Richard Trethewey helps a family deal with a cold addition. The family’s living room was added to the home in the 1980s and only has electric heat to condition it, and would like to use the fireplace in the adjoining room to spread some heat. Once Richard explains how inefficient a fireplace can be, he solves the family’s issue by having a wood-burning insert installed in the fireplace.
A homeowner’s living room needs supplemental heat, and plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey knows how to use a fireplace in an adjoining room. The problem is that fireplaces themselves are unbelievably inefficient. While they do emit some radiant heat, they cause a draft that pulls the heated air from the rest of the home and sends it up the chimney.
A better option is a wood-burning fireplace insert, which emits radiant heat and forced hot air, while also preventing warm air from the home escaping. Richard helps the homeowner come up with this solution and then finds a local pro for the installation.
As Richard mentions, this is not a DIY project. However, this guide will provide a helpful overview of how to install a fireplace insert.
How To Install a Fireplace Insert
Remember, this project is best left to experts who know how to install these devices safely. However, this is a helpful overview of how the project should go.
- Measure the fireplace and order the insert. The insert should be smaller than the fireplace but the surround and shroud should cover the entire opening.
- Remove the existing fireplace surround and damper from the fireplace. Clean the fireplace thoroughly with a HEPA filter-fitted wet/dry vacuum.
- Place the insert slightly into the fireplace, leaving room to access the flue on top of the insert.
- Working from the roof, Install a flexible stainless steel chimney liner down the chimney.
- Attach the liner to the insert’s flue with self-tapping metal screws.
- Secure the top of the flue at the mouth of the chimney and install a chimney cap on the end of the liner.
- Slide the insert into the fireplace and install the shroud and surround to block off the opening.
- Plug the insert’s power cord into a nearby outlet.
- Test the insert by building a tower of logs and paper. Press the damper button in to allow more air into the insert, turn on the fan, and light the fire before closing the door.
Richard Trethewey helps a homeowner troubleshoot how to supplement heating their home by using their fireplace. Richard explains fireplace convection, why it’s not an efficient source to heat the home, and why a wood burning insert is a great option for the homeowner. After, a team of installers install a stainless-steel liner and wood burning fireplace insert.
Richard does a demonstration showcasing how fireplace convection works.
The fireplace insert works by:
- Pulling air from the room into the lower chamber.
- Air circulates behind the firebox, picking up the heat. From there, a fan pushes the heated air back out of the front facing vent above the fire.
- The heat from the central burner also emits more radiant heat from the face of the insert, back into the room.
- Combustion fumes and smoke vent out of the top of the insert through an installed chimney liner.
- The insert works as a seal, so even if there’s no fire burning, there are no drafts.