Are electric fireplace inserts a good idea?

Can you put an electric fireplace insert in a wood-burning fireplace?

Revised April 15, 2024

Absolutely! An electric fireplace insert offers an excellent way to transform your old wood-burning fireplace into a convenient and cozy feature. This article provides key insights on how and why to convert your wood fireplace to electric.

First, rest your mind at ease. Gone are the days of the ‘tinsel and red lightbulb’ trying to pass for a flame. Because today, many quality electric inserts have realistic flames that could fool an old wood burner.

Now, here's why converting your old wood-burning fireplace to an electrical insert may make sense for you:

How to convert a wood-burning fireplace into an electric insert

You may want to refer to this comprehensive guide on electric fireplace installation, but here is a quick recap:

  • Preparing your wood-burning fireplace: Clean the existing fireplace box thoroughly.
  • Electrical outlet installation: Hire an electrician to install a dedicated 120-volt outlet inside your fireplace.
  • Choose your electric insert: Find an insert that matches your fireplace size and desired style.
  • Insert and secure: Place the insert inside your wood-burning fireplace and plug it in.
  • Finishing (optional): Consider a surround panel to cover gaps around the insert for a seamless look.

How to Choose the Best Electric Insert for Your Home

What is the best electric fireplace insert, you ask? At first, you may be baffled by the vast choices in units, sizes, styles, and options. In addition, you can easily buy them online at a big box store or a specialty fireplace dealer. By all means, do your research, but the “you get what you pay for” rule applies.

For that reason, visiting a specialty store with units on display is always best. Your local friendly fireplace store, WE LOVE FIRE®, can answer all your questions. You can also get comfortable with your future electric fireplace that best suits your lifestyle. 

Below is a list of fireplace and grill stores that service Virginia (VA)

Manassas, VA

Winston's Chimney Service
11301 Industrial Road
Manassas, VA 20109

Winston's Chimney Service LogoVisit Store Page

Mechanicsville, VA

Hearth & Home Shoppe
8151 Mechanicsville Tpk
Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Hearth & Home Shoppe LogoVisit Store Page

Roanoke, VA

Dixie Building Products Inc.
3342 Melrose Ave NW
Roanoke, VA 24017

Warrenton, VA

Costello's Warrenton Fireplace & Hot Tub
251 West Lee Hwy
Warrenton, VA 20186

For more information, contact your local fireplace and grill store..

1 Response

  1. Maria
    We just bought a 50 year old home in north central FL. It has a wood buring fireplace. During the home inspection it was noted the chimney was dirty and I should have it inspected and cleaned by a chimney sweep. They came and it was dirty, so they completed a level 2 cleaning (not sure what that means). The are saying my lining needs to be replaced, if I want to continue to burn wood. It has a 40" opening and brick lining. I am thinking of putting in an electric insert and calling it a day. Of course, my husband wants to burn wood. I want to change the mantle and all of the exterior visual components because they are outdated. We really wanted it to be open to the other side also, since it is the dining room and it would be a beautiful focal point. The chimney sweep guy was telling me it could cost $10,000 to $60,000 to make this work, depending on wood, gas or electric. What are your thoughts? I can send you photos, if you like. Thanks for any input. Maria Brandvold 305-699-7451

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