10 Pro Tips for every electric fireplace installation

We’ve been selling and installing electric fireplaces for over 20 years. While every model is slightly different, there are certain things that should always be considered before installing any electric fireplace. Armed with the experience of installing thousands of electric fireplaces, and advising on thousands of others, we’re sharing 10 Pro Tips to help you avoid the most common pitfalls. These are tips for avoiding the most common mistakes that we see, among professional and DIY installers alike. Here’s a bonus tip (no extra charge!): If you purchased your electric fireplaces from us, reach out with any installation questions, no matter how silly they may seem. A 5-minute conversation can avoid hours of frustration due to a misunderstood instruction.

Electric Fireplace Installation Tip: Will the electrical connection be Hard-wired or Plug-in?

Many electric fireplaces are designed to be plugged in. However, most of these may also be hard-wired by removing the cord and plug and connecting directly to the electrical cable in your wall. Some electric fireplaces MUST be hard-wired: Those that are connecting to 240 volts, and those that are built-in. Built-in electric fireplaces can’t be removed should there be an electrical fault. For this reason, they must be direct-wired, or hard-wired, to eliminate the electrical receptacle that would otherwise be buried behind the wall, where the fault would go unnoticed. This is a building code requirement and is designed for safety.  Note: If you prefer to leave a built-in electric fireplace on the plug, then you must provide an access panel large enough for an adult to reach into the wall and service the electrical connection, should they need to do so. 

Electric Fireplace Installation Tip: Are you connecting the fireplace to 120 or 240 volts?

All electric fireplaces will connect to 120 volts; some will also connect to 240 volts. An electric fireplace on 240 volts provides more power to the heater, and can heat up a larger space than a 120-volt fireplace. If you feel you need to heat up an area that’s 400- 800 square feet, then you may want to purchase a fireplace that connects to 240 volts. Note: Electric fireplaces that connect to both 120 and 240 volts are called dual-voltage; it’s a single model that is capable of connecting to either 120 or 240 volts. There’s no need to specify one or the other at time of purchase.

Electric Fireplace Installation Tip: Learn where the electrical connection is made on the firebox

If you want to hard-wire your surface-mounted electric fireplace, you need to know where on the wall to pull through the electrical cable, to line it up with the firebox. If you are recessing an electric fireplace into a wall, and you plan to have it plugged into a receptacle, you need to know on which side to place the receptacle, so the cord will reach. Note: Make sure that the electrical receptacle is off to the side of the firebox, and not directly behind it, unless you have enough depth in your framed opening to accommodate the firebox and the receptacle.

Electric Fireplace Installation Tip: Confirm your Trim Kit

As we’ve mentioned above, most built-in electric fireplaces have no trim around the opening. Slide-in or surface-mounted fireplaces have some sort of flange or trim that overlaps the edges of the framed opening; these trims are generally not removable, but there are exceptions. Some slide-in electric fireplaces allow for semi-flush installations by offering a trim kit that may be added to the firebox to bridge the gap between the depth of the fireplace and the depth of the opening. Fireplace inserts that are designed to be installed into masonry fireplaces offer optional trim kits to cover gaps between the firebox size and the dimensions of the existing opening; these trims may have 3 or 4 sides. Knowing if you are going to have a trim, and the size of that trim, will be crucial for getting the finished look you want.

Electric Fireplace Installation Tip: Is your fireplace Indoors or Outdoors?

All electric fireplaces are designed for installation indoors. A few are also tested and rated for outdoor use, where they will be exposed to the elements to some degree. Indoor fireplaces may not be safely installed in outdoor spaces, unless they have been designed and rated for outdoor conditions. Any space that is not completely enclosed and climate-controlled is considered ‘outdoors’ when it comes to electric fireplaces. Outdoor electric fireplaces must be under a roof overhang, to prevent water from getting directly into the fireplace.

Stylish Fireplaces knows that adding a fireplace to your home can be challenging. With an electric fireplace and their NFI Certified Hearth Design Specialists, it’s easy to create a space you’ll love to share with family and friends. Check out all the options and connect with their experts for help to find the perfect electric fireplace for you. You’ll live stylishly ever after. 

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