Installing a wall mounted electric fire can really be the final piece of the puzzle in a living or dining room space, adding a final finishing touch to either a modern or period space. However, the cost of employing a professional to install the unit can put people off. With the right tools, instructions, and a free hour or so, the DIY enthusiast can easily do this themselves, saving the expense of the project. Follow our steps below to safely and professionally install a wall mounted electric fire in the home.
Why Install a Wall Mounted Electric Fire
There are many reasons why electric fires are so desirable. As a general rule, they tend to be cheaper to buy than gas or alternative fires, but look as impressive in a home space. In most homes in the UK, electricity is cheaper than gas, so the running costs of a unit is less, particularly over the unit’s lifetime, which also includes maintenance costs. Gas fires require annual inspections by a CORGI registered gas fitter, electric fires do not, once the original installation has been signed off by a professional. Electric fires are also more efficient than other types of fire. Since the fuel used (electricity) is converted directly into heat, there is very little wastage. Electric fires generally have a longer lifespan than gas fires (15 years of an electric one to 10 years of a gas). Since electric fires have no combustion products, there are also no concerns about poisonous fumes such as carbon monoxide. As an electric fire does not burn fuel, it cannot produce actual flame or become hot. However, most units come with a ‘flame effect’ to give the impression of a traditional unit, except without the heat. This makes electric fires perfect for households with young children or animals, as they cannot be burned by a hot unit. Some units also have a pebble effect, or may have frames around the outside. The possibilities are almost endless as electric fires come in a variety of styles and colours to suit almost any home.
Things to Consider Before Undertaking the Project
Installing a wall mounted electric fire is easier and much less hazardous than installing a gas one; however, there are still safety procedures that should be followed. A basic grasp of electrics would be useful. If at any stage the installer is unsure of how to proceed, the opinion of a professional electrician should be consulted. Some high street DIY stores will also offer free advice. Poor wiring is the cause of many unnecessary house fires, so always be completely confident in electrical skills before undertaking a project such as this. Always ensure the electrics in the area where the installation is taking place are switched off for the duration of the project. This will eliminate the chance of the installer being electrocuted or otherwise causing a fire in the home. As with any home DIY project, before doing anything, consider where the wall mounted electric fire is to be housed. Electric fires obviously do not need venting or connection to any gas so they can be installed on any wall, internal or external, but the power cable will need to be connecting somewhere, so ensure there is a socket close by that the flex from the unit can reach, or some other form of connection to the main electrical circuit (although the latter will require greater electrical knowledge). This may require drilling through the wall to conceal the cable. If the installation is being done as part of a renovation project, or as a stand alone purchase, the size of the fireplace grate where the unit is going to sit needs to be considered. That way, the correct size electric fire can be purchased. Inset electric fires are perfect for replacing an old gas or electric unit in a fireplace surround space.
Tools Required for This Job
To install a wall hung electric fire, the following tools are required: the Wall mounted electric fire,, an electric drill,, a screw driver, a spirit level,, a tape measure and a pencil.
Step by Step Instructions
Always consult the product manual before beginning any installation. Individual models may have specific installation instructions. The instructions below are intended as a general guide and are not exhaustive.
- Before attempting to fit the fire, ensure there is access to the electric socket by drilling a suitably sized hole in the wall towards the socket, so the flex can be run through the wall. Once this is done, fit the plug and ensure it can reach the socket. If electrical work is needed to the mains power to run the supply, refer to specific instructions with the product or consult with a professional electrician. Never route the cable underneath carpet.
- Most electric fire models come with a template with the product to aid installation. Use the template to establish where the holes where need to be drilled to insert cables etc. Mark on the wall or surround with a pencil where these holes need to be.
- Drill the holes required, usually using a 6mm drill bit and fit wall plugs (which should be supplied, if not, use suitably sized ones). If the fire is being fitted to plaster board with a cavity behind it, then extra wall fittings will need to be fitted to ensure the security of the unit.
- Fit the screws into the holes that have been drilled, leaving them roughly 5mm proud of the wall.
- Repeat steps 3 & 4 with the screws required for hanging the lower section of the fire.
- Locate the key holes to the rear top of the fire, and hang the fire on the screws.
- Check that the electric fire is level using a spirit level, and make adjustments if necessary. Once satisfied with the location of the fire, the screws can be fully tightened; Access to them will need to be gained via the holes at the front of the unit.
- Fit any trim to the outside of the fire, and add any pebbles if installing a pebble model.
Once the fire is firmly in place, ensure that it is fully operational and have it checked by a professional electrician. Paperwork signed by the electrician to confirm this will be necessary. All fires require regular maintenance. When cleaning, conducting maintenance, or replacing a bulb, ensure the unit is switched off and unplugged. Stainless steel units can be cleaned using a cloth and suitable cleaner. Other units should be cleaned with a damp cloth. If the mains cable becomes damaged, it should be inspected and replaced by a professional electrician. The area around the fire should be kept clear of any animal hair or lint, as this could be drawn into the unit and may affect its performance. When using the fire, ensure the vent at the top is not obstructed. Doing so can result in overheating of the unit and a fire.
Installing an electric fire in the home as part of a DIY project can be simple and easy, if the correct tools are used and instructions followed. Electric fires are ideal for households and come in a variety of styles and colours to suit any room. However, great care should always be taken when installing an electrical product and if any concerns are raised or if the installer is unsure with how to proceed with the installation, the advice of a professional electrician should be sought. If done correctly, a fantastic wall mounted electric fire can be a focal point in the living room space.