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Can I Turn A Wood Burning Fireplace Into an Electric One?

is it safe to burn

The functionality provided by a wood-burning fireplace tends to be less than the cost of maintaining it. It also has a more significant impact on the environment and produces emissions that are not good for the environment. The wood-burning fireplace requires constant stoking to ensure that it is fuelled all the time and does not lack fuel, as this means that it will immediately stop functioning. As a homeowner, you can move from the inefficient wood-burning fireplace and opt for a more effective and modern electric fireplace. Knowing how to turn a wood burning fireplace into electric makes you more aware of the environment and contributes to its preservation.

Greenhouse gases are produced in large amounts of the wood burning fireplaces. BTUs heat capacity is also more significant, and they are not as cost-effective as electric fireplaces. These are dangerous gases, and they affect the balance of nature and gases in the ecosystem. They also impact the comfort level of the people living in your home as they all struggle for the same air. People who use the wood burning fireplace are also tasked with collecting or purchasing wood to fuel the fireplace. This accumulates into increasing costs, and the annual maintenance cost of the wood burning fireplace can be prohibitive. In comparison, the electric fireplace is much cheaper to run and maintain. It is also easier for the environment and does not emit any harmful gases, which can cause health complications or impact the environment.

By converting your existing fireplace and upgrading it for a better one, you will have shown your willingness to live in a cleaner environment. You will also be able to reduce your impact on the ecosystem with your carbon footprint. With this in place, you will notice that life gets more accessible and better for you. Knowing how to turn a wood burning fireplace into electric also ensures that you can turn things around for the environment and the home’s occupants’ health. You contribute to their improved health, which means they get to live better and with fewer worries in their lives. The knowledge is also useful for home improvement projects and can upgrade your home in terms of appearance and its operations. 

In this post, you will learn:

  • Conversion Process from wood burning fireplaces into electric
  • Potential costs of the conversion
  • Cost Benefits of a Purchase as Compared to Conversion

Preparing for the Conversion

Knowing how to turn a wood burning fireplace into electric will require a bit of preparation to ensure that the entire process is safer and less costly. You will need to know the firebox current structure and how it has been designed and constructed. This means studying it closely and observing its structure to identify the areas that might prove to be problematic for you. The preparation is also important as it shortens the time taken to accomplish some of the conversion process procedures. As you consider doing the upgrade, you should be ready to do some background work. This also enables you to find out the amount of work that is going to be involved in the conversion process and weigh the options that you have. 

Suppose you feel that the work that is going to be involved in the conversion is going to be too tedious. In that case, you can always think of other alternatives, such as purchasing a new electric-fireplace and installing it separately. You might find the cost to be significantly lower for the new fireplace than the much work and time that it will cost you for the conversion process.

Dimensions are an essential aspect of the conversion process, and you will be required to have all the necessary numbers to guide you. Using a measuring tape, measure out the existing firebox dimensions and note down all the measurements. All these dimensions will factor into knowing whether you can slip in the new electric-fireplace insert into the current space. You also know if you will be required to modify the structure to accommodate the latest electric fireplace.

Measurements are also used to ensure that you do not spend too much time on trial and error but instead go directly for the replacement. It will need you to have these measurements with you even as you undertake the other steps and procedures in the upgrade process. This will ensure that you know if you will need more space. You can always organize ways of breaking down the wall to create new space or carve out some margins in the existing cavity.

Removing the Existing Grate

Get the grate from the existing wood fireplace. This will require a bit of work, and the grate will need to be first loosened before you can remove it from the fireplace. This can be done using a crowbar or some other metal piece that you can easily insert into the space between the grate and the wall or the fireplace’s sides. With a little effort, you can have the grate removed with ease. Removing the grate is essential and the first step when turning your wood burning fireplace into an electric one. Remember to remove any remaining bits of wood from the grate before removing the grate itself. This will be a practical way of easing the work you will have to get the grate from the wood burning fireplace. If the task seems very difficult for you, you can always call in a friend to help you remove the grate. The help will ensure that you are well prepared to complete the task in record time. You will also be able to shorten the time taken in the upgrade process.

Cleaning

The second but most important step in the process of converting your wood burning fireplace into an electric fireplace is the cleaning stage. Here, you will be required to expend all your energy and effort to ensure a thoroughly clean result. All the ashes you left while you were removing the grate will need to be removed, which will require your best effort. You will also need to ensure that the ashes and other substances you clean from the wood burning fireplace are kept safe and not left to scatter around the living room. 

Cleanliness standards must be observed and respected while you are doing this. It is recommended to have a dust-bin with a polythene bag that will not lose any of the ashes and dust you obtain from the existing fireplace. The cleaning step is also essential, and the result from all this effort should be something that you are proud of. Take the time to clean and do not miss out on any of the details.

Remember, we are not returning a wood burning fireplace once done with the cleaning. Instead, we are replacing it with an electric fireplace. This is why you should ensure that you have cleaned out the fireplace so that there are no longer any combustible substances that are left. This will also ensure that the electric fireplace, once inserted, does not lead to fire incidents due to flammable substances being left behind due to reckless cleaning. Spending time to clean out the fireplace properly also ensures that you do not have to do this again. The electric insert finds an ideal place to be positioned.

Sealing the Vents and Chimney

When the fireplace used wood as a fuel source, most of the excessive heat and smoke went out through the ventilation and the chimney. Heat also came out through the fireplace opening into the room. However, the upgrade process will no longer require these features of the fireplace. A chimney sweep will be necessary to rid your fireplace of all the soot accumulated on it while you were using the wood burning fireplace. The venting should also be cleaned out and if you no longer require these features, take the necessary steps to seal them off completely.

A wood fire is hotter and needs the chimney and venting, but the recent introduction will not need these. Seal the flue to ensure that moisture does not find its way back to your new electrical fireplace and bring about damage. A chimney is known to be a damper to the new-electric fireplace, and a blower can help ensure that it is spotless. If you are familiar with turning a wood burning fireplace into electric, you also know that water is not suitable for the electric fireplace. As such, you must ensure that you have sealed off all the vents, flue, and chimney openings before you can install the new fireplace.

electric fireplace enclosure

Install the Electric Fireplace Insert

This is the final step in our upgrade process but one of the most important. It determines whether we have been successful in our adventure or we have flopped. You can use the measurements you had taken before preparing the wood-burning or gas fireplace for a replacement to determine the amount of space that the new electric fireplace will occupy. You will also use this to decide whether you will need some adjustments before you can finally insert the electric fireplace. If space is not enough, you can make some adjustments to ensure that your fireplace can accommodate the new electric insert comfortably. This can be as simple as removing some of the sides or as complicated as carving out the additional space into the wall. Luckily most of the electric fireplaces are reasonably sized and will not require you to make any extra space. They can take up the same room as the wood burning fireplace, and whenever you are doing the upgrade, you get to enjoy an easy transition.

Slide the electric insert into place and ensure that it is firmly fixed. In case you need to screw any of the edges or corners into place, you can do so at this stage using a screwdriver. This will be important to ensure that the structure you are installing into place is firm enough and does not keep moving about. Securing the fireplace is also essential as it ensures that the possibility of accidents is reduced, and your fireplace can operate under safe conditions. You will need to be very careful at this stage to ensure that you do not leave any section of the electric fireplace loose or moving.

Connect to a Source of Power

The electrical connection is the final and most crucial step as you learn how to turn a wood burning fireplace into electric. Only plug-in the electric fireplace into a circuit to avoid overloading it and not use an extension cord. The extension cord is not as safe for use as the direct plugging into the wall. As you consider making the upgrade, you should also be ready to make some space or allowance for getting power quickly from the electrical outlet. The power supply should never be interrupted at any moment, and it should also be safe in such a manner that no one ever gets to trip on it. This way, accidents are reduced, and the electric fireplace gets to have a reliable source of power that does not falter at any time.

Once you are done making the connection to the electrical outlet, you will then be required to seal up the entire arrangement. If the fireplace’s front needs a glass panel, this is the best time to install it and ensure that it is firmly in place. You can also add the other accessories required for the electric fireplace to work correctly, such as crystals and other essential features. The crystals are used for the virtual fire effect and make the electric fireplace’s flames look more authentic. You can also include the electric log, log set, fireplace log, and log insert. These should all be added once you have slid in the electric insert and connected it to a source of power. The fireplace log creates the effect of burning logs on a fire and makes the electric fireplace more visually appealing.

Test Run your Electric Fireplace

With the electrical connection complete, your installation is just about ready for anything that you need it to do for you. At this point, it is recommended that you try it out and play with the heat settings, get to see the ambiance and how the flame changes as you select a different scene. You can also try the other safety features that are usually included in most electric fireplaces, and in your DIY project, you must get to try out the remote. This ensures that you have proven that your fireplace is working as anticipated, and there is nothing wrong or missing. It also demonstrates that you have successfully made the upgrade, and your new fireplace can function properly without any problems or complications.

While you are conducting the tests, be sure to try out all the new possibilities and combinations to see how effective the fireplace is. Move a distance away from it and feel whether the heat still dissipates towards you and the possible coverage area for your electric fireplace. Try the remote control and see if it is easier to use than another type of fireplace like a gas insert depending on a gas line would perform.

What the Conversion will Cost you

You should be ready to incur some cost as you turn a traditional wood burning fireplace into an electric fireplace. Homeowners that were used to the traditional fireplace will not be prepared for the energy-efficient counterparts. You might need an electrician to bring the electrical-outlet closer to the setup, and since the old fireplace worked on wood, the electrical lines were likely very far. You will also have to purchase electricity cables for the upgrade process. The fireplace heater will also need accessories, such as the materials used to seal the vent and the chimney, which will cost you. The upgrade process will also be costly as you will need to take the time to follow the steps that have been detailed above to ensure that you successfully insert the electric insert for your new fireplace.

Cost Benefits of a Purchase as Compared to Conversion

A conversion requires so many changes that, in the end, it is considered to be more expensive than purchasing a new electric unit. Dimplex fireplaces, for instance, are cheap, and you will not have to call in an electrician to move the lines closer to the fireplace for you. Instead, you will install it at a place where it is close to a source of electricity. Zero-clearance means that the conversion presents safety hazards, and this makes the purchase more preferable. You are better off buying a new electric fireplace as compared to going through the hassle of upgrading. With the upgrade, you will spend more time and money on things that are better off avoided. The result will also not be as attractive as the electric fireplace will seem odd and out of place with a chimney sticking out of it. The result will be bizarre, and you will have a hard time explaining to visitors why your modern Dimplex electric fireplace needs a chimney.

With this in mind, it is recommended that you always get the best fireplaces from the MagikFlame electric fireplace buying guide. You can find useful information about the MagikFlame story in their common questions FAQ, as well as their payment plans and financing options. You will also learn how MagikFlame is built and how to convert from a gas fireplace or a wood burning fireplace into something safe to use with electricity.

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