How Much Does it Cost to Install a Gas Fireplace Insert in 2023?
There’s something cozy about curling up in front of the fireplace and reading a book or playing a board game with the family. But a wood-burning fireplace can get expensive, plus it’s a lot of work making sure you’re stocked up with firewood to last the winter.
If you don’t mind the initial cost, converting your wood fireplace into a gas fireplace is a worthwhile investment. This one isn’t for the average DIYer, so let’s look at the dollars you can expect to spend.
Gas Fireplace Vs. Wood-Burning Fireplace
Other than the obvious difference between the two, there are a couple of notable differences between a gas fireplace and a wood-burning fireplace. Allergy-wise, a gas fireplace is better because they typically burn much more efficiently, thus releasing fewer irritants into the air. You won’t find us arguing about the comforting smell of wood heat—however, some studies show it can be a strong irritant to many people.
The other plus for a gas fireplace is instant heat. You flip a switch, and the room is bathing in the warm orange glow of a fire, and you’ll feel the heat right away. A wood fire has to be started and constantly fed throughout the evening—and day if that’s the primary heat source for your home.
How Much Does Installing a Gas Fireplace Insert Cost?
Two main components contribute to the cost of getting a gas fireplace insert installed. Other than these two cost factors, we will discuss a couple of other things to keep in mind for the budget.
- Cost of the fireplace: Depending on the particular features or type of fireplace you want, the price ranges from $580 to $900 on average.
- Cost of installation: The average installation price is $300 to $1,800. The amount of work needed to prepare the existing ductwork and chimney play a role in the spread of this cost. Also, no regulations govern gasfitter labor rates.
There are some ways you can cut back on these costs. For example, preparing the area beforehand and cleaning up can lower the amount of labor you pay. Another significant way you can save money is by getting multiple quotes. As we mentioned, there’s no regulation on contractors’ rates. So, by getting multiple quotes, you’ll be able to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.
Budgeting for Additional Costs
Like many home improvement projects, there are often additional costs that come up. Sometimes they are expected, but other times we get blindsided by them. Here are a few additional things to keep in mind to give you an accurate picture of the costs of having a gas fireplace installed.
- Additional gas plumbing: Whether you’re replacing an existing gas fireplace insert or installing a new one, there will need to be some changes in the gas lines. This typically runs from $10 to $20 per linear foot.
- Updating electrical: An electrician will also have to do electrical modifications in addition to the gas. When the electrical is changed, it will also need to be brought up to meet the current building code. There is no way to estimate this because each situation is very different. But you can expect a few hundred dollars in additional costs.
- Redoing the surround: This is unavoidable as well. Like most cosmetic things, it can ultimately get as expensive as you want. But on average, to redo the fireplace surround, you can expect to pay from $3,500 to $7,500. Keep in mind you can get that price down, but it can also get much higher!
Gas Fireplace Insert Maintenance
A major benefit of a gas fireplace versus its wood-burning counterpart is that it requires very little maintenance. The only two ongoing maintenance costs are an annual inspection that ranges from $75 to $125 and a chimney inspection/cleaning, which will cost a few hundred bucks on average.
These aren’t high costs, but they are essential. These tasks are for your safety, and they also contribute to the fireplace running efficiently. Over time, your gas fireplace will begin to wear out. During these regular checkups, the technician will be able to repair or at least recommend repairs.
How Long Will a Gas Fireplace Insert Last?
Over the years, you’ll need to replace parts in your gas fireplace. Overall, there are many cost savings compared to a traditional fireplace, but it still gets expensive over time. So, when should you think about replacing it instead of repairing it?
Considering many gas fireplaces on the market today will last 10–15 years, you’re better off fixing it unless yours is getting up there in age. That being said, if repairs become more frequent or expensive, it may be time to replace it.
Appearance is a big reason one goes with a gas fireplace. So, if yours is working but looking dated, or you’re doing a major renovation to update the style of your home, then it might be worth it to replace. The bonus is that much of the electrical or gas lines can be reused—hopefully with only minor modifications.
Installation of a gas fireplace insert can get quite expensive, especially when extra costs start adding up. But if you enjoy having a fireplace, it’s almost always a worthwhile endeavor. Just think, no more buying cords of wood or spending the time and fuel by cutting your own firewood. Instead, flip a switch on the wall, sit back, and enjoy.
Featured Image Credit: Dagmara_K, Shutterstock