How Much Does it Cost to Convert a Wood Fireplace to Gas?

Written by: Staff

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Converting a wood fireplace to a gas fireplace is usually done for environmental concerns.  Because it is in its natural form and requires little processing, natural gas is considered to be the most environment-friendly fossil fuel around.  Not only is the natural gas environmentally friendly, but a gas fireplace also eliminates the need for wood.  Although artificial logs can be purchased, most people use wood from trees that have been cut down locally, a growing concern for environmentalists.   Environmental concerns are not the only reason for converting a wood fireplace to gas, however, there are also convenience reasons.

Rather than having to take the time to get the fire started, keep it lit, and then cleaning up after, you can simply have a fire at the push of a button.  When finished, turn off the gas and there is no clean up needed – much quicker and easier than a wood fireplace.

NT typical gas log fireplace by vastateparksstaff, on Flickr
NT typical gas log fireplace” (CC BY 2.0) by  vastateparksstaff

How much does it cost to convert a wood burning fireplace to gas?

The cost of converting a wood burning fireplace to gas will depend on the kind of gas fireplace you want, the expert you hire, where you live and how far away a gas line is.  There are three gas fireplace options you can choose from:  a gas insert, vented gas log or vent-free gas log.  Before a fireplace is even converted, a gas line will first have to be installed and extended to the fireplace location.  Depending on the distance and complication, this alone can cost anywhere from $200 to more than $1,200.  Next, depending on the type of gas fireplace you want, a vented or vent-free gas log setup could cost anywhere from $500 to $3,000.  This won’t include the gas inserts, which will add another $2,000 to $5,000 to the total.  Expect to pay even more if you have a complex setup.  With all of these factors in mind, the grand total, for a complete conversion, including a gas line install, can run anywhere from as little as $2,700 to more than $10,000.

The Washington Post said you should be prepared to spend $850 for a gas log kit or a vent-free gas fireplace.  Granted, these prices would be for projects that don’t involve structural changes.  A true gas fireplace insert, being the most expensive option, could cost about $3,000, but while it changes the look of the fireplace, it will eliminate the option of having an open fire.

TypeDescriptionAverage Price (not including gas line or installation)
Vented gas logsOffers a realistic looking wood-fire at a budget-friendly price. They won't provide more heat and the chimney damper must be opened when being used. It will still have the same hazards as an open flame and will have the same open combustion.$100 to $1,500
Vent-free gas longsThis option is banned in some municipalities and, when compared to a wood burning fireplace, it won't create the roaring fire effect we are used to looking at.$100 to $1,500
Gas fireplace insertThis is the most appealing and most realistic fireplace option. Unlike the other two options, they are efficient and will keep by-products out of your home.$2,000 to $4,500

What are the extra costs?

Before a fireplace is even converted, the chimney will need to be cleaned to ensure the fireplace is fully functional.  Plus, during this sweep, the expert doing the job will be able to tell you if your setup is sustainable for a gas fireplace.  The average chimney sweep can cost anywhere between $100 to $200.

Factor in annual maintenance as these inserts should be inspected to ensure they are in tip-top condition.

Tips to know:

As stated above, there are three gas fireplace inserts you can choose from:  a gas insert, vented gas log or vent-free gas log.  A gas insert or vent-free gas logs will create heat for a home, but due to the unburned combustion products that linger into your home, it won’t be recommended for those who suffer from allergies.  Plus, it’s best to check your local state laws as some states do ban these setups.  A vented gas long will the best option if you don’t care about adding heat and only want it for aesthetic purposes.  A vented gas log setup will burn more gas than other types and will draw heat up the chimney.

Always check with your local government to know about restrictions, permits, fees and requirements.  Some agencies may have rebates and/or incentives available for those who do convert their fireplace.

How can I save money?

If you only want the fireplace for aesthetic purposes and don’t care about the heat the fireplace generates, then it’s highly ideal you consider an electric fireplace as it can be much cheaper.  An electric insert can cost as little as $500 to $1,500.

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