Chimney and fireplace installation specialists can modernize an existing fireplace with a new gas-burning unit or install one in a new home or during a remodel. Gas fireplaces offer safe and cost-efficient heating solutions. Some gas-burning fireplaces have a direct vent and some have no vents. Gas-burning fireplaces with no vents require no outside air to operate, while gas-burning fireplaces with direct vents need a flue or vent that connects the fireplace to outdoor air. This vent can be a traditional chimney, but gas-burning fireplaces don’t require a vertically vented channel, so as long as there is access to natural gas lines and a vent to the exterior (such as built into the wall), a vented gas-burning fireplace can be installed in almost any location in a home.
The cost for installing a gas-burning fireplace can vary greatly, depending on the labor required, the type of fireplace selected, the natural gas plumbing and electrical work needed, and any finish work to be done once the fireplace has been installed.
In Seymour, Indiana, Joe Hemmelgarn of My Hoosier Hearth says traditional log gas direct-vent fireplaces are the most common type of fireplaces installed in his area. These appliances are efficient and still offer the look, glow and heat of a wood fire without the negatives, including odor, dirt and smoke. The convenience and cost of gas is also a major driver of the popularity of these fireplaces, says Hemmelgarn of My Hoosier Hearth.
Vent-free gas-burning fireplaces
A vent-free (also called a ventless application) gas-burning fireplace typically has a lower cost because there's no vent pipe involved, says Hemmelgarn of My Hoosier Hearth. The average cost for clients of My Hoosier Hearth for a vent-free box, logs, cabinet and installation can cost $2,000–$4,000. The price variance depends greatly on how much gas line needs to be installed as well as the customer’s appliance (fireplace) choice.
Direct vent gas-burning fireplaces
Vented (also called direct-vent) gas-burning fireplaces offer a greater variety of options and appliances than vent-free, says Hemmelgarn of My Hoosier Hearth. They are, however, more expensive than vent-free fireplaces because of the added material and labor cost of venting them. The cost to install a direct-vent gas fireplace ranges from $3,500 to $7,500, depending on the options included, the specific brand and type of appliance and venting needs. Here is a cost breakdown from My Hoosier Hearth:
42-inch mid-grade direct-vent gas fireplace: $4,500
Cost included installation into new construction of a 3,000-square-foot home with vaulted ceilings.
Appliance cost: $3,200
An insert goes into an existing fireplace to modernize it, make it more efficient or help bring it up to current building codes. Joe Spoden Sr. of Custom Fireplace & Chimney Care in Minneapolis, Minnesota, says about 60 percent of his customers opt for gas-burning fireplaces. Of those, many decide on a gas-burning insert into their current fireplace. An insert can make an existing fireplace more efficient, and it can also cost less than installing an entirely new fireplace.
The cost of the gas insert itself can be anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000, says Spoden of Custom Fireplace & Chimney Care, but there are always exceptions on either end of the price spectrum. His company chooses to install higher-quality fireplaces only. The cost of labor is much less to install a gas insert than to install an entire gas-burning fireplace, Spoden says. The typical installation cost for an insert from Custom Fireplace & Chimney Care is $400–$500. Other factors that can affect the overall cost are the need to run natural gas plumbing lines or electrical wiring to the fireplace. In some cases, it’s not necessary, but when called for, the base price for this work is at least $200, says Spoden of Custom Fireplace & Chimney, just to cover the cost of copper piping (which is currently about $110 for 60 feet), fittings and skilled labor. Custom Fireplace & Chimney charges $4,400–$6,500 for gas insert installation without plumbing or electric work.
Installation specialists can also install fireplace enclosures (doors), surrounds and mantels, says Hemmelgarn with My Hoosier Hearth. Cost is determined by the facing material used (tile, concrete, granite, marble, brick, stone) and the labor required to install it. Most of the mantels and cabinets have a retail cost and installing them is pretty easy, says Hemmelgarn with My Hoosier Hearth, but some of the facings and enclosures can be quite complicated, especially when it comes to see-through, peninsula and corner units.