Ventless Fireplaces - Features and Manufacturers Recommendations
Features of ventless gas fireplaces
Ventless fireplaces are gas burning appliances that do not require a chimney or a flue. This is because these units are designed for complete fuel consumption meaning very little combustion by-products and carbon monoxide is produced. The few emissions that do result are simply released into the room. It is for this reason that important manufacturer regulations should always be followed when using a ventless fireplace.
Choosing between a vent free and vented gas fireplaces usually boils down to effects, efficiency, location and building codes. The advantages of a ventless fireplace are that they are easy to install and 99.9 percent fuel efficient. Because there is no flue or chimney, one hundred percent of the heat produced is vented into the room making the vent free fireplace a comparatively low cost heating option.
These units usually come with thermostatic control to help maintain a constant room temperature. The fact that no ventilation pipes are required provides greater flexibility with regards to where they can be installed and the high efficiency means that they can easily warm up a room within a few hours. Ventless fireplaces should, however, be used as supplemental heat only. The downside is that vent free gas logs and flames will not be as realistic as in the vented variety.
Manufacturers recommend using a ventless fireplace for no more than a few hours at a time and the fireplace doors should never be kept shut during use. At least one window should be kept open to allow fresh air into the room. Ventless units do tend to produce a lot of heat and so clearance rules should be strictly adhered to keeping all combustible materials, such as curtains and furniture, at a distance of at least thirty six inches away from the fireplace. All vent free units should come with an oxygen depletion sensor installed. This device detects the quantity of carbon monoxide in the air and shuts off the burner if these reach dangerous levels. These types of fireplaces are not legal in all regions so always check the local building codes before buying a ventless fireplace. They are not permitted for use in bedrooms, bathrooms, RV's or confined spaces and they are also not recommended for use in drafty areas.
Moisture is a product of combustion and with a ventless fireplace this moisture will naturally accumulate inside the room. This may be beneficial for those who suffer dry winters but too much moisture build-up can become a problem. In the worst case it could cause the growth of mildew but if the room is properly ventilated the moisture will simply condense on the windows.
Although ventless fireplaces are designed to burn cleanly and produce less carbon monoxide than vented fireplaces it is highly advisable to install at least one carbon monoxide detector. These are fairly inexpensive and are a worth while investment as carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and dangerous.