Converting Your Old Wood Burning Fireplace into an Electric Fireplace

6 min read


On a cold winter day, few smells and sounds are more appealing than a wood burning fireplace. And yet, smoke from wood-burning fireplaces and stoves is a major source of wintertime smog. It is also a health threat to many, including people with asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.

So, why not convert it?

Electric fireplaces are a great alternative to wood burning fireplaces. With advancing technology, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between wood fireplaces and quality electric fireplaces. Furthermore, electric is more efficient, less damaging to the environment, and safer. Electrical fireplaces don’t emit carbon monoxide or particulates, and give off zero fumes.

You can also run an electric fireplace without heat! This means that you can enjoy the ambiance of your fireplace year round.

Converting a wood fireplace to an electric fireplace is also less complex compared to gas fireplaces because there is no need for venting. This is also great if your wood burning fireplace is out of commission due to a poorly functioning chimney.

If you’re not yet convinced on the benefits of electric, check out our blog post about the benefits of electric for more reasons to go electric.

If you are convinced, you are probably wondering what options you have and how to get started. What are your options?

Fireplace Log Sets

Electric fireplace log sets are a fast, clean, and safe way to enjoy your old masonry fireplace again. Specifically designed to bring life back to your old masonry fireplaces, inserts are constructed to easily fit into most existing fireplace openings. With handcrafted pulsating logs, it’s the only way these days to have a true open fire in the comfort of your own home without safety restrictions and the drawback of unsightly screens, doors, and chains. Equipped with a powerful fan-forced heater, you are set for both ambiance and comfort.

Installing a log set is also quick and easy, leaving you more time to enjoy the warmth and glow of your new fireplace. You can use your existing fireplace opening as well as any doors or screens in you choose.

Firebox Inserts

While looking every bit as good as masonry fireplaces, electric fireboxes provide unmatched flexibility and ease of installation. They come in several different styles and with many different options. You can choose between hardwired and plug-in; you can have traditional logs with inner-glow technology or tumbled glass and acrylic ice ember beds for a more contemporary feel.

Unlike the inserts option, if you want to use your old masonry fireplace, the firebox must fit your opening perfectly or select a trim accessory kit for a finished look. Otherwise you will have an open space between the firebox and the existing masonry.

Preparing your Wood Burning Fireplace for an Electric Fireplace Install

When converting your electric fireplace, it is important that you have all the necessary measurements prior to selecting your unit. To ensure the new electric fireplace will fit, be sure to measure the height and width of your fireplace opening at different depths. Take the time to measure the height and width at the opening as well as 9” and 1’ into the opening. NOTE: Be sure to measure the top and bottom as many old world masonary fireplaces were slightly tapered, should this be the case you may want to consider a log set.

Remember, if you are getting a firebox, the firebox must fit the opening perfectly to avoid any gaps. If you are using an insert, it just has to be smaller than the existing opening, so that it will fit inside the fireplace.

Lastly, you will want to run electrical to the fireplace. This step is best completed by an electrician as they will know the safest way to perform the task. Always consult with your preferred electrician prior to purchasing a unit on your own.  They truly are the experts, as some units are directly hardwired while others simply plug into a 120V plug. There are advantages to both, a true solution is dependent on your situation.

So whether your wood burning fireplace is out of commission or you just don’t want to use your wood fireplace anymore, opt for an electric fireplace and breathe new life back into your old fireplace!