Vented or Vent-Free Fireplaces - How to Compare
If you live in a new home that's been built to the most modern standards, you likely don't have a traditional wood-burning fireplace you can simply convert to gas. Without an existing chimney to work with, fireplace installation can become somewhat tricky. One solution to this problem is a vent-free fireplace. Vent-free fireplaces are just that: fireplaces that don't vent their gas to the outside. So how do they work?
A ventless fireplace burns either propane or natural gas and sends the byproducts back into your home. Our ventless fireplaces are 99.9 percent efficient. This means that any of the harmful byproducts, such as carbon monoxide, are effectively burned before being released. In addition to their 99.9-percent efficiency, most vent-free products come with an ODS (Oxygen Depletion Sensor), and will automatically shut the gas line off if oxygen levels fall outside of a normal range.
All ventless fireplaces are designed to operate within a very safe set of standards that are controlled by the EPA and the American National Standards Institute, so they're not legal everywhere. That's because in the event of a fireplace malfunction, gasses could build up over time and pose a health hazard. If you are considering a ventless fireplace, it is therefore critical that you are informed about general fireplace safety and any restrictions that may be imposed on you via the various regulations that exist around owning a vent-free product.
Direct Vent Fireplaces
If you have an existing fireplace you want to convert to gas or propane, a direct vent product should be your first choice. Direct-vent fireplaces are designed to take spent gasses and move them to the outside of your home, and any home with an existing functional chimney is a great candidate for this type of product.
If you do not have an existing fireplace to work with, a direct-vent product is still a completely viable solution; while a chimney allows the installation process to be more seamless, direct-vent fireplaces don't actually require a chimney. Direct-vent fireplaces can be installed in various configurations to create an exit using horizontal termination or vertical termination piping. Because of this, there are a seemingly endless number of ways in which you can install this type of fireplace - whether inside, out, upstairs or down.