Many homeowners enjoy the convenience of flipping a switch and having the glow and warmth of fire available whenever they want it. If you have an existing wood-burning fireplace, a gas fireplace insert can transform it into a gas-powered heater of your home. Gas fireplace insert costs range from $500 to $3,500 if the existing duct and chimney system is sound. These inserts are more cost-effective than a wood-burning fireplace, and many homeowners choose gas fireplace inserts to update and modernize their existing fireplace.
Labor costs are considerably less to install a gas insert than to install a gas-burning fireplace. Before the gas fireplace insert is installed, the chimney will need to be cleaned at the cost of around $200. Labor and materials, including liner inserts, gas tubing, and new vents, can run between $300 and $1,800. If the gas line needs to be modified or changed to meet current building codes, that can cost between $200 and $1,200.
Gas fireplace inserts burn more efficiently than their wood-burning counterparts. As a result, a gas insert produces fewer emissions and releases fewer fine particulates into the air, which is helpful for those who suffer from allergies and respiratory illnesses. In addition, a fireplace insert often includes circulating fans that push the heat into the room, reducing the amount of heated air from escaping up the chimney. If you’re more interested in looks, an electric fireplace is more about imagery than producing actual flames or heat for a room.
What Is a Gas Fireplace Insert?
Transform a wood-burning fireplace into a gas by installing a gas-burning insert. A gas fireplace insert is a metal box within a metal box that fits inside an existing fireplace and blocks the draft from the chimney. The gas insert heats the air between the two metal boxes, releasing heat into the room. This is an excellent option for homeowners who want to rework their existing wood-burning fireplace into a fuel-efficient heat source. In addition, a gas fireplace insert is a good option if you’re interested in zone heating your home and assisting the HVAC system, so it doesn’t run as much during the colder winter months.
Gas Fireplace vs. Gas Fireplace Insert
Gas fireplaces are built into a wall of a home during construction or a major renovation. The big difference between a gas fireplace and an insert is that the gas fireplace doesn’t need an existing fireplace or even a chimney. If you don’t have an existing fireplace and chimney, a gas fireplace can be installed, so it vents out through a wall, or you can choose an unvented gas fireplace. With an unvented gas fireplace, the exhaust is released back into the room. Also, a gas fireplace’s BTUs (British thermal unit) are higher than a gas fireplace insert, so more heat will come from the built-in gas fireplace.
How to Save Money on a Gas Fireplace Insert
Gas fireplace insert costs can be high, and the additional costs associated with the project can quickly add up. One way to save on gas fireplace insert costs is to buy the cheapest option, but there are other ways to save without compromising quality.
Get multiple estimates. Get at least three estimates from reputable gas fireplace contractors in your area, and choose the one that works the best for you and your budget.
Do some of the prep yourself. Prepping and cleaning the area before the professional installers arrive is one way to save on labor costs. The same goes for adding some finishing touches after the installation.
Hire professionals. It may seem tempting to save money by installing a gas fireplace insert on your own. However, the added cost of fixing mistakes, the energy loss due to an incorrect installation, and the safety risks to you and your family aren’t worth it.
Get references. Talk to others who have had a gas fireplace insert installed in their home and ask about their experiences. They can add valuable insight and inform you about the quality of the company they used. The cheapest contractor isn’t always the answer since you may pay extra for needed repairs down the road if the job isn’t done right.