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brick fireplace with newly upgraded fire insert

Things You Need to Know Before Upgrading Your Fireplace

An upgrade is always a great idea! Whether you’re doing it for aesthetic purposes or to simply add to the efficiency and take away from the maintenance of having a fireplace, replacing or upgrading your existing model still comes with factors to consider. Look into these factors before picking up the phone to get a whole new fireplace put in!

This article takes tips from expert fireplace suppliers such as Burning Log in Ottawa and walks you through important details you need to know before upgrading your fireplace.

Read More: Questions to Ask Yourself Before Installing a New Fireplace

Reasons to Consider Upgrading Your Fireplace

Improved Efficiency

Electric and gas-powered fireplaces are very energy efficient due to their closed combustion system. They burn less fuel while producing more heat than traditional fireplaces, and with a sophisticated venting system like a power vent, they can heat many different areas of the house. They also don’t lose as much heat as a traditional fireplace, either.

Lower Maintenance

Does your fireplace need some work? Maintaining or repairing an electric fireplace is much easier and less expensive than doing so with masonry fireplaces. Replacement parts are easy to come by, and they’re easy to re-install. Just consult an expert when fixing up your fireplace.

Better Aesthetics

Having a fireplace at home is the dream, and a recent model will only up your property’s value. But mantles and moldings of a traditional fireplace can sometimes go out of style, or at least discourage renters from using it. Redesigning the fireplace to suit your new style is a great idea, especially if your property follows a modern design aesthetic.

Read More: Masonry Fireplaces vs Factory-Built – Which is Better?

Types of Upgrades


Replacing the fireplace insert means you can keep the frame of your existing fireplace, but the heat source is replaced on its own. This takes minimal work, and the installation can be done both quickly and seamlessly. Another insert to consider, and for aesthetic’s sake, is using a set of nice, rustic-looking gas longs similar to what Burning Log supplies at their store. Gas logs can easily be put into your fireplace and work and look similar to actual logs; only you won’t need to collect any kindling to actually make a fire.


Do you have an actual fireplace and would like to make the switch to gas? Similar to the point above, this is actually a very easy fix. Most gas fireplace suppliers like Burning Log have a service to replace or install a gas insert in even an existing fireplace. All you need is a gas insert that fits inside the fireplace and that connects to a power vent or a PV, which is the most ideal venting system for a gas fireplace.

Full Replacement

Removing a brick fireplace face is the biggest part of the job because it tends to be rather labour-intensive. All surrounding furniture, carpets and so forth should be covered during the demolition process, as things are going to get pretty dusty.  Once the wall and firebox are removed, and the surface is cleaned up, you’re ready to install a new facing.

Read More: Tips for Designing Your Home Around Your Fireplace

Important Considerations Before Replacing A Fireplace

Are You Looking to Change Aesthetics or Functionality?

When it comes to changing your fireplace, are you changing it for the sake of aesthetics or functionality? Is your fireplace difficult to handle as it is? If so, then an electric fireplace insert is the way to go as it’s much easier to function, to the point where you can even control flame height and temperature. A natural fireplace doesn’t give you the same type of functionality. If you enjoy the aesthetics, then you can keep the look of a natural fireplace, but replacing it to look modern as well is perfectly fine.

Your Usage and Needs

What are your needs when it comes to your fireplace? How much of your house are you trying to heat? If you want to heat more than one room, then upgrade your venting system as well.


Whichever fireplace upgrade you get, think about the type of maintenance it’s going to need. Traditionally, factory-built fireplaces are easier to repair and maintain since you also don’t have to deal with the ash buildup or natural elements. But, if you’re upgrading your fireplace to a more modern model, ensure that its features are all up-to-date and that your noncombustible material is solid. You don’t want to start a fire in your house.

Get a WETT Inspection

If you’re keeping a fireplace, wood stove or anything of the sort, then you will need to pass a WETT inspection. A WETT inspection, which stands for Wood Energy Technology Transfer, is a review of the components of a wood-burning system to ensure that they are installed correctly, are maintained in good working order, and that all parts of the system are compatible with one another.

Venting Components

When upgrading your fireplace, you will also need to make sure your venting components are up to date and working correctly. Take this as an opportunity to upgrade your venting system as well, opting for a more sophisticated and efficient system, such as power venting (PV).

Do You Need a Building Permit?

If you are demolishing your old fireplace and starting from scratch, obtain a building permit first, if necessary. This is necessary because your local building codes may help determine crucial guidelines like how far the hearth must extend out from the firebox. It will also give you other important rules to remember such as adding a non combustible material to cover the areas on the sides and top of the fireplace opening.

Possible Structural Issues

Another option to consider if you have decided to take down your existing structure to replace it with a new one, specifically removing and replacing a brick facade, is any underlying structural issues. If there are structural issues that need to be tended to, it is highly recommended to take care of those first before installing a beautiful new fireplace façade.

Don’t forget to consult with an expert before upgrading your fireplace so that you don’t waste time or money, and so that you don’t put your family and your property in danger. While a fireplace upgrade is an exciting and cozy feature to add to your home, it is also definitely one for professionals to handle for you.