If you’ve got a wood burning fireplace that you’re using to heat your home, then you’ve got an inefficient beast that you’re trying to use. These fireplaces put hot air out up your chimney and within just 2 hours, you can lose more than 24,000 cubic feet of warmth. That’s why many home owners are converting their wood burning fireplaces into energy efficient and environmentally friendly natural gas units. To do so, they are inserting a gas fireplace insert.
It’s relatively easy to install an insert. Plan for an afternoon of work and you’ll be able to heat your home more efficiently for about the same cost of using wood.
Find the Right Gas Fireplace Insert
You’ll need to measure your firebox. Look for an insert that will fit inside the existing firebox. If you can’t find an exact match, then you’ll want to go with the one size that is smaller than the existing firebox. Clean out the firebox and then you’re ready to place the insert. If you have an existing wood burning chimney insert, you’ll need to detach it from the chimney liner.
If all you have is a brick chimney in place, you’ll need to install a chimney liner first. This drops down through the top of your brick chimney and affixes at the top and bottom, creating an air-tight seal for your new gas fireplace insert. Make sure that your liner is ½ inch insulated because that is the required code in all communities. Affix a chimney cap, if necessary, on your roof.
Installing the natural gas insert is relatively simple, although if there is no gas line at the fireplace, you’ll need to have one installed. Have your local utility come out and complete this part of the installation for you. Finish the installation, however, because the utility tech can then hook up the gas line to your chimney directly. If your line is already in place, simply hook it up after finishing the installation.
Make Sure To Attach the Liner Properly
The key to a successful installation is to seal off the venting so that you have a totally efficient system. Make sure that the liner is properly clamped to the fireplace. Most natural gas fireplaces are 80% efficient, which means they can qualify for tax credits in some circumstances. You will also need electricity running to your fireplace, so if you can’t do this on your own, speak with your utility tech about running lines as well.
Blowers are installed with the fireplace to help distribute the hot air throughout the home. The nice aspect of a gas fireplace insert is that you can control the thermostat and heat levels remotely so that you don’t overheat a room just because you’re running the fireplace.
The actual installation of the fireplace can generally be completed in an afternoon. Although you may need some help with the gas lines and electricity, but otherwise you can do everything on your own. Affix the fireplace into place as a final step and you’ll be ready to stay warm on the coldest of winter days.