How Much Does it Cost to Install and Operate a Gas Fireplace?
Baby it's cold outside. Does this harsh winter have you clamoring for the warmth of an old-fashioned fire? Are you sick and tired of cleaning your traditional fireplace and purchasing wood logs? Would you rather have a perfect fire up and running in one second rather than building and waiting for a traditional fire to appear? A gas fireplace will add heat along with a nice relaxing atmosphere for you and your guests to enjoy on those cold winter evenings. Gas fireplaces are also more controlled and safer than traditional ones. Whether you are looking to convert a traditional fireplace to a gas fireplace, or install a new fireplace in your home, there will be costs involved. How much does it cost to install and operate a gas fireplace?
Wood Burning Fireplace Modification
The easiest and cheapest way to upgrade your traditional wood-burning fireplace to a gas fireplace is by using vented gas logs. These logs are made of nonflammable materials and are very realistic in their appearance. They will need a working chimney to operate properly And cost around $250-$500. Professional installation will run you another $200-$300. Make sure you use a licensed contractor for any installation for a job of this nature. Here are instructions to install it yourself. Another option is to modify your current fireplace into a top vented fireplace. This design will have a gas log ensemble contained in a steel heat exchanger which will be sealed in the front with glass, and it will vent through the chimney using a two pipe system. There are some very cool add-ons with this method which include optional fans, wall switches, remote controls, and wall-mounted thermostats. This modification will cost $1500-$3000 and installation will run you $500-$1000.
Direct Vent Gas Fireplace
What if you don't have a fireplace and chimney? It is still possible to install a fireplace! A direct vent gas fireplace is installed through an outside wall, and a complex pipe device allows air in an exhaust out with just one vent. These fireplaces cost $1500-$3000 and installation can be as low as $800 for a basic setup all the way up to around $4000 for a very complex set up. Here are instructions to install it yourself which requires a good amount of time and skills.
Ventless or Vent-Free Fireplace
Yes, there is such a thing as a fireplace that does not need a chimney or event. The future is now! These are installed flush against the wall or a few inches out and cost around $600-$1400. The installation of the gas lines and any extra design components like a mantle or surround will be another $1000-$1500. These are restricted in some states, so make sure and check on your local restrictions if you want to go this route. I would avoid models that require you to keep a window open while using the fireplace because that seems silly and a giant waste of resources. Actually, I would probably avoid these altogether and just go with the direct vent gas fireplace.
Gas Fireplace Energy Costs
Operating a gas fireplace costs a lot less than people think. This will depend on the amount of British Thermal Units, or BTUs, that it uses per hour. The cost of gas in your region will vary from time to time, but if you look at your last gas bill, you will see the cost per therm which is equal to 100,000 BTUs. Divide the BTUs of your gas fireplace by 100,000 to get the therms per hour that your unit uses. The bottom line is most gas fireplaces will cost between $.15-$.30 per hour to run, which is probably cheaper than the wood logs you bought for that same fire in your old fireplace. Once you are finished, relax by the fireplace and throw a BB King record or Bessie Smith LP on the turntable.