Things to Consider Before Purchasing Vented/Vent Free Gas Logs, Gas Fireplace, Gas Stove
One of the most beautiful and inspiring additions to any home has to be a set of gas logs or a gas fireplace. Newer homes are commonly built without fireplaces and many are not aware that a set of vent free gas logs can be installed in a zero clearance fireplace which may be added to most any room of the house(certain restrictions apply to bedrooms). That being said, before making a purchase one needs to educate him/herself.
VENT FREE GAS LOGS
Vent Free Gas logs may be installed into existing fireplaces with dampers closed to keep the heat in. Most folks initially begin looking for a set of gas logs when they think in terms of supplemental heat and the cozy ambience that a fireplace can add on a cool morning or cold winter’s day. Vent free gas logs are very efficient and much of the energy they consume is returned back into the home as heat (6,000-40,000BTU). Vent free logs’ produce heat and moisture and it must be understood upfront that in eight hours of burn time, a set of vent free gas logs can produce as much as one gallon of water into the home atmosphere. In most homes that is not a problem, especially when we know that in the colder months of the year, homes tend to dry out. For that reason it is recommended that vent free gas logs are used only as a chill buster or for ambience and UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should a set of vent free logs be used as a primary heat source. In the more air-tight homes of today, the added moisture from a set of gas logs being overused may actually cause moisture damage to the sheetrock and insulation in the home. Keep in mind that the damper of the chimney may be opened if the appliance produces more heat than desired, or one only wants the flame picture of the gas logs and no or little heat. When the damper is open, the heat of course will exhaust through the chimney (where applicable). Obviously in the installation of a zero clearance fire place, or a vent free stove, there is no chimney and opening a damper in a flue is not an option.
Carbon Monoxide is also a hazard associated with any gas appliance. In the event a situation arises in which sooting occurs, carbon monoxide production is possible. A Carbon Monoxide Alarm is recommended for homes using gas appliances (logs, fireplaces, stoves, cook stoves, etc) and should be installed near sleeping areas. Oxygen Depletion Sensors are mandatory on vent free units and are not adequate substitutes for a carbon monoxide alarm. Consumers who suffer from, or have family members that suffer from respiratory problems (asthma, etc) need to be aware that byproducts of vent free gas appliances may cause them irritation.
VENTED GAS LOGS, STOVE, FIREPLACE
Vented appliances are designed for use with some form of exhaust method. In the case of vented gas logs for instance, one will not get the heat output (efficiency) of a vent free set. Vented gas logs WILL produce a much larger flame picture than their vent free counterparts, but the heat from the vented set goes up the flue. Remember from the above discussion, vent free gas logs in a real fireplace with a flue, can be burned with the flue open if heat loss is not an issue.
A Direct Vent Fireplace or Stove uses outside air for combustion, and exhausts its combustibles into the outside. Direct vent appliances use a sealed combustion chamber rather than an open fireplace or stove. Because of their combustion and exhaust characteristics, direct vent fireplaces and stoves are a great fit in today’s newer, more airtight homes.
Direct Vent Fireplaces and Stoves produce a beautiful flame picture, without the undesirable combustibles into the home like vent free appliances. Almost all direct vent appliances include fans for radiant heat delivery which makes them good heat sources as well as an astheticly pleasing addition to a home. The downside to direct vent appliances is they usually need to be installed against an outside wall and they are significantly more expensive to purchase and install than vent free appliances.
It’s advisable to buy a remote control with your gas appliance. At the very least it’s important to have an on/off remote which adds to the convenience of owning your gas appliance. Nothing could be more inconvenient that having to go to the fireplace or stove and stoop down to turn on/off the unit.
Today’s remotes have many capabilities that enable the user to control their gas appliance. Rotary remotes not only turn the appliance off and on, they adjust the flame height (when the burner is rotary equipped). In addition there are thermostatic remotes that automatically start the appliance at set room temperatures. Timers of course are also available in many of these remote controllers.
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