How to Install a Pellet Fireplace Insert

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How to Install a Pellet Fireplace Insert
Pellet fuel, composed of biomass, can be burnt in regular fireplaces using an insert basket. (fireplace image by Michael Shake from

Pellet fuel is designed to burn in a pellet stove. However, you can also burn this energy-efficient fuel in regular fireplaces with a pellet fireplace insert. These inserts resemble open metal baskets on legs and are designed to be convenient and safe. You can use the insert in your existing fireplace by replacing the fireplace grate with the basket insert. You usually will not have to add fuel to a pellet fire more than once a day. In addition, some pellet fireplace inserts can be used in a wood stove or even outside.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Fireplace tools
  • Pellet fireplace insert

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  1. 1

    Measure the inside of your fireplace and purchase a pellet fireplace insert designed for the size of your fireplace. Several vendors have standard sizes available. In addition, you can order a custom-sized pellet fireplace insert from certain manufacturers.

  2. 2

    Make sure the fireplace is cold, then shovel out all ashes. Sweep the fireplace clean and remove the grate. This may require you to disconnect any anchoring hardware that holds the grate in place.

  3. 3

    Slide the pellet fireplace insert into the empty fireplace. Ensure the pellet fireplace insert has at least a little space on all sides, more at the top, and sits level on the bottom of the fireplace.

  4. 4

    Make sure no part of the insert protrudes past the front of the fireplace. If there is a door on the fireplace, make sure it closes easily with the pellet insert in place. Your pellet fireplace insert is now ready to use.

Tips and warnings

  • Burn pellets in the insert by filling the basket completely full of pellets. If there is a slant in the bottom to allow for airflow, shape the top of the pellets parallel to the slant. If any pellets fall through the insert onto the bottom of the fireplace, leave them there. Use your choice of approved fire starter and light the pellets. They should burn well and their ashes will fall through the insert as they burn.
  • Clean the insert daily and only when it is completely cool. Shovel out all ashes, then remove the basket for sweeping.
  • Do not try to use a pellet fireplace insert with a gas fireplace.
  • Use extreme caution with fire starter and any other substance that burns.
  • Do not allow children or pets near an open fire.
  • Always keep a fire extinguisher handy when operating a fireplace.

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