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How To Install Gas Fireplace Inserts

By Lawrence Macmillan October 25, 2021

There are two schools of thought on how to install a gas fireplace insert. Just because we like you, we’ll cover the procedure as outlined by both schools of thought.

School #1

1. Call a professional.

2. Make an appointment.

3. Wait in while they do the job, occasionally offering beverages and potentially snacks as the job goes on.

4. Pay the bill, reveling in the fact that you’ve supported the local professional gas fireplace insert installing community, that the work is probably guaranteed, and that you’ve never had to technically understand a procedure involving exhaust liners and high-temperature silicone sealant.

5. Explore the delights of your new gas fireplace insert, thrilling in the knowledge that you’ve only had to swear once, and briefly, when you received the bill.

You can’t lie to us. School #1 sounds pretty good apart from the whole “Pay the bill” thing, doesn’t it? Unfortunately of course, not everyone can be as cavalier about paying the bill as those in School #1.

If you have to do it yourself, or if you want to do it yourself for that sense of satisfaction at a job well done, you’re going to have a rather more complicated time of it in School #2. But let’s see what’s involved.

School #2

1. Run electrical power to your fireplace

You need to extend electrical power to your fireplace in order to power aspects of the insert you’re fitting. That will involve you running mains cabling to the fireplace.

2. Install a duplex receptacle

This is actually pretty straightforward once you have the power running to the fireplace, but you still have to know a little basic electrician lore to fit it.

3. Remove the chimney cap and the damper from the top of the chimney

Yyyyes, that’s likely to be on the roof. So, you may well need some ladders and potentially even scaffolding if you want to do this part.

If you don’t have ladders of your own, that means borrowing, hiring or buying some ladders before you can continue. Which is worth knowing and setting against the cost of getting a professional in.

4. While you’re at the top of the chimney, you need to drop both the airflow intake and the exhaust liners down the chimney, hoping against hope nothing goes wrong with this step.

To make sure nothing goes wrong with this step, you can either clear out your own chimney in advance, or pay someone qualified to do it for you.

5. Secure the top plate to the chimney top

Remember we said one of the bonuses of going with School #1 was never having to encounter high-temperature silicone sealant?

Yyyyeah, this is where you need your high-temperature silicone sealant – it’s what you’ll need to use to secure the top plate to the chimney top. Still, very probably, while standing on your roof.

6. Check the number of positive reviews on local gas fireplace insert installers’ websites Oh no – you’ve come this far, we can finish this together.

7. Fit a termination fitting onto the ends of the liners

You should have some termination fittings if you’re going to do this job yourself. They will need screwing onto the ends of the liners.

This can be a fiddly job, especially given the location, so the more spare termination fittings you have, in all probability, the better.

8. Once your termination fitting is fitted, install a weatherproof cap.

The last thing you want is potential weather damage, so adding the weatherproof cap helps prevent that from happening.

9. Insert a chimney cap into the furnace flue.

If you’ve been used to running something like a wood-burning stove, this is where things start to get very different with a gas fireplace insert. You’re going to cap the chimney in the furnace flue.

10. Run a new gas line to the fireplace

Again, if you’re upgrading from wood to gas, you’re going to find it incredibly difficult to do without a reliable gas supply. Run a line from (we would suggest) your mains gas supply to the fireplace.

11. Connect a flexible gas-supply line to the fireplace gas line

This is how you essentially plug your fireplace into the mains gas supply.

12. Plug in the power cord from the fireplace insert

This is easier than it sounds. Simply connect the fireplace insert to your mains electric supply.

13. Make your final connections between the gas-supply line and your fireplace insert

There’s nothing complicated about this. Just make sure your connections are secure.

14. Slide the insert into place

It’s worth taking a couple of moments over this, to make sure the insert fits snugly and well.

15. Turn on the gas

16. Make your exhaust and intake connections

You need to use more of your high-temperature silicone sealant at the top of the insert to make these connections.

17. Install the glass doors on your gas fireplace insert

This is another of the easier jobs in the process. Simply install the glass doors – the relative complexity of this will likely vary from model to model, but it’s not likely to involve more than some screws and maybe a couple of base plates to attach your glass doors to the gas fireplace insert.

18. Finally, test your fireplace insert using the remote control provided

It’s worth getting to know how your remote control works immediately after you’ve installed your fireplace insert.

If there are any elements you’re not sure of, now is the time to get to grips with the remote and conquer those areas of ignorance.

It’s always good to support your local community of professional service people if you can (after all, if no-one needs them, their businesses will struggle, and they won’t be there when you need them).

But if you want to install your gas fireplace insert yourself, this is how to go about it safely. It involves a little smattering of skills from several trades, including electrical and gas knowledge, and a little potentially hazardous work on the roof of your house.

If you’re justifiably confident you have both the tools and the talent to take on this job, you should now have a step-by-step guide to getting the job done.


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