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How Do I Install a Fireplace?

Modern fireplaces typically burn natural gas or liquid propane gas unlike the traditional wood-burning ones of the past.
It's important to find out if the local building authority requires a permit to install a fireplace.
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  • Written By: Donn Saylor
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 18 December 2014
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To install a fireplace, you need to carefully follow a series of steps, many of which depend on the type of fireplace you are installing, the requirements of local building authorities, and the current structure of your home. The steps necessary to properly install fireplaces include the obtainment of appropriate building permits, the construction of a chimney, the insertion of the fireplace unit itself, and the creation of a mantel. While some savvy, experienced homeowners may undertake this project on their own, most home experts advise hiring or working closely with seasoned professionals when installing a fireplace.

The first thing you need to decide on is what type of fireplace you'd like in your home. Most people choose either an open wood fireplace or a gas fireplace. For the purposes of construction, a gas fireplace is a far easier option, as it does not require construction of a chimney.

After you have decided on your fireplace, you will want to check with local building authorities to see if your region requires you have a permit to build and install a fireplace. Many regions do require this paperwork, and homeowners should be prepared to wait weeks or months to attain the necessary documentation. Additionally, you should check with your insurance company to make sure it will cover the installation of a fireplace should anything go wrong.

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Thirdly, you need to consider the set-up of your home. If you do not already have a chimney, you will need to hire someone to install one for you. This can be a costly undertaking, and you may want to opt instead for a gas fireplace, which does not necessitate the use of a chimney.

The next step to install a fireplace involves inserting the unit itself into the wall. If you have a wood-burning unit, this needs to be installed at the base of the chimney. If you go with a gas fireplace, you need to make certain that the fireplace can access your home's gas supply safely and effectively. Every fireplace unit is manufactured with different installation instructions, guidelines, and tips. It is important to follow these directions closely in order to install your fireplace correctly.

Once the unit is in the wall, the last step to install a fireplace entails building a mantel. Most fireplaces contain mantels as an integral part of the finished decor. These can be designed according to your own specifications and can add a personal touch to a prefabricated fireplace unit.

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Animandel
Post 3

I like the look of a wood burning fireplace, but they are not as convenient. It is harder to keep the house clean if you burn natural wood and not the logs you buy in the store. Also, with wood you have all of those ashes to take out of the house. This is another source of dirt and dust i the house.

The decision to install a gas fireplace is something we think will pay a long list of dividends in the future. Heating with the gas will be more efficient and cleaner.

mobilian33
Post 2

I heat mostly with wood because I have plenty of it and I don't have to pay anything for it. My house is small, and I don't have any complaints about the way the wood keeps the house warm. The only reason I am thinking about wood burning fireplace inserts is because the fireplaces sometimes smoke more than I like.

If I can figure out how to install fireplace inserts then I won't have so much smoke in the house when I have all of the fireplaces burning at the same time.

Feryll
Post 1

When we were searching for a house and we finally settled on which house to buy, we thought buying one with a fireplace would be a really good way of saving on energy costs. I have been told that burning wood for heat is much less expensive than the other ways of heating.

Since we bought the house, I have learned that heating with wood in an open fireplace is not very efficient at all. Last winter when I used the fireplace I could feel very little heat from the fire, and I am also told that the heat that was being produced by our gas furnace was being sucked out the chimney. So we were losing heat from the fire and the furnace via the chimney.

After last winter's experience, I will not use the fireplace again until I can get some type of fireplace insert installed. This way I will be able to look at the flames and get some heating benefits as well.

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