How Much Does It Cost to Install an Electric Fireplace?
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Electric Fireplace Cost Guide
Updated: January 2, 2024
Whether you have a traditional fireplace or no fireplace at all, you can still enjoy the clean heat of an electric one. An electric fireplace is affordable, easy to install, and comes with many options to choose from. Without the sweat equity of chopping firewood, you get an energy-efficient means to supplement your central HVAC system, particularly in rooms that tend to run cool or home additions without heat vents installed.
The average cost to install an electric fireplace is $750. This estimate includes the price of the unit and the labor for an electrician to wire it. On the low end, you can purchase a plug-in freestanding electric unit for as little as $70. While these are sold as “fireplaces” at major retailers, this option is more the size of a space heater. The high cost of $10,000 includes a custom installation that’s built-in and seamless with the rest of the room. It has additional charges for added electrical, tile, and masonry work.
Costs to install an electric fireplace
National average cost
$540 to $1,005
Electric fireplace installation cost factors
Electric fireplace installation costs vary depending on several factors. Things like type, size, and additional features influence the cost of the unit. Here are some factors to consider when shopping for your new fireplace.
Electric fireplace types
Electric fireplaces come in several styles and types to best accent your home design. Here, we look at the most popular types of electric fireplaces.
An average freestanding electric fireplace costs from $70 to $1,870, depending on size and quality.
The cost of a freestanding fireplace depends on the size, shape, and design. Larger models with higher heat output will cost more than smaller ones. Those with a more elaborate design will cost more, as well. It plugs into a wall outlet, which makes adding one to your living room a breeze. Or, if you want to install one without an outlet, it can be hardwired.
An electric log insert costs $107 to $435, and an electric firebox insert ranges from $161 to $1,579.
Homeowners with an existing wood-burning fireplace they can’t use often opt for an insert. Electric fireplace inserts come in two styles: logs only or a firebox. Both fit directly inside the existing fireplace.
Electric logs simply sit inside the fireplace and plug into an outlet. However, you may not like the appearance of a power cord going from inside the fireplace to the wall.
A firebox insert replaces the existing firebox in the fireplace. This option requires some handyman skill to remove the woodburning firebox and install the electric one. If the existing fireplace is gas, a certified technician must disconnect the gas line. Also, hardwiring the unit to the existing wiring in the home is not a DIY project. You’ll need to hire an electrician for that.
Built-in electric fireplace
The average cost to install a built-in electric fireplace is from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on where you live.
A built-in fireplace is a custom unit designed for your home. It gives a more traditional appearance than a recessed fireplace and includes a mantel, surround, and hearth. This option is the most costly due to the increased labor to build and style the unit to complement your home.
Recessed electric fireplace
A recessed electric fireplace unit costs from $146 to $989.
Consider a fireplace that recesses into an existing wall for a sleek, modern look. A recessed electric fireplace is just deep enough to fit into the wall space with a surrounding flange. You can customize the look with a tile or wallpaper surround. Or you can install bookcases or other custom cabinetry around it. Because it must be hardwired, you’ll need to hire an electrician for the installation. The labor and any customizations will add to the overall cost.
Similar in pricing is the wall-mounted electric fireplace. These units feature a slim design like a television and can be hung on the wall and plugged into an outlet. Or, you can opt for a professional installation that hardwires it into the house.
Labor and installation
The average electrician charges $52 to $97 per hour, depending on where you live.
While you can plug many electric fireplaces into a standard outlet, you probably won’t like the look of a cord coming out of the wall and running to the nearest receptacle. For that reason, some homeowners hire an electrician to install their units. Their hourly rate, whether you can connect the fireplace to an existing circuit or need a new one, and the wiring distance contribute to the overall labor and installation cost. The increased cost is worth the peace of mind you’ll have to know a professional installation adheres to local building codes and is safe to use.
Extra cost factors
In addition to the type of fireplace, a few other factors influence the cost of the unit itself. They include things like the following.
- Appearance – The complexity of the design, how real the unit looks, and its size all affect the price tag. Also, fireplaces with built-in bookshelves or an entertainment center will cost more.
- Heating capacity – Units with multiple heat settings will cost more than those with one. Also, the higher the BTUs or larger the space the unit will heat, the more expensive it will be.
- Added features – You can buy a basic electric fireplace with no options or one with all the bells and whistles. It will cost more if your unit has multiple heat settings, a thermostat, includes a remote control, or adjustable flame settings.
- Quality – As is true for all appliances, quality costs more. But you’ll get many more years of use from a unit made of real wood with solid steel framing.
- Benefits of an electric fireplace
Why mess with wood or gas unless you’re looking for an alternative heat source for power outages? An electric fireplace keeps a room warm, provides a beautiful ambiance, and is clean. More expensive models include added features that make your life more comfortable, like a thermostat and remote control. They also have visual options to enhance the appeal, like the look of real flames or coals. Here are a few more benefits to consider.
- No need for a chimney or flue, which requires routine maintenance and chimney cleaning.
- More affordable than adding a wood stove, wood fireplace, or gas unit.
- Easy to install with plug-and-play options.
- Maintenance free.
- No harmful carbon monoxide.
Electric fireplace installation pricing tiers
You can afford an electric fireplace no matter what your budget looks like. To help you envision what you can do, we’ve broken the installation into three pricing tiers.
Budget-friendly electric fireplace installation
The cost range for a budget-friendly electric fireplace installation is from $70 to $250.
On the low end of this budget tier, you can afford a 24-inch space heater that resembles a freestanding electric fireplace. On the high end, look at wall-mounted or recessed panels up to 48 inches wide. Either option may include additional features depending on the quality and manufacturer. But, no matter what type of unit you choose, hiring an electrician to hardwire it is not in your budget. So, look for one with a power cord that plugs into a standard wall outlet.
Mid-range electric fireplace installation
The mid-range pricing tier for an electric fireplace ranges from $250 to $1,500.
With more money to spend, you’ll be able to pay an electrician to hardwire the unit. Typically, this is a 1 ½ - hour job. So, the labor cost will average $150, depending on where you live and whether you need to add a new circuit. With that in mind, feel free to shop for a low-cost unit, electric logs, or a mid-priced insert.
High-end electric fireplace installation
A high-end electric fireplace installation costs from $5,000 to $10,000.
Your luxury home commands a custom fireplace without the hassle of wood or gas. In the high-end pricing tier, you can afford a sizeable freestanding fireplace with all the added features. Or, for something permanent, you can have a custom-built fireplace with an electric insert or recessed panel. On the high end, the unit will cost $1,500 to $2,000, on average. However, the labor to custom-build a seamless fireplace that complements your home will add to the total cost. The high end of this pricing tier depends on the complexity of your design and whether your project requires additional wiring. But you can envision a full-size brick or stone fireplace, live-edge mantelpiece, and custom-tiled hearth for your future.
Can I install my own electric fireplace?
Absolutely! When you purchase a freestanding electric fireplace that plugs into a standard electrical outlet, you’re as free to install it yourself as plugging in the toaster.
However, call an electrician to install an electric fireplace insert, electric logs in an existing fireplace, or another hardwired unit.
Paying for your electric fireplace installation
Electric fireplaces are so affordable that few homeowners have trouble paying out of pocket for one. However, suppose you want to hire a contractor to build an elaborately designed fireplace that is electric. In that case, you’re talking about an expense that could justify withdrawing funds from your home equity line of credit. Talk to your lender if you don’t have a HELOC in place. You’ll be glad to have funds available for many other home improvement projects.
Another idea is to use a credit card from one of the major home improvement retailers. They will frequently give you a discount just for opening a new account. On top of that, they typically offer payment options like five percent off on everything you purchase or two years with no interest for large expenditures. Take advantage of one of these options to get the job done and save money.
Ways to save money on an electric fireplace installation
To purchase a freestanding electric fireplace on a budget, shop sales. If you’re in a pinch, buy what you can afford now and upgrade in the future.
You can do some of the work when installing a built-in or recessed model. You may not be able to do the hardwiring, but a skilled DIYer can build a hearth, mantel, or surround elements.
- Permits – A permit is required whenever electric wiring is installed. The permit price will add to the project cost unless the electrician or building contractor works it into the overall charges.
- Warranties – Always compare the warranties on the units before purchasing. Typically, the longer the warranty, the better the quality of the product.
Stay cozy without the cost
An electric fireplace gives you the warmth and beauty you want without the expense of wood or gas. If you want a built-in unit, talk to a local electrician for more accurate pricing for your area.