How to Convert Wood-Burning Fireplace to Electric In 3 Steps

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Craving the cozy glow and ambiance of a fireplace without the hassle of smoke, logs, and ash? Say goodbye to soot-stained mornings and hello to instant warmth and convenience. This guide will walk you through the process of how to convert wood burning fireplace to electric one.

It’s easier than you think, taking just three key steps to turn your tired, traditional hearth into a modern marvel of flameless charm. Ready to ditch the firewood and embrace the future of fire?

The shift from wood-burning to electric is just a 10-minute read away!


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How to Convert Wood Burning Fireplace to Electric 

Before starting the electric conversion process, it’s crucial to follow pre-conversion steps to ensure safety, gather the necessary tools, understand electrical requirements, and consider various factors.

Pre-conversion Steps

The first step to converting a wood-burning fireplace to electric is to complete the pre-conversion process. This includes considering the following aspects.

Safety Measures:

  • Ensure the fireplace is in good condition and free from cracks or structural issues.
  • Check for proper ventilation and chimney functionality.
  • Turn off the electricity to the fireplace area to avoid accidents.

Tools Required:

  • Screwdriver
  • Wire stripper
  • Voltage tester
  • Drill
  • Level
  • Pliers
  • Stud finder

Electrical Requirements:

  • Check the amp rating of your fireplace and circuit breaker. Ensure the fireplace amps are less than the circuit breaker amps (usually 15 or 20 amps). Unplug other appliances on the circuit and test if the breaker trips while the fireplace is running. If not, you’re likely good to go!
  • Hire a licensed electrician if additional wiring or electrical upgrades are necessary.
  • Follow local building codes and regulations for electrical work.


  • Measure the dimensions of the fireplace to choose an appropriately sized electric insert.
  • Select an electric fireplace with desired features like adjustable flame settings, remote control, and heating options.

Now that you have the pre-conversion steps covered, here’s how to convert a wood-burning fireplace to electric.

Step 1: Selecting the Perfect Electric Fireplace Insert

Electric Fireplace insert.
  • Measure for a Perfect Fit: Similar to a gas fireplace conversion, you need to determine the exact width, height, and depth of your fireplace opening. These measurements ensure a seamless fit for your new electric fireplace insert.
  • Choose Your Style and Features: With a variety of styles and features available, you can customize your fireplace to match your unique aesthetic and needs. Look for adjustable flame settings, thermostat control, and remote operation for convenience.

Step 2: Installing the Insert with Ease

  • Safety First: Always turn off the electricity to the fireplace before starting any installation.
  • Out with the Old: Gently remove the existing firebox components, like the damper, to make room for your new electric wonder.
  • Center Stage: Carefully position the insert into the opening, ensuring it’s perfectly centered and level for a flawless look.
  • Secure and Connect: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to secure the insert using the provided hardware. Then, connect it to the power supply, adhering to electrical safety guidelines for a worry-free experience.
  • Test for Perfection: Once everything is in place, power up the fireplace and ensure all functions work flawlessly, from the mesmerizing flames to the soothing heat.

Step 3: Finishing Touches for a Stunning Surround

  • Frame the Fireplace: Choose a finishing option that complements your décor, whether it’s a classic mantel or a rustic stone veneer. This will create a cohesive look that elevates your entire space.
  • Install and Protect: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install the surround, ensuring proper clearance around the fireplace to prevent overheating.
  • Add a Personal Touch: Consider painting or staining the surround to match your room’s color scheme. This will make it a seamless and stylish addition to your home.

Benefits of Converting Wood Fireplace to Electric

Before converting your wood fireplace to electric, let’s explore the benefits you can enjoy.

Ease of Use and Convenience

Converting a wood-burning fireplace to an electric one offers unparalleled ease and convenience. Electric fireplaces typically have remote controls, programmable settings, and adjustable heat levels, allowing users to create a cozy atmosphere with minimal effort.

Gone are the days of chopping wood, stacking logs, and dealing with ashes – electric fireplaces provide instant warmth and ambiance at the touch of a button.

Lower Maintenance Costs

Electric fireplaces substantially reduce maintenance costs compared to their wood-burning counterparts. With no need for chimney cleaning, purchasing firewood, or dealing with the aftermath of ashes and soot, homeowners can enjoy a beautiful fire without the associated expenses and time-consuming upkeep.

Improved Indoor Air Quality

Unlike wood-burning or gas fireplaces that emit particulate matter and pollutants into the indoor air, electric fireplaces produce no smoke or harmful emissions.

This translates to improved indoor air quality, making them an excellent choice for individuals with respiratory issues or allergies. Families can enjoy the warmth and ambiance of a fire without compromising the health of their indoor environment.

A woman waring on an electric fireplace.

Environmental Benefits

Electric fireplaces contribute to a cleaner environment by eliminating the carbon emissions and air pollutants associated with burning wood.

As more communities prioritize sustainability, the shift to electric fireplaces aligns with eco-friendly practices, reducing the overall environmental impact and promoting a greener lifestyle.

Choosing electric over wood-burning is a small yet significant step towards a more sustainable future.

Legal and Safety Regulations for Converting Wood to Electric Fireplace

Wood-to-electric fireplace conversions involve significant changes to a home’s heating system. To ensure the best conversion of your wood-burning fireplace to electric, you must understand and adhere to various compliance and safety norms.

1. Building Codes Compliance

Building codes exist to regulate construction and ensure the safety of structures. When converting a wood fireplace to an electric one, compliance with these codes is essential.

These codes often specify requirements for electrical systems, clearances, and ventilation. Failure to comply can result in legal consequences and pose serious safety risks.

2. Electrical Safety Regulations

As outlined above, converting to an electric fireplace involves handling electrical components. 

Therefore, understanding and following electrical safety regulations is paramount to prevent fire hazards, electric shocks, or other accidents. Compliance with established electrical codes guarantees the proper installation and functioning of the electric components.

3. Installation Regulations for Fireplaces

Specific installation regulations govern the placement and construction of fireplaces. These regulations consider factors such as clearance of fuel sources, proper insulation, and the use of approved materials. Adhering to these guidelines prevents potential fire hazards and structural damage.

4. Energy Efficiency Compliance

In some regions, energy efficiency standards may apply to heating appliances, including electric fireplaces. Adhering to these standards not only ensures legal compliance but also contributes to environmental sustainability.

When converting a wood fireplace to an electric one, it is important to understand and follow compliance and safety regulations. This not only ensures legal compliance but also prioritizes the safety of occupants, prevents potential hazards, and promotes an efficient and sustainable heating solution.

Cost of Converting Wood Fireplace to Electric

Converting a wood-burning fireplace to electric typically costs around $1,000 to $5,000 or more. This is a ballpark figure, and the actual cost can vary depending on several factors, such as:

Cost FactorEstimated Cost Range
Electric Fireplace Unit$200 – $2,500
Installation$500- $1,500
Electrical Wiring$200 – $500
Permits and Inspection$100 – $500
Additional Features$100 – $1,000
Total Estimated Cost$1,000 – $5,000

1. Electric Fireplace Insert Costs

The primary expense lies in purchasing the electric fireplace inserts. Prices vary based on features like size, design, model, and heater capacity. Basic models can start at around $500, while high-end units with advanced features may exceed $2,000.

2. Installation Fees

A professional installing am electric fireplace insert.

Professional installation is recommended to ensure safety and compliance. Installation fees typically range from $500 to $1,500, covering labor, electrical work, and any necessary modifications to the existing fireplace structure.


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3. Finishing Materials and Aesthetics

Enhancing the visual appeal of the converted fireplace may involve additional costs for finishing materials. This includes options like mantels, surrounds, and decorative elements. Costs vary widely, but budgeting at least $300 to $1,000 is common.

4. Electrical Work and Power Supply

Ensuring a proper power supply for the electric fireplace may require electrical upgrades. Costs depend on the complexity of the work and the proximity of existing electrical outlets. Budgeting $200 to $500 for electrical adjustments is advisable.

Cost Comparison

Converting a wood-burning fireplace to electric can save money and improve convenience, but it can cost $1,000 to $5,000 or more. 

In contrast, maintaining a wood-burning fireplace involves ongoing expenses for firewood, chimney cleaning, and potential repairs. 

Annual firewood costs can vary widely, but a typical homeowner may spend $200 to $600. Chimney cleaning services may add $100 to $300 per year, while repairs can escalate costs significantly. 

Ditching firewood and skipping chimney sweeps can save you around $200 to $500 per year, depending on your usage and local costs. Plus, electric fireplaces require minimal maintenance, further adding to the long-term financial benefit.

However, individual budget considerations and regional variations in utility rates should be factored into the decision-making process for those considering a switch to electric.

Here’s a summary of how the two compare in maintenance costs:

FeatureWood FireplaceElectric Fireplace
Initial CostNone (if existing)$1,000 – $5,000+
Fuel Costs (annual)$200 – $600 (firewood)$50 – $200 (electricity)
Maintenance Costs (annual)$100 – $300 (chimney cleaning) + potential repairsMinimal (around $20 for occasional cleaning and changing bulbs)
Estimated Yearly Maintenance Cost$300 – $900+$100 – $250

Note: It’s advisable to obtain quotes from professionals for a more accurate estimate.


Knowing how to convert wood-burning fireplace to electric not only reduces environmental impact but also eliminates the hassles associated with wood maintenance and ventilation.

By following this three-step guide, you can effortlessly make the transition and enjoy the advantages of a cleaner and more efficient heating system. Ready to make the switch? Contact us today to make the process as seamless as possible.

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Thomas Green

Thomas has worked in the Chimney & Fireplace field for over 12 years. He is an expert in his trade and loves to help People with their needs. Thomas Write helpful articles so that homeowners can make the most informed decisions about their fireplace and chimney.