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Ventless Fireplace

Updated on November 23, 2009

If you want to experience the serenity of a fireplace inside instead of an outdoor gas fireplace, but your home does not have a chimney, then you might want to consider a ventless fireplace. There are two basic types of ventless fireplaces to choose from but no fireplace in truly ventless unless it is electric. However, there are some electric fireplace inserts with blower mechanisms to push heat out into a room or filter the air in the room. If there was no place for the air in the fireplace to vent to then there would be no way to replenish the oxygen in the air and the fire would put itself out. Even though the fireplace has no chimney, you can give the illusion of one with fireplace mantels and hearths or a stone fireplace surround. In a way, ventless fireplaces are better for more elaborate fireplace surrounds diy projects that include book shelves or electronics storage because the heat does not travel up through the wall like it would if there were a chimney. In addition to deciding on the type of ventless fireplace you want, there are some ventless fireplace problems to consider. Ventless fireplace safety is extremely important because you want to make sure that it is safe to run the fireplace in your home. Because of the safety concerns, you probably want to consult a professional when installing a ventless fireplace insert.  Remember that no one else has to know you have a ventless fireplace if it is designed properly, perhaps with beautiful brick fireplace designs.

How a Ventless Fireplace Works

The first type of ventless fireplace we will discuss is the closest to actually being ventless. Oxygen is the fuel for any fire. In other words, a fire needs a constant supply of air in order to stay alive. As a result, no fireplace can be completely ventless. If a fireplace pulls air into it from the room it is located and then returns the oxygen depleted air to the room when it is done then it is a ventless fireplace using inside air. When you burn a fire in this way, you run the risk of depleting the oxygen supply in the room to levels that are unsafe. Alternatively, you can create too much carbon monoxide, which is also unsafe. That it is why it is important to maintain stringent safety standards when using this type of fireplace. There is more on this below. Ventless gas fireplaces are the most popular choice, but they still require safeguards. The ventless gas fireplace is common because people often buy a gas fireplace after a home is already built and it is hard to install a chimney or outside ventilation. Owners often buy ventless fireplace logs to make the fireplace look more realistic. These logs are appropriate for use in indoor ventless fireplaces as well as gas outdoor fireplaces.

Ventless Fireplaces with Outside Access

There are also fireplaces considered to be ventless that are actually a combination of a ventless fireplace and a direct vent fireplace. The direct vent fireplace is also sometimes called a pipe in pipe design. In this fireplace design, there is a pipe with a smaller pipe inside it. The smaller pipe is where air comes in from the outside and then the air is vented to the outside through the space in between the two pipes. In the combination ventless fireplace design, air is pulled from the room for fuel and then the bad air is vented to the outside. This ventless fireplace design is slightly safer than the other variety because the carbon monoxide does not vent into the room. Nevertheless, oxygen depletion is still a concern.

Ventless Fireplace Safety Concerns

The two most common safety problems with ventless fireplaces are oxygen depletion and carbon monoxide contamination.  There are devices to help monitor both of these potential problems.  A carbon monoxide detector will let you know if there is an unsafe amount of carbon monoxide is in the air and you can then turn off the fire so that carbon monoxide levels can return to normal.  Monitors like these are extremely important because there is no way for your senses to detect carbon monoxide until it is too late.  Carbon monoxide has no smell or taste so there is no ventless fireplace smell to warn you.  Many ventless fireplaces have an oxygen monitor hooked into them so that they can automatically turn off if there is a two percent drop in the oxygen level in the room.  These kinds of safety guards make it possible to enjoy your ventless fireplace without worrying about harm coming to you or your family.

Things to Remember About Installing a Ventless Fireplace

There are some things to remember when you are thinking about installing a ventless fireplace.  For example, some states do not even allow the installations of these kinds, while other states require that you have a permit, and still others have no restrictions at all.  No matter what your state’s requirements, you need to make sure that the ventless fireplace is installed in compliance with all local codes and the National Fuel Gas Code.  It is a good idea to check ventless fireplace reviews to make sure that the fireplace you are considering will meet all the necessary requirements.  You also need to make sure that you get the ventless fireplace and any safety monitors inspected regularly.  If you think about safety first, then you will be able to enjoy your fireplace for a long time.  In addition, you need to have all the normal fireplace tools and accessories handy.  Things like small fireplace screens, fireplace glass doors, and modern fireplace tools are still necessary.


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      Helle 4 years ago

      Inserts are extremely eiifcfent, and pellet stoves that have a set of blowers that push heated air into the room can heat an entire home. There are all sorts of pellet stove inserts that can go into a fireplace, but cost much money. many pellet stove with burn wood pellets but also corn that can be plentiful and cheaper in many areas. In an emergency an electric driven pellet stove will need some source of power, but the amount of electricity that is require to operate the auger (the mechanism that drops the pellets into the fire grate), the fans, and the mother board are quite minimum. A 1000 watt generator would power a pellet stove just fine. Those that want something that doesn't require electricity in case of emergency, can get simply wood burning stoves, or even coal burning stoves. I have seen coal burning stoves that can be inserted into a fireplace that can produce over 100,000 BTU's which is enough to heat just about any size house down to 40 or 50 below zero. As long as someone has a good air outlet that is kept clean, and it is legal to burn coal where you are, and a reliable carbon monoxide detector, coal still can provide a lot of heat. It is not as dirty as people think it is, IF you take the necessary precautions. One addition to those that burn wood, many places give away free scrap wood that will burn just fine in a fireplace or stove. Many neighbors have buzzed down their trees or cut branches and just thrown them away in the trash. Properly dried, most wood will burn and give heat. There are plenty of opportunities to take wood destined for the landfill around your community and can save money. Many lumberyards have funky pieces of scrap wood that they just dump or sell for pennies to be used for sawdust. There are many trees that won't let off any toxic fumes or bad smells, that have very high heat content, such as apple trees. Dried wood = heat, look around and you will be surprised how much free or very cheap wood there is.