How much does it cost to install a gas fireplace?
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Gas Fireplace Installation Cost Guide
Updated: January 22, 2024
There’s nothing like a fire to provide warmth and ambiance to your home. If you grew up with a traditional fireplace, you may miss the experience of lighting that first fire each fall. But wood is inconvenient, messy, and produces poor air quality. With the flip of a switch, you can have that same warm, cozy feeling with a gas fireplace.
The average cost to install a gas fireplace is between $3,558 and $14,609. On the low end, you can purchase a freestanding unit at a retailer for $579, have someone connect it to an existing gas line, plug it in and go. However, if you don’t already have gas or a fireplace and want to build one, the installation could cost as much as $26,816, depending on the scope of work.
In this guide, we look at all the factors that influence the overall cost of a gas fireplace installation, when they apply to your situation, and how they affect your overall budget.
Costs to install a gas fireplace
National average cost
$3,558 and $14,609
Factors influencing the cost of installing a gas fireplace
A gas fireplace brings a natural element into the home that elevates the mood, provides heat, and brings joy. But several variables influence the outcome when calculating the project's total cost. The type of gas fireplace, style, and scope of work all contribute to the price tag. Here, we look at each one for you to consider.
Vented vs. unvented
Gas fireplaces are either vented or unvented. Which option you choose depends on how they work, efficiency, and cost.
Unvented gas fireplaces are typically cheaper, easier to install, and more energy-efficient than their vented counterparts. These units draw air from inside the home, heat it, and release it. Any emissions or vapor produced from the unit are released back into the room rather than vented, which may concern some homeowners. Therefore, vent-free fireplaces are illegal in some states and municipalities. Always check with a fireplace professional about location restrictions before purchasing.
A direct-vent gas fireplace costs more because it includes a direct-vent system that draws fresh air in from the outdoors and expels exhaust outside the home. Vent systems can exhaust through the wall or the roof, but using an existing system will save money on the installation. Vented units are slightly less efficient than ventless ones but are considered safer.
Style and size
Don’t have an existing fireplace? No problem. You can buy a freestanding gas log fireplace to fit anywhere in your home and connect it to your propane tank or natural gas. Have a wood-burning fireplace? Also not a problem. You can convert it to gas. The final cost of your gas fireplace installation will depend on your chosen style and your existing heating options.
The average freestanding fireplace price is $579 to $10,000, depending on the style and materials. You can place these units anywhere in the home where you can run a gas line. Since they are an all-in-one product, they don’t require additional construction to frame the surround or mantel. They also come in many styles, wood, and colors to enhance your decor.
The average price of a gas insert to fit your existing fireplace is from $1,892 to $5,102, depending on size. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, you can convert it to gas with a specialized insert that fits in the firebox. The insert uses the existing chimney for venting. If burning wood has been banned in your area, this is one way to make this feature compliant with local regulations while adding an efficient heat source to your home.
Labor and installation
Labor charges for a gas fireplace installation depend on the type and style of unit you’re installing and the scope of work. Factors influencing labor include whether new gas lines or electrical wiring are needed, the necessary ductwork, and the type of gas the unit requires. A fireplace installation specialist typically charges $83 to $151 per hour.
Building a new fireplace where one never existed costs more than all the available options. The labor to frame the firebox and surround, reinforce the foundation, and install a flue lining for a 30-inch brick fireplace costs $3,384 to $6,157. Running gas lines and electrical wiring and adding the vent system for the gas adds over $1,500 to the cost.
However, when using an existing wood-burning fireplace or replacing an old gas fireplace, the labor costs are much less because you don’t have to start from scratch. For instance, the labor to remove an old gas-burning fireplace and venting and replace it with a new flue, gas fireplace box with sealed glass doors, and other necessary components costs from $1,012 to $1,841.
Finally, the least labor-intensive option is a freestanding gas fireplace. Since these units are self-contained and need only to be connected to a gas line and plugged into a standard electrical outlet, the labor costs are minimal.
Extra cost factors
Fireplaces can include a few extras that will increase the total costs. Here are a few you may consider.
The average price to build a mantel is $446 to $11,940, depending on the size and materials.
A fireplace mantel includes the area of the wall surrounding the firebox. Whether your style consists of an unadorned, modern look or a more ornate hardwood mantel, creating something to give your installation a finished look will cost extra. Of course, a freestanding fireplace model will have the surround and mantel included.
The average cost to build a hearth is $182 to $645, depending on the size and materials.
A hearth is the area of flooring directly in front of the fireplace. Regulations require an area of non-combustible material surrounding most wood-burning and gas devices. However, if your gas unit is labeled “zero-clearance,” a hearth is not required. Consult with your installer about local building codes and regulations.
The average cost to install a glass door unit is from $549 to $998.
Gas fireplaces typically include a glass door to ensure safety. However, you may not find this element in all models. If your fireplace has no door, expect to pay extra to install one.
The average installation cost of a fireplace blower is from $263 to $478.
A fireplace blower increases the heat output of the unit. They are especially welcome on the coldest of days.
Benefits of a gas fireplace
Whether your home came with a wood-burning fireplace, an older model gas one, or nothing, you may wonder what the benefits are of installing a new gas fireplace. Besides warmth and atmosphere, here are a few more.
Fewer emissions – A wood-burning fireplace emits 50 grams of particulates per hour, whereas a gas fireplace emits .07 grams.
Convenient – No sawing, chopping, and hauling firewood, no cleaning wood chips and ash from the rug, and no filling your home with smoke trying to get the kindling to catch when you have gas. Simply flip the switch to the thermostat and go from chill to cozy before you can say “Jack Frost.”
Safe – Both wood and gas can emit carbon monoxide, so you definitely want to have a CO detector in the home. But, a gas fireplace doesn’t produce creosote build-up in the chimney like a wood-burning unit. Creosote is a by-product of wood fires that sticks to the flue lining. It’s a highly flammable substance and a major cause of chimney fires.
Low maintenance – You don’t need to clean ashes out of a gas fireplace. While you will need an annual safety inspection, it’s nothing as involved as having a chimney cleaned.
Pricing tiers for installing a gas fireplace
When shopping for your gas fireplace, you want the best you can afford. To help with your budgeting, we’ve divided the cost of installing one into three tiers.
Budget-friendly gas fireplace installation
A budget-friendly gas fireplace costs from $496 to $5,300 to replace existing gas logs or a gas fireplace insert.
Homeowners on a strict budget will be able to replace what’s broken. On the low end, you can replace the log set. You can replace the entire fireplace box, flue, door set, and other components on the high end. Since we don’t recommend DIYing this type of project, these costs include labor.
However, if you don’t have a gas fireplace but already have gas lines in your home, you can afford to buy a freestanding unit from the big box store and have it hooked up. The unit plus labor could cost as little as $1,591, depending on the price of the fireplace.
Mid-range gas fireplace installation
A mid-range gas fireplace installation runs from $1,727 to $11,711, depending on the cost of the unit.
If you’re sure you want gas but still want to stick to a mid-range budget, you can afford to purchase an upgraded freestanding unit and run service to it. Ventless gas fireplaces are available for as much as $11,000, so you’re sure to find something that complements your home within your price range. To connect, however, expect to pay from $391 to $711 for a gas line installation, depending on the linear foot of piping needed.
High-end gas fireplace installation
A high-end gas fireplace installation costs from $8,450 to $26,816, depending on the size of the fireplace and material costs.
You know you want gas and can afford to create the fireplace of your dreams. In this budget category, you can create a built-in fireplace where one never existed and run gas and electrical lines to power it. In addition, you can build a hearth and surround it with a mantel, and include a blower to help your HVAC system run more efficiently.
Can I install my own gas fireplace?
Though it may look easy from the get-go, installing a gas fireplace involves installing or connecting gas lines and electrical wiring. You must know how to do these things and install vent pipes that could exit through the roof. If you don’t have these skills, hiring a professional to install your fireplace is best.
Also, most regions have strict codes and regulations concerning gas and fireplace installation. A professional gas installer will already be familiar with the standards and will actually save you time and money. For your safety, your fireplace will need to be inspected before use. Having to re-do a DIY installation that fails inspection will make the job take longer and cost you more in inspection fees.
Paying for your gas fireplace installation
Whether replacing an existing gas fireplace or installing a new one, the project can cost more than you have to spend, especially if you have to run new gas lines or do electrical work.
If you have a taste for steak on a hamburger budget, you may be looking for finance options. Here are a few to consider.
- Use your HELOC. You can withdraw funds from a home equity line of credit for a professional installation. If you don’t have a HELOC account, talk to a lender about the requirements for opening one.
- Use a home equity loan. For a home equity loan, the lender bases your interest rate and the borrowing amount on your home’s equity. So, if you have a lot of equity, the loan terms could be very favorable.
Ways to save money on a gas fireplace installation
The budget for some home improvement projects can get out of hand quickly. And installing a gas fireplace is no exception. Before buying the cheapest fireplace you can find, consider the following cost-cutting ideas.
- Shop around – You may fall in love with the first fireplace you see, but the cost is more than you want to pay. Definitely shop around. Consider off-season sales and construction salvage stores for discounted items.
- Do your own prep work – Remove the old insert before the installer puts in the new one. Also, do your own surround and mantel.
- Hire help – You may be tempted to DIY it, but if you don’t have the experience, hiring professionals can save you money in the long run.
- Legalities – Before swiping your card, make a call to see if your state or region allows gas fireplaces and what type.
- Warranties – Always compare the warranties of the products you’re considering buying. Sometimes the warranty coverage is the deciding factor.
- Permits – Professional installers will handle any necessary permits. However, if you’re DIYing this project, check with your local building official before installing your fireplace to see what regulations you need to follow and the inspection costs.
Stay warm and toasty
Don’t let winter’s chill steal your joy. Install a new gas fireplace to keep your home warm and toasty. And if you don’t live in an area where the falling mercury drives you inside for months, you may consider an outdoor fireplace for chilly evenings. No matter what type you’re looking for, if you don’t know who to call, let us help you find a local professional to make the installation process smooth.