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The Pros and Cons of Your Ventless Fireplace

A ventless fireplace adds the warmth and ambience of an indoor fire to your home — even if your home lacks a fireplace. Installing a conventional wood-burning fireplace to a house that lacks one requires alterations and considerable expense to add a chimney and other requirements that safely vent smoke and combustion fumes.

As the name implies, a ventless fireplace operates without a chimney or vent. Instead of firewood, these units are typically fueled by natural gas. The process draws air for combustion from within the house. Utilizing a special regulator and burner to create a precision mixture of gas and air, the unit burns very cleanly and emits extremely low levels of combustion-related fumes.

Certain pros and cons should be considered when making a decision about installing a ventless unit:

Pros

  • The fireplaces can be installed in any room in the house because there’s no need for a chimney or dedicated vent.
  • Gas burners in ventless fireplaces are designed to produce flames that duplicate the appeal of wood-burning fireplaces.
  • Because no heat is lost up a vent or chimney, the ventless process is also very energy-efficient and heats rooms effectively.
  • Ventless models are tested and certified for safety in compliance with federal regulations. The units incorporate carbon monoxide detectors and oxygen-detection devices that automatically shut down the fireplace if toxic emissions exceed safe levels.

Cons

  • Though toxic fumes produced by ventless combustion — including carbon monoxide — are reduced to safe levels, these emissions are not totally eliminated. Safety experts recommend also installing an additional hardwired carbon monoxide detector in the room for added protection.
  • Water vapor is produced by combustion of natural gas. Because it’s not exhausted up a vent or chimney, the increased indoor humidity may make rooms less comfortable. Humidity also creates condensation that may trigger mold growth.
  • Ventless fireplaces are banned in two states. Individual municipalities in other states may also impose restrictions. Check your local building code to ensure that installing a ventless unit is permitted.

For more information so you can make an informed decision about adding a ventless fireplace, contact the professionals at Beyer Boys.