Good to know   /   Home Improvement   /   Adding a Fireplace

Adding a Fireplace

When winter comes, snuggling around a cozy fire wearing your favorite lap robe, reading a good book and having a glass of wine, playing a game of chess, or just quietly watching the fire are favorite things you love to do. There’s just one problem – the home you want to buy doesn’t have a fireplace. But before you pass on an otherwise wonderful home, you could explore how to add one. 

  • You may not have time to explore fireplaces in a busy market. Go ahead and put an offer in on your home. You can have a fireplace even if it’s a bio-ethanol tabletop unit. 

  • Find out if there are any city, HOA or homeowner’s insurance rules or regulations regarding fireplace installations. 

  • Make sure there’s room for the addition of a fireplace. Take the room dimensions and a floorplan to a fireplace expert for a consultation.

Homeguide.com suggests that gas, masonry and wood-burning fireplaces cost about $1,900 to $5,600 while electric fireplaces are closer to $100 to $2,200. These prices do not include veneers, surrounds or mantels, gas log inserts, grates or fireplace screens and tools. However, you’re adding an attractive feature that could help increase the appeal and value of your home. 

Wood-burning 

Few winter delights beat the crackling sound and acrid aromas of a wood-burning fire. On the flip side, you have to have a safe, handy place to store wood logs, both indoors and outside, as wood can invite critters and insects. You’ll have to haul logs in from the cold and wet weather just when you want to stay warm and dry. Ashes build up quickly and have to be cleaned out periodically. For some, these labors are small prices to pay for the coziness of a fireplace. 

Gas-log

A gas-log fireplace doesn’t have the ambiance of a wood-burning fire, but it can be very appealing nonetheless. You get to choose the kit you like best according to the way the logs lay against each other. You can even click the fire on and off with a remote, which is ideal for some. For the fire season, you’ll have to turn the pilot light on and turn it off for the rest of the year.  

Ventless gas logs burn so hot, they combust nearly all the fuel they use, leaving little carbon monoxide or soot. They can be installed anywhere, but safety is paramount. Make sure there’s plenty of ventilation from a window, and keep combustibles far away. 

Electric 

These fireplaces plug into an electric outlet, making them portable as well. However, be sure the outlet has the correct amperage and voltage to run the appliance. 

Building and ventilation codes will require that your fireplace is proportionate to the space it’s going to heat. Otherwise, the build-up of toxic fumes could be dangerous. Also, Some insurance companies won’t pay for fire damage unless your fireplace is professionally installed, so check your homeowner’s insurance policy. If you’re not sure what’s best for you to do, talk to a fireplace professional.