How to Install an Electric Fireplace Insert

How to Install an Electric Fireplace Insert

This article will cover a most common installation process of an electric fireplace insert inside of an existing masonry fireplace. There are two types of electric fireplace inserts - fireboxes and logs. Here we will cover the installation of firebox inserts into the existing fireplaces.

Can You Install an Electric Fireplace Insert Yourself?

You can install an electric fireplace insert inside your existing fireplace yourself if you have some basic carpentry knowledge and already have an electrical outlet inside your fireplace. However, in most cases, you will need to hire a licensed electrician to help you install a power outlet inside your old fireplace opening.

Clearance Requirements

Here are the minimum clearances for different parts of your electric fireplace insert:

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

Electric Fireplace Insert Clearances

Installation Steps

All the steps discussed further are also pictured in the diagram below. Please note that they may be slightly different depending on a particular brand of the electric insert you are installing. Please refer to the product manual of your electric insert for details.

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

1. Put a Cover Plate on Your Chimney

It is recommended to put a cover plate on your chimney before installing an electric insert to prevent water from coming in. This cover plate will prevent water from coming in if your chimney doesn't have a rain cap.

2. Close and Seal the Damper

It is recommended to close and seal the damper of your masonry fireplace to prevent drafts and loss of heat.


Installing Electric Insert in Masonry Fireplace

3. Install a Power Outlet

All electric fireplace inserts plug into standard household power outlets. If you want to keep the area around your fireplace free of hanging cords, you will need to install an outlet inside of your existing fireplace. 

We recommend that you hire a licensed electrician to perform this task.

4. Insert the Firebox into Your Fireplace

Simply slide the firebox inside of the opening of your fireplace. Then center, and level it. You might need to adjust the leveling screws if those are available with your model of the electric insert. Some inserts will have tie-down brackets that you will need to attach to the fireplace floor and the back of the insert on both sides to secure your insert from tipping. 

 5. Attach The Trim or The Frame

The last step is attaching the trim or the frame that will cover the gaps between the insert and the walls of the fireplace opening. Some inserts come with glass frames, others with metal trim. You can also use your own custom trim (like in the video).

Video Example: How to Install a Dimplex DF3033ST Electric Fireplace Insert: 

The insert shown in the video is  Dimplex 33" Electric Firebox DF3033ST

We have covered the general 5-step process of installing an electric fireplace insert into an existing fireplace. The installation might be slightly different depending on the brand and your particular project.

Please note that all electric fireplace inserts 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 of electric fireplace inserts that we carry:

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

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Electric Fireplace Buying Guide

2 Responses

Pat Windels
Pat Windels

July 21, 2020

I need to remove a Raised stone base & stone back wall in order for my Dimplex sf5598 insert to fit. The fireplace was an old existing Wood burning unit but has been capped.


November 12, 2019

Thanks for the information, sounds so great and helpful. Kodus!

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