Electric fireplace inserts are commonly found installed within existing open fireplaces and other forms of bespoke installations such as entertainment centers, but compared to other types of fireplace insert, electric inserts may not have as long of a life span.
As electric fireplace inserts are electrical appliances with moving parts, there can be more that can go wrong.
As a result, an electric fireplace may need to be removed, either for cleaning and maintenance purposes or to replace the unit altogether.
To remove an electric fireplace insert:
- Check to see if anything is holding the insert in place, such as brackets, and remove them.
- Check to see whether the insert is held in place by the fireplace surround and/or back panel.
- Remove the fireplace surround, if required, to access the electric insert.
- Remove the electric fireplace trim, if required to remove the main unit.
- Pull out the electric fireplace insert, being mindful that the unit will be plugged into the electrics somewhere behind.
- Disconnect the electric insert from the electrics by pulling out the plug, or have an electrician disconnect the insert if hard-wired in.
To replace an electric fireplace insert, install the new insert in reverse order to how the previous insert was removed and follow any installation guidelines outlined by the manufacture as set out in the owner’s manual.
As we’re currently installing our own electric fireplace insert into our existing fireplace, we know how we can remove that insert when it comes round to fixing or replacing it.
Read on to see more in-depth guidance and pictures on how to remove and replace an electric fireplace insert.
This article covers removing and replacing an electric fireplace insert.
For more information on the best electric fireplace inserts you can buy right see our electric fireplace insert buying guide.
Can Your Remove An Electric Fireplace Insert?
Electric fireplace inserts aren’t typically a permanent feature and can be removed when needed. Many electric inserts can simply be pulled out and unplugged from the electrical outlet that it’s connected to, but if the insert is hard-wired in it may require professional help to fully remove.
How To Remove An Electric Fireplace Insert
To remove an electric fireplace insert, check for any connections holding the insert in place and remove them, and pull the electric insert out of where it currently sits until the electrical connection can be seen. Unplug the electric insert from the outlet and pull the electric insert out completely.
1) Check Connections
Depending on how you’re existing electric fireplace insert has been installed, you may need to remove any connections holding the insert in place.
This could be in the form of brackets and screws, but you’ll need to seek advice from the owner’s manual of the insert for advice on how it was originally installed.
Many electric fireplace inserts aren’t held in place by anything.
For example, our electric insert simply sits on the hearth of our existing fireplace and once it has been installed it doesn’t require any form of permanent connection.
We can therefore simply pull this electric insert towards us to remove it from the existing fireplace.
2) Remove Any Surrounds Or Back Panels
Electric fireplace inserts are often accompanied by a fireplace surround and/or back panel that may need to be removed before the electric fireplace can be removed.
A surround may have been installed over an electric fireplace insert to help keep it in place.
A fireplace surround is often held in place against a wall using brackets and screws. The locations of the brackets and screws for our old fireplace surround is shown below.
See our article on fireplace surrounds for more information.
A fireplace surround may also be accompanied by a back panel, which covers the area between the surround and the insert.
Our old cast iron fireplace surround back panel is shown below as an example. This back panel simply came away from the wall when the surround and screws were removed.
See our guide on fireplace back panels for more information.
In many cases you won’t need to remove a fireplace surround in order to remove an electric fireplace insert but we’ve covered how to remove a fireplace surround in more detail here if you need to.
3) Remove Any Trim
Electric fireplace inserts can often come with a trim that can be added before or after they have been installed to help them look more built-in and realistic.
Depending on your model of electric insert, you may need to remove this trim to access the main unit to have it removed.
The trim for our electric insert simply slides up from the main unit to be removed, but in our case doesn’t need to be removed for us to be able to remove the whole unit.
4) Partially Remove The Electric Fireplace Insert
Electric fireplace inserts can typically be removed by pulling the unit towards you out of whatever it has been placed within, such as an existing fireplace.
When removing an electric fireplace insert take into consideration that the unit is likely to be plugged into the electrics somewhere behind.
By partially removing the electric insert you can check to see where this electrical connection is.
For example, the power cord for our electric insert can be seen on the side of the back of the appliance when partially removed.
5) Unplug The Electric Insert
In order to fully remove an electric fireplace insert you’ll need to disconnect it from the electrics.
This can often be done by simply unplugging the fireplace from the electrical outlet that it’s plugged into.
In many cases, this electrical outlet will be located somewhere behind the unit (such as within the firebox of an existing fireplace).
An electric fireplace insert may also be plugged into a nearby electrical outlet with the cable hidden.
If the electric fireplace is wired directly into the electrics, then you’ll need to have an electrician disconnect it for your before proceeding further.
6) Fully Remove The Electric Fireplace Insert
With an electric fireplace insert disconnected from the electrics, it can be fully removed.
An electric fireplace insert can typically be fully removed by sliding it out from where it was placed through the front.
Electric inserts will commonly have a front area that can be held and used to remove it, and have a larger back area that needs to be removed before the whole unit can be taken out.
In many cases an electric fireplace insert will need to be removed in order to replace it with a new one, which we discuss below.
Can I Replace An Electric Fireplace Insert?
Electric fireplace inserts can be replaced as needed by first removing the existing electric insert. The replacement electric fireplace insert will need to be the right dimensions to fit, and professional help may be required if it needs wiring into the electrics.
How To Replace An Electric Fireplace Insert
Electric fireplace inserts are electrical appliances and may need to be replaced after several years once the lifespan of the unit has come to an end.
Once an old electric fireplace insert has been removed, a replacement electric fireplace insert can then be installed.
To replace an electric fireplace insert:
- Identify the model of your current electric fireplace insert and determine its dimensions (height, width and depth).
- Ensure that the replacement electric fireplace matches the dimensions of the old one (in terms of the area that sits within the existing fireplace or other form of installation).
- Check that the new electric fireplace insert has the same electrical connection type as the previous (plug-in or hard-wired) for ease of installation.
- Install the new electric insert in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Before replacing an electric fireplace insert you’ll need to consider the dimensions of the old one and ensure that the new appliance matches.
This will help allow for a seamless installation with no amendments required to the object it’s being installed within.
If the new insert is too small then there can be a gap around the insert and the surround. Too large and the electric insert may not fit without adjustment to the surround.
Consider the size of the area of the insert that’s being installed. For example, if we were to replace our electric fireplace insert we’d need to get a new one with the same back area dimensions so that it fits properly into our existing fireplace.
If our replacement electric fireplace insert was wider than this one then it wouldn’t fit.
If buying a replacement electric fireplace insert that’s of the plug-in type then you may need to ensure that the new insert has the right length of power cord required to reach the outlet.
Once the electrical connection has been sorted, either by plugging the new insert into the outlet or having a professional wire it in, the replacement electric fireplace insert can be installed in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines.
See our article on how to install an electric fireplace insert in an existing fireplace for more information regarding installation.
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