A gas fireplace brings all the benefits of a conventional wood fireplace and more. It’s more efficient and generally easier to control. What happens when you want to move the fireplace? Is it as difficult as moving a wood fireplace?
It’s hard to move a gas fireplace. It’s not a DIY project because the moving process will involve tearing down the wall, moving the gas piping to the new location, and rebuilding the exhaust. You’d need to hire a contractor qualified to handle the gas pipes reinstallation and wall remodeling.
The rest of the article will look at all you need to know about moving a gas fireplace and the important considerations before you get started on the job.
Why Is Moving a Gas Fireplace Difficult?
Moving a gas fireplace is difficult because it involves knowing how to move the gas piping infrastructure from the existing location to your desired location.
The process requires knowledge of maneuvering residential gas pipelines and how to reach inside walls for a repair. You’ll also need to know how to dismantle the rest of the fireplace. This combination of skills is one most people don’t have. You’ll need 2-3 professionals to complete the move in most cases.
Local laws may also mandate you to only work with National Fireplace Institute-certified professionals. The difficulty in finding a qualified professional locally and the overall demands of completing the installation are major reasons why the process is difficult to complete.
Should You Move a Gas Fireplace?
You should move a gas fireplace if you have legitimate reasons to do so. The reasons should adequately justify the cost of the move. However, for many people, it’s more reasonable to explore alternative solutions to the problem that has necessitated moving the fireplace.
It’s best to get a professional evaluation of the problem by talking to a qualified fireplace installer. Some of them may offer a free consultation. Even when you have to pay hourly rates, it’s still a good investment that may help you avoid wasting thousands.
Possible Reasons for Moving a Gas Fireplace
There are a few reasons for moving a gas fireplace. They include the following:
- Home Refurbishment. If you’re remodeling your home, you may see it as a good opportunity to move your gas fireplace to a location you believe is best. In a large living room, your fireplace can take any position. If you have a different arrangement and structure in mind, you can move the fireplace during the refurbishment.
- Improved Convenience. Do you want the fireplace closer or further away from you to improve comfort? Perhaps you want stronger heating in a specific area of your home? Moving can bring the results you seek. You may also want to move the fireplace to another room if you prefer a new alternative in its current location.
- Health-Related Reasons. Gas fireplaces emit nitrogen dioxide. If yours is located in the basement or a poorly ventilated space, you may consider moving it to avoid damage to the respiratory health of your home’s occupants.
All of the above are valid reasons for wanting to move your fireplace.
How To Move a Gas Fireplace
Moving a gas fireplace requires a lot of effort. Here’s what you’ll have to do:
Find the Right Location
Your new location for the gas fireplace needs to have at least 3 feet (0.91 m) between the fireplace and the ceiling and any adjacent walls. You also need to ensure there aren’t too many obstacles around the fireplace area. So, you can’t put the fireplace in the middle of your favorite bits of furniture, for example.
You also have to pay attention to the location of the gas line. If the gas line is close to your intended location for the installation, the job will be a lot more straightforward. If it’s in the middle of the room, you’d have to rethink the location.
You also need to ensure you have enough space to accommodate your new gas fireplace. Most fireplaces are around 23-46 inches (58-116 cm) high and 24-34 inches (60-86 cm) wide. Measure your chosen location to ensure it will fit without choking out the space. A fireplace of any kind is impractical in a small room.
Pay attention to how other elements can fit around the room. Will movement around the fireplace remain unimpeded?
Finally, your gas fireplace must not be located near any other heat source, including a wood stove. It also has to be at least three feet (0.91 m) away from drafty windows so that the weather won’t counteract the heating effect of the system.
Turn Off and Disconnect the Gas Supply
After you’ve settled on a location, the transfer process can begin. The first step is disconnecting the gas line from your old furnace. Use the shut-off valve to turn off the gas supply completely and reduce the risks of possible leaks and an explosion.
After turning off the gas and disconnecting the line, open the doors and windows for any gas in the air to dissipate. Unplug the fireplace from the electric outlet if it’s connected.
Dismantle the Fireplace System
You’ll need to dismantle the fireplace system to move it to the new spot. Here’s what you have to do:
- Remove any protective shields around the fireplace.
- Open the doors and disconnect the unit from the wall.
- Remove all decorative elements around the fireplace, including glass and wall casings.
Once you’ve dismantled the system, you can move it to the new location. Keep in mind that a fireplace can weigh hundreds of pounds, so you can’t move it alone. Get extra help to avoid dropping it and breaking fragile parts like the glass doors.
You can transfer the fireplace on your own if you have access to a moving dolly and the right upper body strength to push it around. You simply need to get the moving dolly as close to the furnace as possible and then carefully push the unit onto the dolly.
Once you can get the unit on the dolly, you can push the furnace to any part of the home you want. Of course, stairs and obstacles will make your job a little harder overall.
Run the Gas and Electrical Lines to the New Location
You need to have the gas and electrical lines in place before you can install the fireplace in the new location. This stage of the project will require digging through your drywall and running new pipes to reach the new site of the installation.
You’ll also need to construct the new vent for the gas furnace. Due to the complexity of this part of the process, it often takes the bulk of the time allotted for the entire project. Not to mention that it requires a certain level of technical know-how and qualifications, and if you don’t have them, you should leave it to professionals.
Put the Fireplace Together in the New Location
Once the unit is in your preferred location, it’s time to put it together and connect the gas pipe. Refer to your owner’s manual if you forget any aspect of putting the system back together. Getting the gas fireplace up and running in the new location is as demanding as running a fresh installation.
You’ll need to go through the steps for installing a new unit, so successfully moving the old gas furnace is only the start of the job. Once the installation is complete, turn on the fireplace to ensure it works. Install a carbon monoxide detector to pick up on gas leaks.
What Is the Cost of Moving a Gas Fireplace?
Moving a gas fireplace can cost you up to $7,000, depending on the complexities of the project. If your gas line is too far removed from your intended position, you may spend a lot of money on digging through the drywall and covering it back up.
If you’re only changing the position of the fireplace within the same room, the project will be cheaper than moving it to a central wall that’s two or three rooms away from the main gas line.
Do You Need a Permit To Move Your Gas Fireplace?
You’ll need a permit to move your gas fireplace because it’s a major home improvement project. Improperly installed gas lines pose a hazard to your household and your neighborhood.
Sloppy gas-related work from unqualified people has led to explosions so many times. That’s why many municipalities now require permits before you’re allowed to do projects such as installing a new gas fireplace or relocating an existing one.
The exact permits required will vary from one place to the other, but you have to find out what they are. Head down to your municipal office to find out what’s required if you’re working on the project on your own. If you’ve contracted a professional to do the job, they’ll take care of the permits.
How Long Will It Take To Move a Gas Fireplace?
It can take between three days and two weeks to move a gas fireplace. The exact duration will come down to the project’s complexity, the installer’s experience level, and the number of workers.
A professional working with extra help can complete the process in three days or less. If you go the DIY route without having the right experience level, it can take a couple of weeks to get the job done—and this is assuming you don’t make any mistakes during the process.
Alternatives to Moving a Gas Fireplace
There are multiple alternatives to moving a gas fireplace. The right option to choose will come down to why you want to initiate the move in the first place.
Some of the top options include the following:
Enlarge the Fireplace
If you’re looking to move a gas fireplace because it’s not generating enough heat for the room, you should consider enlarging the existing design instead. The fireplace has likely been filled in if you live in an old house. Enlarging the existing fireplace and making it more powerful may be a better alternative to moving to a new location in the home.
The enlargement process is a major refurbishment project that involves working on the lintel, jambs and ending at the recess. However, it’s almost always cheaper than moving your gas furnace from its current location.
Install an Air Source or Geothermal Heat Pump
Depending on the peculiarities around moving your gas furnace, an air-source or geothermal heat pump (ASHP) might be beneficial for you. That’s especially true if a single indoor air handler is required to deliver the type of heat you’re going for. A single indoor unit will cost around $3,500-$5,000, but it doesn’t require extensive drywall infractions, and you don’t have to worry about a gas line connection.
A geothermal heat pump runs quieter than an air source option and is generally more efficient. However, it has a higher upfront cost.
Cover the Old Fireplace
You may also benefit from covering up the old fireplace instead of moving it—especially if you can get similar heating results from options such as air-source heat pumps, geothermal heat pumps, and infrared or oil-filled heaters.
Covering up the fireplace should be an option if you’re only thinking about moving it for aesthetic purposes. If you need the heating from it, you should carefully weigh the pros and cons of ditching the fireplace completely in favor of alternative heat sources.
Moving a gas fireplace is a cost and labor-intensive project you should only embark on if you’re certain that it’s the best solution in your situation. If you’re unsure whether the move is the correct decision, you should contact a professional.
The removal process involves:
- Dismantling the existing fireplace.
- Laying new gas pipes to the new spot.
- Building a vent.
- Recoupling the fireplace at the new site.
You’ll also need to spend some time repairing your walls. Overall, it’s not a DIY project, and most people will choose to avoid it if there are alternatives.