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Installing a Wood Burning Fireplace Insert like a Professional

by Jude McDonald on Jan 18, 2017

A wood burning fireplace insert has many benefits over traditional gas and electrical alternatives. Most significantly by choosing to heat your home using wood you can take control of your finances and cut your energy bills drastically - no longer having to be at the mercy of energy companies.

A wood burning insert is a particularly good choice since it decreases back drafts and the loss of heat up your chimney, which makes them extremely efficient at transferring heat into your home.

How Does an Insert Work?

Like all heating appliances of the stove variety, including wood stoves and pellet stoves, and insert contains a firebox in which the combustion of the wood logs occurs and in turn the production of heat. In the majority of insert models, the firebox is enclosed in a metal casing, which allows air to pass through to be heated. This casing serves one of the major functions of an insert, it ensures the heat generated is transferred efficiently into the living space instead of being lost into the surrounding masonry work and directly up the chimney.

In simple terms, the casing is acting similarly to a radiator, the metal is slowly radiating the generated heat into your living space, making the most of your heat for longer.

How to Install an Insert – Step by Step Guide

1.Assess the Area

To begin, you should assess your current fireplace area; to install an insert you will require a suitable hearth to place it upon, which is an essential safety requirement. This is usually composed of many inches of concrete or many layers of brickwork or a raised log store. The purpose of this is to provide a barrier between the intense heat and the potentially flammable materials that make up the construction work of your property.

2.Alter the Recess as Necessary

Next, you will need to determine the size of the recess and determine if the dimensions are adequate for the particular insert you want to install. This is the square area in which your insert will neatly slot into. If it’s too small you can use an angle grinder to remove and shape the brick or stone masonry and adjust the dimensions as required. You can often locate the dimensions of the insert in the product specifications.

3.Connect and Shut off the Power Supplies

If there is no electricity connection, then you will probably need to have this installed near the corner of the stove. A 110-volt connection is recommended and this will be used to power the ignition. Many modern inserts are equipped with controls for instant, hassle free lighting of the fire. The power supply will also help run other common features such as a blower that distributes the heat into your home evenly, this is similar to a wood stove fan. Also, you will need to have your gas pipes sealed by a professional, which is likely required if you are swapping your gas fire for a wood burning stove.

4.Assess the Fireback

Just like the recess, the fire back may also need adjusting to fit your insert, as the name suggests this is the area at the back of the fireplace. Using a hammer and chisel will allow you to easily remove any bricks you need, to open up more space for your insert. Once the dimensions of your fireplace are correct you’ll be able to easily slot in your insert.

5. Line Your Flue

Your venting is another important part of your heating system, for both safety and efficiency. You can easily utilize chimney liner kits to line your flue. First, using a ladder, safely go to your roof and feed a rope down your chimney and let it hang to the bottom. This will aid you in guiding the venting into space and up the chimney. Drop the vent liner down with ease, and from the roof trim the top. Next, you need to attach it to the adaptor on the top side of the insert, you will likely be able to do this quite easily utilizing a screwdriver. Once screwed in place, you will need to install a chimney cap and screw your insert panel firmly into position.

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