There’s nothing better than the warmth and the glow of cozying up next to the fire in the cold winter months, even so much so that it’s tempting to keep your fireplace running all day so you can stay as cozy as possible.
However, safety must come before comfort sometimes and there is a recommended time limit for how long you should keep the gas fireplace running - So, what is it?
The answer will depend on what type of gas fireplace you have - a fully vented gas fireplace can run all day if you want it to, whereas a vent-free gas fireplace should only have it on for 2 or 3 hours a day.
Keep on reading as to why there is a time limit on these gas fireplaces and the best way to use them during your day.
What are the risks of running your gas fireplace all the time?
One of the major risks of running a gas fireplace for too long is because it is a serious fire hazard. The longer you keep the fire running, the hotter it will get and it increases the chances of the heat igniting nearby objects and causing an accidental fire.
This is why you should keep any furniture or objects as far away as possible from your fireplace as you never know what could happen when you leave the room.
If you have a vent-free fireplace, then you’ll need to be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning. However, this could still be a problem for vented gas fireplaces that are improperly ventilated or damaged.
Improperly ventilated gas fireplaces can create incomplete combustion which creates carbon monoxide that could leak out from the fireplace.
Regardless of if you’re got a fully vented fireplace or a vent-free fireplace, you should have a carbon monoxide detector installed to alert you if any toxic gases are being emitted into your home.
Side effects of carbon monoxide poisoning are nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath with prolonged exposure leading to vomiting, mental confusion, and even death.
The Types of Gas Fireplaces
Vented Gas Fireplace
A vented gas fireplace will have a vent that is placed in the exterior wall of your home and you won’t need an existing chimney or fireplace to install it. They are often sealed at the front which is why they can be left running for a long time during the day.
Vent-free Gas Fireplace
These vent-free gas fireplaces work very much like ovens in your kitchen do - they do not have a vent, they emit the fumes to the outside.
You should not leave these gas fireplaces running for more than a couple of hours at a time to reduce the exposure to possible toxic fumes that could be emitted into your home. It's also best to place one of these fireplaces into a well-ventilated room with lots of windows.
They can also produce vapor as a byproduct of combustion which could increase the humidity levels in your home and encourage the growth of mold, so you may need to consider buying a dehumidifier.
Gas fireplace insert models can be placed into an existing traditional fireplace space and they have vent pipes that are installed into the chimney to ventilate any toxic gas.
How Long Can I Run A Vented Gas Fireplace For?
You can keep your gas fireplace running as long as you need to (within reason) as long as it is properly ventilated to the outside of your home.
You should always have the flue open on the vent with your gas fireplace to ensure that excess carbon monoxide is vented outside the house and won’t cause you any harm. Do not close the flue even when the fire has been stopped as you’ll want to try and drain out the soot and any possible carbon monoxide out of your house.
However, try to go by the instructions the manufacturer has given for the type or brand of vented gas fireplace you have because it may differ between brands.
Can I Leave A Vented Gas Fireplace Overnight?
No, you should never leave your vented gas fireplace overnight or leave the house whilst the fireplace will be unattended. Whilst vented gas fireplaces are safe when it comes to carbon monoxide emissions, you should never leave them running overnight as it is a fire hazard.
Leaving the gas fireplace on all night will significantly increase the heat of the fire which could ignite nearby objects, even ones that you think are a safe distance away.
One of the main lessons of fire safety is that you should never leave a fire or a flame burning unattended and the same goes for vented fireplaces. Unless someone is up by the fire all night, then you should turn it off before bed and then resume running the fire when you wake up again in the morning.
How Long Can I Run A Vent-free Gas Fireplace For?
A vent-free gas fireplace means that any carbon monoxide created from the burning will have nowhere to go, so it could escape into your home. For this reason, it’s best to limit the burning of your vent-free gas fireplace to 2-3 hours a day.
Even if it’s cold outside, try to keep at least one window open in the room the fire is burning in to ventilate the fumes as much as possible. Burning your vent-free gas fireplace longer than the recommended times could result in serious health complications and even death.
How Long Can I Run A Gas Fireplace Insert For?
As fireplace inserts have vents that are built into the existing chimney they can also be burned continuously throughout the day like vented gas fireplaces. However, you’ll need to ensure that the frontal glass is properly sealed so no carbon monoxide can escape into your home.
Regularly checking up on the condition of your gas fireplace is essential to make sure no carbon monoxide could leak out from cracks or chips in the structure. If you have a gas fireplace then you should also ensure that there is a working carbon monoxide detector in your home.