On this page:
- Estimating the Cost of Installing a Gas Fireplace
- Should I Install a Gas Fireplace?
- What Affects the Cost of the Job?
- How Will My Fireplace Installation Project Measure Up?
- Preparing for Your Gas Fireplace Installation
- Cost Comparisons
- Level of Difficulty
- Find a Pro
A gas fireplace is a convenient, safe alternative to a traditional wood-burning fireplace, and one can be installed in just about any home with a lot less difficulty than building a new masonry chimney and firebox. Whether you would like to install a gas fireplace to supplement the central heat in your home, to take the edge off on a chilly day, or just to add ambiance to a room, it can be a valuable and an enjoyable upgrade for your home.
Estimating the Cost of Installing a Gas Fireplace
How Will a Pro Price the Job?
There is a wide variety of installation and equipment options and requirements for a new gas fireplace, so your installer will need to look at the big picture and price the job as a whole. The condition of your installation site, the type of fireplace you choose, and the availability of the gas supply are important details needed to estimate the time and materials needed for the job.
What is the Nature of the Installation?
The difficulty of the job is a big indicator of potential costs for a fireplace installation or conversion. If you would like to convert an existing wood fireplace to gas with an insert, the project is often simpler than if you install a complete fireplace unit in a new location. This isn’t always the case though, since a freestanding vent-free gas fireplace can often be easier to set up than a conversion. The type of fireplace you choose and its location, power, fuel, and ventilation requirements all play a part. In order to get an idea of the scope of the job, a pro will need to know the details of the new fireplace and take a look at the site to see how much work is involved.
What Materials Are Required?
In addition to the fireplace or insert, your pro will need to supply the materials required to connect the fireplace to the gas supply, as well as to vent it to the outdoors as required by the manufacturer and local codes, and to build a custom surround if needed. The supplies could include gas pipe and valves, flexible ducting, a vent, a chimney system, framing lumber, drywall, and trim materials.
Should I Install a Gas Fireplace?
Do I Need a Fireplace?
Fireplaces are a great draw in any design style, though they are not really a functional necessity in most modern homes. Though they can supplement a home’s central heat, most are not a practical choice to serve as a primary heating system, regardless of their type. So the decision to add a fireplace often comes down to personal preferences.
Is Gas Better than Wood?
If you are looking for more than just the charm provided by a fireplace, gas units can help heat your home more efficiently than their wood counterparts, without all the wood chips and ashes to clean up or the space required to store firewood. When it comes to adding a fireplace where there isn’t one already, installing a gas unit is one of the most economical options. Vent-free gas models don’t require any direct ventilation to the outdoors, and even models that do require ducting can usually be vented much simpler than a traditional fireplace.
Building a traditional fireplace requires adding a chimney to your home, which can be an expensive and disruptive process. If you do have a wood fireplace in your home, converting it to gas with an insert kit is a great way to get more use out of it, though some would argue that there is no substitute for a real crackling wood fire on the hearth.
Is it Worth the Investment?
A fireplace is almost always viewed as an asset or upgrade that can increase the appeal and value of a home, but whether adding one to your house makes financial sense really depends on your budget and goals. If you are considering installing a gas fireplace to increase the value of your home, check with a real estate expert in your area to find out if you are likely to get a full return on your investment.
What Affects the Cost of the Job?
Types of Fireplaces
Gas fireplaces are available as standalone units as well as in conversion kits designed to repurpose an existing wood fireplace and firebox inserts that are installed in a custom-built surround. Standalone units are installed much like an appliance, while conversion inserts may require some assembly or modification to the chimney, and custom surrounds for standard inserts are built in to suit the application.
Some models of all types require ventilation to the outside of your home and others operate without external venting. The construction and ventilation requirements of the fireplace will determine how much work is involved in the installation, and thus, how complex and expensive the job will be.
Fuel and Power Supply
Regardless of your fireplace style, a gas line is required to fuel its burner, whether natural gas from the street or liquid propane (LPG) in a tank, and most modern gas fireplaces also require an electrical connection to control igniters, thermostats, remotes, and blowers.
If your gas line is already in place at the location of the fireplace and there is an electrical outlet nearby, the installation will just involve setting up and connecting the unit, which makes for a pretty straightforward job. However, if either the fuel or power supply needs to be extended to the fireplace location, the location of the site and the accessibility for running pipe and wire will factor into the cost of the job.
How Will My Fireplace Installation Project Measure Up?
Often the most significant expense in a fireplace installation is the fireplace unit itself. The cost of the unit can range from as little as $150 for a gas log set that is placed in an existing fireplace, $500 or more for a freestanding unit with an integrated mantel or surround, to over $4,000 for a firebox or insert that must be framed into a wall for a custom finish. The type and style of fireplace you choose will have some influence on the cost of installation, since a higher level of assembly, modification, or customization will carry a higher price tag.
The complexity of running a gas line to your new fireplace will affect the cost of both labor and materials for the installation. If you have a gas tank or main supply in place already, you will need to add a new line inside your home. The length of the run and location of the fireplace will affect the cost of that part of the job, but you can expect it to add at least $200 to the bottom line.
If you do not have gas supplied to your home already, setting a propane tank and running a main supply line may add another $100 or so, while connecting to the natural gas supply at the street could add as much $500 to $2,000 to the tab since there will be some digging involved.
Installing a vent-free fireplace or insert requires no modifications or ductwork to deliver exhaust gases to the outdoors, making it a simpler project than if ducts need to be run through an existing chimney or if an opening needs to be cut in an outside wall for the exhaust. If your installation involves a direct-vented fireplace, the location, type, and length of ducting involved will determine the time and materials needed for the job.
If your fireplace requires an electrical connection, its proximity to an electrical outlet could help determine overall complexity of the job. It there is not an outlet or junction box where one is needed, or if you would like one installed in a more discrete location or a wall switch added to control the fireplace, you will need to add an electrician to the mix. New wiring should be done before the fireplace is installed, and could add $150 to $300 to the budget.
Most gas log sets, conversion kits, and freestanding fireplace units do not require and finish work such as masonry, trim, hearth, or mantel. But if you want to make a few updates while you are at it, or if you are installing an all new built-in fireplace unit, the level of construction and the type of finishes involved have a lot of influence on the total cost of the job. For example, installing a log set in an existing fireplace with no changes to the façade adds zero to the finishing budget. But the framing, drywall, trim, and tile work involved in a custom installation could cost well over $1,000—on top of the cost of the fireplace unit.
Preparing for Your Gas Fireplace Installation
The location and type of your fireplace will help your installer or contractor determine the price of installation, so consider how the availability of utilities and ventilation access may influence the complexity of the project. Keep in mind that venting a direct-vented fireplace through an existing chimney is often the easiest option, but if a new opening is required, the next best thing is to go directly through an outside wall, rather than up through the ceiling, attic, and roof.
Vented or Vent-Free
Since a good deal of the budget may hinge on ventilation, be sure to consider the most practical, safe, and cost-effective options when choosing a fireplace and a spot to install it. Be sure to check with your contractor or the code enforcement authorities where you live to make sure local laws permit the type of fireplace and installation method you are planning.
What’s Included With Your Fireplace?
When shopping for a fireplace, keep in mind that some types are not sold as the finished products, and extra materials and labor to add the finishing touches could make a big dent in your budget. Gas log and freestanding fireplace units generally do not require any finishing, but standard firebox units that must be built-in may not include a surround, hearth, or mantel, so be sure to see what yours includes and plan for all the details needed to get the finished product you have in mind.
|$225 - $900||$1,500 - $4,000||$2,500 - $8,000|
Since your choice of fireplace and finishes and the features of your home can have a lot of influence on the total cost of installing a gas fireplace, it’s helpful to compare your project to a few sample scenarios to help budget for the job. In our example, a few common factors can make a big difference in the price of adding a new gas fireplace to a finished home.
Basic Conversion: $225 - $900
- • Fireplace Type: A gas log kit priced between $200 and $400 is an economical way to convert an existing fireplace. Leaving the existing surround and hearth intact keeps the budget low on a project of this caliber.
- • Ventilation Requirements: With an existing chimney that is in adequate condition to provide ventilation, no new duct work or chimney is required, keeping the job simple.
- • Fuel and Power Supply: With gas service already on site, all that is needed to get the fireplace up and running is a tie-in with the existing line and a short run to the installation site.
An Uncomplicated Upgrade: $1,500 - $4,000
- • Fireplace Type: A free-standing, vent-free fireplace provides flexibility since it can be installed virtually anywhere in the home. A wide price range exists for these units, but $1,200 to $2,000 allows for a good, mid-range fireplace.
- • Ventilation Requirements: Designed to operate without a connection to the outside, this project can be completed without adding any ventilation, making it a relatively simple project.
- • Fuel and Power Supply: In our example, this fireplace is the first gas appliance in a home that is not served by a natural gas supply. Setting a tank and installing lines for the LPG supply adds $300 to $800 to the budget, and adding an electrical outlet nearby tacks on another $300.
Starting from Scratch: $2,500 - $8,000
- • Fireplace Type: In this example, a new direct-vent gas firebox is installed in a custom-built surround. In addition to installing the fireplace, pros complete the facade with stone veneer and a wood mantel and lay a custom stone hearth, which adds $1,500 to $2,400 to the job.
- • Ventilation Requirements: Since the firebox requires venting to the outside, cutting the opening adds some complexity to the job, but installing the vent on an outside wall can be done in the course of framing the structure that will support the fireplace.
- • Fuel and Power Supply: In the most complex scenario, a new natural gas line must be run from the street to the home and to the installation site, as well as an electrical outlet installed in the surround. Calling in the pros needed for these aspects of the job could add $750 to $3,000 to the budget, depending on the length of the runs and the connections involved.
Level of Difficulty
The level of difficulty of installing a gas fireplace really depends on the type of unit you choose and the amount of work that is required to get the job done. In any case, a licensed plumber or gas technician should be called in to make gas connections, and adding a new outlet is best left for an electrician, but there may be several aspects of the job you can tackle yourself. For example, only basic skills are required to assemble most gas log kits and freestanding fireplaces, while intermediate to advanced skill is called for to build, drywall, and finish a custom surround for a gas firebox.
Gas Fireplace Installation Services
To locate a plumber or electrician to handle the technical parts of your installation, or if you would rather just leave the whole job in the hands of an expert, look for a trusted Gas Fireplace Installation Professional in your area. If your project involves construction or finish work, consider hiring a remodeling contractor who can line up and coordinate all the pros needed to get the job done, such as a plumber, electrician, carpenter, drywaller, and tile setter.