Now that winter is here, we are starting to use our fireplace more often. Not only do fireplaces add a nice touch to your living or bedroom decor, but they provide an added source of heat for those cold winter days. Our house came with a gas fireplace which is very different from the wood burning fireplaces that we grew up with. Gas fireplaces are very low maintenance, meaning there is no firewood to purchase, no need to start a fire (you can just flip a switch), and no chimney maintenance needed. Drawbacks are that you don’t get that real wood burning smell and that great crackling sound of the logs as they’re burning. Also, gas fireplaces don’t emit as much heat as a wood burning fireplace and are not as efficient because most of the energy is wasted on heating up the firebox and the few inches of air space around it. This is why we decided to purchase a fireplace air blower to transfer the heat from the firebox and the heated air that surrounds it and distribute it into our living space. This will make the heating of our home more efficient and a fireplace that is more functional.
We found out the fireplace model from our fireplace owner’s manual then searched online for the blower/fan kit that will fit and work with our fireplace. Our fireplace manufacturer is Hearth & Home / Heat & Glo model DV3732SBI, and the search result for the blower kit is Heat & Glo model GFK-160A. We then shopped around online for it and ended up ordering from Amazon since the sellers on Amazon offer the best price with free shipping! The kit we ordered is actually a universal fit made by Rotom model R7-RB168 which is cross referenced to Heat & Glo GFK-160A, Royal FK-160, and many more. This kit should work with any fireplace that has at least 4.3″ high opening at the control compartment below the firebox when the bottom louver is removed. Below are the steps that I took to safely complete the installation of the blower kit.
CAUTION: Do not attempt to do this installation yourself if you do not feel comfortable or are not familiar with electrical wiring or following an electrical wiring diagram – A qualified electrician or a fireplace technician should perform the installation.
How to Install a Gas Fireplace Blower Kit for Heat & Glo model DV3732SBI or similar
Tools needed: Flashlight, needle-nose pliers, vacuum cleaner (optional).
Materials needed: Fireplace air blower kit, protective gloves, dust cloths, and glue.
Duration of the project: 30-45 mins
Price Range: $100 – $125
Difficulty level: Moderate
Labor level: Light labor
D-I-Y potential savings: $100-$150
Step 1: Locate your circuit-breaker panel and disconnect the circuit breaker associated with your gas fireplace power supply. Also, turn the fireplace start wall switch to the OFF position.
Step 2: Remove the top louver, the bottom louver, and the fixed glass assembly door of your gas fireplace.
Step 3: Turn off the gas supply by locating the shutoff ball valve on the left side of the control compartment. Then, turn the red valve lever handle to the off position (perpendicular position to the supply gas pipe). Also, unplug the 3-volt transformer from the fireplace receptacle in the factory-installed junction box.
Step 4: Vacuum and wipe out dust at the bottom of the control compartment and on top of the firebox where dust may have accumulated over time. Be careful when cleaning around these areas due to sharp edges and exposed screw tips. Thus, protective gloves should be worn.
Step 5: Unpack your blower kit and check to make sure you have all the parts and no damage. Connect the two prong plug cord to the blower terminals itself as shown in the picture below, and then plug it into a power outlet (different circuit from the fireplace) to make sure the blower is in good working order before placing it inside the control compartment. It should automatically run when plugged in.
Step 6: Carefully move all control wires and the transformer to the left side to allow you to place the blower in the back of the control compartment easier.
Step 7: Insert the grounding clip to the end of the grounding wire of the blower, and then slide the blower inside the control compartment sideways (with the blower’s air outlet up) at the gap on the right hand side (you might have to remove the magnetic mounting if the blower did not fit into the opening). Once the blower is inside, glue back the magnetic mounting (if you had to remove them earlier), then place the blower towards the back in the center with the air outlet up and 1/8 inch away from the back wall.
Step 8: Attach the blower’s grounding wire clip to the metal chassis of the fireplace.
Step 9: Prepare the wiring for the thermal sensor switch with the wiring harness included with the kit as shown the picture below. Also, use the diagrams below to guide you through the following steps. Note: The wiring diagrams below are from the fireplace owner’s manual. I did not use the wiring diagram that came with the blower kit because it has generic instructions and are not customized for my fireplace.
Step 10: Locate the mounting screw at the bottom left side of the firebox. Install the thermal sensor switch with the sensor facing up and touching the firebox, and secure it with the supplied wing nut to the mounting screw. Note: You might have to find another mounting method to attach the sensor to the firebox if your firebox does not have this mounting screw already. Just make sure that the sensor is attached to the firebox metal that will be heated up when the fireplace is operating.
Step 11: Locate the mounting plate at the solenoid valve assembly inside the control compartment. Attach the variable speed switch to it by inserting the switch from behind the plate through the mounting hole and attaching the supplied hex nut to secure it using needle-nose pliers . Then, install the turning knob as shown in the pictures below. Note: Again, if your fireplace’s control compartment does not have any mounting plates for this switch, you can simply place it anywhere inside after installing the turning knob to it.
Step 12: Find the wire from the thermal sensor switch which has the male end and connect it to the female end wire of the speed variable switch.
Step 13: Find the female end of the speed variable switch, and connect it to the top of the connector at the outlet/junction box that is labeled “FAN” as shown in the picture below.
Step 14: Find the other end (female end) of the thermal sensor switch and connect it to the hot (+) connector of the outlet/junction box as shown in the picture below.
Step 15: Plug the two prong plug from the blower to the outlet/junction box that is labeled “FAN” as shown in the picture below.
Step 16: Reconnect the 3-volt transformer to the outlet/junction box that is labeled “TRANS”. Double check all your wiring connections and make sure that all the wires are secure and in their appropriate places.
Step 17: Turn the supply gas ball valve to the on position (the red valve lever handle should be in line with the supply gas pipe),
Step 18: Replace back the fixed glass assembly and the top louver (you might want to clean both sides of the glass and the louvers before replace them back).
Step 19: Reconnect the circuit breaker associated with your gas fireplace power supply at your circuit-breaker panel.
Step 20: Turn the speed variable switch to the ON position, and turn the fireplace wall switch to the ON position to start the fire. The air blower should kick on automatically when the bottom of the firebox temperature reaches 110 °F (this should take a few mins). Adjust the blower speed at the position you prefer before replacing the bottom louver back.
Step 21: Turn OFF the fireplace at the wall switch. The air blower should kick off automatically when the bottom of the firebox cools down to 90 °F (this should take a few mins as well).
The 21 steps to install the blower kit might seem lengthy; however, the circuit for this kit is very simple. The blower runs on 115VAC with the thermal sensor switch and variable speed control switch connected in series with the blower.
The blower will generate some noise at the maximum speed setting; however, it seems more like background noise and does not bother us. The result of this installation is 100% of what we were hoping to accomplish with this kit. It can circulate the air at 125 CFM (cubic feet per minute); Thus, it turns our gas fireplace into a giant space heater that provides at lease 3 feet of hot air streaming away from the fireplace, and we even can feel the air movement 10 feet away. Our gas fireplace now runs efficiently and functions with a “cool” factor! I recorded two short videos below just to show the noise level and how much air is circulated by the blower.
Also, be sure to check out our other DIY projects that can save you money! Also, feel free to comment below if you have any questions or just to show your appreciation!