure that the salesperson or installer knows the size of your room so as to verify the fireplace's ability to heat it. To truly know whether a fireplace, woodstove , or other heating appliance will be sufficient to meet your heat requirements, an installer should do a complete heat-loss calculation on your home to ensure that the fireplace is neither too big nor too small. If your main purpose is aesthetic appeal, then heat loss calculations and fireplace sizing are not such significant concerns.

Once you have decided on whether to get a free-standing fireplace or fireplace inserts, you will need to know what kind of accessories you want and need. There are remote controls, fans, thermostats, and various "visualization" accessories ranging from glass beads to aquatic scenes. Make sure that you know what you're getting to prevent possible disappointment after the fireplace is installed.

As far as the actual installation of the fireplace, once you have had a consultation with your installer and know your new fireplace location, you can clear the room by getting furniture and other items out of the way. Make sure to remove pictures or other breakables from the wall in which the fireplace will be installed. Like other home renovation projects, keeping the area clear is a good way to minimize the chance of decorations or other breakables being damaged.

If you are an especially handy homeowner, you may be able to handle the installation on your own. You will need a mechanical permit for the gas piping, and you may require specialized hardware in order to connect and disconnect the fittings. Many utilities prefer to send their own technicians to make any adjustments to natural gas fixtures to minimize the potential for dangerous accidents. Bear in mind that although the installation of a gas fireplace typically takes a professional less than a day, you could easily spend 20 hours or more in order to do the job properly. Even if you choose to install the fireplace on your own, your best bet is to have a licensed inspector or installer verify the installation even if local regulations don't already demand this. Without the proper permits and an inspection by a qualified individual, your fireplace's warranty may be voided, as well as your homeowner's insurance. When it comes to safety, it isn't worth taking chances, whether you install yourself or pay a contractor to do the work for you.

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