If it's time to upgrade your fireplace, you may be wondering what goes into the process beyond putting in the new firebox. The following are three tasks that must be handled before installation can begin.
1. Chimney Repairs
It's a good idea to make sure your old chimney is up to the task of a new fireplace, particularly if it hasn't been used in a while. A full inspection will make sure the liner, flue, chimney cap, and masonry are all in good condition. If there are other items running through the chimney, such as a furnace vent stack, they will also require inspection to ensure they are installed and functioning properly.
You may need a liner replacement if the old one is damaged, or it may be necessary to repair or replace broken or missing flues and chimney caps. Masonry can also be an issue. Worn mortar requires masonry work, while a leaning chimney may require a full replacement.
2. Fuel Source Preparation
The next stage of preparation depends on the fuel source for your new fireplace and the fuel source for the old one. If you are switching from a wood burning to a gas or electric fireplace, you will need to have the gas company run lines to the chimney, or you will need an electrician to install a dedicated outlet for the electric unit.
If you are switching from gas or electric to wood, there is also some needed prep. First, the chimney must be altered to handle a wood-burning fireplace. You will also need to have any gas lines shut down and capped, as well as removing any electrical wiring that passes through the chimney or near the home of the new firebox. A fireproof hearth may also need to be installed.
3. Permitting and Codes
Required permits can vary between different municipalities. Ideally, your fireplace installer will pull any permits that are necessary for fitting out your existing chimney and installing the new fireplace.
There may be code compliance issues as well, particularly if you are changing fuel sources or increasing the size of the fireplace. The chimney may need to fit certain height specifications, or it may need an update to safety features, such as the ember guard on the chimney cap. It's a good idea to talk with a building code officer in your area to make sure the new fireplace will be in compliance.
Contact a fireplace installation service such as Southwest Brick & Fireplace for more assistance if you are ready to upgrade your old fireplace.