How Much Does It Cost to Install an Electric Fireplace?

Average range: $1,000 - $4,000
Low
$600
Average Cost
$2,500
High
$10,000
(Recessed wall electric fireplace with a custom installation)

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Reviewed by Laura Madrigal. Written by Fixr.com.

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 fireplaces can be installed in many of the same ways and areas as a gas fireplace. They can be built into walls, placed as freestanding units, or inserted into an existing fireplace. They produce heat through resistance, so there is no actual flame, leading to no soot or particulates in the air.

The national average cost to install an electric fireplace is $1,000 to $4,000, with most homeowners paying around $2,500 for a recessed wall unit with a custom installation. This project’s low cost is $600 to install an electric fireplace insert in an existing fireplace. The high cost is $10,000 for a 3-sided room divider fireplace with a custom installation and extended electrical wiring

Electric Fireplace Cost

Average Cost to Install an Electric Fireplace
National average cost$2,500
Average range$1,000-$4,000
Low-end$600
High-end$10,000

Electric Fireplace Cost by Project Range

Low
$600
Electric fireplace insert installed in an existing fireplace
Average Cost
$2,500
Recessed wall electric fireplace with a custom installation
High
$10,000
3-sided room divider fireplace with a custom installation and extended wiring

What Is an Electric Fireplace?

An electric fireplace is a great alternative to gas and wood-burning fireplaces for some homeowners. They produce heat and the appearance of flames but without exhaust, soot, or expensive installation. They use an electric heating element combined with an LED image of flames and usually 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.

Electric fireplaces are safe and convenient. They also come in a wide range of styles and installation options. They come in freestanding varieties, from small tabletop versions to large versions that resemble wood-burning stoves. They can also be mounted or recessed into a wall or built to look like a traditional fireplace with a mantel 1.

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Prefab vs Custom Electric Fireplace Installation Cost

All electric fireplaces work similarly. They are designed to be plugged in or wired into your home for instant use, only requiring setup. This can be done in two ways. You can use a prefab fireplace unit that is installed with little-to-no changes to your home, or you can use a readymade fireplace and have it installed in a custom project.

Prefab fireplaces can be mounted onto walls, placed inside existing fireplaces, or even set against a wall with a readymade surround and mantel. Some can also be easily recessed into a wall without making many modifications, and some freestanding models can be plugged in or hardwired as you choose.

Custom installations are for built-in 2 units that look more like a traditional fireplace. They can also be recessed models with custom entertainment centers or storage built around them. Or, you can have them installed as a 2-sided or 3-sided room divider. In each of these cases, the installation is custom, not the unit. The carpenter or builder needs to alter your home in some way to accommodate the fireplace, while a standard prefab unit needs few modifications to use.

Below are the average costs for installing both unit styles in your home.

Comparison of the Cost to Install a Prefab and Custom Electric Fireplace

Comparison of the Cost to Install a Prefab and Custom Electric Fireplace

InstallationAverage Cost (Installed)
Prefab$500 - $4,000
Custom$2,500 - $10,000

Prefab Electric Fireplace Cost

On average, prefabricated models cost $500 to $4,000 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. Many of these units can be set up DIY, or you can hire a handyman to hang or place the unit somewhere for you. If you hardwire the unit, it will be more costly than plugging it in because an electrician will need to be involved in the process. 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 $10,000 on average, including all labor and materials. Custom installations generally mean that the unit is built into your wall, or you have a wall constructed to hold the unit, such as in a room divider installation. 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 can easily find a model to complement the look and take advantage of the available space, whether this is directly out of the box or something requiring a customized installation. 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. Below are the average costs for each style, fully installed in either or both of the methods possible.

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$100 - $500N/A
Freestanding$200 - $1,500N/A
Wall-Mounted$300 - $7,000N/A
Insert$400 - $4,000N/A
Recessed$400 - $8,000$800 - $10,000
Corner$500 - $5,000$2,000 - $12,000
Prefab With a Mantel$1,000 - $8,000N/A
Dual-SidedN/A$3,000 - $12,000
Built-InN/A$3,000 - $15,500
Three-SidedN/A$5,000 - $15,500

Tabletop Electric Fireplace

On average, tabletop models cost between $100 and $500. 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. They plug into any nearby outlet and do not require installation.

Freestanding Electric Fireplace

Expect to pay an average of $200 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, if any, reducing the overall cost. 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 or you need it hardwired.

Wall-Mounted Electric Fireplace

Wall-mounted electric fireplaces have an average cost of $300 to $7,000 installed. 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 - curved-front and flat-front fireplaces. The biggest difference between the two is purely aesthetic, with the curved design coming further into the room than the flat.

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. These are fast and easy to install. Some plug into the wall nearby and require no professional installation, while others need professional setup and hardwiring, increasing their costs.

Recessed Electric Fireplace

A recessed electric fireplace costs $400 to $8,000 for a prefab installation, while the cost of a custom installation averages $800 to $10,000. Recessed electric fireplaces are designed to sit partially inside your wall, with a small metal surround on the exterior. They only extend about 4 inches into the wall, so they are not a true built-in fireplace, but they can give you that appearance. This is a good unit for creating a more custom, modern appearance for less. Like built-in fireplaces, you can customize this installation by building entertainment centers, bookcases, and other units around them, which can increase costs.

Corner Electric Fireplace

The average prefabricated corner unit cost is between $500 and $5,000 fully installed. The cost of a custom corner unit ranges from $2,000 to $12,000, depending on materials and the 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.

Prefab Electric Fireplace With a Mantel

The cost of a prefab electric fireplace with a mantel is $1,000 to $8,000 fully installed. This fireplace is designed to produce the look of a traditional unit with a surround and mantel but without the expense of building it into your wall. Instead, it will stand in front of your wall and only requires electrical installation and sometimes professional setup. This can be a good choice when you want the look of a fireplace but not to build into your walls or make modifications to the room. These units have more flexibility in where they can be installed. If you cannot open a wall due to utility placement or positioning, a prefab unit with a mantel can give you the look you want.

Dual-Sided Electric Fireplace

Custom dual-sided units generally cost between $3,000 and $12,000. 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 can also be built into a dividing wall so that you can experience the fireplace from two rooms. These units are typically 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

Custom built-in electric fireplaces range from $3,000 to $15,500 fully installed. A built-in electric fireplace gives you the most traditional appearance. These units are fully encased in a single wall and are given a hearth, surround, and mantel like a wood-burning fireplace. They are generally larger than recessed or wall-mounted versions, so they have more depth. This is a custom installation designed for your home. It is common for it to encompass most of a wall with built-in entertainment centers or eye-catching mantels and surrounds.

Three-Sided Electric Fireplace

Custom three-sided units average $5,000 to $15,500. Three-sided electric fireplaces are similar to the dual-sided variety but with an additional glass end. 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. It is common for this fireplace type to require a wall to be built just for its installation. It will need to be hard-wired into your home’s electrical panel, and due to its size, it will usually require its own circuit.

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Electric Fireplaces Prices by Brand

Many different brands and manufacturers of electric fireplaces make quality units in various styles, sizes, and options. Some brands like Pleasant Hearth and the popular Duraflame make a full range of options, from small tabletop models to larger fireplaces requiring installation. Other popular brands, such as ClassicFlame and Touchstone, make units designed for wall or recessed installations, which can give you the most modern appearance. When looking for inserts, Napoleon has the most options, while Amantii makes the most unique-looking fireplaces if you choose to make the unit the focal point of your room.

Each of the following brands makes several styles and heat outputs to choose from as well, so you can find a unit that will fit your home’s needs. Below are the average costs for each brand, both for their units and costs installed where applicable.

Material and Total Cost to Install an Electric Fireplace Prices by Brand: Duraflame, Dimplex, Classic Flame, Real Flame, Napoleon, Amantii...

Material and Total Cost to Install an Electric Fireplace Prices by Brand: Duraflame, Dimplex, Classic Flame, Real Flame, Napoleon, Amantii...

BrandAverage Cost (Materials Only)Average Costs (Installed)
Pleasant Hearth$180 - $3,000$180 - $7,000
Duraflame$210 - $750$210 - $1,750
XtremepowerUS$245 - $875$245 - $1,875
Dimplex$300 - $3,000$300 - $7,000
ClassicFlame$500 - $2,000$600 - $6,000
Touchstone$600 - $2,000$700 - $6,000
Real Flame$600 - $2,500$700 - $6,500
Napoleon$800 - $2,000$1,300 - $6,000
Amantii$1,200 - $2,500$2,200 - $6,500

Labor Costs to Install an Electric Fireplace

The cost to install an electric fireplace varies, depending on the fireplace type and style, whether it plugs in or is hardwired, and whether you need to make modifications to the area to install it. Installation costs for small prefab unit installations, including installing an outlet where you want it, having a handyman hang a unit on the wall, or hardwiring an insert, freestanding unit, or prefab unit with a mantel, range from $100 to $500. For more complex installations of prefab units, such as installing a recessed unit with no modifications or updating the wiring for a unit to have its own circuit, expect costs to climb to about $1,000.

For custom installations, costs range from $1,000 to $4,000, including costs for an electrician to wire the area and a custom surround or wall to be built around the unit.

Below are the installation costs and total project costs for both prefab and custom installs.

Labor and Total Cost to Install a Prefab and Custom Electric Fireplace

Labor and Total Cost to Install a Prefab and Custom Electric Fireplace

Installation TypeAverage Labor CostsAverage Total Costs
Prefab$100 - $1,000$500 - $4,000
Custom$1,000 - $4,000$2,500 - $10,000

Cost to Build an Electric Fireplace Surround by Material

Your fireplace surround is what gives your fireplace character and helps it appear to be a custom part of your home. They are not necessary for electric fireplaces, and many people choose not to use them. However, 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. For some wall-recessed fireboxes, it may also continue below the firebox as well, while in others it may extend to the ceiling or cover the entire wall around the fireplace. 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.

Freestanding units, prefab units with mantels, and two and three-sided units do not typically need or require surrounds. Wall-mounted units also do not need surrounds because they are installed on top of the wall. However, for other styles, a surround can be a welcome addition and helps create a focal point in the room. Below are the most common materials for creating a fireplace surround and their average costs installed.

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

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

Surround MaterialAverage Cost per Sq.Ft. (Installed)
Tile$7 - $200
Wood$9 - $75
Stone$10 - $300
Marble$20 - $300
Brick$25 - $50

Electric Fireplace With Tile Surround

A tile surround for a fireplace costs between $7 and $200 a sq.ft. installed, depending on the material. Tile surrounds give you the most versatility and options for creating a surround. 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 4, and limestone 5. 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 width up to a size encompassing the entire wall without impacting how the space will function.

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. Wood surrounds work well with electric units because there are no sparks or significant heat to damage them.

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 6 pieces, faux-stone, stone cladding, or you can have your surround carved out of one large piece of stone to include a mantel. 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 stones, such as fieldstone, set without mortar 7 or grout 8 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 to 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, although this is the most expensive option. Tile marble surrounds can be much cheaper.

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. They can be installed just around the firebox or all the way to the ceiling to create any appearance or design for the space.

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Electric Fireplace Replacement Cost

Electric fireplaces are durable and long-lasting. However, they can fail over time, meaning you may need to replace them. This replacement cost depends on several factors. In many cases, the initial install made the most changes to the home, so you will already have an outlet where you need it, the surround or wall will be built, and the circuits up to date. This can make the replacement less costly in most cases than a new installation. Replacement costs start at around $500 for prefab units, including wall-hung and inserts, and can reach about $800 for recessed units.

For custom installations, you may need slightly more work to remove the old unit and install the new one. However, costs are still closer to $2,000 to $4,000 in total, including both the new unit, its installation, and the removal and disposal of the old unit.

Cost of Converting a Gas Fireplace to Electric

Some existing gas fireplaces can be converted to electric models. Others can be removed and replaced with an electric unit. For a conversion, costs start at $600 to $1,000, providing no changes must be made to the surrounding area. These costs include capping the gas line, wiring the unit for electricity, and installing the conversion unit.

For replacement, meaning that the gas unit is completely removed and a new electric unit takes its place, expect costs of between $1,500 and $5,000 on average, including all labor and material.

Cost to Convert a 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, plus the cost of the insert for a total of $400 to $4,000, depending on the unit size of the unit and conversion type. Converting a wood fireplace to an electric one is less time-consuming than converting from a gas unit. When you convert a wood-burning fireplace to an electric one, no major structural changes are required. Instead, prep the area 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 use roughly 1.5 to 2 kilowatts of energy per hour the fireplace is used. The national average cost per kilowatt in 2022 is $0.1375, making the average cost to run an electric fireplace for one hour roughly $0.21 to $0.28. If you use the unit around the clock, this would cost around $4.95 to $6.60 a day. Using it around the clock for a week would cost $34.65 to $46.20. However, most people use the unit only as supplemental heat for a few hours a day, making average daily costs $0.42 to $0.84 a day, or $2.94 to $5.88 a week. Over a month, this adds up to roughly $12.60 to $25.20 in electricity costs. Running it through the winter would cost roughly $37.80 to $75.60, assuming you ran it two to three hours a day, every day throughout the season. Keep in mind that using it more or less can impact your average costs, as can the exact cost of electricity in your area, with some areas paying much more or less than the national average.

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$0.21 - $0.28
Daily$0.42 - $0.84
Weekly$2.94 - $5.88
Monthly$12.60 - $25.20
Yearly$37.80 - $75.60

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.

Cozy Room With an Electric Fireplace Installed With a Stone Surround

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Electric Fireplace Heat

The first feature you want to consider when deciding whether to install an electric fireplace is heat. Electric fireplaces use resistance to heat air it pulls in and then circulates it back into the room. Most units are designed to heat the air in a space of between 400 and 1,000 sq.ft. Larger spaces may be difficult to heat comfortably using an electric fireplace. In most cases, these units are designed to give you supplemental heat rather than to be the primary heat source for a home.

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. However, to get the best results, you may want to purchase a unit capable of heating a space twice the size of the room you are installing it in. For example, when heating 400 sq.ft, you need a unit capable of heating up to 800 sq.ft. in order for it to be truly effective.

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, which creates a heat output of 5,000 BTUs, enough to comfortably 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. comfortably.

Pros and Cons

Electric fireplaces bring warmth and ambiance to your home. They also do so safely without exhaust, soot, real flames, or the risk of fire. While electric fireplaces do not produce real flames, high-quality LED images combined with heat resistance mean that you can have the look and feel of a fireplace without any of the drawbacks associated with wood-burning or gas fireplaces.

Electric fireplaces do not need to vent, so they do not require a chimney, vent, or exterior wall. This gives you more options for their placement and installation. It also means they are less expensive to install than gas or wood-burning fireplaces.

While they produce heat and give you the appearance of a flame, they have a few drawbacks. They do not have the sound or smell of a wood-burning fireplace, which can be attractive to some people. They also do not give off as much heat as wood-burning or gas fireplaces, so they may not heat the room as effectively. They also need to have power to work, meaning they will not work in a power outage like a gas or wood-burning unit.

Smart Electric Fireplace

To better control your electric fireplace and its usage, you can install a smart version. Smart fireplaces let you use your smartphone, tablet, or smart home control system to turn the unit on and off or raise and lower the heat setting. Some units can also be programmed to turn on and off at specific times so that you can have your house warm when you arrive home. These options can help you use the unit more efficiently, which can help keep bills down. Wi-Fi-equipped units that are compatible with smart home controls start between $200 and $400, depending on the model.

Outdoor Electric Fireplace

Not all electric fireplaces are designed for outdoor use, but a few companies make versions that can be used on patios and in outdoor living rooms. Outdoor electric fireplaces have a specialized casing that helps protect them from the elements. They can run on an outdoor power outlet and often do not require much installation because most are freestanding and designed to be plugged in and used as-is.

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 a Wall-Mounted Electric Fireplace

Electric Fireplace Safety

Electric fireplaces are designed for safe usage. Unlike wood-burning or gas fireplaces, they do not produce actual flames or give off exhaust, smoke, or particulates. Therefore, they have fewer risks than other fireplaces. However, they still produce heat and have the same basic safety concerns as other electric space heaters.

Never leave a fireplace running when unattended, and do not use it overnight. Many units have automatic shut-offs that prevent them from overheating, but if not, follow the manufacturer’s directions for the heat and length of time they can be safely used.

Keep hands and children away from the heating element. Do not touch the vent directly because it can be hot enough to burn. Keep any flammable materials away.

Do not use the unit if it appears damaged or if your circuit trips when in use. If this happens, call an electrician.

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Maintenance

Electric fireplaces are virtually maintenance-free. Unlike other fireplaces, they do not produce soot or ash and require little cleaning. You can wipe down the interior and exterior with a dry cloth to remove any dust. Most units use energy-efficient, long-lasting LED bulbs that should only need replacing every ten years or 50,000 hours.

Always check the electrical components, and call an electrician if you notice any frayed wires or the unit does not appear to be working properly. If the unit begins to trip your circuit breaker, seek help from an electrician, and do not attempt to repair the unit yourself.

Electric vs Wood Fireplace

Originally, wood fireplaces were the only option if you wanted supplemental heat and the ambiance of flames. Today, however, homeowners have many options, including electric fireplaces. Both electric and wood-burning fireplaces can give your home supplemental heat as well as ambiance and a focal point in the room. They work very differently, however.

Wood-burning fireplaces need a chimney to vent through. They are also built into your home, while electric fireplaces may be built-in or wall-mounted. Wood-burning fireplaces have actual flames. They can also produce much more heat than an electric fireplace and have the sound and smell of a fire. However, they are more expensive to install because they require masonry and a chimney, while electric units are more contained. Wood-burning fireplaces are also more maintenance than electric versions, requiring regular cleaning and inspections.

Below are the average costs to install a new electric or wood-burning fireplace in an existing home.

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

Another option for installing a fireplace in an existing home is to use a gas unit. Gas fireplaces are one of the more popular options for homes in colder climates. They can produce real flames but with less mess than a wood-burning fireplace. And while most units require venting, they do not necessarily need a full chimney, making them more versatile.

Electric fireplaces are simpler to install than gas, which can make them less costly to install. Gas fireplaces require a gas line, which is not available in all areas, making electric versions more versatile.

Gas fireplaces produce more heat than electric versions. Therefore, they can more efficiently heat a larger space. On the whole, electric units tend to be cheaper to operate. This is partly because they do not produce as many BTUs as a gas unit.

Below are the average costs to install both fireplace types in an existing home.

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$2,500 - $7,000

Electric vs Ethanol Fireplace

When looking for a clean option for a fireplace that does not require a vent, an ethanol fireplace is another option. Electric and ethanol fireplaces can be found in many similar sizes and styles, including tabletop, wall-mounted, and freestanding units. Both types can heat a room without a chimney or vent.

Ethanol fireplaces produce real flames, but they do not produce ash or soot. They also do not require a gas line and can be installed in more areas. Electric fireplaces can also be installed anywhere and do not require a gas line, but they do not produce real flames, using electric resistance with an LED image of flames instead.

You need to keep a fuel source on hand for an ethanol fireplace. This means they can be more expensive to run and slightly more dangerous because you need to store the fuel. However, they are generally less expensive to install than electric units, mostly because they do not have as many options for customization.

Below are the average costs for installing both fireplace styles in an existing home.

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

Electric fireplaces and electric space heaters can give you portable supplemental heat for any room in your home. Both use similar methods for producing heat and come in many sizes. However, electric fireplaces can be built into your home for a more authentic appearance, while space heaters are generally portable. They are usually smaller and can be moved around. Some electric fireplaces can also be moved, but others are stationary.

Neither unit produces actual flames, but an electric fireplace can give you the appearance of flames with LED lighting, enhancing its ambiance. Space heaters do not change in appearance when in use. They are also not as stylish as electric fireplaces.

Below are the average costs of adding each supplemental heating system to your home.

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

To make your electric fireplace look more like it is a part of your home, consider adding a surround. Surrounds can be made out of any material and give the area a more custom appearance. A surround adds about $700 to $2,000 to your total costs.

Colorful Bulbs

It is possible to change the LED bulbs in your electric fireplace to versions that come in other colors. LED bulbs in colors other than natural flame averaging $2.20 may add 25% or more to your cost. Depending on your personal style, different colored bulbs averaging $4.25 to $7.00 each can add a completely different dimension to your decor.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Rewiring inspection. If you have any wiring work when installing the electric fireplace, you may need an inspection as part of the installation to make sure it is done correctly.
  • Inspections. An inspection is not typically required for installations not requiring rewiring. However, you may want an electrician to inspect your wiring before using a new model. The electrician can confirm outlets are grounded correctly.
  • Hearth. Electric fireplaces do not require a hearth. If they are not wall-mounted, which is the most common type, installing a hearth is optional but can be added if desired.
  • Dedicated circuits. A freestanding electric fireplace just needs to be plugged into an existing 120v outlet. However, that unit should be on a dedicated circuit to prevent it from overloading. Many appliances in your home require a dedicated circuit to prevent overloading and potential electrical fire.
  • Attractive for home buyers. While electric fireplaces do not add resale value to your home, many buyers consider them 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 for any electrical work. This is particularly important for 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 unless you are rewiring the area, in which case you may need a permit in some areas. However, it is recommended to hire a certified electrician if you are considering a built-in model.

FAQs

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

The average cost to install an electric fireplace is $1,000 to $4,000, depending on the style and how it is installed. Freestanding and wall-mounted units are usually less costly than built-in versions.

  • 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 add value to a home but may be a strong selling point for some people 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. They cost less to run than gas fireplaces, although they do not produce as much heat as other fireplaces.

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

An electric heater is less expensive to run and install than a gas fireplace. This varies based on the model and the cost of fuel and electricity in your area.

  • Do you need to vent an electric fireplace?

No, electric fireplaces do not require a vent. This means you can safely install them anywhere in the home.

  • 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 $0.21 to $0.28 cents per hour, depending on how the fireplace is set up.

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

This largely depends on the unit and whether you are wall-mounting it or recessing it into the wall. Generally, a wall-mounted unit is installed similarly to a flat-screen TV and requires additional hardware for safety.

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
glossary term picture Built-in 2 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
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 Slate 4 Slate: A fine-grained rock, typically bluish-gray in color, that can easily be split into thin layers and is commonly used as a roofing material
glossary term picture Limestone 5 Limestone: A type of sedimentary rock, made up of mostly calcite and aragonite
6 Veneer: A thin layer of decorative finishing applied to a coarser construction material
glossary term picture Mortar 7 Mortar: A mixture of Portland cement or lime or a combination of both, sand, and water used to bind bricks, stones, and concrete masonry units together
glossary term picture Grout 8 Grout: A fluid form of cement used to seal the joints between tiles. It also makes the surface stronger because it bonds the tiles together

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