How to Install an Electric Fireplace Insert – 8 Ultimate Hacks Revealed

Scratching your head thinking how to install an electric fireplace insert? If so, then you have stumbled upon the right place.

This post will provide you ALL THE HACKS of installing electric fireplace insert in your existing fireplace. Electric fireplace inserts installation is not a complex task if you do it with care. Therefore, we share you all the tips and tricks of installing electric fireplace insert yourself.

Types of electric fireplace inserts

You should know that two types of electric fireplace inserts are available in the market, the fireboxes and the logs. This article covers the first one – the fireboxes.

Thinking how to install an electric fireplace insert in an existing fireplace yourself?

But before this you must consider if you can DIY electric fireplace insert installation yourself.

The good answer to both of the question is “Yes, you can yourself install an electric fireplace insert in an existing fireplace.”

You can do it easily if you are familiar with the basic carpentry tools and techniques and your fireplace has an electric outlet.

However, you may need an electrician to install the power outlet in your fireplace, if it does not have one.

Note: If you are shopping for an electric fireplace insert and not sure where to start, then read our top products reviews and guide to learn everything about electric fireplace inserts.

Now revealing the hacks

Hack 1: Note the basic clearance requirements for installing electric fireplace insert

The first hack is to note the minimum clearance requirements for the different parts of your electric fireplace insert.

  • Measure 3/8 inches from the top of the firebox to a combustible or non-combustible material.
  • Measure 2 inches from the top of the insert frame to a mantel board above it.
  • measure1 inch from the back and sides of the insert to the walls around it
  • no minimum clearance to the floor.

The below diagram illustrates the best;

how to install an electric fireplace insert
photo credit:

Hack 2: Putting a cover plate on your chimney

There is a danger that the water may come from the chimney if it is without the rain cap. The hack is to put a cover plate on your chimney before installing electric fireplace insert. This cover plate will act as a seal to prevent water coming from the chimney.

Hack 3: The most asked question | Closing or sealing the damper?

This is one of the most asked questions on quora and other forums, “do we need to close and seal the damper?” or “do we need to close the damper if we have gas fireplace?” etc. etc.

It is ok to only close the damper if you have wood or gas fireplace. However, the damper is not purposeful in the electric fireplace insert.

You should not only close the damper but also seal it to make sure it is airtight. Its purpose is to prevent the heat loss and air infiltration from the damper edges.

Following illustration clearly describes how to install electric fireplace insert:

how to install an electric fireplace insert
photo credit:

Hack 4: Materials for sealing the damper

There are so many things that can be used to close and seal the damper. Following items work best;

  • Fireplace sealer
  • Plywood
  • Foam pipe insulation
  • Inflatable pillow

Hack 5: Installing a power outlet

The good news is that all electric fireplace inserts plug into the standard household power outlets. The purpose is to clean the area surrounding of your fireplace from hanging cords. But, hire a professional electrician for this task.

The following works fine – I personally used this one.

Hack 6: Inserting the firebox into the fireplace

The hack is to slide the firebox into the opening of the fireplace and then center and level it.

Now adjust the levelling screws if these are available with your electric fireplace insert model. It is worth to mention that some electric fireplace inserts will have brackets instead of the levelling screws. You will need to attach those tie-down brackets to the fireplace floor and the back of the insert and on the both sides to secure the insert from tipping off.

Hack 7: Testing the functions

Now power up your electric fireplace insert to ensure it is fully functional and has all the features as described.

These things must be on your checklist:

  • It is producing an excellent bright flame.
  • Ember bed is working as described.
  • Remote control is fully operational.

Pro tip: Check the troubleshooting guide section of the user manual for any issues detected or contact the customer support.

Hack 8: Attaching the frame or the trim

The final hack is to attach the frame or the trim to cover the gaps between the insert and the walls of the fireplace opening. The fireplace inserts either come with the glass frames or with the metal trims. Please use whatever comes with your package or you may use any custom trim according to your preference. You can use the following materials to make a custom trim:

  • Plywood
  • Sheet metal

The trims come into the different finishes and the materials. Some electric fireplace inserts have several trim finish options. Most of the inserts come with just one trim option.

Caution! Here you will need to refer to the user manual to install the trim, because, different brands have different settings for attaching the trim or frame.

Sometimes, the problem is the large gap on the top, you may cover it by placing the block under the fireplace.

Some prerequisites of installing electric fireplace inserts

Remove the existing installation

It is recommended to remove the existing installation. If there are fireplace doors, grates, blowers or screens installed, uninstall all of them to avoid any mess or confusion.

Double check that you have removed the blower. This is important, because, installing electric fireplace insert in an existing fireplace insert does not need a blower installed. The fireplace needs to be entirely bare for electric fireplace inserts installation, so make sure you have removed it.

Clean the fireplace for installing electric fireplace insert

Clean any debris in the fireplace with a hard brush. This way, you will get rid of anything stuck into the walls. You may need to clean in more details, if the fireplace is dirty.

Fireplace should be waterproofed

To avoid the rainwater, install a chimney cap. You need to do it before installing the electric fireplace insert. A little water seepage can bring damage to your electric fireplace insert and can cause fire. It is recommended to install a chimney top plate or rain cap on your chimney to avoid this hazard.

Following works best – personally recommended.

Taking the correct measurements

It is quite often that the measurements of their existing fireplace and the purchased insert  don’t match. Therefore, the people face trouble while installing electric fireplace insert. If you are unsure, read our guide on how to measure a fireplace.

This step should be taken before making an order. All you have to do is double check your measurement to ensure that the insert you wanna buy will fit accurately in the fireplace.

With the help of measuring tape, measure the width, depth and height of the existing fireplace opening. Now compare these measurements with the dimensions of inserts as provided by the seller.

It is important to note that majority of the fireplaces get narrower as you move back further in the space. Ensure that here is sufficient depth for the insert to fit near the back, before the fireplace tapers too much.

Good news is that the fireplace insert and the fireplace don’t need to be an exact match. I never said, the measurement should be the same. The idea is that there should be sufficient space available in the fireplace to install the electric fireplace insert.

Don’t worry, if if the fireplace insert is a little bit smaller than the existing fireplace. You can still install the insert and make sure it looks neat. If you need to, you can purchase a frame from amazon to cover the gap.

The frame looks like this.

Pro tip: A slightly larger insert can also work, as long as the issue is with the trim, not with the firebox.

Watch the video to see the step by step process

Final thoughts

Please note, that all the hacks provided in this post are general. You will need to consult the user manual or installation guide for installing electric fireplace insert for the particular brand you bought.

This post provides the hacks for a single person installing electric fireplace insert. However, don’t hesitate to take help of a professional installer if needed.

The whole idea is to successfully install the existing fireplace insert in the existing fireplace.

I hope you enjoy my this post on how to install an electric fireplace insert. Don’t forget to share your comments.


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