How Much Does It Cost to Install an Electric Fireplace?

Average range: $1,000 - $2,000
Average Cost
(wall-mounted electric fireplace including installation and parts)

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How Much Does It Cost to Install an Electric Fireplace?

Average range: $1,000 - $2,000
Average Cost
(wall-mounted electric fireplace including installation and parts)

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Reviewed by Laura Madrigal. Written by

A fireplace enhances any home. However, if your home does not have a chimney or you want to have the ambiance without the maintenance, mess, or fumes, you should consider the benefits of an electric fireplace.

Electric fireplace installation costs can vary widely, with an average range between $1,000 and $2,000 for parts and labor. The average project cost you can expect to pay for an electric fireplace installed is $1,500 for a wall-mounted fireplace. At the low end for the project, the average cost for an electric fireplace insert and hardwired installation is $900. The highest cost you may pay for an electric fireplace project is $3,900 for an integrated fireplace installed by a contractor, including the appliance cost and labor.

Electric Fireplace Prices

Electric Fireplace Cost
National average cost$1,500
Average range$1,000-$2,000
Minimum Cost$900
Maximum Cost$3,900

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Electric Fireplace Cost by Project Range

Electric fireplace insert including installation and parts
Average Cost
Wall-mounted electric fireplace including installation and parts
Integrated electric fireplace including installation and parts

Electric Fireplace Cost by Type

One thing that homeowners appreciate about electric fireplaces is the numerous options and variety. Regardless of your home’s style, you will find a model to complement the look and take advantage of the available space. The following table shows a comparison of some popular types, characteristics, and costs, which range from $100 to $10,500.

Electric Fireplace Cost by Type

Electric Fireplace Cost by Type

Electric Fireplace TypeAverage Cost (Only Materials)
Wall-Mounted Flat$300-$1,800
Wall-Mounted Curved$350-$1,900
Dual Sided$1,200-$6,000
Built in$1,500-$3,500

Freestanding Electric Fireplace

Expect to pay an average of $100 to $800 depending on size and model type, such as an oversized type or high-end white freestanding fireplace. A modern electric fireplace freestanding model is probably the least expensive type to place inside your home. Since it’s a freestanding electric fireplace heater, installation costs are minimal, reducing the overall cost. Most companies may only charge a basic delivery and setup fee of around $50. Charges increase if any electrical wiring work is needed to support the freestanding fireplace’s voltage.

Cost of an Electric Fireplace Insert

Electric fireplace inserts range in price from $110 to $1,035. The cost of an electric fireplace insert depends on what type you plan to get for your existing fireplace. Types like electric log inserts are easy to install and usually involve little to no electrical or masonry changes to the existing fireplace. Another option is to use firebox 1 inserts. The inserts transform the existing fireplace or firebox into a room heating appliance.

Corner Electric Fireplace

The average corner electric fireplace cost is between $200 and $1,100. A modern corner electric fireplace is designed for space-saving purposes. The design is ideal for compact rooms or apartments. A small corner electric fireplace is usually freestanding, but some types double as a mantel 2 or entertainment center. Installation typically only involves setup and delivery unless wiring work is needed.&

Flat Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace

For the actual unit, you will pay an average cost from $300 to $1,800. A flat wall fireplace takes up no floor space within your home. The sleek, modern design has a minimalist look and can usually be placed in any room with an existing outlet. A flat electric fireplace may come with aesthetic options such as color-changing flames. The installer will move the fireplace into the home and mount 3 it safely with the correct clearance.

Curved Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace

On average, you’ll pay $350 to $1,900 for a curved electric fireplace. A curved electric fireplace has a similar aesthetic as a flat wall fireplace. However, instead of being streamlined with the wall, the ends curve inward to make the piece stand out more. The installation process will be the same, with setup costs applied to the purchase price.

Dual Sided Electric Fireplace

The average cost of a dual-sided fireplace is between $1,200 and $6,000. A dual-sided electric fireplace is usually one of the higher price points compared to all other models. The dual-sided fireplace is usually see-through and placed as a statement piece in family rooms or great rooms. Since heating occurs on both sides of the unit, the dual-sided fireplace has a higher efficiency than most other model types.

Built-in Electric Fireplace

Units integrated into TV stands, entertainment centers, or bookshelves can cost $1,500 to $3,500 or more for the appliance alone. TV stand electric fireplace models and freestanding mantel electric fireplaces cost less—usually under $1,000. A simple, fully enclosed freestanding unit can cost as little as $100 for a compact unit. However, you might consider making greater use of the space or going for something more eye-catching. Several manufacturers offer electric fireplaces integrated into attractive, functional furniture pieces.

Three-Sided Electric Fireplace

On average, you’ll pay from $2,000 to $10,500 for a three-sided electric fireplace. A three-sided electric fireplace is a high-end model for formal spaces. The heating appliance can warm large rooms with open floor plans. In most cases, a three-sided electric fireplace will have a protected glass front and be mounted to the wall. Some freestanding models feature a three-sided protruding heat element design.

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Electric Fireplaces Prices by Brand

Each brand of electric fireplaces offers many styles, sizes, and options. The following table allows you to compare some popular brands, the characteristics of each, and the average price range without installation, which ranges from $75 to $6,000.

Electric Fireplace Prices by Brand

Electric Fireplace Prices by Brand

BrandAverage Cost (Only Materials)
Pleasant Hearth$75-$525
Classic Flame$220-$475
Real Flame$300-$1,000

Pleasant Hearth Electric Fireplace

The company specializes in affordable offerings that range from $75 to $525 retail. Pleasant Hearth specializes in fireplace inserts that are simple to install and can warm rooms of varying sizes. The company offers a line of media cabinet electric fireplaces that allow you to use the fireplace to support a TV.

Duraflame Electric Fireplace

The cost of a Duraflame electric fireplace is an average of $145 to $425. Duraflame produces a wide range of heating products, including their popular Duraflame electric fireplace insert. The insert has a classic red and black roaring fire design and works with any standard outlet. Inserts come with or without a heating element. The manufacturer offers freestanding mantle fireplaces in wood designs.

Xtremepower Electric Fireplace

The fireplaces from Xtremepower fall in the mid-range and run from $175 to $350. The Xtremepower U.S. company offers a wide range of fireplace units with the appliances available at most major home improvement stores. The company sells freestanding units, wall-mounted fireplaces, inserts, built-in 4 models, and more.

Dimplex Electric Fireplace Prices

On average, the cost for Dimplex fireplaces is anywhere from $180 to $6,000. Dimplex offers higher-end fireplace models, but they offer an affordable line too. The lower-cost products feature heating inserts placed inside an existing fireplace and plugged into a nearby outlet. Higher-cost models are integrated types with designer cabinetry.

Classic Flame Electric Fireplace

The average cost of electric fireplaces from Classic Flame is $220 to $475. Classic Flame has a range of heating products, but the company is most well-known for its stylish wall fireplaces. The fireplaces are easy to mount with adjustable thermostats 5, remote controls, timer settings, and color-changing flames.

Real Flame Electric Fireplace

Expect to pay an average of $300 to $1,000 for a Real Flame electric fireplace. Like many other electric fireplace manufacturers, Real Flame provides different home heating products. The company’s bestsellers are their freestanding fireplace units. Another popular choice is the company’s fireplace mantels and TV stands. Although discount retailers carry Real Flame, the fireplaces are also available from higher-end furniture stores like Pottery Barn.

Napoleon Electric Fireplace Prices

On average, you’ll pay between $325 to $1,500 for the fireplace offerings from Napoleon. Napoleon is a top manufacturer of luxury electric fireplaces. The company offers recessed wall-mounted fireplaces with slim, modern profiles. The most expensive offering from Napoleon is their three-sided fireplace units.

Touchstone Electric Fireplace

At a minimum, you’ll pay around $350 to $750 for a Touchstone model. Touchstone has a big selection of electric fireplaces to choose from, including inserts, mantels, freestanding units, built-in options, and more. The recessed fireplace style is one of the more popular models sold by the manufacturer.

Amantii Electric Fireplace Prices

The average cost of Amanti electric fireplaces is $600 to $3,500. Amanti specializes in unique electric fireplace styles. The company sells dual-sided and three-sided models to provide whole-room heating for larger spaces. For those looking for space-saving options, the company carries wall-mounted fireplaces too.

Electric Fireplace Installation Cost

Wall-mounted and insert hardwired units must be installed by a professional. Not only should you enlist the help of a licensed electrician ($40 to $120 per hour), but you may need an experienced carpenter ($75 to $90 per hour). Should you decide to install an electric fireplace into a wall of your home or want an elaborate dual-sided model installed, you need a carpenter's expertise. Depending on the job’s complexity, you can expect to pay $150 to $500 for an electrician's services and, if necessary, $160 to $360 for a carpenter.

Rewiring or reconfiguring a wall for an insert model requires an experienced electrician and carpenter who charge $65 to $100 per hour for two to five hours or more. An electrician can easily add an outlet if there is not one in the desired location or convert an outlet to a dedicated circuit if needed ($75-$140).

Most fireplaces take less than a day to install. If no carpentry or hardwiring is required, the job may be done in under an hour if the unit just needs to be set up. If you need electrical work to support the fireplace installation, the total time will likely be under four hours for installation. If major remodeling is needed to build the fireplace into the wall, electric fireplace installation can take as long as a week.

Many freestanding and insert electric fireplaces are available that you can bring home and simply plug into an existing 120v outlet. However, it must be a dedicated circuit. A dedicated circuit, connected to its own breaker, ensures appliances don't draw too much power causing the breaker to pop or overheat the wiring. Even with a basic plug-in unit, it would be wise to have an electrician check the suitability of the outlet that you intend to use. Also, if there is not an outlet in the area that you wish to place the unit, you will need a licensed electrician to install one for you.

Cost to Convert Gas Fireplace to Electric

On average, you can expect to pay a professional between $600 and $1,000 to convert a gas fireplace to an electric fireplace, including labor and materials. If no extra wiring is required, the job should take less than four hours to complete.

An electric insert is required to convert a gas fireplace to an electric one. Before the insert is installed, a professional must plug the gas line to prevent leaks. The liner 6 of the chimney may need to be attached to the insert, depending on your fireplace. Along with the insert, panels and insulation are attached. The sealing prevents any warm air from escaping through the chimney and improves the electric insert’s efficiency.

Cost to Convert Wood Fireplace to Electric

Most wood fireplaces can be converted to the electric version in less than two hours at a professional cost of $150 to $250. Converting a wood fireplace to an electric one is less time-consuming than converting from a gas fireplace. Gas fireplaces require capping and the confirmation that no gas leaks are present. In comparison, when you convert a wood-burning fireplace to an electric one, no major structural changes are required. Instead, the fireplace should be prepped by scheduling a chimney cleaning. Once the fireplace is swept clean, an electric insert can be installed. Additional structural changes may be needed to install the fireplace insert. For instance, you may need to rewire an outlet to support the insert.

Electric Fireplace Cost per Inch

The size of the electric fireplace has a direct impact on the final project cost. Manufacturers retail a range of electric fireplace sizes to accommodate all heating needs. Smaller fireplaces are usually needed to warm compact spaces like libraries and cozy dens, while a larger fireplace is ideal for family rooms, great rooms, or master suites. When shopping for electric fireplaces, the following are the most common sized units and the cost to install them. Remember to check clearance in the room before choosing an electric fireplace. For instance, wall-mounted fireplaces typically should be at least three feet off of the floor. Electric fireplaces can range from $400 to $3,900, depending on size.

Electric Fireplace Cost per Inch

Electric Fireplace Cost per Inch

WidthAverage Cost (Labor Included)
16 inches (1 foot)$400
25 inches (2 feet)$575
32 inches (2.5 feet)$700
40 inches (3 feet)$900
42 inches (3.5 feet)$1,050
48 inches (4 feet)$1,150
50 inches (4.25 feet)$1,300
54 inches (4.5 feet)$1,600
60 inches (5 feet)$1,900
72 inches (6 feet)$2,100
96 inches (8 feet)$3,900

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Electric Fireplace Replacement

Electric fireplaces have a shorter lifespan than other fireplace models of fireplaces. Since electric fireplaces have more working parts, the likelihood of the unit breaking down increases. Small electric fireplaces may be recycled locally without any cost to the homeowner. However, larger size units are more likely to require professional disposal.

In some cases, you may decide to replace an electric fireplace for another reason besides breaking down. For example, if you have been using a smaller fireplace to heat a room and find the size isn’t efficient for the space. Another reason to replace a fireplace could be aesthetic. Maybe instead of a large freestanding unit, you prefer the appearance of a sleek wall-mounted model.

Remember to check with retailers about any appliance deals that include the price of shipping, setup, and haul away of old units. If haul away isn’t included, the company will likely charge between $30 to $75 to remove the electric fireplace. Installing the replacement fireplace will likely cost less than $200 only for the labor on most model types. You’ll likely pay more for a replacement job since you’ll have to pay the haul away cost if it’s not included, which starts at $30 or more.

Cost to Run an Electric Fireplace

Electric fireplaces used only for ambiance without heat cost 0.003 to 3 cents per hour to run. However, depending on how and when used, a heating unit costs 12 to 18 cents per hour, according to Direct Energy. The electric fireplace energy cost is an average of $2 to $3 daily if you use the appliance round-the-clock. Weekly, you may pay around $6 to $10 if running consistently. Each month, you may pay around $15 to $20 during the winter months if using frequently. However, if you run the fireplace for just two hours daily for a month, your energy cost will be around $10.80, according to Direct Energy. Homeowners using an electric fireplace as a supplemental heat source can expect an average yearly electric fireplace cost of $95 to $200, depending on location and local utility cost. Of course, you would not consider trying to replace your HVAC system with individual room electric fireplaces. However, you may see energy savings if you lower the temperature setting on your HVAC and outfit the room that your family uses the most with one electric unit.

Cost to Run an Electric Fireplace

Cost to Run an Electric Fireplace

TimeframeFireplace Running Cost

How to Choose and Electric Fireplace

When choosing an electric fireplace, the first decision will be the model type. If you have an existing fireplace, an insert makes the most sense. However, if you don’t have an existing fireplace or firebox 1, you will most likely have to decide between a freestanding unit or a wall-mounted type. For any space constraints, wall-mounted units are preferred.

If you decide to go with a freestanding type, you will also need to determine if you want to make the unit multi-functional. Select a model that is a fireplace only or one that has a mantel. You could also select a larger unit that acts as a television stand or media cabinet. Since venting isn’t a consideration, you don’t have to choose an electric fireplace that fits near an existing vent.

Electric fireplaces are used primarily for zone heating. The size of the unit determines the area that the unit can warm. Most fireplaces can provide heat in rooms between 400 and 1,000 square feet. A very large gas fireplace, measuring over 70 inches, may be able to heat spaces up to 1,500 square feet. The room size will help you determine the best model for you.

Electric Fireplace Designs

One of the most significant benefits of installing an electric fireplace is the diversity of style options. The variety of dimensions and finishes allow homeowners to choose an electric fireplace that complements any space and existing decor. Traditional fireplaces do not always suit a modern aesthetic. More often than not, electric fireplaces have a strictly modern look or a neutral look that matches any furnishings.

However, you can also achieve a more formal or conventional look with electric fireplaces with various colors of carved wood, stone, or brick frames or mantels. While browsing for electric fireplaces, you will see designs from contemporary and minimalist to mid-century modern and even French country.

Also, several possibilities exist for your electric fireplace to be multi-purpose. Space-saving models, built-in to TV stands, bookshelves, and entertainment centers, allow homeowners to have a fire in smaller rooms.

In addition to the external look, electric fires come with internal options such as various log designs, black or white stone, river rocks, and possibly LED lights that deliver a flame color choice. A recent trend in electric fireplaces is the imitation brick refractory look. Traditionally, the brick surrounding the inside of a fireplace were for safety. Although the safety measure is not needed with the electric fireplace, it has the look that many people want in a fireplace.

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Electric Fireplace Heat

The first feature you want to consider when deciding whether to install an electric fireplace is heat. Do you even need or want your fire to produce heat? You may just be looking for the look and “cozy-factor” a fireplace delivers. If that is the case, several attractive models on the market are simply lights and mirrors that create no heat at all.

If, however, adding heat to your room is one reason you are considering an electric fireplace, you must consider several features. Most electric fireplaces claim to raise the temperature in a space between 400 and 1,000 square feet. Depending on where you live, raising the temperature of a room and truly heating it may be completely different things.

The amount of heat produced by an electric fireplace is expressed in BTUs. Most electric fireplaces, like most space heaters, produce 5,000 BTUs. This amount of heat is adequate for heating a small room. Generally speaking, if you intend to heat a room with your electric fireplace, it is advisable to purchase a unit capable of heating a room twice the size. Every unit comes with temperature controls that can be set to your comfort level. However, if your room is 400 square feet and you purchase a unit that can raise the temperature in 400 square feet, you are sure to be disappointed.

The vast majority of electric fireplaces run off of a standard 120v outlet. This extra power allows the unit to draw a maximum of 1,500 watts creating a heat output of 5,000 BTUs, enough to heat a 400 square foot space. Other units are available that can be connected to a 240v outlet increasing draw to 2,500 watts creating an output of 8,000 BTUs and heating up to 1,000 square feet.

Contemporary living room interior with an electric fireplace

Electric Fireplace Features

As far as setting the heat on an electric fireplace, features like remote controls and wall thermostats for hardwired units are convenient. Depending on the style that you choose, you may also be able to adjust the flame level and brightness. This doesn’t affect the actual temperature in the room. However, there is something to be said for the power of suggestion. The light and flames conjure up a “warm feeling” in the mind.

Beyond heating the room, you will find even more features that you might enjoy in your new electric fireplace. Some people like electric fireplaces with simulated crackling or the smell of wood from a scent atomizer. Ultra-modern designs look amazing with various or alternating colored flames. Many electric fireplaces can be fitted with custom grates or glass door kits. Companies have recently begun offering air purity system options within electric fireplaces, giving the units a much appreciated multifunctional aspect.

Although aesthetics and warmth are probably the first things that come to mind when researching electric fireplaces, other features are equally important but often overlooked. Overheat protection and temperature monitoring are essential features to have on an electric fireplace. Electric fireplaces are safer than an open wood fire in your home. However, the potential exists for fire when heat and electricity are involved.

Electric Fireplace Pros and Cons

Many reasons may be noted for installing an electric fireplace. Having a fire crackling away while it is cold and blustery outside gives your home a comfy, cozy feel, even when it's not a heat-emitting fireplace! Recent advancements make it possible for you to have the realistic look, sound, and even smell of a wood fire without lugging wood and cleaning up ashes.

Also, electric fireplaces are a less expensive option if your home does not have a chimney. Installing a traditional wood-burning fireplace and a chimney can cost $10,000 or more. Electric fireplaces don't emit any smoke or fumes; therefore, no venting or chimney is necessary. Furthermore, electric fireplaces are a much safer option, particularly if you have small children and pets in your home.

Unfortunately, an electric fireplace has a few downsides. They can be costly, and often the simulated fire in the less expensive models isn't very realistic looking. Although, if you are willing and able to spend a bit more, you can acquire a very realistic experience. Of course, electric fireplaces don't work when the power goes out and do not provide heat like gas or wood models. When comparing the heat emission of electric, gas, and wood fireplaces, remember one crucial factor. An electric fireplace emits 5,000 BTUs. Gas and wood emit anywhere from 10,000 BTUs and more. Nearly all of the heat from an electric fireplace stays in the room, while as much as 75% of the heat generated by gas and wood escapes through a chimney.

Smart Electric Fireplace

Unlike gas and wood fireplaces, you can install a smart home electric fireplace that can be controlled wirelessly. With a Wi-Fi electric fireplace, you can use your smartphone, tablet, or connected device to power the appliance on and off. You could also change the heat setting or set a schedule to heat your room with the smart home electric fireplace. A smart fireplace may offer a way to reduce your electric bill since you can control the fireplace remotely and set up alerts for usage. Smart fireplaces also offer you peace of mind if you forget to turn off the heat after leaving home. With your smartphone, you can switch the fireplace off.

Electric fireplace inserts with wireless controls start at $200. Freestanding and wall-mounted units with Wi-Fi start at $350. For those looking for an Alexa electric fireplace, you need to find a model compatible with Amazon’s virtual assistant. Although models are currently limited, you could use a smart plug with an electric fireplace. You can then control the outlet to power on and off as needed. Smart plugs are very low-cost and can be purchased for less than $20.

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Outdoor Electric Fireplace

Outdoor electric fireplaces provide more than just heat on frosty evenings. When you have a fireplace set up outside, it creates an ambiance and improves the aesthetics of your patio or deck area. An outdoor fireplace increases the value of the home and can be highlighted as a selling point.

The most important consideration of an outdoor electric fireplace is choosing a model that has been rated for use outside the home. Never use a standard model outdoors for safety reasons, including the potential for electrical fires. The outdoor fireplace will have a specialized casing to protect the heating element from poor weather conditions. An outdoor weather outlet is needed too if you wish to use an outdoor electric fireplace.

Touchstone and Amantii are two well-known manufacturers of outdoor fireplaces. The average cost to install and purchase an outdoor fireplace is between $600 and $3,500.

Along with the outdoor fireplace, you may be required to put a cover over the appliance. The cost of a fireplace cover is upwards of $75. Most covers are model-specific.

Electric Fireplace Safety

Electric fireplaces are very safe. Many of the risks with wood-burning and gas fireplaces don’t apply to electric units since they don’t have an active flame. However, you should still follow basic safety guidelines to reduce any fire risk.

Never leave a fireplace on overnight or unattended. In many cases, you don’t have to worry about turning the appliance off. The fireplace will have a sensor 7 that causes the unit to power off automatically after a set time.

Keep your hands away from the heating element of the electric fireplace. Children may get burned if not warned never to touch the fireplace vent directly.

Most manufacturers recommend you don’t use the fireplace with an extension cord. Check wattage recommendations before using any outlets. You also don’t want to cause a fuse to blow in the home and should not run the fireplace at the same time as another appliance such as microwaves and hair dryers. Also, keep the fireplace away from any flammable objects such as bedding and curtains. Don’t use fireplaces in areas where any paints or other flammable liquids are stored.

Modern interior room with an electric fireplace installed

Electric Fireplace Energy Efficiency

You can't beat electric fireplaces in terms of energy efficiency. In a comparison of firewood heat output versus electric heat output, firewood seems to have greater efficiency potential. However, even though hardwoods may have an available heat value between 8000 and 9000 BTUs, a large percentage of that is escaping up the chimney. Heat is continually pulled back into the fireplace as the fire feeds off the oxygen in the air.

Contrarily, electric fireplaces have no vent or chimney. There is nowhere for the heat to escape, and the heat source does not rely on the ambient air to keep producing. If an appropriately sized electric fireplace is used, fuel efficiency should be 70 to 90%, and 100% of the emitted heat should remain in the room.

Electric Fireplace Maintenance

Possibly the most beneficial aspect of owning an electric fireplace as opposed to gas or wood is the ease of maintenance and cleaning. Most electric fireplaces use energy-efficient, long-lasting LED bulbs that should only need replacing every ten years or 50,000 hours.

Besides changing the bulbs, you will want to use a dry clean cloth on your unit’s interior and vacuum the heater outlets occasionally to remove any dust. Any dust buildup hurts the efficiency of the appliance and compromises the unit.

Always check the electrical components and replace them if you notice any frayed or ripped wiring. Don’t try to fix the unit yourself since making modifications are dangerous and can also void any warranty coverage.

Electric fireplace inspection is not typically required. However, you may want an electrician to inspect your wiring before using a new model. The electrician can confirm outlets are grounded correctly.

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Electric Fireplace vs Wood Burning

Understandably, many homeowners prefer the authentic look, sound, and smell of a wood fireplace. However, the energy efficiency, low maintenance, and potential cost savings can lure others to install an electric fireplace instead. At a minimum, you will pay $2,500 to install a wood-burning fireplace. However, you may have to pay as much as $5,000 if you need significant masonry work to install the fireplace.

One of the most significant drawbacks of a wood burning fireplace is the need for wood as fuel. You will be required to collect logs to keep your fire burning through the cold months. Homeowners must either purchase or cut their own logs for use.

Electric fireplaces don’t require inspection. However, a wood-burning fireplace requires an annual inspection and service appointment to confirm the appliance’s safety. Heating with a wood fireplace is less efficient because you’re required to use dampers.

Electric Fireplace vs Gas Fireplace Cost

The average cost to install a gas fireplace is $4,000. Meanwhile, an electric fireplace can be installed for less than $1,200 for labor and materials. Electric fireplaces are simpler to install than a gas fireplace. If you don’t already have a gas line available to use with the gas fireplace, installation costs are substantial.

Electric fireplaces don’t require any venting to operate. With a gas fireplace, you must confirm proper venting to prevent smoke and gas buildup inside the home. Electric fireplaces are considered safer because they rely on a controlled heat source. Gas fireplaces use real fire, which can burn out of control.

Aesthetically, electric fireplaces offer more style options. However, some homeowners prefer the look and ambiance provided through a gas fireplace.

Electric vs. gas fireplace operating cost is close, but electric fireplaces have a slightly lower hourly running cost. Gas fireplaces average at 17 cents per hour, while electric fireplaces average 14 cents per hour.

Electric vs Ethanol Fireplace

Ethanol fireplaces are more expensive to purchase, with models starting at $600. An electric fireplace can be purchased for under $300. An ethanol fireplace is similar to a gas fireplace in that the appliance produces real flames. Since the ethanol fireplace uses biofuel, no soot or ashes are produced, and the fire burns clean. Electric fireplaces also don’t produce any byproducts since they don’t use real fire to warm a room.

Ethanol fireplaces don’t require a flue 8, just like electric fireplaces. However, a fuel source must be consistently added to the reservoir to run the ethanol fireplace. This can become costly if you plan to use the fireplace often. Each gallon of fuel costs an average of $2 with the fireplace burning through one or more daily. Operating costs of ethanol fireplaces are approximately double the cost of an electric fireplace.

Electric Fireplace vs Space Heater

Electric fireplaces and space heaters have many similarities. Both appliances are used for zone heating in a home. However, electric fireplaces provide more benefits than a standard space heater. Most notably, an electric fireplace has an improved appearance and creates a pleasant ambiance for the home.

Space heaters have basic styles and don’t conform to your room decor preferences. An electric fireplace can be selected to match your current decorating style. For instance, rooms with modern furniture can look good with the inclusion of a wall-mounted fireplace.

Electric fireplaces usually have more safety features. The fireplace has a glass casing to protect little hands from burns. The fireplace is likely to have a built-in thermostat to shut off the heat when the preferred room temperature is reached.

Space heaters have a slightly reduced cost of $50 to $100 compared to electric fireplaces that cost upwards of $200. The extra amount is usually worth it for homeowners. The operating costs of a space heater and electric fireplace are identical.

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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Striking Surrounds

Custom color and stonework finishes can be quite expensive. But, if the fireplace will be the focal point of the room, you might consider spending $700 to $2,000 for the exact look you want.

Colorful Bulbs

LED bulbs in colors other than natural flame (avg. $2.20) may add 25% or more to your cost. Depending on your personal style, different colored bulbs (avg. $4.25 to $7.00 each) can add a completely different dimension to your decor.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Rewiring inspection. Depending on where you live and the extent of the work done, the county or city may require an inspection of rewiring needed to convert to a designated circuit or add a 240v outlet if needed in the case of a larger, more powerful fireplace.
  • Dedicated circuits. A freestanding electric fireplace just needs to be plugged into an existing 120v outlet. You must be sure that the outlet is on a dedicated circuit. Many appliances in your home require a dedicated circuit to prevent overloading and potential electrical fire.
  • Attractive for home buyers. While an electric fireplace won’t add resale value to your home, many buyers consider it an attractive selling point for your home, leading to a quicker sale.


  • Do electric fireplaces produce heat?

Electric fireplaces produce heat and warm a room measuring between 500 and 1,000 square feet. Electric inserts that don’t produce heat are also available.

  • How much does it cost to have an electric fireplace installed?

The average cost to install a wall-mounted electric fireplace is $2,000, including parts and labor.

  • Does an electric fireplace add value to a home?

Homebuyers might consider spending a bit more on a property that has a wood or gas fireplace. Electric fireplaces will not generate that much in dollars but may be a strong selling point and help your home sell faster.

  • Are electric fireplaces cost effective?

Depending on where you live and the cost of electricity, electric fireplaces are very cost effective. Especially when you consider that 100% of the heat generated stays in the room without escaping up a chimney. Using an electric fireplace for two hours per day on high heat raised your electric bill by $15 to $20 on average per month.

  • Is it cheaper to use electric heat or gas fireplace?

An electric fireplace heater is less expensive to run than a gas fireplace. Not only is a gas fireplace less efficient if heat is escaping up a chimney, but the average cost to run one per year is $600, compared to $200 per year for an electric fireplace.

  • How much does it cost to convert a wood burning fireplace to an electric?

On average, expect to pay between $150 and $300 to convert from a wood burning fireplace to electric. Simple 120v electric log heater inserts are available for as little as $100. For something more elaborate, you can purchase a full insert and firebox for anywhere from $300 to $1,035. If rewiring is necessary for the conversion, you may pay upwards of $335 for the services of a licensed electrician.

  • Do you need to vent an electric fireplace?

One of the most appealing aspects of an electric fireplace is that it does not emit any smoke or fumes. Some can be installed quite easily and do not require any venting or a chimney.

  • Do electric fireplaces use a lot of electricity?

An electric fireplace uses approximately 1500 watts, which is slightly more than the average microwave oven. The wattage translates to 9 to 18 cents per hour, depending on how the fireplace is set up.

  • How do you install an electric fireplace on the wall?

Depending on the unit and where it emits heat (top, front, or bottom), you need to measure clearances. Appropriate clearances are 100 cm above and 50 cm on each side and below. Once you have ensured the clearances, the brackets that come with the unit need to be attached to the fireplace and wall studs. These fireplaces may weigh anywhere from 50 to 200 pounds. Having them securely mounted in the studs is absolutely necessary.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Firebox: The chamber in a fireplace that contains the fire. It is usually lined with firebrick so it can withstand the extreme heat that it is exposed to. Manufactured fireplaces have fireboxes made of sheet metal
glossary term picture Mantel 2 Mantel: A decorative construction that frames the opening of a fireplace. The term "mantel" can also refer to a shelf above a fireplace
3 Mount: A support on which something is attached or hung
glossary term picture Built-in 4 Built-in: An item of furniture, such as a bookcase or set of cabinets, that is built directly into the structure of the room. Built-ins are therefore customized to the room and not detachable
glossary term picture Thermostat 5 Thermostats: A device that senses and regulates temperature by turning heating and cooling devices on and off
glossary term picture Liner 6 Liner: A covering, usually made of vinyl, for the walls and floor of a swimming pool, used to keep the water in and protect the pool's surface.
glossary term picture Sensor 7 Sensor: Device that responds to a physical event or change in the environment by emitting an output signal
glossary term picture Flue 8 Flue: A duct or pipe through which exhaust gases from a fireplace, stove or boiler are released to the outdoors

Cost to install an electric fireplace varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources
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Cost to install an electric fireplace varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources