How to Install a Gas Wall Heater

| Last Updated: August 23, 2021

Tools Required
  • Drill/driver
  • Hole saw
  • Screwdrivers
  • Tape measure
  • Stud finder
  • Pipe wrenches
  • Electrical tools
Materials Required
  • Drywall screws
  • Pipe
  • Pipe fittings
  • Electrical wiring

Before You Begin

Vent-free gas space heaters are available in several cabinet sizes, ranging from compact units sufficient for a small bath to fireplace-like models for large rooms. Most units can be wall-mounted or stand alone on optional bases. Depending on the size you choose, heat output can range from around 3,000 to 30,000 BTUs per hour. Colors are limited to ivory or brown, but some have a faux wood-grain finish. The cost of installing a gas heater varies depending on the size, installation method, and BTUs.

Because of the danger inherent in working with natural or bottled gas, and installing gas appliances, most municipalities require that the work is done by a licensed professional. Can you install a gas wall heater? You can do much of the basic installation yourself – measuring pipe runs, “dry” installing the pipe and fittings, and placing the unit in position – then call in a pro to complete the connections and have it inspected. If you do this, first check with your pro to be sure you use the correct size pipe, and follow the proper installation procedures for your heater.

Read all of the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Gas appliance installations must be done properly to avoid potential explosion and fire hazards. Like gas water heaters, vent-free space heaters are positioned at a minimum height above the floor (typically 3 inches). Some heaters are not convertible for use with gases other than those specified by the manufacturer. Because the units are unvented, sufficient make-up air must be provided in the room in which the heater is installed. If your home is tightly constructed or weather-sealed, it may be necessary to add fresh-air vents through the wall or door to other rooms to ensure adequate air circulation.

Step 1: Assemble the Unit

Assemble the unit and any accessories, such as a thermostat sensor or separate blower attachment. If you are mounting a vent-free heater on a wall, run electrical wiring to the location from a nearby outlet, or from your home’s service panel.

Step 2: Attach the mounting bracket

Attach the unit’s mounting bracket to the wall. Gas space heaters are typically not heavy, but for safety’s sake it is better to mount the bracket directly to one or more wall studs, rather than to drywall only. Use screws long enough to penetrate through the bracket and wall surface and at least half their length into the studs.

Step 3: Lay the Supply Pipe

Lay out your gas supply pipe run, beginning at the gas meter where it enters your house. Different municipalities have different pipe size and material standards. Copper or flexible stainless steel tubing, which is sold in continuous rolls, is easiest to install.

If either one may be used in your locality, try to map a pipe run that can be accomplished without cutting or jointing the tubing between the meter and the appliance.

If jointing is required, the tubing must be flared, and compression fittings should be installed by your professional installer.

If you have to use “black iron” pipe, the job is more difficult because the rigid pipe must be cut to specific lengths and threaded for fittings. This requires special tools and skills, and usually more time on the job.

However, pre-cut, pre-threaded lengths are available, which you can temporarily fit and mount in preparation for your pro’s visit. You can also bore holes through walls and framing to run the pipe, which will speed the final installation.

Step 4: Make the Wiring Connections

Mount the heater to the wall bracket and make any wiring connections according to National Electrical Code regulations.

Heaters with metal cabinets usually have a built-in panel for these connections, and do not require a separate junction box or switch.

Welcome! We hope you’ll find the job costs of home improvement projects useful when you’re deciding whether to do a job yourself vs. hire a contractor. We’re the authors of 20 home improvement books, most notably Home Improvement for Dummies©, Bathroom Remodeling for Dummies©, Carpentry for Dummies©, Plumbing for Dummies©, and Painting and Wallpapering for Dummies©. Our most recent book Fix It and Flip It is in its second edition. We’ve appeared as home improvement experts on television programs such as CNN, Dateline, the Today Show, HGTV and many others.