If you want to salvage an old fireplace, consider installing a fireplace insert. The fireplace itself is a ready made hole making installation relatively easy. Best of all, an insert produces more heat than an open fireplace so it's a great source of supplemental heat for your home. Depending on how much you use it, the cost of the insert could quickly be matched by the money you save in winter heating bills.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Heavy cardboard
- Flue liner
- Aluminum snips
- Chimney caulk
Lay a piece of heavy cardboard on the hearth directly in front of the fireplace. Set the insert on the cardboard and carefully slide it toward the rear wall of the fireplace. Make sure you center the unit in the opening.
Remove the damper and slide a flue liner down through the top of the chimney. Fit the bottom end into the flue collar adapter on top of the insert. Attach the liner to the collar using screws and then trim off the excess liner at the top of the chimney with a pair of snips.
Mark chalk lines along the top and sides of the insert in line with the front and sides of the fireplace opening.
Pull out the insert just enough to access the pre-drilled holes on the top and sides. Loosely fasten the top extender panel to the insert with the screws supplied. Then position the panel so it just covers the chalk line and tighten the screws.
Install the two side panels using the same method as the top extender panel.
Apply chimney caulk along the joints between the insert and the three extender panels. Also caulk the seams between the top and side panels.
Attach the insulation strips to the back of the panel and slide the insert back into the fireplace so the extender panels rest flat against the front of the opening.
Tips and warnings
- When installing fireplace inserts or free standing stoves, always observe all code and safety requirements.
- Before buying your fireplace insert, measure the height, width and depth of the firebox. You need a minimum clearance specified by the manufacturer, so go to the store prepared.