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How to Install a Built-in Electric Fireplace

How to Install a Built-in Electric Fireplace

Built-in electric fireplaces are great for renovation and new construction installations. They do require some structural modification, like creating an opening in a wall and some electrical wiring. In this tutorial, we will review the necessary materials, clearances, and steps to install your new built-in electric fireplace.

Can You Install a Built-in Electric Fireplace Yourself?

You can install your built-in electric fireplace yourself if you have some carpentry and electrical knowledge, however, we recommend seeking the help of a licensed electrician. 

What You Need to Install a Built-in Electric Fireplace

1. Building Materials: Framing, Wall Finishing, Caulking (non-combustible)

2. Tools: Phillips Screwdriver, Hammer, Saw, Level, Measuring Tape, Pliers, Gloves, Drill

All electric fireplaces can be installed on combustible surfaces. No fireproofing necessary.

Clearance Requirements

The front of the fireplace should be located at least 3 feet away from combustible materials, like curtains, drapes, furniture, bedding, paper etc.

Other parts of the fireplace have smaller minimum clearances to combustibles ranging from 2 feet to 1/4 inches. Please check the product manual for clearances.

Installation Steps

Before you start the installation, make sure the fireplace functions correctly - plug it in, play with heat and lights, if everything works, move on with the installation.

1. Frame The Wall.

Check the size of the wall opening in your installation manual. Usually, it is 1/4" larger than the firebox dimensions. Regular drywall and wooden studs are ok.

2. Connect to Power Supply

Most built-in electric fireplaces have a cord that you can plug into a standard electrical outlet that you can install inside the opening (if allowed by your local code). Another option is to remove the cord and hardwire the fireplace as most units are hardwire ready. We recommend hiring a licensed electrician for both tasks.

3. Insert the Fireplace in the Opening.

This one might be a two-person task. You need to lift the fireplace, insert into the opening and level it.

4. Secure the Fireplace to the Wall with Screws.

Drive mounting screws through the holes located on the top and both sides of the unit into the wall studs.

5. Insert Decorative Media.

Your fireplace comes with either decorative logs, or fire glass or some sort of decorative media. It gets placed in the fireplace after it is installed into a wall and can be switched anytime after the installation. 

6. Install the Front Glass Panel.

This is the last step. Install the front glass panel to give your fireplace the finished look. 

Video Example: Installing Touchstone Sideline Recessed Electric Fireplace

This 5-minute video will demonstrate the entire process, from prepping the wall to turning on the fireplace. The video is showing the installation process of the Touchstone Sideline electric fireplace, so some of the nuances might be slightly different for other models of electric fireplaces, but the basics are the same for all the brands.

We covered how to install a built-in electric fireplace in 6 easy steps. This article is for information purposes only. Please refer to your product manual for the complete set of instructions for your particular fireplace model.

All electric fireplaces that are sold on our website come with installation manuals that provide detailed instructions on how to install each particular unit. Most of the product manuals are published on our website in downloadable PDF format on each product page.

Here are some examples of product manuals from different brands we carry:

And remember, if you get confused at any point, you can always leave a comment below or contact us with any questions.

Download PDFClick Here to Download this Installation Guide

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Charlene Paquin - April 16, 2020

I purchased an electric fireplace, I would like it recessed on an exterior wall, since there is insulation inside the wall is it safe to use an exterior wall for placement?

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