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How to Remove a Fireplace Insert?

Removing a fireplace insert is a task that many homeowners may face, whether due to a renovation project, the need for maintenance, or simply a desire to upgrade to a more efficient model. Fireplace inserts are designed to improve the efficiency and aesthetics of your fireplace, but over time, they may become outdated or damaged, necessitating their removal. Understanding how to remove a fireplace insert properly is crucial to ensuring safety and avoiding damage to your home.

There are several reasons why someone might want to remove their fireplace insert. Perhaps the insert is old and inefficient, leading to higher energy bills and less effective heating. In other cases, homeowners might want to switch from a wood-burning insert to a gas or electric one for convenience and cleaner burning. Additionally, removing the insert might be part of a larger home renovation project aimed at modernizing the living space.

Regardless of the reason, it’s important to approach the task with the right knowledge and tools. Removing a fireplace insert can be a straightforward DIY project, but it also involves certain risks, especially with gas and electric inserts. Safety precautions and proper preparation are essential to ensure the process goes smoothly and safely.

How Do I Prepare for Fireplace Insert Removal?

Before diving into the task of removing a fireplace insert, proper preparation is key to ensuring a smooth and safe process. Taking the time to get ready can make the job much easier and help you avoid potential pitfalls.

Fireplace Insert Removal

Safety First

Safety should always be your top priority. Start by ensuring that the fireplace is completely cool. If you’ve recently used it, wait at least 24 hours to make sure there are no lingering embers or heat. For gas fireplace inserts, turn off the gas supply to prevent any leaks. If you’re dealing with an electric insert, make sure it’s unplugged and that there’s no electricity flowing to the unit.

Gather the Right Tools

Having the right tools on hand will make the removal process much more manageable. Here are some essential tools you might need:

  • Screwdrivers: Both flathead and Phillips screwdrivers for removing screws.
  • Wrench Set: Useful for loosening bolts, especially on gas inserts.
  • Crowbar: For prying the insert away from the fireplace if it’s stuck.
  • Protective Gear: Gloves and safety goggles to protect yourself from debris and dust.

Clear the Area

Make sure the area around the fireplace is clear of any furniture or decorations. This gives you ample space to work and prevents any accidental damage. Lay down a drop cloth or old blanket to protect your flooring and to catch any debris that might fall during the removal.

Check for Instructions

If you still have the manual for your fireplace insert, it’s a good idea to review it. The manual might have specific instructions or tips for removal that are particular to your model. If you don’t have the manual, a quick online search can often help you find a digital copy.

Assess the Weight and Size

Fireplace inserts can be quite heavy, so it’s important to know what you’re dealing with. If the insert is too heavy for you to handle alone, consider enlisting the help of a friend or family member. Knowing the dimensions can also help you plan the best way to maneuver it out of your home.

By following these preparation steps, you’ll set yourself up for a successful and safe fireplace insert removal. With the right tools, a clear workspace, and a focus on safety, you’ll be ready to tackle the job with confidence. Let’s move on to the detailed steps for removing different types of fireplace inserts.

Guide to Remove Different Types of Fireplace Inserts

Removing a fireplace insert can seem daunting, but with the right approach, it can be a straightforward DIY project. The method you use will depend on the type of insert you have—wood-burning, gas, or electric. Here’s a step-by-step guide for each type to help you through the process.

a) Removing a Wood-Burning Fireplace Insert

  1. Prepare the Area: Ensure the fireplace is completely cool. Clear the surrounding area and lay down a drop cloth to protect your floor.
  2. Disconnect the Flue: Locate the flue pipe and disconnect it from the insert. This may involve unscrewing clamps or bolts that hold it in place.
  3. Remove the Trim: Carefully remove any trim or surround pieces that hold the insert in place. A screwdriver or crowbar can help with this step.
  4. Slide Out the Insert: With the trim and flue disconnected, gently slide the insert out of the fireplace. You might need a helper for this step, as wood-burning inserts can be quite heavy.
  5. Dispose Properly: Once removed, follow your local regulations for disposing of the insert, or consider recycling if possible.

b) Removing a Gas Fireplace Insert

  1. Turn Off the Gas: The first and most crucial step is to turn off the gas supply. This ensures your safety while working.
  2. Disconnect the Gas Line: Using a wrench, carefully disconnect the gas line from the insert. Make sure to do this slowly to prevent any gas leaks.
  3. Unplug the Electrical Connection: If your insert has an electrical component, unplug it from the power source.
  4. Remove the Mounting Screws: Unscrew any mounting brackets or screws that secure the insert to the fireplace.
  5. Slide Out the Insert: Gently pull the insert out of the fireplace. Due to its weight and connections, having a second person to help is advisable.
  6. Check for Gas Leaks: Once the insert is removed, double-check the gas line to ensure there are no leaks. If unsure, consult a professional.

c) Removing an Electric Fireplace Insert

  1. Unplug the Insert: Ensure the insert is unplugged from the electrical outlet.
  2. Remove the Trim: Similar to other inserts, start by removing any trim or surround pieces that hold the insert in place.
  3. Unscrew the Mounting Brackets: Locate and unscrew the brackets or screws that secure the insert.
  4. Slide Out the Insert: Carefully slide the insert out. Electric inserts are generally lighter, but it’s still a good idea to handle with care.
  5. Dispose of Properly: Follow your local guidelines for recycling or disposing of the electric insert.

Each type of fireplace insert requires specific steps and precautions, but with a little patience and the right tools, you can successfully remove them yourself. Always prioritize safety, especially when dealing with gas connections, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed. With your insert removed, you’ll be ready for your next home improvement project or a new, efficient fireplace upgrade.

How to Dispose of a Fireplace Insert?

Once you’ve successfully removed your fireplace insert, the next step is to dispose of it properly. Disposing of a fireplace insert isn’t as simple as putting it out with the regular trash due to its size and materials. Here’s how you can handle the disposal process effectively and responsibly.

Check Local Regulations

Before you proceed, it’s important to understand your local regulations regarding the disposal of large items like fireplace inserts. Many municipalities have specific guidelines for disposing of metal, electronics, and other materials commonly found in inserts.

  • Contact Local Authorities: Reach out to your local waste management authority to get detailed information on disposal options. They can provide guidance on whether the insert needs to be taken to a specific facility or if there are scheduled bulk pickup days.
  • Hazardous Materials: If your fireplace insert contains hazardous materials, such as certain types of insulation or old gas components, make sure to follow the special disposal procedures to prevent environmental contamination.

Recycling Centers

Recycling is a great way to dispose of your fireplace insert in an environmentally friendly manner. Many components of the insert, like metal and glass, can be recycled.

  • Find a Local Recycler: Search for recycling centers in your area that accept large metal items. Websites like Earth911 can help you locate a nearby facility.
  • Prepare the Insert: Before taking it to the recycling center, remove any non-metal parts and hazardous materials as instructed by the recycler.

Bulk Pickup Services

Some local waste management services offer bulk pickup options for large items, including fireplace inserts.

  • Schedule a Pickup: Contact your local waste management service to schedule a bulk pickup. Be sure to ask about any fees that might apply.
  • Prepare the Insert: Place the insert at the curb or designated pickup location according to the guidelines provided by the service.

Junk Removal Services

If handling the disposal yourself seems daunting, consider hiring a junk removal service. These services will come to your home, pick up the insert, and dispose of it properly.

  • Research Providers: Look for reputable junk removal companies in your area. Read reviews and get quotes to find a service that fits your budget.
  • Convenience: Junk removal services handle all the heavy lifting and ensure that the insert is disposed of in accordance with local regulations, providing a hassle-free solution.

Donation and Repurposing

If your fireplace insert is still in good condition, consider donating it or repurposing it.

  • Donate: Organizations like Habitat for Humanity ReStores may accept used fireplace inserts. Contact local charities to see if they can use your insert.
  • Repurpose: Get creative and see if the insert can be repurposed for another use in your home or garden. For example, parts of the insert might be used in DIY projects.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your fireplace insert is disposed of responsibly, minimizing environmental impact and adhering to local regulations. Proper disposal not only keeps your home and community safe but also contributes to sustainable practices.

DIY vs. Professional Fireplace Insert Removal

When it comes to removing a fireplace insert, you have two main options: doing it yourself (DIY) or hiring a professional. Each approach has its pros and cons, and the best choice depends on your comfort level, the type of insert, and your budget.

Removing a fireplace insert Yourself (DIY)

How to Remove a Fireplace Insert


  • Cost-Effective: One of the biggest advantages of DIY removal is that it can save you money. You won’t have to pay for professional services, which can be quite expensive.
  • Control Over the Process: Doing it yourself gives you complete control over the timing and method of removal. You can work at your own pace and ensure everything is done to your satisfaction.
  • Learning Experience: If you enjoy DIY projects, removing a fireplace insert can be a rewarding challenge that builds your skills and confidence.


  • Physical Demand: Removing a fireplace insert can be physically demanding, especially if the insert is large and heavy. You’ll need to be prepared for some heavy lifting.
  • Safety Risks: There are safety risks involved, particularly with gas and electric inserts. Ensuring all connections are properly disconnected and handling heavy components can be tricky.
  • Tool Requirements: You’ll need to have or rent the right tools for the job, which can add to the cost and complexity.

Professional fireplace insert removal services


  • Expertise and Safety: Professionals have the experience and knowledge to remove fireplace inserts safely and efficiently. They are trained to handle any complications that might arise, particularly with gas and electric connections.
  • Convenience: Hiring a professional means you don’t have to lift a finger. They’ll handle everything from disassembly to disposal, saving you time and effort.
  • Proper Disposal: Many professional services include disposal of the old insert, ensuring it’s done in accordance with local regulations and environmental standards.


  • Cost: The main downside of hiring a professional is the cost. Depending on the complexity of the job, it can be quite expensive.
  • Scheduling: You’ll need to work around the professional’s schedule, which might not always align with your availability.
  • Less Personal Involvement: For those who enjoy DIY projects, hiring a professional means missing out on the satisfaction of completing the task yourself.

Ultimately, the decision between DIY and professional removal comes down to your specific situation. If you’re handy, have the right tools, and are confident in your ability to handle the task safely, DIY might be the way to go. On the other hand, if you prefer to avoid the physical labor and potential risks, or if the insert involves complex connections, hiring a professional is likely the best choice.

Whichever route you choose, ensuring the job is done safely and correctly is paramount. Whether you tackle it yourself or call in the pros, removing a fireplace insert can be a straightforward process that sets the stage for your next home improvement project.

How Much Does It Cost to Remove a Fireplace Insert?

When planning to remove a fireplace insert, understanding the potential costs involved is crucial. The cost can vary widely depending on several factors, including whether you opt for a DIY approach or hire a professional. Here’s a breakdown to help you budget for this project.

DIY Removal Costs

If you decide to remove the fireplace insert yourself, the primary costs will be for tools and any necessary safety equipment.

  • Tools: You might need to purchase or rent tools such as screwdrivers, wrenches, a crowbar, and possibly a dolly for moving heavy items. These costs can range from $50 to $200, depending on what you already have and what you need to buy or rent.
  • Safety Gear: Gloves, safety goggles, and a dust mask are essential for protecting yourself during the removal process. Expect to spend about $20 to $50 on these items.
  • Disposal Fees: Check with your local waste management service about fees for disposing of large items. This can vary but typically ranges from $50 to $100.

Professional fireplace insert removal Costs

Hiring a professional to remove your fireplace insert is more expensive but offers convenience and peace of mind.

  • Service Fees: The cost for professional removal generally ranges from $150 to $500, depending on the complexity of the job and the type of insert. Gas and electric inserts may be on the higher end of this range due to the additional steps involved.
  • Disposal Included: Many professional services include disposal in their fees, saving you the hassle of figuring out how to get rid of the insert yourself. Always confirm this when getting quotes.
  • Additional Costs: If your insert is particularly difficult to remove or if there are complications (such as dealing with hazardous materials), costs may increase. Make sure to get a detailed estimate before agreeing to the service.

Factors Influencing Fireplace Insert Removal Cost

Several factors can influence the overall cost of removing a fireplace insert:

  • Type of Insert: Wood-burning inserts are generally easier and cheaper to remove than gas or electric inserts, which may require special handling.
  • Condition and Age: Older inserts or those in poor condition might be more challenging to remove, potentially increasing the cost.
  • Location and Accessibility: If the insert is in a difficult-to-reach area or requires moving through tight spaces, this can also add to the cost.

Ways to Save Money

If you’re looking to save money, here are a few tips:

  • Compare Quotes: If you’re hiring a professional, get multiple quotes to ensure you’re getting a fair price.
  • DIY Disposal: If you’re comfortable with the DIY approach, handling the removal yourself and only paying for disposal can be more cost-effective.
  • Community Programs: Check if there are any community programs or local charities that offer free removal and disposal services for reusable items.

Understanding these cost factors can help you plan and budget for your fireplace insert removal. Whether you choose to do it yourself or hire a professional, being informed about the potential expenses ensures there are no surprises along the way.

Our Recent Wood-Burning Fireplace Insert Case Study

Recently, we had the pleasure of helping a client with a challenging task: removing a 400-pound wood-burning fireplace insert from their garage and transporting it to a recycling facility to qualify for a wood stove recycling program. Here’s how it all unfolded.

Our client had tried reaching out to three other companies but faced numerous setbacks. One company didn’t offer the needed service, another vanished after initial email exchanges, and the third simply never responded. Frustrated but determined, the client reached out to Junk B Gone.

From the very start, our team, led by Sara, ensured a smooth process. Sara was prompt, efficient, and clear with all her questions and information, which gave the client confidence that we could handle the heavy lifting. We provided a narrow arrival window, and true to our word, Josh called 20 minutes before reaching the client’s location.

The client appreciated not being made to wait unnecessarily and was impressed by our prompt service. Josh and Lee, who handled the removal, were described as polite, professional, and knowledgeable. Our client’s words: “I felt safe with them and also had the confidence that they knew what they were doing.”

Amazing service was the feedback we received. The client was so pleased with the experience that they expressed a desire to use Junk B Gone for any future junk removal or hauling needs. Here’s what they had to say:

“Junk B Gone is really wonderful. Right from the start, Sara is prompt, efficient, clear with questions and information and gave me confidence that the team would be able to get this heavy insert moving. They gave me a really narrow window of when they will arrive and 20 minutes before they would reach me, Josh gave me a call. Love that they did not make me wait unnecessarily and service was so prompt. Josh and Lee were both polite, professional and awesome. I felt safe with them and also had the confidence that they knew what they were doing. Amazing service and in the future, if I need junk removal/hauling service, I would definitely reach out and tap Junk B Gone again. Thank you!”

This case study highlights our commitment to providing reliable and efficient service, even for the most daunting tasks. At Junk B Gone, we pride ourselves on making the impossible possible, ensuring every client is satisfied and stress-free.

Removing a fireplace insert can seem like a daunting task, but with the right preparation and approach, it can be handled smoothly and safely. Whether you choose to tackle it yourself or hire professionals, understanding the steps and potential costs involved is key to a successful project. Proper disposal of the insert, following local regulations, ensures that you contribute positively to environmental sustainability.

Our recent case study highlights the importance of reliable and efficient service in making such tasks manageable. At Junk B Gone, we take pride in providing top-notch service that leaves our clients satisfied and stress-free. From clear communication to prompt and professional handling of even the heaviest inserts, we ensure your experience is seamless and positive.

We Provide Junk removal & Disposal Services.

Junk Removal Seattle Truck by Junk B Gone

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