A vent free gas fireplace is only one of the many types of fireplaces
Traditional fireplaces require an exhaust for safety because when gas burns, carbon monoxide, an odorless and colorless gas, is produced. This gas is dangerous, even lethal, and must be evacuated. Then there are vent free gas fireplaces. Some are equipped with a catalytic converter that works like the one on your car to remove the carbon monoxide before it leaves the combustion chamber.
What are the advantages of using a vent free gas fireplace?
If you already have a wood burning fireplace you could use a vented gas fireplace since the flue is already installed and that represents a major expense in the installation of a new fireplace in an existing home. You might also consider a ventless gas fireplace because less heat is being lost through the chimney. If, however, you don’t have any fireplaces in the house then there should be no hesitation and you should select a ventless fireplace because not only will installation be less costly, you will have the freedom to put your new fireplace anywhere you want. The technology has improved so much that you can now find vent-free fireplaces as slim as 8 inches, making them suitable for rooms that have very little space available for a regular fireplace.
Ease of use has to be the most important advantage. You can have a fire with the flick of button, perfect for warming up a room when returning from work, or getting the chill out early in the morning. Of course with that you have to think that you will never have to clean ashes or soot again, nor will you have to carry wood on a cold winter morning. Ventless fireplaces are very efficient as heaters as they do not lose heat through the chimney. Some tests have shown that a vented fireplace loses between 70 and 90% of the heat produced through the chimney. Furthermore, you can adjust the level of the flame you want much more easily than you would with wood.
What are the disadvantages of using a vent free gas fireplace?
Some people have reported an odor when using a ventless fireplace. While I am including this in the disadvantages it must be recognized that if you are very sensitive to odors even the slightest odor is a drawback. However, it is not uncommon for ventless gas fireplaces to give off a slight odor the first few times you use it, as many furnaces do when you first turn them on. The odor is due to paint curing and manufacturing oils burning. After a few uses this odor goes away. If your fireplace was installed properly and all is in working order you should not have to suffer any odors.
For the environment it is cleaner to burn gas and to have CO2 cleaned by a catalytic converter than it is to burn wood. Unfortunately it is not as eco-friendly as a bio-ethanol fireplace.
It’s important to remember to check your local codes before ordering a vent free gas fireplace, as some communities do not allow them. If that is the case in your community you can still enjoy a ventless fireplace by going to an ethanol fireplace.
For many years now all vent free gas fireplaces sold must be fitted with oxygen depletion sensors (ODS). When the oxygen level in the room drops, the sensor will trigger a gas flow shut off, ensuring an additional layer of safety. Some models have a carbon monoxide detector.
Most places where vent free fireplaces are legal will have some distributors, but because they sell on a small scale their offerings are limited. There is a wide choice of designs, some modern, some classic and the best place to ferret out what you really like is to search the internet for inspiration. Most dealers online or in your town will happily answer any questions you have. After you find the model you want you can contact your local dealer and ask if they can get it for you.
Lenox, for example, makes some very sleek looking fireplaces, and while they do not sell to individuals they have dealers everywhere. Whether you opt for a contemporary vent free gas fireplace or you choose one with a traditional mantle you will find what you need online.
Call us today at (518) 348-3900 to learn more about your options for a vent free fireplace in your home. Or, connect with our team via e-mail.