Wood or Gas Fireplaces: How Much Should You Spend on Each?

January 3, 2019

When choosing between gas and wood as the fuel source for your fireplace, one way to make it easier requires you to think whether each one’s benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

If you live in Utah, the cost of having a gas fireplace in Salt Lake City during the winter may help you from depending too much on your heating component. Some households switch to a wood-burning fireplace, but it requires regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent ash and carbon residue build-up. Moreover, it increases the risk of having chimney fires at home, aside from carbon monoxide leaks and poor ventilation.

Cost of Maintenance for Wood Fireplaces

A chimney sweep is one of the most common maintenance expenses for wood fireplaces. In the U.S., households spend $227 on average for this, although the usual price ranges between $124 and $330. The frequency of cleaning makes it cheaper with each professional visit, costing at least $85. If you have not cleaned it in years, you should expect to pay up to $800 or more depending on the required work.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests that chimneys need to be cleaned at least once every year. However, you should expect to spend on chimney sweeps more often during the winter, especially if you use the fireplace every night. You could check for signs of a dirty chimney by noticing traces of smoke that enters your living space. Another sign involves weak-burning fire, which indicates blockage and soot build-up.

Gas Fireplaces as an Alternative

gas fireplace

Some households are ditching the traditional wood fireplace in favor of the gas-powered one for safety and better air quality at home. Others simply choose to install it since it requires less frequent maintenance and cleaning. It also works almost instantly by simply switching on a button, unlike conventional wood fireplaces.

However, you should expect to spend $2,106 on average for installing a gas fireplace. Some variants are less expensive than a wood fireplace, which may cost up to $3,480. Take note of several factors that determine the actual price for a gas fireplace such as your preferred designs and the cost of labor. A basic gas unit will obviously cost less than a fireplace with detailed designs and complex HVAC systems.

Indoor or Outdoor Use

The use of a fireplace is not restricted within your house, but you would have to be aware of local rules in your community about having it for the outdoors. Some neighborhoods only allow people to remodel wood-burning fireplaces, instead of constructing new ones. Always check if you are complying with local policies to avoid paying stiff fines or penalties.

Otherwise, it would offset the money you save from building outdoor fireplaces. These are generally cheaper than indoor variants, as outdoor models usually cost less than $200 per square foot for indoor fireplaces.

Safety should be your top concern when building or remodeling a fireplace, so it is better to hire a contractor. Why would you choose gas over a wood fireplace?

Scroll to Top