381-8 Old Riverhead Road

Westhampton Beach, NY

Tel. 631-998-0780

Hours: Tues. - Thur. 9am to 3pm / Fri. 9am to 12pm (or by appt.) / Sat. - Mon. Closed

Vent-Free Gas Fireplaces and Log Sets: Risks and Rewards

There are many reasons to convert your fireplace system from wood-burning to gas. Many homeowners decide to convert to gas, and vent-free systems are an easy conversion, especially if use of the existing chimney is not an option. Although it can be an easy option for your heating system, vent-free gas fireplaces and log sets have their share of risks.

Vent Free Gas Fireplaces and Log Sets Risk and Reward - Westhampton NY - Beach Stove and Fireplace

Vent Free

These gas appliances are designed to be vent-free, so they are just that. They do not vent, which means they draw air from inside the home, and dispense exhaust back into the home. This type of system burns hotter because no heat is lost through the chimney, and it essentially converts a fireplace into an efficient room heater. Although they work well, and aesthetically, they burn with real flames, there has been concern about these vent-free systems. Home and business owners not only want a heat system that is aesthetically pleasing and efficient, but also safe.

Air Quality

If a vent-free gas fireplace or log set burns fuel, but doesn’t vent outside, that means that byproducts come into the room and the home. When these vent-free appliances hit stores in the 1980s, critics worried about carbon monoxide poisoning. This is a legitimate concern for homeowners, but consumers should be aware that anything sold in the American market is tested and abides by specific safety standards. In the case of vent-free gas products the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has a document of 119 pages, and includes 33 separate tests that each product must successfully pass before approval to be marketed. One of these requirements is that each appliance should be equipped with an oxygen detection safety sensor.

The main by-products released from a vent-free system are:

  1.  Carbon monoxide (CO) is highly toxic and can cause death or permanent damage. It is released if the fuel isn’t burned completely. A problem in the gas line, with the burner, or an incorrect install can cause an excess of carbon monoxide.
  2.  Carbon dioxide (CO2) isn’t toxic, but causes sleepiness and a possible headache. Even under the best circumstances a vent-free fireplace or log set will release a large amount of carbon dioxide.
  3.  Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is a toxic gas, only released in small amounts from a moderately sized vent-free gas appliance. Constant exposure to even a small amount can cause respiratory problems, cough, sore throat, headache, vertigo, and nausea.
  4.  Water vapor isn’t toxic, and can actually add moisture to a dry home. However, if the home has adequate moisture, a vent-free gas fireplace can cause excess moisture and contribute to mold in the home.
    There are risks to a vent-free fireplace or log set. However, the safety and efficiency of these systems are always under review, and our manufacturers offer the best products on the market.

Getting Started

Beach Stove & Fireplace offers a variety of gas products, including gas log sets. If you’re ready to make the change to gas, we are ready to help. Homeowners should be aware of the differences between direct gas inserts and gas log sets ,and decide what is best for their home and family. Call to schedule an appointment  with one of our experts today.

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Our Location

Beach Stove and Fireplace is located on Old Riverhead Road between Montauk Highway and Sunrise Highway. From Sunrise Highway take exit 63 south, travel 1.2 miles and turn right at the 381 complex (just north of Gabreski Airport)