You’ve decided to add a fireplace to that family room or to your new addition. And now you’re wondering who you can hire to install it. You’ve seen a pick-up buzzing around town with a magnetic sign on it that says “Hank’s Handyman Service”. A plumber or heating contractor should know how to install a fireplace, shouldn’t they? Hey, I have skills . . . how tough can it be, right?
You have a few options. Some good, some not so good. If you are planning to add a fireplace to your home, let’s discuss the pros and cons of who should install it.
THE OBVIOUS CHOICE:
To most people, it makes good sense to buy a fireplace at a legitimate, professional hearth products shop. Your WE LOVE FIRE dealer is part of a large group of experienced, independent retailers that specialize in fireplaces. Our main objective is to assist you by offering the best products, accessories and services based on your tastes and lifestyle.
There are huge advantages that your WE LOVE FIRE expert can offer you that other places to buy a fireplace cannot. Consider:
- Nationally certified and highly trained installation and service technicians.
- Strong relationships with manufacturers and suppliers that other dealers do not have.
- Exceptional quality across all product lines.
- Their combined purchasing power means the most competitive pricing available on the best products available.
- A wide range of prices, suitable for any budget.
- A family owned, local business committed to building long-term relationships with customers.
- A friendly, open dialogue with other WE LOVE FIRE dealers to share knowledge, tips and the latest technology.
Your WE LOVE FIRE dealer has in-house crews, and in some cases, carefully selected contractors that will handle all aspects of a fireplace installation. Sleep well at night knowing your fireplace has been framed correctly, clearances for the chimney or venting system have been strictly followed, the electric and gas supply lines have been installed according to local code requirements and all mandatory clearances for the hearth, mantel and finishing materials have been met or exceeded.
THE PLUMBER OR HVAC APPPROACH:
There are many heating contractors and plumbers that install fireplaces. There are several heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) shops that are fireplace dealers as well. Make sure these contractors are up-to-date on the latest standards and technologies and are certified by the National Fireplace Institute (NFI).
Plumbers and HVAC contractors install gas and electric lines, but if they are not an authorized dealer for a specific brand of fireplace, they may not be aware of specific requirements and subtleties from one fireplace manufacturer to another. Just because they replaced your hot water heater or furnace doesn’t automatically qualify them to install that new gas fireplace in your family room!
The same with general contractors and wood burning equipment. They may be great at framing, finish trim-work or laying out a stairway, but do they know the specific requirements for that fireplace you bought online? Don’t misunderstand . . . . there are lots of very competent contractors out there. And many of them work very closely with your WE LOVE FIRE dealer. Just make sure they have experience with the model you’ve decided to install and your WE LOVE FIRE dealer has confidence in their workmanship and attention to detail.
WHAT ABOUT THE D.I.Y. PROJECT?
Installing a new fireplace, regardless of the fuel you plan to use, is not rocket science. However, there is no room for error during an ‘install by owner’ project. Needless to say, the consequences are extremely serious if you miss an important detail. Knowledge of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 211) code, specific installation details from the manufacturer and a dozen or more clearance and finishing requirements are necessary for a safe and competent DIY fireplace project.
Just because I replaced a light switch in my garage doesn’t qualify me to install an 800-amp, 3 phase electric service in my shop. Remember, you’re putting a fire in your living room! “Take a risk, or hire a professional” should be the question you’re asking yourself at this point. Hopefully, your conclusion is obvious: Call your nearby WE LOVE FIRE expert.