Gas fireplaces allow homeowners to enjoy the warmth and bright flames of a fireplace, without the annoyance of chopping, carrying and storing wood, cleaning up ashes or maintaining a chimney. These fireplaces are supplied by an ordinary residential gas line, and produce few emissions. They can be turned on and off with the flick of a switch. However, installation costs can be high, depending on the type of fireplace installed.
Converting an Existing Fireplace
Converting existing fireplaces to gas is the least expensive option for homeowners and involves simply inserting gas logs. These nonflammable logs look much like real wood, and come in vented and ventless types. Vented gas logs require a working existing chimney and cost from $300 to $550, according to CostHelper. Ventless gas logs do not need a pipe or chimney and cost from $350 to $600.
Installation adds $200 to $350 extra to cover a licensed contractor and a new gas outlet. Another conversion method uses top-vented gas fireplace inserts, which may include fans and thermostats. These cost from $1,200 to $2,900, plus another $600 to $1,000 for professional installation.
Ventless Gas Fireplaces
These fireplaces are often used in homes where no chimney is available. Ventless fireplaces, also referred to as unvented or vent-free types, are fully enclosed metal appliances that also include the gas logs. These can be placed up against or very close to walls. They cost from $400 to $1,500, depending on the quality of the model. However, due to the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning, some U.S. states do not permit the use of this type of fireplace. Some models require homeowners to keep a window open during operation. This means it's important to research area regulations before choosing a gas appliance.
Direct Vented Gas Fireplaces
Direct vented fireplaces are another option for homes with no existing chimney. These fireplaces must be installed through an outside wall, using pipes. The unit itself costs an estimated $1,200 to $3,200, and installation can cost from $600 to more than $5,000, depending on the quality of the unit and the complexity of the job, according to CostHelper.
Gas Line Installation
Homeowners interested in installing a gas fireplace may need to have a gas line installed. The cost of this can range from nothing, in cases where the gas company installs a line for homeowners purchasing new appliances, to as much as $1,000 for professional installation on a complex project, according to CostHelper.
G.D. Palmer is a freelance writer and illustrator living in Milwaukee, Wis. She has been producing print and Web content for various organizations since 1998 and has been freelancing full-time since 2007. Palmer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in writing and studio art from Beloit College in Beloit, Wis.