Can Fireplace Inserts Be Replaced?

Are you ready to replace your fireplace insert with a newer or better one? Is the insert outdated or starting to malfunction? If so, you've come to the right place. So what's the best way to go about doing it? Well, we've researched fireplace inserts and how to replace them. In this post, we'll go over how to get it done.

Yes, fireplace inserts can be replaced by simply swapping out the old insert and installing a new model. It's best to have help when performing this project, however, as it can be fairly laborious. Here are the steps to replace your fireplace insert:

  1. Turn off the electricity and gas
  2. Take off the insert's doors
  3. Take off the trim
  4. Disconnect any hookups
  5. Slide the insert from its position
  6. Prepare the new insert
  7. Connect the power source and vents
  8. Add embers and logs
  9. Check for issues

Every fireplace insert will have a different procedure for removal and installation. It all depends on the type of insert that you have. However, we've created a list of general steps that you need to successfully remove the old and install a new one. Without further ado, let's get into it.

Woman making fire on fireplace, Can Fireplace Inserts Be Replaced?

Steps To Replace A Fireplace Insert

Keep in mind that performing this task requires a lot of knowledge about ventilation and electrical safety, so it may be best to have an HVAC professional consult with you beforehand.

Before you purchase a new insert, be sure that your home has the correct setup to accommodate the new fireplace insert. The time to complete this task can take anywhere from 1 to 3 days depending on the type of insert that you have. It may also be helpful to have an extra pair of hands to help out as well.

Fire in a brick fireplace in winter

Things you'll need:

  • Safety gloves
  • Pry bar
  • Wrench
  • Safety boots
  • Protective clothes
  • Hammer or mallet
  • 2-gallon bucket

1. Turn off the electricity and gas

First, turn off the electricity and gas in your home. You'll of course need electricity for a light source to see your workspace, so be sure to only turn off the breaker which is responsible for the fireplace itself.

You may also want to use a couple of work lights. This is very important in preventing a fire hazard while you're working on the installation.

Check out these work lights on Amazon.

2. Take off the insert's doors

The process for removing the doors may vary by brand, model, and inset type. For some inserts, you may be able to simply slide up the latch on the edge of the doors and remove them. And for other inserts, you may need to take a screwdriver and remove the screws or nuts on the side of them.

Also, there may be a small grate near the inside of the fireplace that you'll have to remove. However, before doing just that, be sure to clean out any ashes inside of the insert to prevent making a mess when you remove it.

3. Take off the trim

Use your pry bar or mallet to remove the outer trim from the insert. There may also be nails or screws around the trim, so be sure to remove these fasteners beforehand. Be careful when removing the trim if you want to salvage the insert, as removing it too quickly can easily damage it.

Find this pry bar on Amazon.

4. Disconnect any hookups

Once you have disconnected the trim, take your wrench or screwdriver and remove any connected vents or pipes to the fireplace insert. Before removing the trim, you'll want to ensure that nothing is connected to it.

Next, make sure that you have disconnected the electric or gas line running from your home into the fireplace. These hookups will typically be located in the back of the insert.

5. Slide the insert from its position

After everything has been disconnected, have an assistant stand on one side of the insert and slowly slide it out of its position. Some inserts will weigh more than others, so you may need to pull with a bit of force to get it out—but proceed with caution to avoid damaging it.

6. Prepare the new insert

You may need to assemble your new insert before placing it in its position. If this is the case, be sure that you have followed the manufacturer's instructions thoroughly and that it will fit into its new space.

In some cases, you may need to create a bigger opening for the insert or install joists to close the fireplace space around it. Once you've got the measurements and dimensions sorted out, slowly slide your new insert into its position with the help of an assistant.

7. Connect the power source and vents

Next, connect the electrical or gas source to the insert as well as the vents and pipes needed to vent it outdoors. Always follow your manufacturer's instructions for ventilation and make sure that your pipes are well insulated.

Before connecting the electric or gas line, you may need to slide your insert into place halfway first, connect the gas or electric line, and then slide it completely into its position.

Once the insert is in place, be sure that you have connecting plates on the slot or self-tapping screws to prevent the gas or electric lines from moving around.

8. Add embers and logs

Once your insert is set up, add your fire logs, grate, or embers. You'll also want to attach any doors and front cover to the insert. If you have an insert with a remote control, take this time to program it and ensure that it's connected to the receiver.

9. Check for issues

Turn your gas and electricity back on and then power on the fireplace. At this time, you'll want to check for any gas leaks or electrical issues.

If you smell gas at any time, immediately turn off the fireplace and consult an HVAC specialist. You also want to check the flue on your chimney, if possible, to see if there is a ventilation issue with it.

How long should a fireplace insert last?

On average, a typical fireplace insert will last anywhere from 10 to 15 years or more depending on how often it's used. The quality and type of fireplace insert will also play a huge role in how well it stands up through the years.

How much does it cost to replace a fireplace insert?

Text written in the notebook

The cost to replace a fireplace insert can range anywhere from $2,000 to over $5,000 depending on the setup required for the inserts.

The type and state of your chimney will also play a role as well as the type and model of the insert that you choose. For example, if your insert will require a particularly long or complicated setup, the cost will be toward the higher end of the spectrum.

How hard is it to remove a fireplace insert?

Fireplace removed from the chimney breast

Fortunately, removing a fireplace insert isn't a really difficult task. It can, however, be a bit laborious if you're performing it by yourself. And it does require knowledge of your home's ventilation, electricity, and gas lines.

If you're planning on removing your fireplace insert yourself, it's best to have an assistant help you since these appliances can be on the heavy side, and sliding them out of their position is easier when you have someone to hold the opposite side.

Can I install a gas fireplace insert myself?

You can, but it's not recommended if you don't have experience with HVAC systems. It can also be a fairly challenging project to perform yourself, as installing the unit can be a bit laborious for one person.

It's best to have at least one other person assisting you in physically placing the insert into its position. This way you can avoid injury and you can get the job done faster.

How can I make my fireplace insert more efficient?

There are a few different ways that you can make your insert more efficient. Here are the most common ones:

Installing blowers

A fireplace blower can help your unit become more efficient by supplementing your home's entire heating system. The blower can push the warm air out into the home instead of letting most of the heated air flow right up into the chimney area. This way your home can be warmer without having to turn on the heat.

Installing glass doors

Modern minimalist apartment interior living room with fireplace

Glass doors are also commonly used to help increase the efficiency of a fireplace. They help to control airflow by reducing heat loss. For example, when the blower pushes the warm air into the room, the glass doors can be closed to prevent heat loss.

Wrapping things up

We hope this post has helped break down the basic steps of how to replace a fireplace insert. While you can perform this task yourself, it's recommended that you have an HVAC professional consultation first to prevent injury and damage to your home.

The systems required for this appliance to run effectively should only be adjusted by someone who has knowledge and experience working with them.

Before you go, be sure to check out these other posts:

Should Gas Fireplaces Be Serviced?

Can You Add A Blower To An Existing Fireplace?

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