5 Most Common Mistakes Made by Fireplace Contractors / Installers

5 Most Common Mistakes Made by Fireplace Contractors / Installers NOTE: This page contains Amazon.com affiliate links that pay for this site but do not impact the price you pay (or our honest opinions). Learn More.


Even for the DIY pro or a skilled homeowner, fireplace installation can be a challenging task.

The setup involves attributes from several trades, including plumbing, electrical, and framing.

For anybody who has resolved to proceed with a fireplace installation but is having doubts about finishing all parts of the installation, it is suggested to work with a home improvement company or a contractor.

Prerequisites for fireplaces differ across product lines, and this report may serve as a guide for common mistakes that can be made by even the most experienced professional.

1. Selecting the Correct Valve

One of the things to establish when buying a fireplace is the kind of appliance you would like to install.

In the event of a gas fireplace setup, there’s a long list of the different valve and burner systems to select from. Fireplace classes are electronic gas valve and millivolt systems.

While they both do the same primary task, they work very differently.

To understand a common failure that is made when setting up gas fireplaces, one must first understand the difference between these valves.

A millivolt valve system also referred to as a standing pilot program, is a form of valve that uses a pilot assembly with a little standing flame that burns at all times.

The gas valve includes a set of electromagnets that contain open springs inside the valve.

When lit manually, the pilot flame will heat a device called a thermocouple, and using resistance between dissimilar metals inside the thermocouple, a small quantity of voltage is generated to power the magnets in the valve.

Unlike an automatic gas valve unit that needs a 120-volt power supply, millivolt systems want no outside voltage source to work.

The pilot flame produces all the power that will be required.

With the increasing interest in conservation and efficiency, there has been a rise in the popularity of systems that save gas by eliminating the standing pilot.

The number of offerings that still use a standing pilot is vast, and contractors often assume it unfamiliar with a specific fireplace model that a 120-volt power supply is needed.

2. Leaving Adequate Space Between the Wood Framing and Vent Pipe

Freestanding fireplace

As if often the situation when adding a fireplace, the appliance installation is part of a larger remodel project.

The option to add a fireplace may have come while the job is well underway. Because of this, structural changes might have to be made to make room for the vent pipe.

3. Properly Insulating the Fireplace

Mentioned earlier was the increasing interest in the higher energy efficiency of a house as a whole.

For homeowners and contractors alike, this means the increased use of insulation and sealing the home tightly so that outdoor temperature fluctuations have a minimum effect on the indoor setting.

A big part of fireplace safety is keeping clearances to combustibles, and insulating around the fireplace can be challenging.

Gas and wood-burning fireplaces will have a standoff system that’s screwed or welded to the fireplace chassis. Which is concealed in the wall once the wall surface is finished.

The standoffs are supposed to be a guide for framing the fireplace to the wall enclosure that will house it a guide, using a plate. Even though it might appear correct to insulate all openings that result between the standoffs and the surface of the fireplace itself. This is, in fact, a dangerous practice that could lead to the fireplace keeping too much warmth and possibly igniting the paper backing found on many insulation batts and rolls.

The best practice to ensure energy efficiency is to adequately insulate the wall cavities around and above the fireplace. But do not allow insulation right against the fireplace itself.

The insulating material used in the wall and ceiling cavities should be fastened with metal strapping or staples. This prevents it from falling against the fireplace.

4. Choosing the Decent Vent Pipe

Vent pipe for fireplace installation

An important part of a gas fireplace installation is selecting the ideal vent pipe to run the burned exhaust gases.

Every unit will have a list of approved ventilation components tested with the appliance and deemed reliable.

With the differences which exist in gas appliances, there’s often confusion among installers concerning what is suitable for some installation.

To understand these issues, we must understand the differences between gas appliance classes.

A large part of a gas fireplace installation is the choice of the proper pipe that tracks the exhaust gases.

B vent gas fireplace will catch combustion air from the room, similarly like a traditional wood fireplace.

Exhaust gases are vented to the atmosphere through a two-ply galvanized vent pipe referred to as Type B venting.

This is the same kind of venting used for many gas furnaces and also water heaters. B vent fireplaces are not effective.

Direct vent fireplaces will need a pane of ceramic or tempered glass to close the combustion chamber from the room.

For enabling the fireplace to get air for combustion, a double-walled vent pipe will be used. The inner tube will vent the exhaust to the atmosphere, while the outer tube will draw combustion air from outdoors.

The outside tube will also help to keep the complete vent system cooling by enshrouding the inner exhaust tube.

5. Placing Other Material Near the Front of the Fireplace

Electric Fireplace Inserts

A final issue usually seen in the area is the inappropriate use of combustible finishing materials about the fireplace’s metal face.

While the metal ties that are component of most fireplaces are accountable for keeping clearances to framing. There are no such spacers placed around the metal facade of the unit itself.

Manufacturers will include a chart in the owner’s manual, which summarizes safe clearances to finishing combustible materials.

Working with a professional contractor is an excellent way to ensure that your room addition or remodel is finished correctly.

The years of expertise of a contractor will be priceless, and many will provide solid guarantees on their skill.

When it comes to complex fireplace installation, we urge you to reach out to professionals for the purchase of a new unit.

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