Old Question Revisited...To Vent or not to Vent

doonieOctober 27, 2011

We are remodeling our ventfree gas logs. We have had them in place for 10 years. What I most enjoy about them is the heat output. We are replacing them because the insert was builder grade and I want to change out the mantel and surround. It does have a chimney, so the conversion wouldn't be too difficult if we went with vented.

It's difficult to find a straight answer on which set up is better.

From what I can glean, vented logs look more realistic, but the ventfree put out significantly more heat. The question I have is safety related. Are vented gas logs much safer than vented? Since the chimney is open during burning, the Carbon Monoxide, if there is any should go up the flue? Is this correct?

In summary, I'd rather have heat output than realism. Is the heat output much less with the vented?

I have also read that the newer ventfree gas logs come with Oxygen Depletion turn off switches. And possibley Carbon Monoxide detectors? Anyone know any more or have any recommendations?

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The main draw of a Ventless Gas Log installation the amount of heat output it is capable of. Ventless Gas Logs are able to operate with the fireplace damper closed. This way the heat circulates into the room rather than up the chimney. This leads to efficient and low-cost heating of your room. In situations of power loss, a Ventless Gas Log set can even be used as a backup heat source.

Since burning material of any kind creates a certain amount of carbon monoxide, one may wonder how an unvented log set can safely operate. Unvented Log Sets actually burn so hot that nearly 100% of the fuel is combusted. This decreases the amount of soot and carbon monoxide generated down to a negligible level, allowing Ventless Gas Log sets to operate in a safe manner.

Another byproduct of using a Ventless Log Set is a small amount of moisture. In the winter months this moisture can be beneficial in a dry room. If you are also using a humidifier, excess moisture may result in condensation on windows.

For an additional safeguard, Ventless Gas Log Sets are always equipped with an Oxygen Depletion Sensor. An ODS measures the amount of available oxygen in the room and will turn off the burner before the oxygen in the room reaches a dangerous level. The method in which this fuel burns can be thought of as similar to how a natural gas range works in your kitchen. The burner on your range is specifically designed to achieve a clean and smokeless flame. The technology available in Ventless Gas Log Sets on the market today works on similar principles.

One disadvantage of Ventless Logs are that the flame is generally smaller. A realistic flame is still possible, but it may not be as large as a flame from a Vented set of comparable size.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 6:32PM
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Bikesr2tired, thanks for the info. In the meantime, we got a quote back on redoing our fireplace, and the expense was much more than I wanted to pay.

The warmth is the number one reason I love my gas logs. So, based on that and your input, I think we will simply look for new ventless gas logs and maybe a simple change out of our surround, but leaving the mantel as is.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 10:28AM
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