WHY YOU NEED A PROFESSIONAL FOR YOUR FIRE PROJECT
Installing fire features that require gas lines, venting systems, or electricity must be done by someone with considerable technical knowledge, skills, and training.
Important decisions from safety considerations to sizing, location, gas line installation, and venting system compatibility should always be made with the help of a licensed professional.
Professional installers are already up to date on permits, fire safety, installation best practices, and maintenance. They’ll be able to complete your project efficiently and correctly, eliminating the risk of expensive repairs and fire hazards in the future.
QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN HIRING A LICENSED PRO
1. What Are Your Qualifications?
Not all states require installers to be licensed, so it’s key to make sure you’re hiring someone who’s technically qualified to complete the job at hand.
The best installers for fire-related projects are certified by the National Fireplace Institute (NFI).
The NFI provides certifications for gas-, wood-, and pellet-burning appliances, as well as hearth design. Anyone with certifications in all three fuels is considered a Master Hearth Professional and will be able to install any type of fire feature in the appropriate location.
Reaching out to a local licensed general contractor who specializes in installing fire features is the next best option if an NFI certified professional isn’t available where you live.
You may also want to consider asking your installer if they offer insurance to cover any accidents that occur on-site, such as cracks in your fireplace foundation or broken gas and electrical lines.
2. Do You Have Experience Installing this Kind of Fire Feature?
There’s a wide range of fire features on the market, all of which require specific skills, tools, and knowledge to install properly.
Before you hire an installer, ask them about the recent projects they’ve completed to learn more about their experience. They may also have an online portfolio you can browse through to get a better idea of the work they’ve done for their clients.
Keep in mind that even licensed professionals can have different certifications. For example, one installer may specialize in wood burning fireplaces, while another only has the expertise to install gas burning models.
Make sure the installer you hire knows exactly what kind of fire feature you have and what fuel type you’ll be using, so they can confidently accept the job or recommend another professional.
3. How Much Will the Installation Cost?
The cost of installation will vary, depending on the kind of fire feature you're adding to your home and the type of fuel you're using.
Before you hire an installer, research what other homeowners have paid for installations similar to the one you’d like to do. The right professional will deliver an installation quote close to the average cost.
4. Are you Aware of Local Codes?
Each city has its own set of codes and laws regarding fire features. These regulations must be followed carefully, or your product could pose a safety hazard and won’t pass inspection.
Codes and installation restrictions need to be identified early in the design phase, otherwise you run the risk of an expensive renovation if your fire feature can't be installed properly.
Make sure you hire a professional who is up to date on all your local codes, laws, and ordinances. They’ll be able to confirm that the fire feature you purchased is safe for your home and meets all the requirements before they install it. If it can’t be installed up to code, they’ll be able to direct you toward another product that’s better suited for your space.
Your installer should also know what clearance to combustibles your fire feature will need, as well as how to make sure all the components are installed up to code and operate as intended to protect your safety and the environment.
5. Can You Show Me How to Operate My Product?
After your fire feature is successfully installed in your space, ask your installer to test-fire it. Have them walk you through each operation step, from lighting the ignition system to making sure your product is properly extinguished when you’re done using it.
If your product comes with special features, such as built-in temperature controls, flame height adjustment, accent lighting, a remote control, or Bluetooth capabilities, ask your installer to show you how they work. Test each function yourself, too. If you run into any complications, you’ll be able to have your questions answered on the spot.
You can ask them to flip through your product’s installation manual with you and point out the most crucial sections, such as how to troubleshoot and maintain the unit. The installation manual will also contain important information on your product’s warranty.
Before your installer leaves, confirm that they’ve written down your product’s serial number somewhere on your installation manual. You’ll need this number for warranty purposes, in case you need to replace a part or order a new unit.
6. Do You Offer Any Other Services?
Some fire features, like wood burning fireplaces, require consistent maintenance to stay in top condition. Finding someone who can install your product now and service it in the future lets you rest easy knowing your new investment is in reliable hands.
Ask your installer if they offer maintenance services, such as chimney sweeping, fire feature repair, inspections, and general cleaning services.
If they don’t provide these services, chances are they can recommend a reputable professional who does.
The right fire feature can completely transform your space by adding incredible warmth, style, and value to your property. The process of installing one, however, can be a major investment that requires a significant amount of time and research.
Even if you’re a homeowner with plenty of DIY experience, hiring a trustworthy professional will guarantee your new fire feature gets installed properly, without any costly mistakes.
Here are the six essential questions you’ll need to ask to make sure you hire the right professional for your next fire project.