From cold caves to cozy cottages, humankind has come a long way. Over the course of thousands of years, humans have optimized fire technology from campfires to stovetops, chimneys to the truly modern ventless gas fireplace! This ventless fireplace doesn’t come without its inherent pros and cons, however. In fact, there are quite a few to consider before committing to a whole purchase.
About The Ventless Fireplace
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Ventless gas fireplaces are freestanding units with no flue, chimney or vent that carries the exhaust outside. They are designed to burn very efficiently, resulting in complete combustion and maximum heat. Using indoor air for combustion, the byproducts are primarily small traces of carbon dioxide and water vapor.
In all actuality, however, impurities such as odorant, dust, paint, oil and carbon monoxide may be present. As part of health and safety regulation, all ventless gas logs must come equipped with carbon monoxide detectors and oxygen detection safety devises. Many people find the act of burning gas indoors an unsafe practice.
No doubt, there are certainly precautions to take when using a ventless gas fireplace. Good ventilation, for example, is necessary when burning gas indoors. Many people also purchase a secondary carbon monoxide detector as back up.
- The unvented gas fireplace provides much more heat than a traditional fireplace. Without a vent, the heat has nowhere to go except for into the house. Traditional fireplaces lose up to 85 percent of their heat up the chimney.
- It is much more affordable than a traditional fireplace. An unvented fireplace provides supplemental heating for a low cost.
- It is easy to install and can be hooked up to any propane cylinder or natural gas line. They are usually set up against a wall or in front of an old masonry fireplace.
- It is a potential health risk. Many people have reported ill-effects from using unvented fireplaces in their homes, such as headaches, eye irritation, chest congestion and coughing spells. It could potentially aggravate symptoms of already existing asthma, bronchitis or allergies. Also, those with heart or lung problems, anemia and pregnant women might be more affected by the presence of carbon monoxide.
- A perfectly functioning unit still emits water vapors from the gas logs. This excess vapor can potentially ruin walls and encourage mold or mildew to grow in the home.
- It is not meant to be the primary source of heat. Therefore, it shouldn’t be left on for longer than an hour. This can potentially deplete the oxygen levels in a room.
- If it is left on for more than an hour at a time, fresh air will need to be let in. This could mean opening a window for a short time to replenish the oxygen.
- Drafts and tight houses alike can interfere with the combustion process.
- The gas produces an odor that smells like burning kerosene. There is no way to prevent the odor without ventilation.
- The fire provided is not realistic. Because the logs burn so efficiently, there is a taller blue flame that doesn’t quite touch the logs. When the fire absorbs the logs in a vented fireplace, it burns unevenly causing it to create more smoke and soot.
A great way to avoid all of this is to consider a gas fireplace with a vent. This would give you the choice whether you needed the vent open or closed. Accordingly, you would also need to purchase the correct logs, such as vented or unvented gas logs – there is a difference.
All in all, a ventless gas fireplace offers a great deal of convenience, warmth and entertainment. It has its place when maximum heat output is needed, especially in case of an emergency. It is ultimately up to the consumer to decide whether they truly need unvented combustion in their home.