Can You Replace Electric Fireplace Insert?

Electric fireplace inserts are an excellent way to add ambiance and warmth to your home without the hassle of traditional wood-burning fireplaces. However, electric fireplace inserts can experience wear and tear over time, like any other appliance. If your electric fireplace insert is no longer functioning correctly or you're looking to upgrade your fireplace, you may wonder if you can replace your electric fireplace insert. The answer is yes, you can return your electric fireplace insert, but it's essential to understand the process and find the right replacement for your specific model.

Electric Fireplace Insert

In this blog post, we will discuss the steps you need to take to replace your electric fireplace insert and provide valuable tips to help you find a suitable replacement. It's essential to understand that electric fireplace inserts come in various shapes, sizes, and styles, and not all inserts are compatible with every fireplace. We will guide you through selecting the appropriate replacement insert for your fireplace. So, let's get started!

Why Should I Consider Replacing My Electric Fireplace Insert?

If your electric fireplace insert is over 10 years old, replacing your unit is essential. Since technology has advanced over the last decade, the efficiency of modern electric fireplace inserts has increased dramatically. It is important to upgrade your insert to take advantage of the latest efficient technology. Because the inner workings of an electric fireplace insert are intricate, it is important to use qualified contractors for installation and ensure that all electrical connections are correctly made. Replacing your insert can be complicated, so hiring the right company to help you is essential. Steps to Replacing your Electric Fireplace Insert

Replacing an insert requires additional work compared to replacing an electric fireplace heater. Traditional wood-burning fireplaces are less complex since they do not need other components like blower motors, ember beds and heaters. Usually, electric fireplace inserts vary by manufacturer, so it is essential to familiarize yourself with the manufacturer's guidelines for replacing fireplace inserts. Disconnect power from the wall and remove all electrical connections to remove the old insert. Make sure that no wires are touching as they could cause a short. Once all cables are free of obstruction, start with each screw located on the top of your electric fireplace insert. When finished, connect power to your new insert and reassemble it in reverse order. Once your electric fireplace inserts are correctly installed, you'll want to test them for proper operation.

How Do I Replace My Electric Fireplace Insert?

Replacing your fireplace insert begins by gathering information about your current unit. To do this, you will need to remove the front panel of your fireplace. Depending on your model, it can use a screwdriver or hex wrench. The most important part of replacing your electric fireplace insert is finding one compatible with your existing unit. While you may be tempted to purchase an insert with an updated design or upgraded features, these changes can be costly and challenging to integrate into an older fireplace. A better option is to find an insert that offers minor improvements over the existing model but still fits in the same opening. Before purchasing your new insert, check the manufacturer's website to ensure you have the correct dimensions and additional components.

Electric Fireplace Insert

After purchasing the new insert, you will need a few tools to complete the installation. Make sure to have your old insert on hand so that you can determine where each component should be placed. Before beginning the installation, it is important to disconnect the power from your unit. Then use a screwdriver or hex wrench to remove each screw holding down the old unit. When removing components of an electric fireplace, take special care not to damage any exposed wiring or electrical connections. Use wire cutters or heavy-duty scissors when removing wires connected to an electric fireplace insert with an ember bed or heater.

Steps to Replace an Electric Fireplace Insert 

Here are the steps you will need to take when replacing an electric fireplace insert and assembling your fireplace:

Step 1: Turn off the power and remove the old insert 

Before installing your new insert, it's important to take the time to remove your old insert. To do this:

Turn off the power to your fireplace and remove electrical connections and wall switches.
Disconnect all wires from the old insert, including any exposed wires connected to ember beds or heaters.
When you're ready, start with your first screw on the top of the unit.

Once finished, reconnect power to your new insert and follow the steps in reverse order for an easy installation process.

Step 2: Remove the old insert from opening

Before you can install your new insert, it is essential to remove the old unit. To do this, locate the two screws at the top of your electric fireplace and use a screwdriver or hex wrench to unscrew them. When finished, gently place your new insert and gently put the screws into place.

Step 3: Install new insert

Install your new insert after installing all screws and turning on the fireplace electricity. For this step, you will need a drill with a drill bit set at least 1 inch in size. The best option is a Milwaukee 24V Max drill with an In-line diameter bit at least 1-inch long. Do not drill through the wood into a side wall; place your new insert on the right side. Once you've located your new insert, twist it back and forth until it is snug against its opening.

Step 4: Check for proper fit

Once inserted, checking that the unit is properly aligned with the opening is essential. If not, there may be a problem. If you need help determining where your new insert should go, use a piece of paper as a guide and measure just inside the fireplace until you have located it correctly. When finished, tuck in any exposed wires and turn the power back on.

Step 5: Plug in and test the fireplace to ensure proper operation

Once the new insert is in place, it's time to plug it in and test the operation. You will need a standard wall outlet tester with a lighted green indicator to do this. When trying your electric fireplace insert, ensure the power indicator light on your unit is lit. If not, find the problem and fix it as soon as possible. If all wires are correctly connected, and power is reaching your team, you should be able to see flames or a solid red or white light, depending on your model. Make sure to keep all wires tucked away for both safety purposes and aesthetic appeal.

Tips and Tricks for Replacing an Electric Fireplace Insert

Replacing a fireplace insert is easier. These tips and tricks can help you replace an electric insert quickly and easily and save you time and money in the long run:

  • Identify the perfect fit

If you need more confidence in identifying a new insert compatible with your fireplace, use your existing insert as the model for comparison. If the replacement is too big or small, use a file and sandpaper to reduce or increase the dimension of your new insert.

  • Skip the old insert

Replacing an insert is easier than replacing the entire unit. If your existing electric fireplace is still in good shape, consider updating the insert instead of buying a replacement fireplace entirely. It can cost you less money and reduce installation time.

  • Keep connectors bundled and hidden away

The best way to prevent problematic connections when replacing an electric fireplace insert is to bundle all exposed wires together and keep them out of sight by tucking them behind a wall or rock face. It will also help improve your overall aesthetic appeal and increase safety for you and your family.

Electric Fireplace Insert

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some common mistakes you'll want to avoid when replacing an electric insert:

  • Installing inserts backward

It is essential not to install a new insert backward or upside down. Doing so will cause the fireplace to heat up from the bottom instead of the top, resulting in poor energy efficiency and overall performance. When installing your new electric fireplace insert, check for indicators like a black dot on one end that can indicate proper placement.

  • Using the wrong size drill bit

When drilling through a side wall and inserting your new insert, use a standard drill bit at least 1 inch in size rather than trying to twist it into place by hand. Using the wrong bit size is a common mistake and can lead to your wood cracking and breaking.

  • Not tucking away wires

When replacing an electric fireplace insert, keeping all wires tucked away is essential to improve overall safety and aesthetic appeal. It is also a requirement when using an electric fireplace because it will make your fireplace safer to use. When replacing an insert, hide exposed wiring behind walls or a rock face for safekeeping.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I replace an electric fireplace insert myself, or should I hire a professional?

You can replace an electric fireplace insert yourself. It's relatively easy to do, and the materials aren't expensive. If you need more confidence, however, hiring a professional for the job is okay.

  • How do I measure the hole for my new insert?

Measure your hole carefully and look at existing inserts in your fireplace. You want to make sure to measure the inside diameter, as well as where it should be positioned.

  • What tools do I need to install an electric fireplace insert?

For this project, you will need a drill with a drill bit of at least 1-inch size, a screwdriver or hex wrench, and electric wire snips if required. You can also use scissors if you like. A utility knife is another great tool for cutting the hole for your new insert.

  • Will my fireplace work with a different insert?

Your fireplace might require different size drill bits or extension cords to fit the new insert. Some inserts have specific features, such as a handle or glass window, that may work better than others, but they are sometimes interchangeable. So measure carefully before buying to ensure you're getting what you need.

  • What can I do if my plug doesn't fit?

If your apartment has electrical outlets that are too high for the insert to fit, you will need to adjust your outlet or buy a new one to plug it in. If you don't like the idea of having to buy a new outlet, there are also plug extenders available that can make your plug behave better.

  • How safe is replacing an electric fireplace insert?

Replacing an electric fireplace insert will still be safer than using an open fire or gas fireplace. The heat produced by your new insert should be similar to a gas or wood-burning fireplace so that you won't have any extra concerns about your health.


In conclusion, replacing an electric fireplace insert is a straightforward process that anyone can do with a basic understanding of electrical wiring and home improvement. With the right tools and patience, you can upgrade your old or damaged electric fireplace insert with a new one that suits your needs and style better. Whether you're looking for a more efficient heating source or want to update the look of your living space, replacing your electric fireplace insert is a simple and cost-effective way to achieve the desired result.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published