How Much Does It Cost to Install an Electric Fireplace?

Average range: $1,000 - $4,000
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 - $4,000
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(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.

Installation costs vary widely, with an average range between $1,000 and $4,000 for parts and labor. The average project cost you can expect to pay for an electric fireplace installed is $2,500 for a wall-mounted prefabricated model. At the low end, the average cost for a prefabricated electric fireplace insert is $550. On the other hand, you may pay upwards of $8,000 for a custom integrated fireplace installed by a contractor, including the appliance cost and labor.

Electric Fireplace Cost

Average Cost to Install an Electric Fireplace
National average cost$2,500
Average range$1,000-$4,000
Minimum cost$550
Maximum cost$8,000

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

What Is an Electric Fireplace?

Electric fireplaces produce heat and a sense of ambiance for a room without flames, exhaust, or soot. They use an electric heating element combined with an LED image of flames and usually some plastic or ceramic logs. They can be plugged into a wall outlet or hardwired to your home’s electrical panel. Unlike gas and wood-burning units, they do not require any type of chimney or vent, although you can install an electric insert inside of an existing fireplace if you choose.

They come in a wide range of sizes and styles. Some are meant to be freestanding, while others may hang on your wall like a flat screen TV. If you want a more custom appearance, you can also have one built into your walls with or without a mantel 1. This gives you the look of either a gas or wood-burning fireplace, depending on your home’s style.

Different manufacturers offer different options. Many simply offer readymade or prefab models that you can use freestanding or have installed in your wall. Others offer a range of custom installation options, including custom mantels or furniture surrounds. It is also possible to have a builder make you a custom installation for any unit so that you can make it part of your home’s decor.

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Prefab vs Custom Electric Fireplace Installation Cost

There are two different ways that you can have an electric fireplace built into your home. You can choose a prefab model meant to be inserted into a wall opening or hung on your wall. You can also choose to have your unit custom installed. This means that you either choose a model that can have a customized mantel and appearance and have it installed like a prefab model, or you have your contractor customize the appearance on site. This can be done by building a wall that the unit will be installed in to be visible from both sides or creating a built-in fireplace with a custom mantel and surround that makes it appear more like masonry. Many people that choose this last option will have a full wall unit built around the insert. The right type for your home depends on your style and performance and your overall budget. Depending on which type you choose, you can expect to pay between $1,550 and $5,500 for the unit and its installation.

Comparison of the Cost to Install a Prefabricated and Custom Built-In Electric Fireplace

Comparison of the Cost to Install a Prefabricated and Custom Built-In Electric Fireplace

InstallationAverage Cost (Installed)
Prefabricated$1,550 - $3,700
Custom Built-In$2,500 - $6,500

Prefab Electric Fireplace Cost

On average, prefabricated models cost $1,550 to $3,700 installed in or on your wall. A prefab unit comes in many different styles. They can be stand-alone units that look like wood stoves but simply plug into your wall. Most commonly, they may look like flat-screen TVs that need to be hung on your wall, or they may be complete units with a surround mounted inside your wall. If you hardwire the unit, it will be more costly than plugging it in. Likewise, building it into the wall, rather than hanging it on the wall, will have higher costs overall.

Custom Electric Fireplace Cost

A custom electric fireplace installation costs $2,500 to $6,500 on average, including all labor and materials. Custom installations generally mean that the unit is built into your wall. The area around it is custom built to make it appear to be part of a larger installation. This may mean having an entertainment center built around it or simply opting for a custom mantel to be installed around the fireplace itself. If you want something more substantial than a simple insert or something different than the readymade mantel setups, a custom installation will likely be your best bet. Keep in mind that the larger the surround you build, the higher your total costs. Filling an entire wall with built-in cabinetry or building a new “stone” wall that the fireplace can be visible from on both sides will have higher costs on average.

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, their characteristics, and associated costs. These types can be considered “prefab,” meaning that either they do not require any installation, or very basic installation, such as wall hanging or inserting into an opening. A few types can be custom installed, which will include building them into a wall with surround. Costs for those units that can be customized are listed as well.

Prefab and Custom Cost to Install Electric Fireplace by Type: Tabletop, Freestanding, Wall-Mounted, Insert, Corner, Built-In...

Prefab and Custom Cost to Install Electric Fireplace by Type: Tabletop, Freestanding, Wall-Mounted, Insert, Corner, Built-In...

TypeAverage Prefab Cost (Installed)Average Custom Build Cost (Installed)
Tabletop$200 - $1,000N/A
Freestanding$300 - $1,500N/A
Wall-Mounted$600 - $5,000N/A
Insert$400 - $4,000N/A
Corner$900 - $3,800$2,000 - $10,900
Island$2,200 - $6,000$3,000 - $12,000
Dual-Sided$2,200 - $6,900$3,000 - $12,500
Built-In$1,600 - $10,000$3,000 - $15,500
Three-Sided$2,300 - $9,700$4,700 - $16,500

Tabletop Electric Fireplace

On average, tabletop models cost between $200 and $1,000. Also known as portable fireplaces, tabletop units are a convenient choice for many homeowners. Since these are generally the smallest types of units on the market, they are the most cost-effective option. Additionally, they can be moved around without any extra hassle, which means you can get the most use out of it no matter where you are in your home. However, since they are smaller, they do not emit as much heat. These are often a great choice if you have a smaller space that you want to heat.

Freestanding Electric Fireplace

Expect to pay an average of $300 to $1,500 for a freestanding model. Overall costs depend on size and model type, such as an oversized or high-end white freestanding fireplace. A modern electric freestanding model is probably the least expensive type to place inside your home. Since it is a freestanding heater, installation costs are minimal, reducing the overall cost. Most companies may only charge a basic delivery and setup fee of around $50. Because these are designed to be plugged into the wall, many have no installation or related costs. Charges increase if any electrical wiring work is needed to support the freestanding unit's voltage.

Wall-Mounted Electric Fireplace

For the actual unit installed, you will pay an average cost from $600 to $5,000. Wall-mounted models come with aesthetic options such as color-changing flames. To be installed properly, these need a mount, much like a wall-mounted TV, and a plug or to be hardwired to your home’s electric system. They can be easily installed by a handyman or by your local supplier. There are two main types of wall-mounted or hanging designs. The biggest difference between the two is purely aesthetic, with the curved design coming further into the room than the flat.

Cost of a Flat and Curved Wall-Mounted Electric Fireplace

Cost of a Flat and Curved Wall-Mounted Electric Fireplace

ShapeAverage Cost (Installed)
Flat$600 - $4,500
Curved$600 - $5,000

Flat Wall-Mounted

Flat wall-mounted models range from $600 to $4,500 when fully installed. A flat wall unit 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. If an outlet is not in reach, or you want a sleeker look, you can have it hardwired to your home’s electrical supply. Most wall-mounted or hanging models are heavy enough to require a mounting bracket 2 and professional mounting. This will ensure its safety and prevents accidents over time. Correct mounting also ensures it stays flat to the wall for the best appearance and doesn’t shift over time.

Curved Wall-Mounted

Curved wall-mounted units generally cost between $600 and $5,000 fully installed. As the name suggests, they curve outward, adding dimension to the room. The process of mounting a curved electric unit is similar to installing a flat one. They may be larger and heavier than flat units. For this reason, they may have larger brackets or require slightly more intense installation, depending on the overall size. There aren’t as many choices for curved models as flat, and the cost per unit does not differ much between the two. They may cost more to install, however, depending on weight.

Cost of an Electric Fireplace Insert

These inserts range in price from $400 to $4,000 when fully installed. The cost of an insert depends on what type you plan to get for your existing fireplace. Log inserts are easy to install and usually involve little to no electrical or masonry changes to the existing unit. Another option is to use firebox 3 inserts. The inserts transform the existing unit or firebox into a room heating appliance.

Corner Electric Fireplace

The average prefabricated corner unit cost is between $900 and $3,800 fully installed. The cost of a custom corner unit ranges from $2,000 to $10,900, depending on materials and size. A modern corner model is designed for space-saving purposes. The design is ideal for compact rooms or apartments. The small models are usually freestanding, but some double as a mantel or entertainment center. Installation for a prefabricated model typically only involves setup and delivery unless wiring work is needed. Custom models must be built into the cabinet and take longer to install.

Island Electric Fireplace

On average, a prefabricated island unit costs between $2,200 and $6,000. Custom builds range in cost between $3,000 and $12,000. These act as a great central space to gather with access to heat on all sides. They also serve as a great centerpiece, improving your home’s aesthetic and overall value. Some island models can double as a table to hang out and eat at or a shelf to display any of your items. Others are built into a permanent cabinet, table, or half wall constructed on site around the fireplace.

Dual-Sided Electric Fireplace

The average cost of a prefabricated dual-sided model is between $2,200 and $6,900 when fully installed. Custom dual-sided units generally cost between $3,000 and $12,500. A dual-sided electric unit 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. They are similar to island models in that way. However, these units are generally built into a wall or pillar and act almost as a window. Since heating occurs on both sides of the unit, they are more efficient than most other model types.

Built-In Electric Fireplace

Units integrated into TV stands, entertainment centers, or bookshelves, and units built into a feature wall can cost $1,600 to $10,000 for prefabricated models fully installed and set up. Custom builds generally cost between $3,000 and $15,500. TV stand models and freestanding mantel units 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 fireplaces integrated into attractive, functional furniture pieces. You can also incorporate nearly any standard electric unit into a custom-built entertainment center or feature wall to make a statement piece in any room of the home.

Three-Sided Electric Fireplace

On average, you’ll pay from $2,300 to $9,700 to install a three-sided prefab unit. Custom three-sided units generally cost between $4,700 and $16,500. This 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 model will have a protected glass front and be mounted into the side of a wall separating two rooms. Some freestanding models feature a three-sided protruding heat element design, which does not require installation.

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Electric Fireplaces Prices by Brand

When choosing the right fireplace for your home, it’s important to consider which brand you want. There are plenty of options you can choose from, each with its own unique benefits, styles, and price ranges. Each brand 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 for prefab units without installation, which ranges from $180 to $2,500.

Electric Fireplace Prices by Brand: Duraflame, Dimplex, Classic Flame, Real Flame, Napoleon, Amantii...

Electric Fireplace Prices by Brand: Duraflame, Dimplex, Classic Flame, Real Flame, Napoleon, Amantii...

BrandAverage Cost (Materials Only)
Pleasant Hearth$180 - $3,000
Duraflame$210 - $750
XtremePower$245 - $875
Dimplex$300 - $3,000
Classic Flame$500 - $2,000
Touchstone$600 - $2,000
Real Flame$600 - $2,500
Napoleon$800 - $2,000
Amantii$1,200 - $2,500

Pleasant Hearth Electric Fireplace

Pleasant Hearth units range in cost from $180 to $3,000 on average. The company makes various models, from small log inserts to complete media cabinet designs. Most of their units are made for a fast and easy install. Simply position them and plug them in. They make a range of electric fireplace “stoves” that resemble the look of a wood-burning stove. Their log inserts come with a built-in grate, while their cabinet units come with all accessories.

Duraflame Electric Fireplace

The cost of a Duraflame unit ranges from $210 to $750 on average. Duraflame produces a wide range of heating products, including their popular Duraflame 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 units in wood designs as well as many stove options. They offer a full range of different “stove” style units. These come in many sizes and colors at affordable prices. They also have a limited range of “built-in” models that have faux-stone surrounds.

XtremePower Electric Fireplace

The products from Xtremepower fall in the mid-range and run from $245 to $875. The Xtremepower U.S. company offers a wide range of units with appliances available at most major home improvement stores. The company sells freestanding units, wall-mounted, inserts, built-in models, and more. They also make a wide range of different accessories that you can use with your fireplace. This includes cabinets, hooks, and fun inserts in different shapes. Most of their products do not require any installation.

Dimplex Electric Fireplace Prices

On average, the cost of a Dimplex unit is anywhere from $300 to $3,000. Dimplex offers a wide selection of high-end models. Most of their products are designed as a type of insert. Some are meant to be installed in an existing fireplace, while others are installed inside a wall or cabinet. The insert itself is fairly shallow and comes with a surround for fast and easy installation. It would be possible to customize many of their units during the installation process to place one inside a larger entertainment center or focal wall.

Classic Flame Electric Fireplace

The average cost of electric fireplaces from Classic Flame is $500 to $2,000. The company is most well-known for its stylish wall units but makes a wide range of different heaters. They essentially have two categories. One is mounted on a wall like a TV and gives you a more modern appearance. The other is mounted against the wall but sits on the floor inside a larger mantel and surround. They are easy to mount with adjustable thermostats 4, remote controls, timer settings, and color-changing flames.

Touchstone Electric Fireplace

The cost of a Touchstone model is $600 to $2,000 on average. Touchstone has a big selection of fireplaces to choose from, including inserts, mantels, freestanding units, built-in options, and more. The recessed style is one of the more popular models sold by the manufacturer. Many of their recessed models are designed to be housed by a standard interior wall. Once installed, they have a sleek, modern appearance. They come in many different sizes and shapes, allowing them to complement a wide variety of different home styles.

Real Flame Electric Fireplace

Expect to pay an average of $600 to $2,500 for a Real Flame electric fireplace. Real Flame makes an incredible range of high-end units. Most are built into either a cabinet or a larger surround mantel. They are designed for easy installation. Just set them up against the wall and plug them in. They also carry a more limited line of electric fireplace “stoves.” These look like real wood stoves and even have a faux chimney pipe that attaches to the wall for a more authentic look. Their cabinets and surrounds come in many different sizes and styles, so you can easily find one that fits your home and needs.

Napoleon Electric Fireplace Prices

The cost of a Napoleon electric model is $800 to $2,000 on average. Napoleon is a top manufacturer of luxury fireplaces and recessed wall-mounted units with slim, modern profiles. They have three basic categories. They make a range of inserts designed to fit into the wall or an existing unit. They also make some narrow wall mounted models and carry a unique vertical electric fireplace. All of their products can come with color changing “flames” and sleek, contemporary designs.

Amantii Electric Fireplace Prices

The average cost of an Amantii unit is $1,200 to $2,500. Amantii specializes in unique 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 units too. Most of their wall units are designed to recess for a flush mount with the wall. This gives you the sleekest design. Some of their dual and three sided models are designed for custom installations into your home.

Electric Fireplace Installation Cost

Depending on the job’s complexity, you can expect to pay $150 to $500 for an electrician's services. If necessary, you may pay $160 to $360 for a carpenter to install a fireplace either on or in a wall or an existing unit as an insert. Hiring a carpenter will be necessary if you decide to install the unit into the wall of your home or want an elaborate dual-sided model installed. Rewiring or reconfiguring a wall for an insert model requires an experienced electrician and carpenter who charge $65 to $100 per hour. 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 to $140).

If you plan to install a custom unit, you can expect prices to be higher as it requires longer setup and installation times. This can have a wide range of labor costs, starting at around $1,000 and going as high as $3,000 for most installations. Custom units are usually designed around a basic recessed unit or insert. You are essentially contracting to have either a surround built around the unit for a traditional look or for an entertainment center to be built around the unit. Costs are generally given per linear foot, with most labor costs starting at $160 to $300 a linear foot. If you choose to have a wall built for a corner installation, you can expect costs to be closer to $4,000 for the total installation costs. Cladding a wall in stone or faux-stone to create a custom accent can also increase costs.

Most wall hung and recessed models 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 installation, the total time will likely be under four hours for installation. If major remodeling is needed to build the fireplace into the wall, however, or if you are building a custom cabinet or wall for its installation, the project can take as long as a week.

Many freestanding and insert models 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.

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Cost to Build an Electric Fireplace Surround by Material

Fireplace surrounds come in various materials. If you want to give your electric unit a more traditional appearance, closer to that of a wood-burning model, you may want to add a surround. The surround is any material that is installed on the sides and above the firebox 3. For some wall-recessed fireboxes, it may also continue below the firebox as well. Surrounds are not functionally necessary for a unit to work or be safe. They can, however, help make it more of an integral part of your home design.

Suppose you are not using a built-in fireplace inside of a cabinet or entertainment center, and the model you choose does not come with a prefabricated mantel 1 and surround. You can have a custom surround built after its installation. The cost of the surround will vary by material and by the size of your model. Some surrounds may encompass an entire wall, while others may just be a thin, decorative row of tile that surrounds the firebox. The costs below are the installed cost per sq.ft. for a custom surround. Prefabricated units may have surrounds as part of their total price package.

Cost per Sq.Ft. to Build a Wood, Tile, Stone, Marble, and Brick Electric Fireplace Surround

Cost per Sq.Ft. to Build a Wood, Tile, Stone, Marble, and Brick Electric Fireplace Surround

Surround MaterialAverage Cost per Sq.Ft. (Installed)
Wood$9 - $75
Tile$10 - $125
Stone$10 - $300
Marble$20 - $300
Brick$25 - $50

Electric Fireplace Wood Surround

The cost of installing a custom wood surround for a fireplace is $9 to $75 a sq.ft. There are many different types of wood from which you can choose for your surround, including pine, cedar, walnut, oak, and more. Softer woods like pine will be cheaper, while harder woods like walnut will be among the most expensive. Some wood surrounds create a rustic ambiance, which can make a room feel very cozy. Other polished and carved wood surrounds can give you a more traditional look. However, a wood surround may not fit with more modern architecture, so make sure to think about your space as a whole.

Electric Fireplace With Tile Surround

A tile surround for a fireplace costs between $10 and $125 a sq.ft., depending on the material. These surrounds allow more customization in terms of patterns and colors around your fireplace, which means you can get creative with your vision. Often, they are made out of porcelain, ceramic, or glass, but there is also a wide range of stone tiles to choose from, including marble, slate, and limestone. Tiles come in all shapes and sizes, allowing you to make a unique pattern on the surround. Tile surrounds can be traditional or contemporary, depending on your personal taste and style. With these types of units, you can make your surround anywhere from a single tile in thickness up to a size encompassing the entire wall without impacting how the space will function. This gives you more surround options than with a wood-burning unit.

Electric Fireplace With Stone Surround

The cost of a stone surround ranges from $10 to $300 a sq.ft. There are many different ways to create a stone surround. You can use stone tiles, stone veneer pieces, faux-stone, stone cladding, or you can have your surround carved out of one large piece of stone. Many different types of stone can be used on the surround, including granite, marble, slate, limestone, travertine, and fieldstone. Because the fireplace area is dry, you can use stone set without mortar or grout for a rustic look or use elegant, polished tiles for a more classic appearance. Stone can come in an incredible range of colors and patterns, so it is easy to find one that can fit any home style.

Electric Fireplace With Marble Surround

The cost of a marble surround for a fireplace is $20 to $300 a sq.ft. Marble is a beautiful, classic natural stone that can be polished to a high sheen. It can be found in tiles of nearly every shape and size. It can also be cut into large pieces to create a surround and mantel in one or three pieces. Marble comes in several different colors and patterns. If you have a marble surround made out of a solid piece of stone, you will want to visit your local stone yard to choose the exact piece. This gives you the greatest control over the final appearance of the surround.

Electric Fireplace With Brick Surround

A brick surround for a fireplace costs between $25 and $50 a sq.ft. Many older brick units were built completely out of brick and mortar. For an electric fireplace installation, however, this isn’t necessary to get the same look. Instead, you can use brick veneers or thin pieces of brick installed on the wall around the fireplace. The brick veneer is installed similarly to tile. It’s then mortared to give it the same appearance as a traditional brick fireplace. Bricks and brick veneers come in a very wide range of different sizes and styles. This lets you customize the appearance of your room.

Electric Fireplace Replacement

These units have a longer lifespan than other models. Since electric fireplaces have fewer working parts and don’t produce any soot, the likelihood of the unit breaking down decreases. If yours stops working, however, or you want to upgrade to a unit with a bigger heat output, they are fairly easy to replace. Small units may be recycled locally without any cost to the homeowner. However, larger size units are more likely to require professional disposal.

The cost of replacement varies depending on several factors. Suppose this is a direct replacement of a wall-mounted, recessed model or insert of the same size and shape. In that case, your costs will be about the same as a new installation, plus the cost of removal and disposal of the old unit, ranging from $25 to $200, depending on size and the installation company’s policies. This makes direct replacement of a prefab installation typically between $1,575 and $3,900.

Custom installations and replacements are different. Sometimes, the custom surround or built-in can be left in place, with only the fireplace itself needing to be changed out. If this is the case, then your costs will be similar to those of a prefab replacement. However, the way that the fireplace was built into its unit impacts how easy or hard it is to remove and replace. This can increase your costs. You can expect costs to be between $2,000 and $4,500 for replacement if this is the case.

Cost of Converting 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 one, 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 of the chimney may need to be attached to the insert, depending on your unit. 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-Burning 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 unit. 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, it should be prepped by scheduling a chimney cleaning. Once it is swept clean, an electric insert can be installed. Additional structural changes may be needed to install the insert. For instance, you may need to rewire an outlet to support the insert.

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 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 these units as a supplemental heat source can expect an average yearly 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.

Hourly, Daily, Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly Cost to Run an Electric Fireplace

Hourly, Daily, Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly Cost to Run an Electric Fireplace

TimeframeRunning Cost
Hourly$0.12 - $0.18
Daily$2 - $3
Weekly$6 - $10
Monthly$15 - $20
Yearly$95 - $200

How to Choose an 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 unit or firebox, 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 a model 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 of them provide heat in rooms between 400 and 1,000 sq.ft. A very large gas unit, measuring over 70 inches, may heat spaces up to 1,500 sq.ft. The room size helps you determine the best model for you.

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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 a unit that complements any space and existing decor. Traditional styles 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 various colors of carved wood, stone, or brick frames or mantels. While browsing for fireplaces, you will see designs from contemporary and minimalist to mid-century modern and even French country.

Also, several possibilities exist for your unit to be multi-purpose. Space-saving models built into 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 these fireplaces is the imitation brick refractory look. Traditionally, the brick surrounding the inside of the firebox was for safety. Although the safety measure is not needed with this type of unit, it has the look that many people want in a fireplace.

Modern Interior Room With an Electric Fireplace Installed

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 model, you must consider several features. Most of them claim to raise the temperature in a space between 400 and 1,000 sq.ft. 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, purchasing a unit capable of heating a room twice the size is advisable. Every unit comes with temperature controls that can be set to your comfort level. However, if your room is 400 sq.ft. and you purchase a unit that can raise the temperature in 400 sq.ft., you are sure to be disappointed.

The vast majority of electric units 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 sq.ft. space. Other units are available that can be connected to a 240v outlet, increasing the draw to 2,500 watts, creating an output of 8,000 BTUs, and heating up to 1,000 sq.ft.

Other Features

When 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 fireplace. Some people like them 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 models, 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. These 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 heat-emitting. 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. These don't emit any smoke or fumes; therefore, no venting or chimney is necessary. Furthermore, they 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, they 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 units, remember one crucial factor. An electric fireplace emits 5,000 BTUs. Gas and wood emit anywhere from 10,000 BTUs and more. Nearly all heat from an electric fireplace stays in the room. 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 model that can be controlled wirelessly. With a Wi-Fi unit, 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 fireplace. It offers a way to reduce your electric bill since you can control the unit remotely and set up alerts for usage. They 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. 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.

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 unit increases the value of the home and can be highlighted as a selling point.

The most important consideration 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 has a specialized casing to protect the heating element from poor weather conditions. An outdoor weather outlet is needed too if you wish to use one.

Touchstone and Amantii are two well-known manufacturers of outdoor fireplaces. The average cost to install and purchase one of them 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 cover is upwards of $75. Most covers are model specific.

Contemporary Living Room Interior With an Electric Fireplace

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Electric Fireplace Safety

Electric fireplaces are very safe. Many risks with wood-burning and gas fireplaces do not apply to electric units since they do not 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 unit will have a sensor that causes the unit to power off automatically after a set time.

Keep your hands away from the heating element of the fireplace. Children may get burned if not warned never to touch the 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 when using other appliances such as microwaves and hair dryers. Also, keep them away from any flammable objects such as bedding and curtains. Do not use them in areas where any paints or other flammable liquids are stored.

Electric Fireplace Energy Efficiency

You can't beat electric fireplaces in terms of energy efficiency. When comparing 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 unit is used, fuel efficiency should be 70 to 90%, and 100% of the emitted heat should remain in the room.


Possibly the most beneficial aspect of owning an electric fireplace as opposed to gas or wood is the ease of maintenance and cleaning. Most units 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 clean, dry 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. Do not try to fix the unit yourself since making modifications is dangerous and can void any warranty coverage.

Electric vs Wood Fireplace

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 unit instead.

Typically, you can expect to pay from $1,000 to $4,000 for an electric fireplace fully installed. They come in many different styles, which accounts for the wide range in prices. Electric models don’t require inspections and create no emissions, so they don’t require venting or a chimney. In addition to helping heat a room, electric fireplaces can improve the ambiance in a room, like wood-burning fireplaces.

On the other hand, you can expect to pay $8,500 to $22,000 for a wood-burning fireplace and chimney. However, you may have to pay more if you need significant masonry work to install it. 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.

A wood-burning fireplace requires an annual inspection and service appointment to confirm the appliance’s safety. Heating with a wood model is less efficient because you’re required to use dampers.

Comparison of the Cost to Install an Electric and Wood-Burning Fireplace

Comparison of the Cost to Install an Electric and Wood-Burning Fireplace

TypeAverage Cost (Installed)
Electric$1,000 - $4,000
Wood$8,500 - $22,000

Electric vs Gas Fireplace Cost

Gas fireplaces are one of the more popular options for homes in colder climates. They typically have fake logs to look like a real unit, whereas electric models can have various appearances. The one you choose depends on your budget and your wants and needs in terms of style and performance.

The average cost to install a gas fireplace ranges from $2,650 to $5,600. Meanwhile, the price to install an electric unit ranges from $1,000 to $4,000. Electric fireplaces are simpler to install than gas. If you don’t already have a gas line available to use with the gas fireplace, installation costs are substantial.

Electric models 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 units are considered safer because they rely on a controlled heat source. Gas units use real fire, which can burn out of control.

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

Electric vs. gas unit operating costs are close. However, electric models have slightly lower hourly running costs. Gas fireplaces average 17 cents per hour, while electric average 14 cents per hour.

Comparison of the Cost to Install an Electric and Gas Fireplace

Comparison of the Cost to Install an Electric and Gas Fireplace

TypeAverage Cost (Installed)
Electric$1,000 - $4,000
Gas$2,650 - $5,600

Electric vs Ethanol Fireplace

Both electric and ethanol fireplaces come in a wide range of different styles, including tabletop models, wall-mounted units, freestanding, and more. Both can efficiently heat a room without the need for any venting or a chimney. Prices are fairly consistent between the two, although electric fireplaces have a wider range due to the many different styles.

Ethanol units are cheaper, with models and installation costs ranging from $700 to $1,400. An electric unit, on the other hand, costs between $1,000 and $4,000. An ethanol option 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 units also do not produce any byproducts since they do not use real fire to warm a room.

Ethanol fireplaces don’t require a flue, just like electric ones. However, a fuel source must be consistently added to the reservoir to run the ethanol unit. 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. The operating costs of ethanol models are approximately double the cost of an electric fireplace.

Comparison of the Cost to Install an Ethanol and Electric Fireplace

Comparison of the Cost to Install an Ethanol and Electric Fireplace

TypeAverage Cost (Installed)
Ethanol$700 - $1,400
Electric$1,000 - $4,000

Electric Fireplace vs Space Heater

The main differences between electric fireplaces and space heaters are the size, price, and overall heating effectiveness. Space heaters are small and usually portable. They can use electrical energy or may be combustion-based. Costs for space heaters vary greatly from those of electric fireplaces. Space heaters have a reduced cost of $65 to $250 compared to fireplaces that cost between $1,000 and $4,000. The operating costs are identical.

Electric fireplaces and space heaters have many similarities. Both appliances are used for zone heating in a home. However, the former provides 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 model.

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

Comparison of the Cost to Install an Space Heater and Electric Fireplace

Comparison of the Cost to Install an Space Heater and Electric Fireplace

TypeAverage Cost (Installed)
Space Heater$65 - $250
Electric$1,000 - $4,000

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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 unit.
  • Inspections. An 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.
  • Hearth. These units, unlike wood burning ones, do not require a hearth. If they are not wall mounted, which is the most common type, installing a hearth is optional and can be added if desired.
  • 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.
  • DIY. It is possible to install a new fireplace by yourself, but it is preferable to hire a professional. They require some modifications like creating an opening in the wall and dealing with electrical wiring.
  • Permits. Typically, you will not need any specific permits to install an electric fireplace. However, it is recommended to hire a certified electrician if you are considering a built-in model.


  • Do electric fireplaces produce heat?

They produce heat and warm a room measuring between 500 and 1,000 sq.ft. 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 an electric fireplace is $1,500 for a wall-mounted one, including parts and labor. Wall-mounted models can warm a room and help you save money. They tend to be much less messy than traditional units. Plus, you won’t need to spend extra money on logs, wood, and other fire starters.

  • 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 unit. 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, these 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 one for two hours per day on high heat raises your electric bill by $15 to $20 on average per month.

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

An electric heater is less expensive to run than a gas fireplace. Not only is a gas unit 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 model.

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

On average, expect to pay between $150 and $300 to convert from a wood burning fireplace to electric. Simple 120v 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?

They use 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 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.
glossary term picture Mantel 1 Mantel: A decorative construction that frames the opening of a fireplace. The term "mantel" can also refer to a shelf above a fireplace
2 Mounting bracket: (Also known as Mounting) A support on which something is attached or hung
3 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 Thermostat 4 Thermostats: A device that senses and regulates temperature by turning heating and cooling devices on and off

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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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