Friday, January 21, 2005


Fitting an electric fire

Ruth decided we were going to have an electric fire installed in our lounge. Turns out I was to install it!

The previous owners ripped out the original fireplace (grr!) and then put some plasterboard and MDF in front of the hole . The wood is about 1.5m x 1.5m, with a decorative recess in the middle.

First, I wired a spur from a nearby mains socket, under the floorboards, and to behind the wood. How do you know if you can wire a spur, or whether you need to break into the existing ring? Well, if there is only one thick grey wire going into a socket, then it is already a spur, so don't extend it again! If there are more than two thick grey wires, it is already feeding a spur. If there are only two grey wires, then they are forming the ring and it is OK to run a spur from that socket.

Once the spur was wired up, I had to hang the fire. Yes, hang. There were no instructions, and the fittings were non-intuitive. To make things worse, there were hardly any bricks left behind the plasterboard. Ended up securing the MDF to the wall behind the plasterboard, and then getting the brackets into brick as well. Nightmare, but it's still up!

The final thing was getting the two little fans to spin, to simulate flames under the coals. Tried bending the supports low first of all, so that the fans were nearer the lightbulbs. Didn't work. Had to move the fans AWAY from the bulbs. If I remembered my A-level physics, I could probably explain why, but I don't and I can't.

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