A Guide to Convert a Gas Fireplace to an Electric Insert

Replacing your old gas fireplace with and electric insert can be fun and easy. Why fun? Well let’s be honest, who doesn’t like saving money! All you’ll need are a pair of groove joint pliers and a pipe wrench for leverage.

How to Convert Gas Fireplace to Electric

Image via Gas Coals.

Electric inserts can be fitted into just about any existing fireplace. The dimensions of the insert must fit within the fireplace cavity. In order to replace a gas fireplace with an electric insert you will need to remove the existing unit, seal the gas line, and pop in the electric unit. Continue reading for a step-by-step guide that will take you through the process.

Converting From Gas to Electric Insert

Removing a Gas Fireplace

Natural gas is highly combustible and extremely dangerous. You may want to allow a professional to handle this. Before you get started, turn off the gas valve to your home. This will prevent any accidents.

  • Remove the trim surrounding your fireplace. You can then proceed to disconnect the gas line from the wall and the fireplace. Wiggle loose your gas fireplace and carefully pull it out.
  • Plug the gas line with a safety cape and apply pipe sealing around the threads of the cap to ensure a tight fit. This will prevent gas leaks and eliminate the potential for house fires.
  • Turn the gas back on to check for any leaks. You can spray a mixture of water and dish soap around the cap for a visual inspection. If there are bubbles coming out, that means that there is gas leaking through the cap. Reseal/tighten if this is the case.

Sealing Your Fireplace Vent

Vented fireplaces must be sealed to prevent any warm air from escaping through the chimney. This is one of the main reasons why electric inserts are more efficient that traditional wood stoves and gas fireplaces.

You can either close the damper or block off the vent from the bottom using a piece of plywood or sheet metal that is cut to fit. Install a chimney cap at the top of your chimney to ensure an air-tight seal. You don’t want money floating out of your chimney!

Keep in mind, electric inserts use more electricity than other household items like a lamp or a blender. For this reason, you will want to dedicate an outlet solely to your electric insert. Overloading your circuit could lead your power to trip. If this happens, you will have to flip the circuit breaker.

CAUTION: Never use extension cords to connect your fireplace. You can read in-depth information about this problem here.

Electric Insert Before and After

Image via Outdoor Rooms.

Installing an Electric Insert

Now that you’ve cleared out the old gas fireplace, you’re ready install your new electric insert. The electric insert should slide right into place. It should fit inside of the existing cavity without any modifications. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions for any model specific directions.

Turn your electric insert on and test the various settings, checking to make sure that each function is working properly. You want to check all of these features and report any defects with the manufacturer to ensure that your warranty is honored. Many times, manufacturers set a deadline for reports of malfunctions so you want to be sure to protect yourself by being proactive about your inspection. Once everything works correctly, install the surrounding trim and/or mantel and you should be good to go!

Builders Box Contemporary Electric Fireplace Insert 110V

The 36” Builders Box Contemporary Electric Fireplace Insert. $823.99

Why Convert to an Electric Insert?

How many times have you thought, “Gee, it would be nice to throw together a fire tonight.” This would require another trip to the store to bring home a bundle of fire logs. Be realistic, how easy would it be to just spark up a flame at the click of a button! Gas fireplaces can be controlled easily but they cost much more than electric units. They also pose a significant fire hazard. If you’ve ever walked into your house to the smell of a gas leak, you can relate to this heart-stopping fear.

Not only are electric inserts 100% energy efficient, installation costs are dismal in comparison to old school gas fireplaces. You can find the perfect insert for your home that fits your budget. Electric inserts come in all shapes and sizes. They offer different features such as the flame effect, a safety shut off switch, and remote control access. Whether you prefer a contemporary look or are searching for a nostalgic mantel that you can sip a cup of Joe around, there’s something for everyone to love.

Classic Flame SpectraFire Curved Electric Fireplace Insert

The 37.72” Classic Flame SpectraFire Curved Electric Fireplace Insert. $551.99

Questions? Contact Portable Fireplace by calling 1-888-682-2591 or sending an email to info@portablefireplace.com!

Additional Resources:

  1. Difference Between Gas Fireplaces and Electric Fireplaces
  2. Convert Your Hearth to an Electric Fireplace