How Much Does It Cost to Install an Ethanol Fireplace?

National Average Range:
$800 - $3,000
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Reviewed by Paula Reguero. Written by Fixr.com.

If your home doesn’t have an existing fireplace, installing or setting up an ethanol fireplace can be an easy and inexpensive way to add a real-flame fireplace to any room of your home. Ethanol fireplaces don’t require chimneys. They can be placed or installed anywhere inside or out, even in the center of a room. They use clean-burning ethanol known as bioethanol for fuel. They don’t produce soot or give off harmful gasses, so all you get is the warmth and flicker of a real flame. Ethanol fireplaces come in many sizes and configurations, from small tabletop models to large, wall-hung styles. This means that they also have a wide range of costs.

The national average cost for installing an ethanol fireplace is around $800 to $3,000. Most people pay around $2,150 for a professionally installed wall-mounted ethanol fireplace. The lowest cost for this project would be a small tabletop ethanol fireplace without installation at $30. At the high end, you could spend up to $20,000 to order a custom-made outdoor burner fireplace built into a table or island with smart control features.

Ethanol Fireplace Price

Ethanol Fireplace Installation Cost
National average cost$2,150
Average range$800-$3,000
Low-end$30
High-end$20,000

Ethanol Fireplace Cost by Project Range

Low
$30
Tabletop ethanol fireplace
Average Cost
$2,150
Professionally installed wall-mounted ethanol fireplace
High
$20,000
Professionally installed custom outdoor burner fireplace built into a table or island with smart control features

What Is Ethanol Fuel?

Ethanol fuel is a renewable fuel source made from biomass. It is produced by blending gasoline and ethanol obtained through fermenting sugar, converted starch, and agricultural residues. Ethanol fuel reduces gas emissions because the biomass used to make it absorbs carbon dioxide as it grows. It also burns cleaner than diesel or gasoline and leaves no harsh odors, ash, smoke, or soot. When extinguishing the flame, it only leaves a faint smell similar to when you blow out a candle.

Most mixtures contain 90% gasoline and up to 10% ethanol, called E10 fuel. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than 98% of U.S. gasoline contains ethanol, typically E10. Some vehicles are designed to operate on a mixture containing up to 85% ethanol and at least 15% gasoline, also called E85 or flex fuel. There is also an E15 fuel that uses 10.5% to 15% ethanol, which is rarer than the other two.

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Prefab vs Custom Ethanol Fireplace Cost

Ethanol fireplaces can be prefabricated and cost $800 to $3,000 or custom and cost $2,000 to $7,000 installed. Prefab ethanol fireplaces are units you can buy instantly and set up in your home without waiting for production or delivery. Custom ethanol fireplaces, on the other hand, are made to order, so you have to wait for the manufacturer to build the fireplace with the features you order.

While prefab models are cheaper, they are limited in customization options. You can buy only the models that are currently available for sale. If you want a different design, color, size, or shape, you will have to order a custom ethanol fireplace. Several costs must be considered when ordering a custom fireplace, including the surround, hearth, insert, and the custom features you want. This is why the prices are higher than prefab models. The table below presents the cost of building each type of ethanol fireplace:

Comparison of the cost to install a prefab and custom ethanol fireplace

Comparison of the cost to install a prefab and custom ethanol fireplace

TypeAverage Cost (Installed)
Prefab$800 - $3,000
Custom$2,000 - $7,000

Ethanol Fireplace Cost by Type

Depending on the type, a prefab ethanol fireplace costs $30 to $11,000. A custom-made ethanol fireplace costs $400 to $17,000. Ethanol fireplaces come in a wide range of sizes, styles, and types. Because these fireplaces don’t require a chimney or vent, they can be used or placed anywhere. The fuel they use is poured into a well inside the fireplace at the time of use, so they also don’t require a gas line or other fuel delivery system the way that a gas fireplace would. There are several different models available, depending on the look and type of use you’d like to achieve.

Cost to install a prefab and custom ethanol fireplace by type: tabletop, wall-mounted, freestanding, recessed, corner…

Cost to install a prefab and custom ethanol fireplace by type: tabletop, wall-mounted, freestanding, recessed, corner…

TypePrefab Cost (Installed)Custom Cost (Installed)
Tabletop$30 - $500$400 - $1,500
Freestanding$200 - $6,500$1,000 - $10,500
Wall-Mounted$300 - $5,600$2,000 - $9,500
Ethanol Burner$450 - $11,000$2,000 - $17,000
Recessed$500 - $7,500$2,000 - $9,000
Dual-Sided$900 - $9,000$4,500 - $12,000
Corner$2,000 - $7,000$4,000 - $17,000
Island / Table$2,000 - $9,000$5,000 - $15,000

Tabletop Ethanol Fireplace

Tabletop ethanol fireplaces cost between $30 and $500 for a prefab model and $400 to $1,500 for a custom one. They are a great way to add instant ambiance anywhere. These fully contained ethanol units are meant for use on a tabletop inside or outdoors. You simply set them down, fill them up, and light them - no installation is required. Always exercise caution when using a tabletop fireplace, particularly if you have small children or pets, as these units produce a real flame. However, they are safe to use with proper supervision and add warmth and charm to any party.

Freestanding Ethanol Fireplace

Freestanding ethanol fireplaces cost between $200 and $6,500 for prefab units and $1,000 to $10,500 for custom models. Freestanding ethanol fireplaces make beautiful centerpieces to any room or patio. These 360-degree fireplaces can be used in any clear space. You can have one mounted in the center of a room or place it on your patio for entertaining. If you have one burning, make sure not to leave it unsupervised, particularly around kids or pets, as they do produce real flames. You can choose from a range of sizes and styles.

Wall-Mounted Ethanol Fireplace

Prefab wall-mounted ethanol units cost between $300 and $5,600. A custom one costs $2,000 to $9,500. A wall-mounted ethanol fireplace can be hung on the wall like a flat-screen TV, or they can be recessed into the wall. Most wall-mounted models come with mounting hardware for either scenario. If you choose to hang the unit on the wall, you simply need to locate the studs to install the hardware and hang the fireplace like a TV or oversized portrait. If you choose to recess, you need to hire a professional.

Ethanol Burners

Burners cost between $450 and $11,000 when installing a prefab model and $2,000 to $17,000 for a custom model. They do not require installation but can be built into other constructions if needed. If you currently have a fireplace that is not in use, an ethanol burner can be an inexpensive way to bring it back to life. While all wood-burning and some gas fireplaces require a chimney that must be cleaned regularly, an ethanol burner does not. Even if your chimney is not functioning, you can place an ethanol burner inside the firebox and get the look and feel of your fireplace again. This is also a good solution if you want to switch from using a wood-burning fireplace but do not want to retrofit it with a gas line.

Recessed Ethanol Fireplace

Installing a prefabricated recessed-only model costs between $500 and $7,500. Installing a custom prefabricated recessed ethanol fireplace costs $2,000 to $9,000. A recessed ethanol fireplace is meant to recess slightly into your wall so that it’s flat with the wall. While most wall-mounted models have a recess option, a full range of models is meant only for recessing. These models are often larger, heavier, and meant to be incorporated into a more permanent, built-in display. You can install a recessed ethanol fireplace on its own or build a hearth or mantle to surround it.

Dual-Sided Ethanol Fireplace

A prefabricated dual-sided ethanol fireplace costs $900 to $9,000. The average cost of a custom dual-sided ethanol fireplace is $4,500 to $12,000. They are usually made to order because the dimensions should fit the area where they will be installed. As its name suggests, a dual-sided fireplace has glass on two sides, not on one as traditional fireplaces have. This is an excellent choice for those who want to add a statement piece to their living area and save money on heating bills.

Corner Ethanol Fireplace

Adding a corner ethanol fireplace costs $2,000 to $7,000 when the model is prefabricated. When installing a custom corner ethanol fireplace, your costs range between $4,000 and $17,000. As their name suggests, they fit into a corner of the room. These models are designed to save on space while giving the visual impact and efficiency of recessed, wall-mounted, or freestanding units. They require customization of the area to fit them in. Similar to other models, there are different shapes, designs, and sizes.

Island Ethanol Fireplace

An island ethanol fireplace costs $2,000 to $9,000 for a prefab island and $5,000 to $15,000 for a custom island ethanol fireplace. Island fireplaces are typically built by placing an insert into an island or a table. They are a great way to enjoy the outdoors during the summer months and add an aesthetically pleasing piece. They also provide warmth and ambiance for your backyard, patio, or deck. Many types are available on the market, with varying designs and sizes. Most island ethanol fireplaces are custom-made, but you can also find prefabricated models.

Ethanol Fireplace Cost by Brand

Many companies manufacture ethanol fireplaces with prices between $80 and $5,000. Some specialize in small, table, or floor mounted varieties, while others are known for their custom designs. Regardless of what style you’re looking for or what your budget is, you can easily find an ethanol fireplace to meet your needs. The most popular brands selling ethanol fireplaces are Nu-Flame, iGnis, Anywhere, Bio-Blaze, Eco-Feu, and Planika.

NuFuel is an affordable ethanol fireplace brand specializing in tabletop, freestanding, and wall-mounted units with decorative designs. Anywhere focuses on high-performing tabletop, wall-mounted, and freestanding fireplaces that have functions to improve heating time and power. Ignis manufactures freestanding, wall-mounted, and recessed ethanol fireplaces, fireplace burners, inserts, and fireplace accessories with advanced functions and remote control options. If you want a custom fireplace with a non-standard design or size, consider Planika fireplaces. They have one of the largest fuel storage tanks in the industry on all their fireplaces, so their fires burn the longest. They also have one of the highest safety ratings. Bio-Blaze produces a range of fireplaces that can be used both indoors or outdoors. This includes large, freestanding varieties, smaller tabletop models, wall, hung, or recessed fireplaces, and fireplace accessories. Eco-Feu sells high-quality products. Their line includes tabletop, freestanding, and wall-mounted fireplaces, fireplace accessories, and parts that primarily focus on appearance and safety. The following table shows the most popular brands and the average costs for their products.

Material cost of a prefab Nu-Flame, Anywhere, Ignis, Planika, Bio-Blaze, and Eco-Feu ethanol fireplace

Material cost of a prefab Nu-Flame, Anywhere, Ignis, Planika, Bio-Blaze, and Eco-Feu ethanol fireplace

BrandPrefab Cost (Materials Only)
Nu-Flame$80 - $500
Anywhere$170 - $400
Ignis$200 - $1,900
Planika$250 - $6,000
Bio-Blaze$650 - $2,600
Eco-Feu$770 - $5,000

Labor Cost to Install an Ethanol Fireplace

Most ethanol fireplaces can be installed for around $100 to $200 in labor fees. If you choose to have a model built-in, you can expect an additional $150 to $250 in labor fees. Similarly, installing a custom ethanol fireplace results in $200 to $300 labor costs depending on the setup. The labor price depends on the size and type of ethanol fireplace and where it should be built in or mounted. You may also need to engage the services of a carpenter or a masonry professional to cut or build the surroundings of the fireplace. For a prefab wall-mounted fireplace, the installation costs around $150 out of the $2,150 total.

While tabletop and floor mount models do not require any installation beyond unboxing and setting up, wall mount and recessed models may require professional installation. A homeowner can easily mount some wall mount models provided a stud is located first. Recessed models involve opening the wall for installation. This is best done by a professional. A handyman is capable of performing this job.

The installation starts with the laborer cutting the wall where the fireplace will be fitted. Once they do that, the worker adds a coat of fireproof material to the inside walls. They add the metal studs for framing as well. Before adding the fireplace, they ensure there is minimum clearance between the unit and the nearest flammable material, ceiling, and floor. If you add paint around the fireplace, the service provider will use heat-resistant paint.

Labor and total cost to install a prefab and custom ethanol fireplace

Labor and total cost to install a prefab and custom ethanol fireplace

Installation TypeLabor CostsTotal Costs
Prefab$100 - $200$800 - $3,000
Custom$200 - $300$2,000 - $7,000

Outdoor Ethanol Fireplace Price

Installing an outdoor ethanol fireplace costs between $200 for a simple outdoor tabletop model and $9,000 for an ethanol fireplace integrated within a benchtop or dining table. Outdoor ethanol fireplaces are typically tabletop or freestanding but can also be wall-mounted and recessed if there is an outdoor wall where they can be installed. The price for outdoor fireplaces is higher than indoor ones because the materials used to build them have to be more durable. The material needs to be able to withstand the outdoor weather, which means they should not rust due to rain or snow, have protective glass that protects the fire from being blown out, and be heavy enough so the wind does not blow the fireplace away. In most cases, concrete and stainless steel are the primary material choice for outdoor ethanol fireplaces.

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Ethanol Fireplace Fuel Cost

Ethanol fireplaces run off of a mixture of bioethanol and fuel. It is relatively inexpensive at around $2 to $4 per gallon. Depending on how much ethanol your fireplace requires, you can heat the room for around $1.50 to $10 if the fireplace runs for 7 to 13 hours. Some fireplaces require more ethanol than others and have varying heat outputs, which affects the amount of ethanol the fireplace spends. So, a small 0.7-gallon bioethanol burner runs for 8 to 11 hours and produces 5,800 BTU/h of heat. A large 2.4-gallon burner runs 8 to 13 hours and generates 15,000 BTU/h of heat. It is important to check the exact specifications of the unit you are considering.

How Does an Ethanol Fireplace Work?

Ethanol fireplaces are incredibly easy to use. They need to be filled with ethanol before use. Never leave ethanol in the fireplace when it is not in use. Always use bioethanol made for indoor use and avoid using any gel fuels. Follow the instructions on your unit for filling, and always inspect it for dust or debris first. Use the long lighter to ignite the fuel at the burner and allow the flames to grow in capacity until they reach their final height -about 15 minutes. A 1-liter cylinder lasts around four hours, but this varies by manufacturer and brand. Whenever possible, burn off all the fuel in the burner before snuffing the flame with the built-in tool. Allow the fireplace to cool down completely before moving it -a minimum of 15 minutes for most models.

Recessed ethanol fireplace installed in a living room

Safety

Ethanol fireplaces are safe if they are used correctly. Ethanol is flammable. The way that it is poured into the fireplace can lead to spills. If this happens, the material it spills onto is at greater risk of becoming flammable. Because the fireplace vents into the room, the flames consume oxygen and produce carbon dioxide. For most fireplaces in most rooms, this is perfectly fine. But a large fireplace in a small room could produce too much CO2 to be considered safe. Having a way to ventilate the room, such as opening a window, is very important.

The ethanol itself produces a stable flame with no sparks or smoke. Make sure to follow all instructions on the fireplace itself for adding the fuel, dousing the flame, and allowing the unit to cool to avoid any potential burns or hazards. Keep the fireplace out of reach of children or pets while it is running or cooling down. Do not store the ethanol inside the fireplace when it is not lit.

Pros and Cons

Ethanol fireplaces are a great alternative for those who want a fireplace with the look and heat of a real flame without the invasive and costly installation of a fireplace and chimney. Moreover, ethanol fireplaces do not produce smell, smoke, soot, or leave ash as some other fireplaces do, which means they do not need a vent or chimney. Most models can be installed or placed anywhere. Some models are easily portable. Ethanol fireplaces are very easy to operate because you only need to fill the burner with liquid fuel and light it. They’re very economical to both purchase and run, making them an attractive option for homeowners on a budget or for those wanting to use the fireplace sporadically. These fireplaces can also be used outdoors on patios.

Because the user must pour the liquid in, however, there is always a chance for spilled fluid. This can cause a fire hazard. Floor mounted and tabletop models may tip and are in easy reach of kids and pets. As the fire burns, it sucks in oxygen and emits carbon dioxide and combustible particle traces, which can be dangerous if inhaled regularly or in large quantities. Another downside of ethanol fireplaces is that they do not produce as much heat as a gas or traditional wood-burning fireplace and lack the sound of crackling flames. The unit also must cool down completely before being moved and can cause burns if touched soon after extinguishing the fire.

Ethanol vs Gas Fireplace Cost

An ethanol fireplace costs $30 to $ 15,000. A gas fireplace runs between $350 and $12,000. Gas fireplaces can be installed in an existing fireplace, as a built-in fireplace, or as a direct-vent fireplace that vents right outdoors through the wall. They do need to vent, however, while ethanol fireplaces do not. Gas fireplaces require you to install a gas line to bring the fuel to the fireplace. Ethanol fireplaces allow you to put them anywhere; you just add the fuel as needed. Gas is cheaper and, in many ways, safer than ethanol, but the ethanol fireplace is easier and less expensive to install. Gas fireplaces must be built-in and remain in one place. To move one would mean relocating the gas line. Ethanol fireplaces can be moved around as needed. Although an ethanol fireplace will not warm your home as much as a gas fireplace, both produce heat without electricity.

Comparison of the cost to install an ethanol and gas fireplace

Comparison of the cost to install an ethanol and gas fireplace

Fireplace TypeAverage Cost (Installed)
Ethanol$30 - $15,000
Gas$350 - $12,000

Ethanol vs Electric Fireplace Cost

While ethanol fireplaces cost $30 to $15,000 to install, electric fireplaces cost $100 to $15,500 installed. An electric fireplace is another choice that does not require a chimney or vent for your home. They are very easy to install and use. All you need to do is simply plug it in and run it. You can move them around the room or home as needed. Ethanol fireplaces can also be moved anywhere. They don’t require a plug as you pour in the fuel as needed.

Unlike ethanol fireplaces, electric fireplaces also do not produce real flames. This can be an aesthetic drawback, although the ethanol fuel is sometimes unsafe because it can spill. The costs to run the fireplace are somewhat the same. However, in the event of a power outage, electric fireplaces will not run, while ethanol fireplaces can be used without electricity. Both come in various styles and sizes and are primarily designed as an aesthetic feature for your home.

Comparison of the cost to install an ethanol and electric fireplace

Comparison of the cost to install an ethanol and electric fireplace

Fireplace TypeAverage Cost (Installed)
Ethanol$30 - $15,000
Electric$100 - $15,500

Ethanol vs Gel Fireplace Price

Installing an ethanol fireplace costs $30 to $15,000. The price of gel fireplaces runs between $130 and $3,000 installed. Ethanol and gel fireplaces both use a type of alcohol to produce flames. In an ethanol fireplace, liquid ethanol is poured into the fireplace, then lit. In a gel fireplace, isopropyl alcohol formed into a gel is placed inside a container in the fireplace to burn. The container is later disposed of when empty. Except for the fuel type, the two fireplaces work essentially the same way. They burn alcohol-based fuel and do not need any vents or chimneys.

Arguably, gel fireplaces are safer because there is no risk of spilling ethanol or fuel. The cans are more expensive than liquid fuel, making the gel fireplace more costly to run. However, it produces more heat than ethanol fireplaces and the same crackling sound of burning wood. The flame potential in ethanol fireplaces peaks about 10 to 15 minutes after ignition, while the flame reaches its full potential in 30 seconds with gel fireplaces. Ethanol and gel fireplaces come in many sizes, can be used anywhere, and have a range of styles.

Comparison of the cost to install an ethanol and gel fireplace

Comparison of the cost to install an ethanol and gel fireplace

Fireplace TypeAverage Cost (Installed)
Ethanol$30 - $15,000
Gel$130 - $3,000

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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Automatic Ethanol Fireplace

Smart ethanol fireplaces cost $200 to $3,500, depending on the size and style you choose. This feature can be added to burners when ordering, but most prefabricated fireplaces cannot be modified to include it. Smart ethanol fireplaces are connected to your smartphone or home speaker. You can program them ahead of time to work automatically or operate them remotely. Make sure never to leave an automated fireplace running when no one is home to avoid fire risk.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Fireplace placement. Ethanol fireplaces can be placed either inside or outside your home. This increases your living area outdoors or adds ambiance and warmth to any room in your home. One of the biggest benefits of the ethanol fireplace is that they are safe and can be placed anywhere. They can be set on carpeting and pose no safety hazards, provided they are kept at least three feet from flammable materials.
  • Ethanol stoves. Ethanol stoves are freestanding with a more traditional look than some of the more contemporary versions. Like the fireplaces, they can be moved anywhere and run on the same fuel. Ethanol stoves cost $500 to $3,000.
  • Permits and licenses. Ethanol fireplaces do not need electricity, gas lines, chimneys, or vents. For this reason, no permits or licenses are needed to install.
  • DIY. Most ethanol fireplaces can be set up DIY. The only method that is recommended to have professional installation is the recessed or built-in units. Even these fireplaces could be installed by an experienced homeowner.
  • Maintenance. Ethanol fireplaces are very easy to clean and maintain. Burn all the fuel you use at once. Wipe away dust as needed. Use steel or glass cleaner on the relevant parts of the exterior to keep them in good condition.

FAQs

  • Do ethanol fireplaces give off heat?

They do. The amount varies based on their size and the amount of ethanol that it holds at one time.

  • Do ethanol fireplaces need to be vented?

They do not. If you have a small space, however, you should make sure that the windows can be opened to avoid a build-up of CO2.

  • How do you install a recessed ethanol fireplace?

The wall will need to be opened based on the template provided with the fireplace. A support is installed below it. The fireplace fits into the opening and rests on the support. The wall is then sealed up around it.

  • Is an ethanol fireplace expensive to run?

It costs around $1 to $3 a day to run it, but some units consume more or less ethanol. The cost to run varies based on consumption.

  • Are bioethanol fires any good?

This depends on their use. They can add supplemental warmth and ambiance to any room. They are not necessarily going to act as a primary heat source.

  • Are ethanol fireplaces safe?

Yes. When they are used and maintained correctly, they are very safe. However, it is possible to spill the ethanol, which can cause other surfaces to be flammable.

  • How does an ethanol fireplace work?

They are filled with ethanol -a type of alcohol-based fuel. The fuel is lit, which produces a flame.

  • How hot does ethanol burn?

This depends on the unit. Some produce as many as 8,500 BTUs. Others may produce only 2,000 BTUs depending on their size.

  • Where to buy ethanol fuel for a fireplace?

Most hardware stores carry ethanol. Otherwise, you may be able to order it from any fireplace supplier or the place where you purchased your fireplace.

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

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Modern fireplace burning on ethanol gas

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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