How Much Does It Cost to Remove a Fireplace Insert?

Ginny Bartolone
Written by Ginny Bartolone
Updated February 1, 2022
Luxury living room with fireplace and high ceiling
Photo: bmak / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Fireplace inserts transform a traditional fireplace into an upgraded system.

  • You may need to remove it for cleaning, replacement, or home renovations.

  • Insert removal for gas and electric fireplaces always requires a professional.

  • In some cases, you may be able to remove a wood-burning fireplace insert yourself.

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When the weather outside is truly frightful, you'll want to make sure your fireplace is burning as efficiently as possible. Fireplace inserts were invented to upgrade wood-burning stoves, making it easier to replace them with gas or electric models. Removing the fireplace insert—either for cleaning, upgrades, or renovations—will cost between $600 and $2,500. You may be able to save some money if the system is easy to remove on your own.

How Much Does It Cost to Remove Each Type of Fireplace Insert?

There are three main types of fireplace insert: wood or pellet, gas, and electric. Wood-burning fireplace inserts are an excellent solution to creating a cleaner system without giving up the magic of tossing another log on the fire. Gas fireplace inserts—which run on natural gas or propane—switch on with a button, much like an electric unit.

You might choose to replace or remove a fireplace insert for a variety of reasons. In some places, your area may require an EPA-qualified insert, especially when it comes to wood-burning designs. Each state has its own ordinances around inserts that meet efficiency and pollution standards.

The cost to remove an insert significantly varies depending on its design. Wood and gas fireplace inserts attach to other parts of a more complex ventilation system, typically designed for your insert model. Electric fireplace inserts don't require ventilation, but they do attach to your home’s electrical wiring. These are important details to note when considering the cost to remove the insert.

Cost to Remove Wood-Burning Fireplace Insert

Removing a wood-burning insert should only cost between $500 and $1,000 with the help of a professional. You may want to call a fireplace pro simply due to the insert's size—more on this below—but it's not always necessary unless you're removing more of the fireplace or chimney structural support. 

If you're getting rid of your old fireplace insert entirely, add an extra $130 to $360 for junk removal services.

Cost to Remove a Gas or Electric Fireplace Insert

Living room with gas fireplace insert
Photo: JASON / Adobe Stock

Removing a gas or electric fireplace insert comes with the highest related costs, adding up to as much as $1,200. 

When a professional takes out the insert alone, expect to pay between $250 to $600. However, you'll need a plumber qualified to work with gas lines or an electrician to disconnect the insert from its fuel source. This will run an additional $100 to $300. Removing the related chimney breast, vents, pipes, and flue could increase the project total by $300 more.

How Much Does It Cost to Remove a Fireplace Insert Near You?

The primary price factor here is the cost of labor. Unless you're adding a new fireplace to your home, the cost of materials won’t factor into the total price of the project.

In other words, if you live in an area with generally pricier overhead and hourly costs for contractors, expect higher prices for fireplace removal. On the same note, also remember that high seasonal demand can increase labor prices. 

You can get a sense of the price differences by looking at common fireplace repair costs. For example, you'll pay an average of $200 more in New York City than if you live in Florida—where the demand for fireplaces is much lower.

Can I Remove a Fireplace Insert on My Budget?

Switching out a fireplace insert isn't always complex, but the type of system you have will heavily dictate the price of the job.

$50 to $200

If you have a wood fireplace insert, you can pull off removing it yourself if you are not taking out any additional pieces. The cost of tools runs between $50 and $100, while removal will add around $130.

$200 to $1,000

Hiring a professional to remove a wood fireplace insert will likely fall in this range. Some simpler gas and electric inserts might also cost around this amount, especially if you don't need extra work done.

$1,000 to $2,500

Expect this budget range when you need a complex gas or electric insert removed. The higher numbers cover the cost of the plumber or electrician and the extra hours for overall labor.

How Much Does It Cost to Remove a Fireplace Insert Yourself?

Taking out a wooden fireplace can be a DIY job if you're prepared for the heavy lifting—literally—and the mess it often causes in your home. If you have a gas or electric fireplace, we recommend leaving this work to certified professionals. 

Removing the full insert typically requires a tarp, a power drill, a socket wrench, and a utility knife. The total cost for all of the necessary tools will run between $50 and $100. Since the wood-burning insert is only attached with caulking and bolts, you should be able to remove these and pull out the insert on your own.

The moment you get into removing additional pieces, such as the chimney liner or the firebox, it's best to call in a professional. Original masonry fireplaces require a professional structural engineer or mason to address the brickwork.

Remember that if you're tossing the old fireplace insert, tack on another $130 to $360 for removal.

Fireplace Insert Removal Cost Breakdown

Removing a fireplace insert is relatively straightforward, even when you have a gas or electric insert. Without getting into the replacement costs, removal prices break down by:

  • Labor for insert removal

  • Disconnection from a gas line or electrical wiring

  • Removal of vent work, trim, or fireplace surround

  • Disposal costs

You’ll also want to schedule an annual professional chimney sweep inspection. Inspections cost an average of $250.

What Factors Influence the Cost to Remove a Fireplace Insert?

The largest determining cost factor is the type of fireplace insert in your home. While wood stove inserts can be pulled out by disconnecting them from the flue, gas and electric inserts require more expertise. 

The next factor is where you live and the current seasonal demand for fireplace experts. Nab your ideal appointment by contacting a fireplace team off-season—even in the summer—and be sure to book early ahead of the high season.

FAQs About Fireplace Inserts

Fireplace inserts have been around for over a century but truly took off when we started to pay attention to more energy-efficient appliances in our homes about 50 years ago. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about fireplace inserts and reasons for their removal or replacement.

How do I choose an EPA-approved wood fireplace insert?

You can research your fireplace insert or retrofit by checking out the EPA wood stove database. The database includes information, such as a model's emission rate, efficiency, and carbon dioxide output.

Why should I remove a fireplace insert?

Homeowners may choose to remove a fireplace insert to complete a more thorough cleaning of their flue and firebox, particularly with wood-burning stoves. In this case, you may not need to remove the entire insert, but only the bottom plate and ember shield.

You may also want to simply remove a fireplace insert if you're hoping to return to traditional masonry fireplace style. However, it's important to work with a professional chimney sweep to ensure your chimney and liner works with the new design.

What other projects should I do at the same time?

If you're just moved into a new home and are looking to update the heating system, switching to an electric fireplace can save you money in the long run. Since electric fireplaces don't require chimney ventilation, you can even remove an old chimney from the top of your home. 

Another popular project is removing and replacing the whole firebox after removing the insert. Fireplaces are far from one-size-fits-all, and the best option comes down to your personal preferences and home style.

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