How to Install a Gas Fireplace

gas fireplace installation
constantgardener / Getty Images

A gas fireplace adds warmth and ambiance to your home without all the work of maintaining a traditional wood-burner. You won’t need a chimney or a chimney sweep. You won’t need to keep a stockpile of logs or stoke the fire to keep it going. Once your fireplace is installed, all you’ll have to do is turn it on.

When you buy a gas fireplace, it will come with a manual that you should follow carefully.

Each model has its own safety guidelines which ensure the right distances from combustibles. The most common style is a direct-vent log fireplace, which can be vented directly out of the wall or ceiling. The following are instructions for installing a gas fireplace, which will be vented out of the wall.

Choose a Location

Where you put the unit matters. Pick an area of the room that will be both visually appealing and practical. Make sure that it is convenient for installing a gas line, hooking up any necessary electricity and running the ventilation. Ventilating through an exterior wall is preferred.

Do a Test-Fit

These types of fireplaces must be elevated for safety. You will need to either build or buy a platform which fits the standards set out for your model. Test out the location with your newly purchased unit and its platform. See if it works as you’d imagined and if it meets the positioning requirements of your manual.

Start Building the Piping

Once you’re confident that the location works, build the ventilation piping up from the starting collar to the wall. You will need to secure the first piping to the stove collar with stove cement. Sketch a line onto the wall around the piping to find your center for cutting a ventilation hole.

Create Ventilation Hole

Move the unit and platform away. A wall-pass-through component will have come with your fireplace and you can use this to determine the size of your hole. Make shallow cuts to create the hole, then check to make sure that it is between studs and that there are no wires or pipes obstructing the space. Mark your place to the exterior portion of the wall by drilling a hole in each corner, then cut the ventilation hole from the outside. Frame the inside of the cut-out space with lumber.

Install Pass-Through and Piping

Line the hole’s new frame with high-temperature caulk and slide the pass-through component into place. Secure this component with screws. Put the platform and fireplace back in position and connect the rest of the piping. Seal the firestop to the pipe with high-temperature caulk and install the outside firestop and drip cap.

Hook It Up

You’ll want to hire a professional to install a new gas line and, if your unit requires electricity for fans or other components, you will want to call an electrician. According to HomeAdvisor’s Fireplace Installation Cost Guide, gas line installation costs $500-$2,000 and wiring costs $150-$300.

Optional Upgrades

Your fireplace won’t need a mantle and frame but these additions could make it look more realistic and complete.

You can buy them pre-made or build them yourself.

Make Repairs

In the process of cutting a hole for ventilation and building on a frame, you may have made a mess of your drywall. If so, drywall repair costs can help you determine whether you need a handyman or a drywall contractor.

The cost to install your own gas fireplace and have it hooked up by a professional should cost around $1,000-$3,000. The more bells and whistles you want, like imitation masonry and framing, the higher your cost will be. It will be worth the expense, however, because having a fireplace to heat your home can save you over 25% on your energy bills. It is also a cleaner and more efficient alternative to a real wood-burning unit.

If you want the look of a fireplace and you would rather not make a hole for ventilation, consider buying a vent-free one.

Ventless fireplaces are relatively new and they do not require piping.

Tip: It is best to buy your ventilation components and your fireplace unit at the same time, with the help of an expert at a fireplace showroom. This way, you can be confident that your parts will work efficiently together.