Top 5 Fireplace FAQs | Buying a Home in the Adirondacks with a Fireplace


When the temperature drops and the snow starts to fall here in Upstate New York, there’s nothing better than cozying up to your very own fireplace, but if you’re a first-time homeowner or you have never owned a home with a fireplace, you may be wondering if it’s worth all the hype.

As real estate agents for Amsterdam, Johnstown, NY and the surrounding region, our clients often have questions about owning a home with a fireplace, and here’s what we’ve shared with them over the years.

Gas, Electric or Wood Burning Fireplace?

Wood burning fireplaces are better for ambiance than they are for supplying actual heat, since much of their warmth escapes out the chimney and they can be drafty when not in use. They look great, smell even better and work whether you have power or not, but you’ll need a supply of dry wood and a place to store it. Gas and electric fireplaces are safer and more convenient than wood burning fireplaces, and they also produce more heat – gas more so than electric. Of course, they won’t work during a power outage and there’s no scent of burning wood or the crackle of a fire.

Can a Fireplace Heat My Home?

Fireplaces are not designed to heat an entire home evenly, but both gas and electric fireplaces can do a pretty good job of heating a large room. And you can still save money on heating costs with a fireplace because you can choose to heat only the room you are in, instead of cranking up the heat for the entire house. For example, if your fireplace is in the living room, you can set the thermostat to 50 degrees in the evenings and use the fireplace to keep you warm. Just remember to set the heat to kick back on in the bedrooms 30 minutes before you head to bed.

Does a Home with a Fireplace Cost More?

Although fireplaces are not specifically considered in a home appraisal, they do add value to a home, and, therefore, a home with a fireplace can command a higher price than a similar home without one. According to research by both and the National Home Builders Association, fireplaces are among the top 5 “must-haves” for homebuyers. In fact, a fireplace can add as much as 12% to the home’s value, with homebuyers paying anywhere from $1200 to several thousand dollars more for a home with a fireplace in Amsterdam or Johnstown NY.

Will a Fireplace Increase my Homeowner’s Insurance?

A standard homeowner’s insurance policy does not typically cover fireplace damage, so you will likely need to add a fireplace endorsement to your existing policy or purchase a different policy that includes coverage for fireplace damage. Because insurance companies often see fireplaces as an added risk, your insurance premiums may increase when you add fireplace coverage. Of course, rates vary between companies, so it never hurts to shop around. Maintaining your fireplace may also be a contingency of your coverage. Failure to maintain your fireplace and chimney may result in a denial of your claim and cancellation of your policy, so fireplace owners should also expect to pay $100-$200 per year for chimney cleaning or other maintenance.

How Expensive is it to Add a Fireplace to a House?

The cost depends largely on the type of fireplace, as well as several installation considerations. For example, gas fireplace installations cost an average of $2000, while wood burning fireplaces can run anywhere from $1000 to $3500. The amount of masonry work and the necessity for ventilation and gas line installation all factor into the cost. Electric fireplaces, on the other hand, are a cost-effective alternative. Similar to a space heater, they do not have to be installed. They can be moved from room to room and plugged in wherever heat is needed. Many models are available with beautiful furniture quality casings, and wheels for easy moving, for less than $500.

How Difficult is it to Remove a Fireplace?

If your home has a wood burning fireplace, it might make more sense to simply replace it with gas or an electric insert. This will save you the hassle and cost of a complete demolition, which can run $4-10k. Other options include partial removal of the fireplace. For instance, if the chimney has structural damage on the outside, you may be able to remove only the section that extends above the roof. Alternatively, if the outside is fine, but you want to remove the part of the fireplace that juts into your room, you may be able to remove just the interior fireplace and leave the chimney stack in tact. Regardless, you will likely need to hire a structural engineer to analyze the situation and a professional to perform the demolition. Homeadvisor is a great resource for options and costs.

Looking for a Home with a Fireplace in Amsterdam, Johnstown or Upstate NY?

You’ve come to the right place! Coldwell Banker Arlene M. Sitterly, Inc. has been serving the Fulton County, Montgomery County, the Adirondack Region, and Upstate New York communities since 1956, and we have plenty of homes for sale with gas, electric and wood burning fireplaces. Contact us or call 518.762.9885 to speak directly with one of our real estate agents in Amsterdam and Johnstown NY.

Arlene M. Sitterly, Inc.