How to Dispose of or Recycle an Old Fireplace
You’ve just bought a shiny new fireplace for your home. Great! But, what do you do with your old one? Whether you’re completely dismantling an entire fireplace surround, or simply getting rid of an old fire appliance or insert, it’s important you do it the right way. So, if you want to know how to dispose of or recycle your old fireplace in the correct way, keep reading!
What are you disposing of?
The first thing you need to do is establish exactly what it is you need to dispose of.
Are you simply replacing an old insert or appliance with a new one? Or are you removing the entire surround and hearth too?
Exactly what you need to dispose of, will determine what you need to do.
How to dispose of a gas fire
As gas fires are amongst the most common types of fires in the UK, we’ll start with these.
The first, and most important thing to think about when disposing of an old gas fire, is disconnecting it.
You must use a Gas Registered engineer to disconnect an old gas fireplace from the mains gas connection.
Trying to disconnect a gas fire yourself is extremely dangerous.
Guide - use our guide here to find an appropriately qualified individual who can disconnect your old gas fire for you.
Once your old gas fire has been safely disconnected from the mains you will then be able to dispose of it.
There are a number of different ways that you can dispose of an old gas fire:
- Use your local household waste collection centre. Most local authorities run one or more household waste collection centres where items such as old pieces of furniture, fridges, freezers, and yes - even fires - can be safely disposed of. Note - it’s always worth ringing your local household waste collection centre first, to make sure they will take your old fire, before you make the journey.
- Use a bulky-waste collection service. If you don’t fancy trying to cram your old fireplace into the back of your car, then most local authorities in the UK offer a bulky-waste collection service. They’ll normally send two people and van around at a pre-arranged time to collect your old fire. Note - the majority of local authorities charge for this service.
- Contact your local scrap merchant. If you want to try and make back a bit of money from your old gas fire, then it’s worth contacting your local scrap metal merchant. Many gas fires feature aluminium, steel and other metal parts, so whilst you’re unlikely to get a huge amount of money, you’ll at least get something!
Whilst it may be tempting to sell your gas fire as ‘second hand’, we wouldn’t recommend it. The majority of Gas Safe Registered engineers would normally refuse to fit a second-hand gas fire, unless they are absolutely certain of its provenance, history and condition.
How to dispose of an electric fire
Removing and disposing of an old electric fire is somewhat easier than getting rid of an old gas fire; but there are a few details that you need to be aware of.
Actually disconnecting your old electric fire is usually straightforward - many electric fires feature the same sort of three-prong plug that you get on any other household electric device.
If that’s the case for your electric fire, then simply unplug it!
However, some electric fires are wired directly into your home’s electrical circuits. Should you find that’s the case with your old electric fire, then we’d strongly recommend that you contact a properly qualified electrician who will be able to safely disconnect your electric fire for you.
As with gas fireplaces, there are a number of ways you can dispose of an electric fireplace:
- At your local household waste recycling centre. Simply take it down to your local tip where the staff should be able to advise you on the correct disposal location.
- Using your local authority’s bulky waste collection service. As with gas fires, you may not want to try and cram your old electric fireplace into the back of your car. So, get your local authority to pick it up for you (usually subject to the payment of a small fee).
- Sell it on an online marketplace. If you want to try and make a bit of money back on your old electric fireplace, then you can try selling it on an online marketplace such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Gumtree. Depending on which one you choose, it’s either free or subject to a small fee.
A note on the Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive
When disposing of your old electric fire it’s worth being aware of the fact that it will possibly be covered by the Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive (commonly referred to simply as ‘WEEE’).
An item or appliance will be subject to the WEEE directive if it contains electronic components such as screens, circuit boards, capacitors or other related items. As many electric fires contain at least some (or all) of these components, they will be subject to the WEEE rules.
If your electric fire does fall under the requirements of the WEEE directive, it means it must be properly recycled. You cannot simply chuck it in general waste or landfill.
You can normally tell if an item or appliance is subject to the WEEE directive as it (or its packaging) will be marked with a symbol of a ‘crossed out’ wheelie bin.
How to correctly dispose of a WEEE electric fire
Should you find that your old electric fire is classed as a WEEE appliance, you’ll need to make sure that you take it to your local household waste recycling centre - which should have a dedicated section for WEEE items.
Alternatively, if you are simultaneously buying a new electric fireplace, many retailers such as Direct Fireplaces operate a ‘take back’ scheme for WEEE electric fires.
In other words, if you’re buying a new electric fire, many retailers will take your old electric fire off your hands for you. Problem solved!
How to dispose of an old fireplace surround
If you’ve just moved into a new home and want to get rid of the existing fireplace surround, there are a number of ways you can dispose of it.
The first stop for anyone looking to get rid of an old fireplace surround should be their local architectural salvage expert. Simply Google ‘architectural salvage experts near me’ to find your nearest one.
Things such as marble surrounds, Victorian cast-iron fire inserts, and even individual parts such as cast iron fire grates are highly sought after in the second hand market.
If you want to go down this route, then there are a number of things you should do:
- Give your fireplace surround or insert a thorough clean. Use a damp cloth to eradicate any dust or grime that may have accumulated.
- When cleaning your surround or insert DO NOT use cleaning products such as Brasso. These can cause irreparable damage and actually remove the patina that is highly-sought after in the second-hand market.
- Take plenty of well-lit photos of your surround or insert. An architectural salvage expert will want to see plenty of close up detail as well as overall shots of your surround/insert.
Should an architectural expert be interested in your surround or insert, you should arrange removal in collaboration with them. The last thing they’ll want is for you to attempt to remove it and damage it in the process.
Another option for disposing of an old fireplace surround or insert is to auction it off.
There are plenty of online and high street auctioneers who will be happy to help you auction off your old fireplace surround or insert (provided it is genuinely of sufficient value).
Note, however, that an auctioneer will typically take a percentage of the final sale price, so it’s important to factor this into your considerations when thinking about how best to dispose of your old fireplace surround or insert.
Sell it yourself
Finally, there’s always the option of selling your old fireplace insert or surround yourself.
As we mentioned earlier, there are a wealth of online marketplaces such as eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace where you’ll (hopefully) find plenty of willing buyers!
Just bear in mind that you’ll have to sort negotiations and delivery yourself. In addition, some online marketplaces will take a percentage of your final sale amount.
Time for a new fireplace?
With all this talk of getting rid of old fires and fireplaces, your mind might have turned towards getting a new one.
New electric fires
Electric fires today are a far different proposition from the electric fires of old. Today’s modern electric fires include innovative tech such as smartphone control, incredibly-realistic flame effects, intricate lighting settings and more.
And, you’ll find all of the very best, modern electric fires here at Direct Fireplaces.
New gas fires
Gas fires are among the UK’s favourite home heating appliances; and for good reason. Not only are they cost effective to run, but they generate huge amounts of heat, so it’s a doddle to keep your living room toasty warm on even the coldest of winter days.
New fireplace surrounds
We don’t just stock fireplaces, but surrounds too. Whether you want a wooden, limestone, marble, granite or even a cast iron fire surround, Direct Fireplaces has got you covered.
Check out our complete range of fire surrounds now.
New cast iron fire inserts
You’ll also find a huge range of Victorian and Edwardian-inspired cast iron fire inserts here at Direct Fireplaces.
Whether you want a full polished, half polished or a simply plain black cast iron fire insert, you’ll find the perfect insert for you in our range here.
The Direct Fireplaces difference
Shop fireplaces at Direct Fireplaces today
For more fireplace information, advice and guidance, read the Direct Fireplaces blog…