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How To Install an Electric Fireplace Insert Into an Existing Fireplace?

how to install electric fireplace insert into existing fireplace

According to, 36 percent of homes have old fireplaces that burn wood to heat the interior of residential properties. Over time, residents may want to upgrade to something more modern and energy-efficient for added convenience and function. Fortunately, you have the option of installing an electric fireplace insert into an existing fireplace. 

In this post, you will learn:

  • How to Install Electric Fireplace Insert Into Existing Fireplace
  • Selecting a Fireplace to Install
  • Why Electric Fireplaces are a Popular Choice
  • The Best Spot for Your Electric Fireplace
  • Do Electric Fireplaces Get Hot?
  • How to Customize Your Fireplace

How to Install Electric Fireplace Insert Into Existing Fireplace?

Although you may no longer want to use the existing fireplace that came with your home, there are still ways to continue using it without purchasing wood or increasing your carbon footprint. Electric fireplace inserts have come a long way in recent years and are easy to use when you don’t want to hassle starting a fire or keeping it going. Fortunately, it’s easy to change your traditional wood fireplace into an electric fireplace.

Start the project by measuring your fireplace opening and depth to ensure you choose the correct unit. Taking out the existing grate while wearing gloves because it can be a messy process. Clean out the ashes from the old firebox with a brush. Avoid using a vacuum cleaner because some hot embers may still be present. Depending on the size of the insert, it may be a tight fit. Fortunately, the inserts weigh an average of 50 pounds and are light and easy to move around, which makes it easier to get it into the firebox securely without any struggle. If you want the insert to fit better, you can purchase a fireplace trim kit, which works well when you want to add it in a wall or an existing firebox.

Access the panel on the side of the builder’s box to add a plug or pigtail to run it to a power source. The unit will plug into any standard household outlet. The electrical outlet may be on the side of the fireplace on the masonry. Attachment chips should be included on the unit you purchase to secure the fastening to a new, framed out fireplace. The unit can also be siliconed to the floor of the masonry fireplace to secure it. It should fit almost flush with the masonry fireplace opening.

If you want to make it a permanent installation, consider hiring a certified electrician to add a permanent outlet inside of the firebox to make it easy to hide and keep it out of sight. The power button on the unit will likely be on the side or top and can be easy to operate with a remote control that comes with it.

Once you turn the insert on, you can adjust the flame to your preference and it’s ready to be used. The installation process only takes a few minutes to complete to ensure you can immediately have it up and running.

How to Install Electric Fireplace Insert Into Existing Fireplace

Selecting a Fireplace to Install

There are many different fireplaces available in the industry, but not all are created equal. There are different types of materials used, which determines the lifespan of the product. Fireplaces are often manufactured in different parts of the world, making it necessary to research the background of different manufacturers to ensure you invest in the right product. Find something that is preferably made in the U.S. to ensure it’s higher quality and is more reliable. It’ll also make it easier to perform repairs if you ever need replacement parts instead of trying to obtain the item from another country.

Start by researching the history of each brand to get an idea of how reputable the company is and if you can trust their products. The top brands in the industry include Napoleon, Dimplex, and MagikFlame. You can begin by reading the MagikFlame story, which includes an entrepreneur who founded the company after he couldn’t find an electric fireplace with realistic flames. He used his skills in f/x special effects to invent holographic technology.

The technology is now patented and is not available through any other fireplace company in the industry, featuring a screen that sits behind a faux electric log set. You can read even the MagikFlame reviews on their website to hear from customers and what they like about each fireplace model. The comments posted can help you learn about the MagikFlame features and benefits available. If you want to discover what’s offered through this brand, look at the MagikFlame electric fireplace buying guide on their site to discover the best choices available.

You also want to review how many BTUs are offered to ensure the electric fireplace insert is adequate for the size of your living room. The BTUs will determine how much warm air is distributed.

Amazon is another resource if you’re not sure where to begin looking for your new fireplace unit. The website has dozens of electric fireplace models, whether you want a Classicflame freestanding unit or a Dimplex built-in unit. After clicking on each model and reading the description, it’ll be easy to find common questions other customers have asked about the product. You can even ask a question if you want to learn more about how it’s built or what it offers.

One of the main goals with finding your next fireplace is to search for something that looks realistic. The flames should look like real fire and have details like smoke that floats upward and burning embers. This will ensure it looks like a wood burning or gas fireplace without having to use a fuel source or natural gas.

There are many reasons more consumers are selecting electric fireplaces to install in their living room. The investment can be worth the money when you want something that can improve your quality of living.

This fireplace appeals to more people because it’s the most affordable to use because of how inexpensive it is to operate. When you have the fireplace heater turned off but the flames are in use, it’s an average of 0.3 to three cents per hour to operate. If you want to enjoy both the flames and the heat output, it’s an average of eight cents per hour to use. Gas fireplaces are an average of 40 cents per hour to run. With an electric fireplace, you can leave it on as long as you prefer each day without worrying about a significant hike in your energy bill each month.

The heat that is emitted from the unit is also warm enough to supplement your main heat source in the house. You can rely more on the fireplace heater to stay warm without spending as much on your main heater for more savings. The zone heating it offers will also only heat the room where you’re relaxing instead of the entire house to avoid using more energy that you need.

Another reason electric fireplaces are surging in sales is because of their cost-effective installation. There’s no need for venting, a gas line, or chimneys with the fireplace installation, which appeals to renters who can’t make modifications to their rental property. You don’t have to apply for permits with the city to install the unit and can begin using it within the same day that it arrives at your door.

The cozy ambiance is another reason the fireplace can be a benefit to your home. You can feel more at ease and comfortable as the flames are dancing, whether you’re enjoying a warm night on a winter night or are hosting a gathering with your closest friends. You can even use the flame effect without any heat output, making it ideal to put on display in the warmer months of the year. The log set will look like it’s burning and will emit a beautiful glow that tricks your guests into thinking you own a real fireplace.

Those who want to continue using the fireplace in different homes that they move to will also appreciate the portability that comes with electric fireplaces. The lightweight design makes it easy to move around and transport to avoid leaving it behind.

The lack of maintenance required is another advantage because you don’t have to spend as much time or energy with the upkeep. Compared to a wood fireplace, you don’t have two sweep out any ashes from the electric firebox or clean the chimney. You also don’t have to carry wood into the home and build a log set before attempting to start a fire. With a switch of a button, the faux flames illuminate and are just as easy to turn off. You also don’t have to remember to open and close the flue or damper because smoke isn’t produced.

Once you install an electric insert in an existing fireplace, you can close the flue to maintain the temperature in the building and prevent pests from finding their way into the room from the outside. This will seal off the house better throughout the year.

Consumers who suffer from minor or major health issues are often worried about using a real fireplace because of how the contaminants and particles affect the indoor air quality. Electric fireplaces are an excellent alternative because they don’t release any emissions or smoke into the outside air or in the room where it’s installed. You can protect your health without worrying about how much you choose to use the feature. You can also bump into the glass doors on the front of the firebox without burning yourself because the materials never get hot. The lack of real flames prevents the glass from becoming warmer, which reduces the risk of burns and accidents.

Consumers who have a goal of reducing their carbon footprint and making their home greener often choose electric fireplaces because they don’t make as much of an impact on the earth. Wood fireplaces are known to release a lot of emissions and smoke, which immediately contributes to pollution. Gas fireplaces require propane gas to create a warmer place where you spend time in the home. A wood stove can also emit smoke and isn’t always effective in heating larger rooms.

These fireplaces are slightly smaller than traditional fireplaces, which offer convenience if you don’t have a lot of square footage. Residents in apartments and condos can incorporate a fireplace that doesn’t take up a lot of room or block high traffic areas. The compact size means you can place it almost anywhere for added convenience.

How to Install Electric Fireplace

The Best Spot for Your Electric Fireplace

Not only is it necessary to learn how to install electric fireplace insert into existing fireplace, but you also need to decide where to install it. Where you place your electric fireplace depends on the type of unit you choose to purchase from Amazon or directly from the manufacturer. There are many types of electric fireplaces available, whether you want a freestanding unit to display or an insert that fits within the cavity of your wall. Decide where you want to place it in the room to determine what type of fireplace you need.

A new fireplace with a surround will fill in a large bare wall without taking up a lot of space. Don’t place it too close to other furniture or features, otherwise it’ll end up looking cramped with other items in the home.

You can also install the fireplace on a wall that sits directly across from the door that leads to the room so it’s the first item you see once you walk into the space. This will make it the main focal point and centerpiece in the setting for added drama. Consider placing an accent chair on each side of the fireplace for more uniformity.

Another factor to consider is where the outlets are placed throughout the room. You may have up to three outlets available, depending on the size of the room. Place the fireplace next to a power outlet so it’s easy to plug in without using an extension cord. The cord may make it convenient to place in other areas of the home, but can lead to fires and electrical issues because too much power will be running through it each time it’s in use.

Of course, it’s easier to decide where to place the electric insert if you already have a built-in fireplace. The electric fireplace insert can transform the operation of the feature without having to rip out the old materials and build a new fireplace from the ground up.

There should also be plenty of ventilation present around the electric unit to allow air to move freely. Keep items away from vents to prevent the feature from overheating as it’s operating for several hours at a time.

The heat it produces can be compared to the same amount of warmth you get from other types of fireplaces available, but at a lower cost and with more convenience provided. Gas fireplaces also lose their energy and only emit 60 percent of the heat they produce. Although a traditional fireplace loses 80 percent of its heat, a fireplace that runs off electricity uses 100 percent of the heat it produces.

Do Electric Fireplaces Get Hot?

Before you learn how to install electric fireplace insert into existing fireplace, you likely want to know how hot they get. Many people wonder if electric fireplaces get hot as the log inserts look like they’re burning each time you turn on the fireplace. You may want to know if they offer as much heat as a gas fireplace.

The heating unit will get hot minutes after you turn it on as it starts to suck in cool air and blow out warmer air. You can get warmer quicker and use less items to bundle up in because of how fast they increase the temperature in the room. They work better than space heaters without making the air feel too stuffy or dry.

The built-in thermostat allows you to adjust the temperature to have control over how much heat is released. This makes it easier to use in different types of climates and seasons. A timer also comes with the product to automatically shut it off and avoid overheating issues if you forget to manually power off the unit.

How to Customize Your Fireplace?

Customizing your fireplace is the next step you can take after you learn how to install electric fireplace insert into existing fireplace after purchasing it on a site like Amazon. The features and decorative elements you decide to add will make it look original and can allow it to blend in better with the surrounding furniture or color scheme.

Adding the fireplace into an entertainment center will also offer more versatility and can make it more noticeable. The entertainment center can feature multiple cabinets, drawers, and shelves for storing your items and displaying them next to the feature.

Painting the fireplace is an excellent option to update the product and draw more attention to it. You can change the color of the surround, whether you want a clean white look or a touch of drama with a bold color shade. You can also choose to use laminate floor boards to create a shiplap look that adds a rustic and farmhouse style to your home.

Take advantage of the mantel when you want to decorate the fireplace and put your favorite items on display in one of the most important parts of the home. Items like paintings, framed art, and family photos will prove to be sentimental and special. Select items that make you happy and uplifted each time you see them each day. You can even swap out the items for holiday decor or garland when you’re decorating for different holidays throughout the year.

A custom mantel can also make a statement when you want your fireplace to look unique. A shelf that is constructed out of reclaimed wood will add extra character and a rich touch. It won’t look like it’s mass produced and can create an upscale design with your electric fireplace. Stone mantels are also a popular choice for those looking to create a modern and sleek design in their living space.

Place the mantel at the appropriate height on the wall, which should be an average of 12 inches above the opening of the fireplace. It should be eye level to make it easier to spot and allow it to look like it’s a part of the fireplace without looking like a separate feature. Also, consider the height of the ceilings with the placement of the feature.

Don’t forget about the base of the fireplace when you want to customize it. The base is a great place to put a pouf, basket of blankets, or a stack of books. Because the glass doors don’t get hot, you don’t have to keep items at a distance. You also don’t have to fear embers jumping out and into the room.

With electric fireplaces, you also have the freedom to customize the style of the flames. There are a variety of color shades to choose from, whether you want something that looks natural or are interested in adding a pop of color to the room. The size of the flame can also be adjusted. These settings offer a variety of looks when you’re using the fireplace for different uses, whether you’re hosting a Christmas party or are creating a romantic mood.

Once you learn how to install electric fireplace insert into an old fireplace, it can give you the confidence to perform an easy DIY project without hiring a professional. Transforming an existing fireplace will allow you to use it more frequently to ensure you enjoy spending time in the space and staying warm when the temperatures drop outside.                                    

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