Having a new wall mounted gas fire in a living or dining room can bring together the decor and ambience of the room, and really add a finishing touch to it all. However, hiring a professional to do the job can cost money, so for the competent DIY enthusiast, carrying out this job can avoid that cost. Installing a gas fire can be a daunting task, which is why most leave it to the professionals, but it is possible to DIY. Follow our steps below to safely and professionally install a wall mounted gas fire to be proud of in the home.
Things to Consider Before Starting This Project
Firstly, since this is the installation of a gas fire, extreme care and caution must be taken at all times. Only very competent DIYers with access to professional advice (and a CORGI registered gas fitter who can legally sign off the installation as being safe) should attempt this kind of project at home. Installing a gas fire incorrectly can result in explosion, fire, and death. So this is not a project to take lightly. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions when installing a gas fire, and make sure any relevant paperwork is included with a purchase. Consider where the wall mounted gas fire is to be installed. These units are not particularly light, so the wall needs to be strong enough to be able to house it. The height that the unit will be at is another consideration. It is advisable to have these types of units out of reach of small children and animals. Modern style houses tend to have gas fires at a higher level than those in a more traditional home, but the decision is purely personal.
Types of Wall Mounted Gas Fires
There are different types of gas fires that can be wall mounted, or also known as a hole-in-the-wall fire. They can come in a range of sizes and styles to suit the design of any room, from the period to the modern. Due to the way they are mounted on the wall, they do not usually require a hearth, although this does vary according to the manufacturer. This makes these types of fires very useful in modern homes, as many of them do not have traditional chimneys. Previously this limited those households to only electric fires, but now this is no longer the case. All gas fires have a minimum room space in which it needs to be able to be safely operated. This will vary according to the model and manufacturer, and these details will be available in the operating manual. As a general rule, the larger the KW rating of the gas fire, the larger the room will need to be. These gas fires should not be relied upon as the sole source of heat in a room. Nor should anything be placed in close vicinity above the fire, as this could cause the item to melt, or combust, resulting in a fire.
Fanned Flue/Powerflue Fire
This type of wall mounted gas fire needs to be installed on an exterior wall so access can be given to the flue. An electronically driven fan unit draws out the combustion gases to the outside. The fan unit is controlled by a microprocessor that is capable of shutting off the fire if there is a malfunction. Fanned flue and powerflue fires tend to be the most expensive and usually least efficient of gas fire type.
Balanced Flue Fire
Balanced flue gas fires operate by venting directly through an external wall by a horizontal co-axial pipe, which is one pipe within another. Air enters the system through the outer pipe, and combustion gases leave the system through the inner pipe. These types of gas fire have glass fronts, which may not be suitable for those with young children in the home as they glass will become extremely hot when in use. Use a fire guard if young children are present. Glass fronted models usually project more heat as the combustion products in them circulate the fuel bed for longer and do not escape so easily up the chimney. Installing one with a glass panel means that the glass can easily be removed for maintenance purposes.
Flueless Gas Fires
Flueless models do not require a chimney, which makes them easier to install and means they can be placed on an interior wall. Instead they require a vent in the wall to provide a natural source of fresh air. Vents can cause draughts, but this is avoidable with careful selection and siting, and by using a high-quality vent. The size of the vent required will vary according to the KW rating of the fire – the larger the KW, the larger the vent required. The minimum is 100cm2. The operator manual will say how big the room needs to be. The way these models work is by the combustion gases being sent through a catalytic converter within the unit, which converts the poisonous fumes into Carbon Dioxide and water vapour, which is then released externally. This type of gas fire also requires an openable window to be present in the room. This does not mean the window needs be open when the fire is in use however. Flueless gas fires must not be installed in bathrooms or basements (unless the basement has an exposed wall on one side). It is also not advisable to install them in bedrooms or kitchens, the latter because there is a high moisture content in the room that will be drawn into the fire.
Tools Required for This Job
The tools for this job are: the wall mounted gas fire, drill/screws, a spirit level and a screwdriver.
- These will be found in the operator manual, and will vary according to the make, model, and type of gas fire. Always follow those instructions extremely carefully and if unsure at any stage, consult a professional CORGI registered gas fitter. Gas fires, as with all gas products, should be serviced regularly, ideally once a year. Failure to do so could invalidate the warranty of the product.
- Most products are provided with a template which will indicate the fixing points of the unit. The gas supply (either concealed or exposed pipe work) should be in line with the fixing point so the pipe work can enter the unit in the correct position when it is fixed to the wall.
- Drill the wall as appropriate to the type of surface. If the wall is dry lined or timber framed, then the unit should be fixed in at least 2 positions vertically, into the wooden studs or supporting wall. Special screws (which should be included with the product) must be used for this. If this is not possible, appropriate building materials should be used to strengthen the wall in preparation for installation.
- Insert the chosen type of wall fixings, then insert the wall fixing screws into the wall plugs at the top, making sure to leave the screws protruding approximately 5mm from the wall.
- Hang the unit (ideally with assistance from another person) onto the screws through the holes on the upper back of the unit. Repeat this step with the lower fixtures in the lower wall plugs so the bottom of the unit can also be fixed.
- Before fully tightening the screws, check the unit is properly aligned horizontally with a spirit level. Make small adjustments if necessary. Then tighten the screws. Some of the screws may not be easily accessible so a small screwdriver should be inserted through the access holes at the front.
- Once installation is complete, a certified CORGI gas fitter must test the appliance to make sure it is safe to use.
Doing a DIY installation of a wall mounted gas fire can be tricky and should only be attempted by an experienced DIY or professional. If the correct procedures are followed at all times and the utmost care is taken during installation, there should be no problems occuring during the process.