Are Ventless Fireplaces Right For Your Home?
Vented fireplace or ventless fireplace? Which one is right for your home? Are ventless fireplaces safe? If you’re a homeowner looking for a ventless fireplace for your living room, you have probably come across a few conflicting opinions on the safety of ventless fireplaces.
How ventless fireplaces work is easy to understand. Unlike vented fireplaces that burn wood, ventless fireplaces burn gas. Burning gas doesn’t create any smoke, so you don’t have to install any ventilation, for example, a chimney, which is the case with vented fireplaces.
The heat created by ventless fireplaces remains in your home. Most people prefer ventless fireplaces over vented one as the former cost less, easy to maintain and install, flexible and offer incredible energy efficiency. Ventless fireplaces have efficiency ratings at 99%.
Of course, things aren’t exactly that simple. Combustion of gas produces by-products like Carbon Monoxide (CO), Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), and Carbon Dioxide (CO2). These games aren’t friendly to humans and are dangerous. The gases can get mixed with the atmosphere of your room or house along with the heat. The consequences can be deadly if not monitored properly.
Ventless Fireplaces and Other Appliances
Having said that, you probably may be thinking how come ventless fireplaces are deemed safe to be used in residential quarters if all these harmful gases can get into the house? This is a question asked by many—some agree with it, while some don’t. You will also find people pointing out that why isn’t anyone saying when you turn on your stove or oven can also produce these dangerous gases? To tell you the truth—both of these opinions are valid and deceptive at the same time.
If you own an oven or ran all the burners on your stove for several hours a day, it’s likely that your house may have the toxic gases we just mentioned. This can also happen if your stove or oven is malfunctioning. On the flipside, if you have an appropriately sized ventless fireplace in your home, and fire it up only for a limited time, and operate it according to the manufacturer’s specifications, you shouldn’t have any issues involving dangerous gases or fumes. Having cleared that, most homeowners are adamant that they don’t have hazardous gases in their homes.
Problems You Face If Have Too Much Dangerous Gases Indoors
When it comes to toxic gases, carbon monoxide is by far the most notorious and the most fatal. Carbon monoxide gas is odorless and colorless, so most homeowners find it difficult to detect until it is too late. Inhaling Carbon monoxide causes health complications that can range from headaches to even death.
If you have decided to install a ventless fireplace in your home, we recommend that you also install carbon monoxide detectors or sensors all around the house, particularly near your fireplace. Check them regularly and make sure they work. Other toxic gases such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide also cause respiratory and breathing problems, if they are present beyond tolerable levels.
Finally, let’s talk about water vapor. This might sound unusual because water vapor isn’t harmful. But, just because it’s not harmful to you, doesn’t mean it can’t harm your home. Burning gas creates water vapor. If excessive water vapor is released from your ventless fireplace, it can damage the wallpapers in your home and the paint to peel. Excess water vapor will also increase the humidity indoors, and can damage your furniture, interior décor and can cause other structural damages.
Alternatives To Ventless Fireplaces
Ventless fireplaces aren’t unsafe or destructive by design or function. It is the poor installation, improper use, wrong fireplace size and design and malfunctions that can lead to safety and health problems. In fact, some US states and countries have imposed a ban on the use and installation of ventless fireplaces due to health risk they pose.
Still, plenty of homeowners want ventless fireplaces because of low installation and operating costs. Homeowners also opt for ventless fireplaces as they only use it on a limited basis. After all, who the heck fires up their fireplace during the summers?
If you’re one of them, find a manufacturer or a contractor, who will take responsibility for the appliance’s failure or malfunction, if something goes wrong. Ask the manufacturers about potential health hazards.
Nonetheless, we will ask you to consider a vented fireplace over a ventless unit. Sure, you need to spend a little extra; it won’t be highly energy-efficient, and you need to pay more for your energy bills. But, remember nothing is more important than your health and the safety of your home.