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Vented and Ventless Gas Fireplaces

A vented gas log fireplace offers instant warmth and freedom from the cold. In addition, they relieve people of the duties that come with using a fireplace. This includes no longer having to clean ashes and haul wood. In addition they offer a safer and cleaner option in comparison to burning wood. Increasingly more manufacturers have increased the number of options available and now offer a large range of choices in regards to size and styles.

Using a vented gas log fireplace requires the use of a flue or chimney. This allows the release of any dangerous gases produced to the outside. The vented logs tend to have the closest resemblance to a real fire. Gas log fireplace sets come in lengths as small as 12 inches and largehavells gas geyserr than 60 inches.

There are many different options available for using a fireplace for heat and ambience. Some of the different choices are vent free, b-vent, and wood burning. Each option varies and has differing positive and negative points depending on the fireplace use and placement.

Ventless gas fireplaces do not require a chimney or flue in the wall for venting. The BTU limit that makes ventless gas fireplaces safe indoors also makes vent free gas logs energy efficient using less gas for maximum flame pattern. Log placement with ventless gas logs are designed to minimize carbon output so unvented gas fireplaces burn “clean” with little discoloration or harmful outputs from burning gas. Ventless gas log fireplaces all contain an oxygen depletion sensor as a back-up safety alarm against gas fumes and breathable oxygen. Optimally ventless gas log fireplaces are very simple to install with one single gas connection because they come with the valve and safety features installed from the factory.

Vent free gas fireplace logs must be arranged to minimize contact between the gas flame and the ceramic log and logs cannot be adjusted to get different flame patterns. For many years vent free gas fireplace logs had limited option but as more consumers realized the simplicity and savings of building a fireplace without building a chimney through every floor of the home to reach the roof fireplace log shape choices have multiplied. Most types of “wood” are now available with detailed hand-painted designs and alternative gas fireplaces with crushed glass, geo-metric shapes and river rocks are becoming more popular.

Wood burning fireplaces contain all the smells and sounds associated with burning wood and depending on the area of the country wood can be burnt for free and be made to lower heating bills. Wood-burning fireplaces are not fun to clean as soot is extremely light and often able to spread right through the rear filter and into the house when vacuumed. A water-spray will effectively weigh down soot for slow shoveling with minimal mess. The fire in a wood burning fireplace must also be properly stacked to light a fire every time. Improperly stacked firewood without enough kindling will burn out so the fireplace must be watched and wood added to the fire as it is used. Burning wood does create dangerous fumes and smoke and a proper flue with a strong pull requiring a minimal height is necessary for safe home heating.

Vented gas fireplaces do require venting as burning gas produces carbon monoxide however the size of the flue can be small enough to run through the existing wall of a house. Gas logs do not have to be on a wall sharing outdoors and can be placed anywhere a vent and a gas line are installed. There are a tremendous number of divergent “wood” designs and gas logs can be mixed, rearranged and decorated any number of ways to accentuate either logs, flames or embers as the mood strikes the audience. With the higher popularity generally comes thermostatic controls, temperature controlled blowers and multitudinous accessories to decorate the gas log fireplace. Vented gas log fireplaces do require professional installation to check gas pressure, thermocouple safety and check ventilation. Vented gas logs provide a better flame pattern than any other type of fireplace coupled with the convenience of on-off controls to vary flame height.

Wood burning tends to give one of the nicest aesthetics including not only random changing log and flame patterns as wood burns and changes, crackling noise and the smell of burning wood but wood-burning fires carry the most risk of smoke and fumes. In general, they are not simple to turn on and off or to clean; wood burning fireplaces require constant supervision to stay burning and need chimney sweeping to keep the flue clean of hazardous, flammable creosote build-up.

A b-vent is one way to upgrade a current fireplace into one for use with vented gas logs. This is achieved through running a pipe in and up and out design. However, the b-vent may not work for everyone and have the potential for a backdraft of combustion gases when the indoor pressure is too high. On the other hand, the direct venting option offers a more efficient option with the vented gas logs.

With a b-vent, a two-layer pipe runs through a hole either behind or slightly above the unit. The pipe leading to the outside brings in air in order to create the combustion needed for burning the gas. As for the inner pipe, this is where the emissions produced go to the outside. Generally, these types are considered safer since they reduce the risk of carbon monoxide. Additionally, people have the option to install them anywhere a gas lines present or may be installed. The benefit of a b-vent fireplace is that the flue vent does not have to move upward to generate a pull of fumes to outdoors. The flue can move horizontally through walls for easier and less-costly installation. However, because heat rises the fumes created by burning gas and propane is more likely to flow from the opening of the fireplace than make its way to the small flue behind the fireplace. A requisite plate of glass must cover the fireplace opening for the b-vent to function safely.

The vented gas log fireplace offers the most realistic looking fire, realistic log design flame patterns and offer the easiest installation comparatively. Other fireplace designs have limitations regarding safety, installation and ease of use. Vented gas logs can be used in a fireplace built to burn wood if a gas line is added and vented gas fireplaces are available in stand-alone fireboxes and mantles. Vented gas fires are also available in all the alternative designs that do not use realistically painted ceramic logs.

Gas logs reduce the amount of emissions into the air, are easy to control and do not carry the same safety concerns as wood- burning fireplaces. Gas logs are not always less expensive than a wood burning fireplace but they are convenient, easy to use controls, easy to change designs and do not require the use of electricity.

Designs for the ventless gas fireplace and the vented gas fireplace have evolved beyond ceramic gas logs that mimic a wood burning fireplace. Alternative fireplaces burn with crushed reflective glass, fire balls, fire shapes and river rocks in a variety of sizes and colors. Gas fireplaces are available with fireboxes for safe built in use in a wall or a mantle for the hearth.

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