Gas fireplaces remain one of the most efficient forms of home heating, typically providing as much as 75% to 99% of the fuel’s energy back as heat. This is incredibly efficient, especially when you compare it to the likes of wood burning stoves that utilise wood heat, which typically provides only 10% to 30% of energy as heat. However, a crucial part of owning one of these efficient heating appliances is ensuring that it is installed properly in order for it to operate safely and effectively.
With that said the list below details the most important steps involved in the installation process, from selecting the right fireplace insert for your circumstances to being aware of the potential health and safety.
Choose the Type of Gas Fireplace you want
Prior to the installation process, it is important to select the right fireplace insert for your home. The most efficient variety of gas fireplaces are named gas fireplace inserts, which consist of a standard firebox enclosed in a metal casing designed to slot into a traditional masonry fireplace. This design ensures the heat produced is slowly radiated out into the living space and also helps warm the air. Much of the heat produced from standard gas fireplaces, on the other hand, is typically lost up the chimney/ventilation and quickly dissipates.
You will also need to consider whether you want a direct-vent model that is appropriate for homes with chimneys, or a vent-free unit that can be installed in homes without a chimney or a ventilation system. It’s worth noting that vent-free models remain controversial due to safety concerns with the emissions they produced – namely carbon monoxide. You can utilise a carbon monoxide monitor, however, this is still something worth thinking about.
As well as inserts there are also standard gas log sets that are typically constructed from ceramic and look like authentic log fires. However, these are much less efficient than inserts as the heat isn’t contained and much of it rises to the ceiling becoming trapped in an air pocket, which results in a failure to adequately heat most homes.
In addition, there are zero clearance fireplaces, these are pre-built fireplaces that don’t require on site construction of a mantel and sometimes even a chimney, meaning they are a budget friendly option. The issue with factory built fireplaces is that they tend not to look as professional and you can usually recognise one quite easily.
Check out HeatTalk for in-depth information and a good selection of gas fireplace insert reviews that provides a detailed explanation of the various pros and cons of each.
Select a Location
Choosing a fireplace doesn’t just include aesthetic considerations, but also practical ones including the size and dimensions of the insert. Therefore, ensure you measure the dimensions of your masonry fireplace in order to choose a unit that will fit the intended space. If you are not going to install it within an existing masonry fireplace, then you must consider the space you have available and where you want to permanently home your fire.
Regardless of the location you select, the fireplace should complement the interior décor and character of the living space but it should also be positioned where installation of a gas line, an electrical circuit, and an exhaust pipe will be easily accessible or fitted. A back exterior wall is usually an ideal location, especially in properties without a functioning chimney.
Seek Professional Help to Connect the Gas & Electrics
Once your fireplace is in place you will need to hire a licensed professional to connect the gas line to the fire, as well as the electrics that are used for the ignition and other features than typically run on electrical power. Therefore, unless you are qualified to do this yourself you must hire a registered gas safe professional and if necessary an electrician.
You could even seek professional advice to get someone to fit the fire insert itself, but there’s no reason that the DIY savvy individual can’t handle it themselves and save some money on the way.
Install the Mantel & Other Details
Once your insert is in place and connected to the gas lines and electrics, it’s time to select the mantel and fireplace surround you want. Although a few models don’t really require a mantel, others will look much better with a surrounding mantel, as well as other details including the hearth and other small details such as handles and knobs. This will also allow you to customise your insert to the decor of your interior and style of your home.
Please note that it is essential you refer to the manufacturer’s instructions at this point, since it is crucial you adhere to the guidelines for maintaining a safe distance between your fireplace and the outer frame. If you ignored these recommendations you could put you and your family at risk.