Electric Fireplace Squeak-How to get rid of it

This article will address how to Repair Electric Fireplace Squeaks on a Napoleon EF-30B Electric Fireplace.

When we started looking at RV’s a few years ago we came across a lot of the higher end 5th Wheels and Motorhomes that had electric fireplaces in them. We thought to ourselves, why would we want a fireplace in our RV? It wasn’t something on our list of must haves or even something we wanted. Of course the motorhome we finally went with had one and boy are we glad it does when it was all said and done. Our 2019 Thor Challenger 37YT came with a Napoleon EF-30B Electric Fireplace. The first month on the road we discovered that the electric fireplace actually did a pretty good job keeping the motorhome warm, at least the front half. We discovered this after not utilizing the fireplace to it’s full potential and relying more on the propane furnace to heat the motorhome. This burned through our propane supply quickly in the cold climate at our stop in Aurora, Colorado. After talking to some fellow RVers, we started using the electric fireplace and bought a small ceramic heater for the bedroom greatly reducing our propane usage.

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The Squeak!

In February 2020 a small squeak started coming from the fireplace. It wasn’t too bad to start with and would come and go. You know how a constant noise can really drive you crazy? A month later the squeak was back and this time it was not going away… It constantly squealed and seemed to eat at my soul.

I started looking for the culprit and finally stumbled across some information that said the squeak comes from the fire effect mechanism. What is the fire effect mechanism? The fire you see on the front of the electric fireplace is created by refracting light from LED bulbs in random 3D patterns to a screen. The mechanism is just an electric motor with a rod lined with shiny plastic pieces that reflect the light onto the screen. One end of the rod is attached to a small electric motor the other end goes through a grommet in the mounting hole. This is where the squeak comes from.

Getting rid of the squeak

The squeak finally got to a point it was constant, loud, and annoying! It had to go! Not being able to run the fireplace because the sound could be heard over the TV we shut it down and had to run the furnace for a night. The next morning I got up and started working on getting rid of the squeak.

We’re putting this item on our bi-annual maintenance list. Not only a lubrication of the fire effect motor and rod but also cleaning the heater fan.

  • Maintenance Schedule: Bi-annually
  • Difficulty: Very easy, you can do this yourself with minimal tools and mechanical experience.
  • Time to complete maintenance: Give yourself about an hour to complete. It is really a simple process and could be done between 30-60 minutes.
  • Tools and Supplies Required: #2 Phillips Screwdriver, Canned Compressed Air, Rags or Wipes, WD-40 Lithium Grease or similar lubricant.

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STEPS TO COMPLETE:

  1. Turn off fireplace and ensure it has cooled before starting repair.
  2. Remove fireplace shroud to gain access to mounting screws. The fireplace shroud just slides up and pulls off.Remove fireplace shroud
  3. Using a #2 Phillips screwdriver remove four mounting screws from edges of fireplace.
  4. Pull fireplace slightly out from its location.
  5. Unplug fireplace from outlet and remove fireplace to a location to complete repair.Unplug fireplace
  6. Clean fireplace exterior with damp rags or wipes to remove dust.
  7. From the backside of the fireplace remove the 10 screws along the edge of the back panel. Lay back panel down. (Be careful not to pull the back cover directly away from the fireplace. There are wires connecting the fire effect motor attached to the back panel.) At this point you have access to the fire effect motor and rod that is causing the squeak.
  8. Clean the area removing any dust and debris from the area.
  9. Lubricate the motor shaft and rod end at the grommet with WD-40 Lithium Grease or similar lubricant. This is where the squeak comes from.         
  10. If you only had the squeak to get rid of you can put the fireplace back together at this point by following the steps in reverse order. Or if you would like to clean the Heater Fan also while you have the fireplace out, continue onto the next steps.
  11. To remove the top panel remove the six screws along the top edge three on each side.
  12. Remove top panel.
  13. You now have access to the heater fan electrical panel and controller.
  14. Blow the heater fan out with canned compressed air.
  15. Wipe fan blades and surrounding area clean.
  16. Put the fireplace back together by following steps in reverse order.

Replacement

About 9 months after I initially wrote this article the blower motor on out fireplace went out. I tried getting a replacement to swap out but found that the manufacturer of our motorhome had listed the fireplace as a home fireplace. When I got the blower motor it was at least three times too big to work in our fireplace. So upon further review I found it cheaper to replace the whole fireplace. I found a suitable replacement on Amazon.

Conclusion

When your electric fireplace has a noisy squeak or is in need of a cleaning don’t be afraid to jump in and get it done yourself. It’s a simple job that’s not too difficult and doesn’t take much time. Cleaning and maintenance on your electric fireplace is something the dealers should let us all know about when we buy an RV but of course they don’t. We’re finding more and more things that we wish we knew or were told about when we bought our motorhome. Almost all of them are fairly easy maintenance items that will keep your RV in tip-top shape for many years of enjoyment.

 

 

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