How to convert an old electric fire into a beautiful real-flame bio ethanol fireplace on a budget
Every mantelpiece is different! If your fire was produced as an electric fireplace and is made of wood or MDF, please make sure that when using our Insert, you replace the back panel of your fireplace with non-flammable material. We recommend using Vermiculite Board for this purpose.
For any other type of fireplace mantelpieces, we still advise that the ‘back panel’ directly surrounding the actual firebox is always made of fully fireproof material.
If the opening of your fireplace has very little depth the (optional) spacer is the solution by bringing the insert forward to create more depth at the back of the fireplace. Attach the spacer to the insert with the four screws provided before commencing the next installation steps.
To convert your electric fire with a mantelpiece into a bio ethanol fireplace follow these simple steps.
STEP 1 – REMOVE YOUR ELECTRIC INSERT FROM YOUR FIREPLACE
STEP 2 – REPLACE YOUR ‘BACK PANEL’ WITH FIREPROOF MATERIAL
Replace the back panel (especially when made of MDF) with fully fireproof material, ideally VERMICULITE BOARD (click here), which has been tested and assesed as safe to use with building your own bio ethanol fireplaces. We do not recommend regular fireboard nor plasterboard for this purpose. This is probably the hardest part of the whole conversion task, as the back panel of your wooden electric fire mantelpiece may be an integral part of the fireplace suite. It is strongly advised that no MDF is left in direct contact with DIY Insert. Even though the metal firebox is ‘cutting’ the flame from getting to the MDF panel above, you are not able to test the material for emissions after exposed to heat. Remember that the heat in your old electric fire was distributed in a different way than in a bio fire.
STEP 3 – PAINT YOUR BACK PANEL WITH FIREPROOF PAINT AND CUT IT TO FIT OUR DIY INSERT
Make sure you fit your ‘back panel’ into your fireplace securely; if necessary you can use a High Temperature Resistant Sealant, like THIS ONE. Then paint it with a heat resistant paint, like THIS ONE. Make sure you don’t cut corners when converting your electric fire into a bio fire as the fireproof protection is crucial when you are switching from – effectively – a glowing heater into a real dancing flame of a bio ethanol burner.
Once your back panel is painted with a desired colour you can cut the measured opening for the DIY Insert.
STEP 4 – INSERT OUR DIY BIO ETHANOL INSERT
STEP 5 – INSERT THE MINI BASKET WITH BIO ETHANOL MINI BURNER INTO THE FIREBOX
Position the Mini Basket inside the firebox, securing it by placing the open holes underneath the basket on to the two protruding fixed pegs at the back of the firebox.
STEP 6 – SECURE THE BACK OF THE FIRE BOX ONTO YOUR ‘BACK PANEL’
STEP 7 – SECURE YOUR READY CONVERTED FIREPLACE TO THE WALL USING MIRROR PLATES
To prevent any movement that could cause spillage of fuel, attach mirror plates to the two sides of the back of the fireplace. Secure the fireplace to the wall with screws. This is for safety; if you are sure your fire is stable, you don’t have small children and you feel that you do not need to secure it, you may leave this step out – this is your own responsibility. At Bio Fires we always advise to secure an electric mantelpiece with our DIY Insert to the wall as the fuel your fire is using has now changed. It is fairly easy to lean on a mantelpiece and accidently move it – with liquid fuel inside you are looking for trouble.
YOU ARE NOW READY TO GO – ENJOY USING YOUR NEW FIRE and don’t forget to share pictures with us on:
Managed to convert your electric fire? Take pictures of the process and get featured in our ‘Recent Projects’ section. Email us the pictures with a description of the actions you took and materials you used and we will happily feature it for the benefit of other customers!
This is a DIY product, so the final result and functioning of the fire depends on the work that has been put into the ‘makeover procedure’. We cannot accept any responsibility for your final fire, but please be advised that our Firebox Insert is used within our Carrington Fireplace and the whole fireplace has been tested to TUV standards and approved as safe to use.