replace vented with ventfree gas log fireplace

aitramDecember 13, 2009

I have a vented gas log fireplace, it was found last summer that the control unit to operate the pilot light and the ignition was out of order. Now Lowes sells the VENT FREE fireplace with remote control and I would like to replace my vented with this vent-free unit.

Would appreciate your advice on the installation and operation procedures regarding the following:

- damper should be closed ? (or opened)

- glass door should be opened (or closed)

- the current design for the vented gas log is to light with a electrical switch that wired to the control unit. What do I need to do with the switch, if the unit is remotely controlled?

- any other advices are appreciated.

Best regards,

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eldemila

I wish someone would answer you, I was going to post something similar myself.

We have a contract on a home and I had the chimney inspected today (realtor says I'm the only person in her entire career to have a chimney inspection, but you'll see why)

Inspector told me the flue tiles needed to be replaced and the to reline a chimney was about $4K-$5K or could have the tiles that needed to be repaired which iwas about half that price - he wasn't positive on pricing as he does not do this type of work. He actually called me back and the low end pricing from the company gave him a guesstimate of $1500-$2500 depending on what I decided to actually have done.

Originally, this was a wood burning chimney and now is gas. I know there was an issue with the damper not opening correctly and was having the owners clean it out before the inspection. Due to the issue above, he didn't do the cleaning - not until we decided what to do about the flue issue.

Anyhow, I'm not putting out any more money on the home, it would be the owners who'd have to repair. My realtor called me back a little while later and said the listing agent spoke to the owners and came up with what they think would be a solution - a vent free gas fireplace.

Since I'm a Floridian who's never had a fireplace in her life, I know nothing about any of this. I'm trying to find out if what they are proposing, how it differs from the gas fireplace that's there already. Will what they put in look the same as what's there now? They claim it's more energy efficient.

I'm glad you are asking the questions you did above because I wouldn't have known to ask them, so I really hope someone knowledgable will answer. In the meantime, I was given the name of a guy who does gas fireplaces for a living. Will try to reach him and if I can , ask those questions and let you know what I may be able to find.

If I go with the ventless, I'm still having them clean out the damper. With it not opening all the way, that means cool air is still coming in, and in summer, cool are is going out.

Please let me know if you came across any info.

THANKS!!!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 6:24PM
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eldemila

Okay, I went and called a guy who does installations for these types of fireplaces (and works for the gas company for my area as well)

I'm not sure if this would pertain to you as well, but here's what he told me.

What he told me I would want to replace the unit this house has is called a Vent Free Firebox Insert with natural gas logs already set in there, a complete unit.

He said it doesn't matter whether the damper is open or closed because it's a fire box and everything is contained within that box, nothing going up the chimney.

He said if it has a glass door, you want it open, but it's better to get the screened unit.

Some units have an on and off switch. He said they have a remote control that once lit can turn it off. There's also a remote that's thermostatic that can turn it on and off depending on the temperature. I hope I got it all right, he has such an accent and talked fast!

In looking on line, I see something about circulating heat - have to ask him about that, not sure if it's good to have or not.

Honestly, from what this guy told me, it's not that much cheaper on the low end of the cost to just fix the thing correctly, but as long as it's done correctly, I guess I really don't care either way if it's this new firebox insert or fixing, as long as they're paying for it and it's done professionally.

D

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 7:04PM
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aitram

D,

Thanks for sharing the information. Lowes is selling the ventfree gas log and I would like to buy to replace my existing vented gas log which stopped operating.

In your case, since you need to redo the tiles which can be costly, installing the complete firebox will avoid the need to repair the firebricks..

In my case, the fireplace is in good condition. Only the unit that controls the closing/opening of the gas inlet valve fails. I was advised by the manufacturer that to replace the unit, it would cost as much as buying the whole set of gas log since they are integrated. Now, Lowes is selling the whole ventfree gas log with control unit, but not the vented gas log. As the result, I would like to seek expert advice from the forum to find out how do I operate the fireplace with the new ventfree unit.

We only use the fireplace whenever we could find a time to sit down and enjoy the dancing flames. It is more of a decorative item than a heating necessity. However, we would want to be sure that putting a ventfree in the place of a vented will not have any issues.

D.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 7:23PM
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eldemila

Hopefully someone will answer you with the correct info. If no one does in due time, maybe you can call someone like I did locally for an answer. One site that seemed like they'd possibly have an answer that I was looking on was fireplacesnow.com - maybe get a couple opinions to see who says what possibly?

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 11:06PM
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countryboymo

I have heard of unvented fireplaces making people sick with carbon monoxide symptoms. I have heard that they do have an 'odor' when running and to some it is overwhelming. They will set off carbon monoxide detectors and can give you carbon monoxide poisoning if not installed properly. I know a family that had one installed to supplement electric heat and it was installed wrong and almost killed them. I myself would stick with the vented unit and fix or replace it.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 11:34AM
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