Many masonry open fireplaces are converted from wood burning to gas by installing a gas insert, but in some cases you may want to remove this gas insert to bring it back to wood burning or to replace it with a newer model.
Removing a gas fireplace can carry a serious safety risk if not done correctly. The removal of a gas fireplace should be undertaken by a professional certified in working with gas apparatus.
The steps undertaken to remove a gas fireplace include:
- Isolating the gas supply from the fireplace by using the dedicated shut-off valve for that fireplace and/or by shutting off the gas supply to the house using the mains valve.
- Remove the trim around the edge of the gas fireplace, if available.
- Remove the fireplace surround, if required.
- Disconnect the fireplace from the gas line.
- Remove any vent apparatus.
- Remove any electrical supply to the fireplace.
- Remove any cable fixings holding the fireplace unit to the back wall.
- Remove the gas fireplace.
- Ensure the gas line is capped off securely.
We’ve recently removed an old (unworking) gas fireplace insert from our kitchen fireplace. We also have a working gas insert in a living room that we’re looking to replace with a more modern and more efficient model.
Can You Remove A Gas Fireplace?
Gas fireplaces can often be removed in the same way that they have been installed. The steps to install the gas fireplace must be followed in reverse order to remove the fireplace. Professional help will be required for tasks such as disconnecting the gas and electricity supplies.
Although gas fireplaces can be considered to be permanent installations, they can still typically be removed if desired.
Many natural vent (b-vent) types of gas fireplace come as insert form for existing open fireplaces and can be added or removed from the masonry fireplace opening by a professional as and when required.
Through renovating our kitchen we’ve removed an old gas fireplace insert from the masonry fireplace.
We had a certified gas engineer take a look at this gas fireplace before we touched it, who confirmed that this fireplace was never connected up to the gas main for the house.
Is It Easy To Remove A Gas Fireplace?
For natural vent gas fireplace inserts located within masonry fireplaces, removal can be relatively straightforward once a professional has disconnected the gas. For bespoke built-in direct vent gas fireplaces, removal can potentially be much more onerous, time consuming and costly.
Who Can Remove A Gas Fireplace & Can I Remove A Gas Fireplace Myself?
Removal of a gas fireplace should always be undertaken by a professional certified in working with gas appliances. It can be a legal requirement in many locations for work on a gas fireplace to be undertaken by a licensed professional.
There can be a serious safety hazard if attempting to remove a gas fireplace while it’s still connected to the gas main while it hasn’t been shut off.
Speak to a local installer or licensed professional for advice on the regulations for removing a gas fireplace in your particular area of residence.
How To Remove A Gas Fireplace
The below provides high level guidance on how a gas fireplace could be removed, to help you understand the work and potential costs involved in doing so.
Always seek help from a professional certified in working with gas apparatus to remove a gas fireplace.
The type of gas fireplace that is being removed can have an influence on the steps and work required.
- Natural vent (B vent) gas fireplaces are typically found as inserts installed in existing masonry fireplaces. These gas fireplaces use the chimney for venting and so may not have any vents that need to be disconnected.
- Direct vent gas fireplaces, which will have a glass front unlike the open front of a natural vent gas fireplace, vent both clean and waste air externally and so you’ll typically have to disconnect these vents in order to remove the fireplace along with all the other main steps. An electricity supply to the fireplace may also need to be disconnected.
- Ventless gas fireplaces vent internally and so can often be easier to remove compared to direct vent models. Ventless gas models can be much less common than direct vent models, however.
1) Isolating The Gas Supply
Before doing any work on a gas fireplace for removal, the gas supply to the fireplace must be isolated.
This can involve undertaking either or both of the following steps:
- Turning off the mains gas supply to the house.
- Turning off the gas supply to the fireplace itself.
Our living room gas fireplace has a dedicated shut-off valve located around the side of the chimney breast.
Turning this valve perpendicular to the pipe shuts of the gas supply to this fireplace, as shown in the picture below.
For the gas fireplace we removed from our kitchen fireplace, a certified gas professional confirmed that there was no gas supply to this gas insert and so there was no gas supply to isolate before the fireplace was taken out.
The shut-off valve may also be located within the fireplace itself. See our article on lighting a gas fireplace for more information on the likely location of a shut-off valve inside the control area of a gas fireplace.
2) Removing The Trim
Many gas fireplaces, especially insert models, can have a trim located around the edge of the frame.
In many cases the trim can hide the gap between the fireplace and the surrounding walls and so any trim should be removed prior to removing a gas fireplace to ensure that the unit comes out cleanly.
For example, our gas fireplace has trim around the top and sides that can be removed.
3) Removing the Surround
A gas fireplace may be held in place inside a masonry fireplace or other bespoke housing by the surround.
Depending on the setup, removing a surround may also provide access to any vents or other apparatus behind that can make removing a gas fireplace an easier job.
The surround to our old gas fireplace was attached to the chimney breast with screws at the locations shown below.
Once the surround was unscrewed and removed, the backing plate could then also be removed.
4) Disconnecting The Fireplace From The Gas Supply Pipe
Gas fireplaces will be hooked up to the gas pipe supplying gas to the fireplace and so the fireplace will need to be disconnected from this pipe before it can be removed.
The location of this connection will be different for each model of gas fireplace and each installation but the connections for our current and old gas fireplaces are shown below for reference.
5) Removing Vent Apparatus
When removing direct vent gas fireplaces in particular (which vent both fresh and waste air externally) you may need to consider how this vent apparatus can be removed or how the fireplace can be disconnected from the vents before removing them separately.
Ventless gas fireplaces typically won’t have any positive venting arrangements to worry about, while for natural b-vent gas fireplaces you may also not have any venting to remove.
For example, there are no ventilation pipes associated with both our old and new natural vent gas fireplace inserts.
There’s simply a vent hood located at the top of the units and the natural movement of air up the chimney removes the waste air from the house.
6) Removing Electrical Connections
Many modern gas fireplaces that use electronic ignition systems now require a connection to the mains electricity for the house in order for the ignition system to work as designed.
If removing a gas fireplace that has an electrical connection then you’ll need to consider how this connection will be disconnected before removing the fireplace.
If you have an older natural vent gas fireplace (like us) then it may not have an electrical connection and you won’t need to look at disconnecting it before removing.
7) Removing Cable Fixings
Certain models of gas insert may have cable fixings on the back of the unit that help keep it attached to the back wall of the masonry fireplace and help prevent it from being moved while still connected to the gas line.
If present, these cable fixings would need to be unattached before being able to remove the gas fireplace.
8) Removing The Gas Fireplace
With all of the connections holding a gas fireplace in place and the gas and/or electrical supplies disconnected, a gas fireplace can be removed.
Gas fireplaces will typically come out as one unit, but for natural vent models that have an open front it may be best to remove any loose objects first.
9) Capping the Gas Line
The professional working on the removal of the gas fireplace will then need to cap off the gas pipe left by the removal of the fireplace, whether the fireplace is being removed all together or awaiting installation of a new gas fireplace.[Video]
How Much Would It Cost To Remove A Gas Fireplace?
A gas fireplace could cost anywhere from $250 for the simplest of removals for direct vent models and capping off the gas and electric up to $1000 or more for the removal of bespoke installations including full height flue systems, removal of surrounding wall and making good the wall.