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We're remodeling our fireplace, to include installing built-in cabinets and shelves on either side of the fireplace, changing the fireplace surround, mantel, and hearth. We're like to run electrical inside the cabinet boxes, right above the cabinet top in the first shelf, inside the fireplace to power the insert, and above the fireplace to power a TV (we may not actually install a TV, but want it wired for one on case).

wiring

Running media from inside to atop the cabinets is easy, as is power on the right from inside to atop. But I have three things I'm uncertain about:

  1. On the left, it would be nice to run the power around the corner so above the cabinet the outlet won't be as noticeable. I couldn't find anything on running electrical around a finished inside corner.

  2. I'm not sure the best way to run electrical from the left outlet to above the fireplace. I plan to install wood planks over the brick, so I could run the wire in a gap made with furring strips, or there's a gap behind the brick that I could perhaps fish it through.

  3. Most media outlets I've seen would require 3 or 4 inches of space behind the surface, which would be a pretty big gap. Could I safely remove 3 or 4 bricks to recess the media outlet?

recessed media and power box

  1. To run electrical into the fireplace for an insert, there's a gap below the stone surround where I could perhaps run metal conduit, or again there's a gap behind the brick surround that I could fish through.

This is very close to what we want for the final finished product.

desired end product

Thanks for any help!


UPDATE

A lot of work has been done. One remaining part of this question that hasn't been answered well (in part due to lack of information on my part) is how to wire inside the fireplace for the blower of the wood fireplace insert. Here is the current status: construction progress update annotated

I'd like to avoid the cord from the insert's blower to be visible. There are a few options I can see. One is to run cable from the receptacle that will go in the middle down the gap between the bricks and the concrete block. The chimney will be fitted with an insulated liner allowing for zero-clearance, so heat should not be a concern. Another option might be to route the cable in conduit around the veneer surround to the side against the cabinet, then under the surround before the hearth is installed.

I imagine one or both of these options might violate code, which is why I am asking here. Thank you!

  • Are you building on top of the existing wall, or are you planning to demolish the existing fireplace/wall? Is that a real brick fireplace, or an insert? Is the brickwork above the fireplace real, or veneer? If this is an outside wall, is there a chase on the other side of the wall or brick chimney? – Tester101 Nov 16 '15 at 14:52
  • Is there a basement/crawlspace below this? Is there an attic above? – Tester101 Nov 16 '15 at 14:59
  • It's probably too late now, but FWIW, when I've redone fireplaces like this, I tend to build out from the existing brick. I add 2x4 framing to the front. This means I have a lot more flexibility in the facade and I don't have to deal with demo'ing brick (plus, in theory, someone could always convert it back to the original brick if so desired). – DA01 Nov 16 '15 at 17:30
  • @Tester101: We got over eager and put the stone veneer (AirStone) you see in the photo on top of the tile which was on top of the brick. So we planned to leave the brick in place. It's a real brick fireplace, but we plan to purchase and install an insert. This is an outside wall, and there is no chase from what I can tell. There is a gap between the bricks above the mantel and the wall. There is a basement below (with another fireplace), but bedrooms above. – joshdoe Nov 16 '15 at 18:22
  • @DA01: I should have followed your advice about framing it out, we got over eager and slapped that stone veneer up right on top of the tile that itself is on top of the brick. Previous owner said the brick was badly stained so he covered it up with tile. Ugly early 1990s tile. – joshdoe Nov 16 '15 at 18:24
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1) you could use wiremold. They make 90º inside corners. I don't like it but if you have use it then it works. Better off to chop a new box in the wall exactly where you want it.

2) There are several ways to put power wiring behind the planks. EMT, ENT, wiremold...there are others less often used. You will need an extension box on the left power box to run out of.

3) The bricks around should just be a facade but why make it hard on yourself? Just bring the TV mount area out far enough to have the media box behind it.

4) Putting power in the back of the firebox will probably be a major pain. I believe that is firebrick surrounded by other brick. You may need to get a bricklayer in on this. Or at least you should study the construction of fireplaces.

I see other problems here, though. The National Electrical Code requires that no point along the floor line be more than 6' from a receptacle. If you cover the receptacles on left and right will there be other receptacles on the wall line close enough to satisfy that requirement? If not you will have to add them. Also, you can't cover junction boxes they have to be accessible inside the cabinets.

  • I'd like to avoid wiremold, but it's there as a backup. Regarding point three, I suppose it would be easiest to just frame in the top, though I'm not sure the best way to fasten it to the wall. It would also bring the top far out enough that the mantel would have to be less deep, or for the mantel to extend past the sides of the shelves, though I suppose that is not a big deal. On the left there is an outlet five feet from the corner. On the right it's about five feet to an exterior door, I suppose I could add another outlet there to meet code. – joshdoe Nov 16 '15 at 18:39
  • Hmm yeah the code requires any piece of wall 2 feet or more by itself needs a receptacle. Happy renovating. – ArchonOSX Nov 17 '15 at 1:21
  • I've not only extended the existing receptacle to be inside the cabinet, but I've also added a new receptacle above the cabinet top, which I think satisfies the requirement of having a receptacle every six feet. That being said, as we'll have our Christmas tree and perhaps lamps on that side of the wall and don't want a cord going inside or on top of the cabinet, I'll add a new receptacle outside the built-in on the wall. – joshdoe Dec 17 '15 at 14:37

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