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Are Ventless Fireplaces Safe?

By Lawrence Macmillan October 25, 2021

If you have been thinking about getting a new fireplace, then you might be considering the ventless fireplace.

One of your main concerns about ventless fireplaces probably has to do with how safe they are, which is something that we are going to explore in this article.

Safety is one of the most important things to think about when you are getting a new fireplace, and it is understandable why you would want to ensure that a ventless fireplace is safe before you purchase one.

There are varying options when it comes to the safety of these fireplaces, but we are here to help clear up any confusion and explain everything you need to know in this article.

This will help you to decide if a ventless fireplace is right for you.

What Are Ventless Fireplaces?

A ventless fireplace is often also known as an unvented or vent-free fireplace, and they are a type of fireplace that pipes natural gas or propane into a gas burning unit. The flames will make their way through the planned gaps in the artificial logs.

They are actually designed to burn gas more efficiently than vented versions. This means that they produce less fumes, and they do not require the use of a flue or chimney.

Ventless fireplaces are great for these reasons, but they do come with some issues too. They are even banned in some states, so you will need to double check that they are allowed where you live.

How Does A Ventless Fireplace Work?

Ventless fireplaces will typically be connected to either a gas or propane line, which will need to be installed by a professional.

They will include specially designed burners that work to burn the gas more cleanly, which leaves behind almost no exhaust. It is actually quite similar to how a gas stove would work in your kitchen.

There will also usually be a gas unit that features a control panel, and this will allow you to control the pilot light and the flames.

The unit will use non combustible artificial logs that have holes in them, and they fit together in a way that allows the flames to pass through them.

The ventless fireplace will work in a U-shape, and oxygen will be taken in from the room, typically entering through the bottom of the fireplace.

A regulator will then work to mix the air with gas in order to produce the fire. There will usually be a vent at the top of the fireplace that will then release the air back into the room.

The Main Issue With Ventless Fireplaces

One of the main issues that people have with these fireplaces is that they release the emission of their burn inside of the home, instead of outside. These fumes can include noxious gases like nitrous dioxide and carbon monoxide.

Ventless fireplaces use interior air for combustion, and this also includes anything that may be present in the air. It is then released into the room, therefore decreasing the quality of the air that you are breathing.

Are Ventless Fireplaces Safe?

Ventless fireplaces can emit dangerous and noxious hasses into the room that they are placed in.

They eliminate the use of proper ventilation that a vented fireplace would have, and they can even produce small amounts of nitrous oxide and carbon monoxide, which are both things that can be deadly in larger doses.

If you want to use your ventless fireplace safely, you will need to have carbon monoxide detectors within your home, especially near the fireplace.

You will also need an automatic shutoff valve that will measure the oxygen levels in the room.

The fireplace will automatically shut off if the air is compromised. Some fireplaces will come with these things, but others will not, which is something to be mindful of.

As well as all of this, you should know that ventless fireplaces will also produce high levels of water vapor.

Unfortunately, this will lead to an increased level of humidity within your home, leading to an increased risk of mold growth.

It is often recommended to keep a window open because of this, which can defeat the purpose of trying to heat up a room.

The Downside Of Ventless Fireplaces

Even though ventless fireplaces provide an excellent source of heat, and they are relatively inexpensive to purchase, they do also have their downsides.

As well as their ability to produce harmful fumes into the air that you are breathing, they can easily become dangerous if they are not managed correctly, which can lead to negative long term effects.

In addition to this, they can leave a layer of soot on your walls, ceilings, and furniture, and they produce high levels of greenhouse gases.

They could potentially cause darkening and damage to your furniture, and they create a higher risk of mold growth and other issues that are related to excess moisture within your home.

Are Ventless Fireplaces Legal?

Ventless fireplaces may or may not be legal, depending on where you live. This will determine whether or not you will be able to install a ventless fireplace within your home.

As well as this, even in places that do allow you to install ventless fireplaces, there may still be restrictions in place when it comes to the size of the room and the type of the room. You may also have to meet specific airflow requirements.

The majority of states within the US will allow for the installation of ventless fireplaces. However, there are several states and local counties and cities that have banned the sale and installation of indoor ventless fireplaces.

Some of these places include California and Massachusetts. For more information, you should consult your local government or authorized fireplace dealer.

The National Building Code also requires a ventless fireplace to be placed in rooms that have a certain square footage.

They also cannot be placed in bathrooms and bedrooms. They also require a fresh air source to be within a certain distance of the fireplace.


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