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Cost to replace gas fireplace

Gas central heating has long been one of the most convenient and efficient forms of heating and also one of the most economic. Now, however, different types of heating have come on stream which is making householders review their heating arrangements both environmentally, financially and based on appearance. There are now other forms of heating available which can be as economic if not more so or are less intrusive within the home.

The cost to remove a gas fireplace is from £150 plus VAT. This figure just covers the cost of disconnecting the appliance and capping off the service, it doesn’t include removing the hearth or the chimney breast or any making good of the space.

If the gas fire has a flue then the exhaust pipe will also need to be removed. The pipe can be capped or the opening replaced with new brickwork which will be an additional cost. If you have a flueless pipe then this step is not necessary.

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What is a call out fee?

The cost to remove the surround and hearth will be additional and depends on what they are made of. If you are having renovation works done then your builder can do this once the gas appliance has been safely taken out. A wooden surround can usually just be unscrewed from the wall – tiled surrounds take a bit more work to detach from the wall. Removing brick surrounds is messy as they have to be removed brick by brick with a hammer and chisel. It will cost around £300-£500 to remove the surround and heath with making good costs such as plastering and re-decoration additional to this.

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Chimney removal costs

Some people also want to remove the chimney if they are no longer going to use the fireplace at all. Chimney breast removal can present a flat wall which makes it easier to incorporate into a new design interior or refurbishment project.

It is recommended that you have the chimney closed off to stop any water collecting in there at the very minimum and this can be done with a cowl which is used to cap the chimney off. This still allows airflow and prevents moisture from accumulating. To fit a cowl will cost in the region of £150.

Removing the actual chimney breast to present a totally flat wall is much more expensive and will cost between £1,800 and £3,250. You can also remove the stack from the roof which, depending on access, will cost between £500 and £1,000. This can be left or done at a time when other roof works are taking place to save the cost of hiring scaffolding.
If you want to remove the chimney then you will need to notify the local authority building control department as this is notifiable under Building Regulations. It will cost around £200 to do this.

If the chimney is situated close to the boundary of an adjacent property then you are legally obliged to notify your neighbour under the provisions of the Party Wall Act 1996. You may need to involve a surveyor if you are not already using one.

What is the cost to make good a room after the removal of a gas fireplace?

The costs to make good after removing a gas fireplace and chimney can be high. The work involved will include:

  • Boarding up the opening with plasterboard or bricking it in which is more expensive
  • Skimming with plaster
  • Painting
  • Adding skirting board
  • Decorating
  • Finishing the floor where the hearth previously abutted into the room

Some people leave the space and redecorate and keep it as a feature in the room just without any heating source. There are lots of ideas to either disguise or feature a redundant fireplace and they can provide useful extra storage space.

Using the right people

A gas appliance can only be disconnected and removed by a registered Gas Safe Engineer. You can check the registration of a heating engineer or contractor online or over the phone. You might consider splitting the work so once this is done and the gas connection has been capped off, any remedial or alteration works are tackled by a builder. You might even be planning extensive restoration or refurbishment of which this forms part.

Why remove a gas fireplace?

There are lots of reasons why removing a gas fireplace may be desirable and these include:-

  • A refurbishment or decoration project which means a fireplace is no longer needed or does not form part of the new interior design
  • A change of heating from gas to electric or another type of heating such as underfloor heating
  • A move back to the original fireplace with an open fire or wood burner
  • Sometimes a fireplace is a divider between two rooms and by removing it, the homeowner can open the space and create a more open-plan environment

What needs to be removed?

There are five main parts to removing a fireplace and these are:-

  • The fire itself which is used to heat the room
  • The hearth which is the base of the fireplace which protects the floor from the heat. If the gas fire has been fitted into an original fireplace then this may be made of stone or brick and extend into the room some distance
  • The mantelpiece and the surround for the fire so anything that sits above it and to the left and right-hand side, these can be made of wood, marble, stone, cast iron or brick
  • Framing and flashing – the framing holds the insert in place and the flashing is the pieces of metal that attach the insert to the frame
  • The chimney, flue or vent

How to find a reputable tradesman

  • Ask friends, neighbours or family for a recommendation
  • Another source is community groups on social media
  • Use online platforms which just involve a few simple details
  • Be clear about the work you want to be done
  • Try and find someone local
  • Check any heating contractor’s registration with the Gas Safe Council
  • Ask for three quotes for a builder to undertake remedial works depending on your plan
  • Check out traders in Google or on review sites if they are not personally recommended to you

Retaining a chimney breast and heath

Just because you have got rid of the gas fire, you don’t necessarily have to remove the hearth and chimney as well. A good compromise is to seal off the chimney and board up the fireplace which means it can be uncovered at a later date. If you have an old house then fireplaces are considered a really interesting and desirable feature and many people retain them just for appearance even if they don’t use them. A chimney breast can add interest and character to a room.

Some people use fireplaces as a statement feature and display flowers in them, use them for wine storage or as a bookshelf or cover them with a decorative statement screen. Removing an old hearth and chimney breast is messy and expensive plus it is irreversible.
If the gas fireplace was a new installation, i.e. there is no chimney breast, it was just fitted onto a flat wall with a small hearth then these are quick and simple to remove and because they are not an original feature, won’t affect the value of the property.

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Are gas fires decreasing in popularity?

About twenty to thirty years ago, there was a real demand for flame effect gas fires, a fire but without all the dirt, hassle and cost.  Many homes upgraded a traditional rather crude effect log fire for something more state of the art.  They offered the charm of a real fire at the flick of a switch and with the usual low costs associated with mains gas appliances.

Tastes are changing now and people are looking at different ways to heat their home.  Interior design is favouring open plan living and moving away from the concept of lots of smaller rooms with a central focus like a fireplace.  However, removing a gas fire doesn’t necessarily mean removing the fireplace as well.  You can save costs and keep your options open by just covering the fireplace up or making it into a real feature.

What are the options for re-fitting a new gas fire?

Inset or recessed gas fires are still popular with lots of contemporary designs based on the original concept and brought right up to date.  Assuming the new appliance is a straight swap then it won’t increase the labour costs too much but you will have to factor in the cost of the new fire.

If you are replacing an old gas fire then the gas engineer may need to undertake further checks and remedial work to ensure the fittings are up to modern standards before the new fire is installed.

Are there advantages to fitting a new gas fire?

Apart from updating design, new gas fires often have a higher energy efficiency rating compared to older models.  There are recessed wall-mounted options which don’t have to include a traditional hearth and chimney breast and look stunning in a contemporary interior.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I remove a gas fireplace in a listed property?

You should be able to remove the gas fire and change it for another design or form of heating but you will probably not be allowed to remove the fireplace itself if it is original and dates to the property.

What is Corgi?

Corgi stands for the Council for Registered Gas Installers. Corgi registration was a legal requirement for all gas installers and fitters but was replaced by the Gas Safe Register in 2009. People still refer to gas engineers as Corgi registered but it means the same thing. You can check the registration of your gas engineer quite easily online or over the phone. Gas is a dangerous substance and it is really important that you use a qualified professional to do the work and never attempt it yourself.

What is the 1996 Party Wall Act?

The Party Wall Act covers any work on your house or a building which is near the shared boundary of your property. This can include both within and outside the house. If you are working on a chimney within your home and it is a terraced house then you may share the flue at the top with your neighbour. Equally, if you want to remove the chimney stack then you may need to notify that neighbour due to the proximity of the work to their property. The Act is designed to protect people from noise, nuisance and damage when a neighbour is working on their home and garden. It regulates how an agreement should be reached and is designed to smooth the path and avoid disputes.

What type of tradesperson do I need to remove my gas fireplace?

Safe removal can only be undertaken by a Gas Safe registered engineer or contractor; it is actually illegal for anyone who is not suitably qualified to try and remove or interfere with a gas appliance. You will need a builder or plasterer to make good the area and remove the mantel, surround and hearth and then fill in the hole or plaster over it.
Some gas fitters work with multi-trades so you may find that they can offer the whole package and organise the different tradespeople for you. This can be cheaper but not always so do obtain individual quotes for different elements of the work to make sure you are not being overcharged.

How do you dispose of an old gas fire?

If the gas engineer doesn’t take it within him as part of the service – do check this out when receiving your quote – then you can take it to the local tip yourself. It is completely safe as it has been disconnected and your tip will accept it.

See guidance from the government on smoke control area rules along with information from the Health and Safety Executive on domestic gas safety.