Gas fireplaces add a charming touch to a home or business. They’re also convenient, as you don’t have to worry about gathering logs for a wood-burning fireplace or deal with the smell of smoke. With a gas fireplace, you simply turn on a switch and you’ll instantly have heat and a flame.
If you have a gas fireplace that’s a direct-vent unit, you won’t need a large chimney to install when you can easily and quickly place it in a current building without having to remodel. However, you should know how to install a gas fireplace correctly. The steps below will show you how to safely and correctly install a gas fireplace.
Choose the Location
The first step to install a gas fireplace is to choose where you’ll be placing it. Think about several factors before making a decision about where to place the fireplace. You’ll want the fireplace to heighten the character and design of your room, but it also needs to be placed where a gas line, exhaust pipe, or electrical circuit is already installed.
It’s often simplest to place a gas fireplace as a stand-alone unit on an outside wall so that the venting pipe will exit from the wall. You should also keep in mind that the venting pipe needs to be between studs, so consider architecture when choosing the spot you want to place the fireplace.
Order the Fireplace
You have many options to choose from when ordering a fireplace. While you can order them online, it may be best to visit a fireplace showroom so that you can see every style available in person. You can also measure them during your visit and compare it to space you have available at your home. While you’re considering your options, ask a sales representative to help you order every part you need for the exhaust piping. These parts include the pipe between the wall and fireplace, outside pieces for the pipe, and a wall pass-through.
Begin Building and Piping
Next, buy or build the platform that the fireplace will occupy. While a gas fireplace unit itself is small, it isn’t safe to sit directly on the floor. To get your fireplace off the floor, you’ll want to create a platform or hearth. You should use materials for the platform that won’t be combustible but still match the general decoration of the room. For example, you could use ceramic tiles or masonry. Many fireplace companies already have premade platforms that you can buy, and these options will likely be the most convenient choices when you’re ordering your fireplace.
Read all manufacturer’s instructions for installing the platform and verify the materials used in the platform. You should also keep in mind that you need clearance around the perimeter of the fireplace, which will also be listed in the manufacturer’s instructions. The instructions will include what clearance the fireplace needs to have from any combustible surfaces in the room and how to position your fireplace so that you can properly install the exhaust pipe.
Create a Ventilation Hole
Place the fireplace and platform in your final desired location. Make sure it’s away from anything combustible and looks good in its place. Take the exhaust piping and install it at the back or top of the stove; connect as much of the piping as possible to the part that enters through the wall. When you do, you can decide exactly where the hole in the wall will go.
Next, use stove cement to connect a straight pipe to a starting collar on the tip of the fireplace. Follow the instructions to verify what gasket you need to attach the collar to the pipe. When you decide where you want the exhaust pipe hole, take a pencil and trace a circle that goes around the pipe in the wall. You should move the fireplace and platform so that you’ll be able to access the wall easier when you cut the hole.
When you’re ready to create the venting, cut a hole to provide a venting system. This hole should be roughly the size of the wall pass-through that you obtained when you ordered the fireplace. The purpose of this pass-through is to keep the heat separated from any wall materials that are combustible, which is essential when reducing your risk of fire damage. Before you cut completely through the wall, confirm you don’t have any pipes or electrical lines in the spot where you’re cutting. This situation can be very dangerous if you don’t check before making any cuts.
Using a drywall saw, gently make a square hole around the pencil tracing you made and take out the drywall. From the inside, drill a hole outward or at each corner of your square wall pass-through. Use lumber to frame the inner edges of the opening and refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to determine what the size and materials should be for the completed hole.
Hook Up the Fireplace
If you need a new gas line, you’ll want to hire a professional to do the job. You should call an electrician if the fireplace unit needs electricity for fans or other parts to run. Installing a gas line costs around $500 to $2,000 and between $150 to $300 for wiring. The fireplace doesn’t necessarily need a frame or mantle, but it will look more finished and realistic with them. These elements can be bought premade or built yourself.
Installing a gas fireplace takes some work, but when you follow the right steps, you’ll be able to do the work on your own. It’s best to see examples of a fireplace and platform in person so that you can see how the fireplace looks in person and make sure the measurements are correct for the space in your home. After you built the piping and create the ventilation hole, your fireplace will be ready to be attached and set up for your enjoyment.