It’s winter and it’s cold outside – depending on where you live, naturally. There is much that is more comforting than snuggling up by a crackling fireplace with a blanket, a good book and a cup of tea. The problem is that lots of people don’t have that sexy fireplace to snuggle by. So is the ventless gas fireplace a good idea?
How Does a Ventless Gas Fireplace Work?
A ventless gas fireplace is powered by earth gas or propane-butane and the main advantage is a lower price, especially when compared to classic fireplaces. However, as with many cost-effective solutions, there are serious disadvantages of such a choice.
The main advantage is that they are ventless … duh. This means that not by-products are removed from the home or apartment. In effect, the air is contaminated by carbon oxide, nitrogen dioxide and most of all, water vapor.
However, despite this disadvantage there are several “goods”.
1. First is of course the much lower cost. Adding a fireplace to your home would cost thousands and thousands of dollars. Not so with a ventless fireplace. The beautiful ventless gas fireplace pictured above is less than $500 (at the time of this writing) which is a tiny fraction of the cost of adding a brick or stone ‘real’ fireplace.
2. Then the mobility – placing ventless gas fireplaces are not limited by building construction, because there is no need to connect them to pipes or chimneys. And if you live in an apartment or rental property, or simply sell your home, you can take your fireplace with you.
Safety of Ventless Gas Fireplaces
Most ventless gas fireplaces are equipped with full set of automatic safety switches – carbon monoxide detectors, oxygen sensors, (designed to shut off entire system if conditions reach an unsafe point) and also thermal switches (in case of fire) are all provided to make ventless gas fireplaces as safe as possible.
Precautions and Possible Problems
There are several possible problems, some of them unavoidable. If you consider ventless gas fireplaces’ installation, you must make sure that your home’s air circulation is good enough. Gas by-products aren’t health-neutral: carbon dioxide and monoxide can cause dizziness, headache, fatigue and nausea, while excessive water vapor level can lead to the production of mold, mildew, and dust mites. All these things lower the air quality and increase health risks, even in houses with good air circulation.
Another possible problem is the law. In some US states, as well as in other countries, such fireplaces are illegal or their use is seriously restricteded.
Of course, buying a ventless gas fireplace isn’t a trivial decision and you will need to do your homework before making a choice. However, hopefully this post will give you a place to start and provoke some thoughts you may not have considered.