Ventless Gas Fireplaces: Complete Buying Guide
Ventless gas fireplaces are a great alternative to conventional wood-burning fireplaces. They don't require an external vent, so they are more energy-efficient than wood or vented gas fireplaces.
Ventless Gas Fireplace Buying Guide Contents
- What Are Ventless Gas Fireplaces?
- How Do Ventless Gas Fireplaces Work?
- What Types of Ventless Gas Fireplaces Are Available?
- Are Ventless Gas Fireplaces Safe?
- Ventless Gas Fireplaces vs. Other Types of Fireplaces
- Pros and Cons of Ventless Gas Fireplaces
- Can Ventless Gas Fireplaces Be Installed Outdoors?
- How to Choose the Right Ventless Gas Fireplace
What Are Ventless Gas Fireplaces?
Ventless gas fireplaces are powered by natural gas or propane. Because they don't require a flue or chimney, they are perfect for newer apartments and homes, which are often built without thermal vents in order to conserve energy. They are also much less expensive and easier to install than traditional fireplaces.
Most people today don't use their fireplace as a primary source of heat, but ventless gas fireplaces are still capable of heating a small house and providing that warm, cozy feel we all know and love.
A wide variety of ventless gas fireplaces are available today. Some are large and serve as a room's focal point, while others are more streamlined and compact. From traditional to modern, there is a ventless gas fireplace for every style.
Photo: Empire Boulevard - Linear Vent-Free Gas Fireplace, Sizes: 36" and 48" Long
How Do Ventless Gas Fireplaces Work?
Also called unvented or vent-free fireplaces, ventless gas fireplaces work by connecting a gas unit to a natural gas or propane line. A professional gas or plumbing contractor must complete the installation to ensure the heating capacity doesn't exceed manufacturer requirements.
These fireplaces can be installed anywhere accessible by a supply line. Many newer models come equipped with automatic ignition, which eliminates the need for standing pilot saving energy and your money. They can also operate on battery backup mode in the event of a power outage. Depending on the size of your home, a single ventless gas fireplace may be enough to warm your entire house.
Photo: Superior 43" Linear Vent-Free Gas Fireplace, Optional See-Through (VRL4543)
What Types of Ventless Gas Fireplaces Are Available?
There are numerous, beautiful ventless gas fireplaces available. Whatever your style, you’ll find one that suits your needs. Because they need to be connected to a gas line, all ventless gas fireplaces will require professional installation.
Built-In Ventless Gas Fireplaces
Built-in fireplaces are a very popular option, especially for those who enjoy sleek, modern designs. Nothing juts out from the wall because they are installed flush in their niche. There are lined and unlined options, so you will always find a style that fits with your decor to create a seamless, welcoming space.
2-Sided Ventless Gas Fireplaces
2-Sided ventless gas fireplaces are a great option that can be installed in a shared wall and enjoyed in two rooms. Our 2-Sided fireplaces can be used during a power outage thanks to their battery backup mode. Several offer stainless steel framesliners, meaning they can be installed outdoors.
Outdoor Ventless Gas Fireplaces
We offer several stunning ventless gas fireplaces designed for indoor and outdoor installation. Outdoor fireplaces create a luxurious ambiance while their stainless steel frames allow them to withstand the elements.
Photo: Majestic Courtyard Vent-Free Outdoor Natural Gas Fireplace, Sizes: 36" and 42
Ventless gas inserts are a fantastic way to add a final, cohesive touch to your fireplace. Inserts come in two main types: inserts with logs and inserts with contemporary glass.
- Looks realistic, just like a wood-burning fire
- Adds a traditional feel to a fireplace with modern conveniences
- Requires minimal upkeep and maintenance
- Easy to install
- Can be used with liquid propane or natural gas
- Comes in a multitude of colors
- Available in several different styles: regular fire glass, reflective fire glass, fire gems or rocks
- Adds a modern, colorful touch to your home or commercial space
- Can be used with liquid propane or natural gas
Are Ventless Gas Fireplaces Safe?
All ventless gas fireplaces are rigorously tested in laboratories to ensure they meet federal health and safety requirements before reaching the market.
Most ventless gas fireplaces come equipped with built-in ODS, short for oxygen detection sensors, and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. The oxygen sensor can automatically shut off your fireplace should the oxygen levels in your room dip to a dangerously low level. The CO detector will also shut off the fireplace if it picks up carbon monoxide.
Pro Tip: While ventless gas fireplace safety requirements are highly regulated by government agencies and come with built-in monitors, installing a third-party carbon monoxide detector in your home is recommended.
Ventless Gas Fireplaces vs. Other Types of Fireplaces
As temperatures begin to dip and leaves start to fall, few things create a warm and inviting atmosphere faster than gathering around a fireplace. Fireplace lovers have more options than ever before, so we've put together a brief guide to walk you through the different types of fireplaces available.
Traditional wood-burning fireplaces have been around for hundreds of years. They usually consist of a brick or metal firebox and a chimney, though specific models use a vent in place of the conventional design. Unlike ventless gas fireplaces, they do produce smoke.
- Fires are long-lasting if they are fueled properly
- It's easy to find wood chips and logs
- The scent of a traditional fire is comforting
- They are commonly found in many older homes
- Most of the heat created by the fire will be lost, so they are not energy-efficient
- They require regular maintenance to remain safe and functional
- The smoke and emissions produced can be harmful
- Some homeowners associations have banned the use of wood-burning fireplaces
While they don't produce a real flame, electric fireplaces add warmth and ambiance to your home. Some even come equipped with the option to change the color of the electric flames depending on your mood or seasonal changes. However, many ventless gas fireplaces have an advantage over electric fireplaces because they work during power outages.
- You can install them yourself, and they can be moved from room to room
- They don't burn any form of fuel, so they don't produce any scent or ash
- Some models are capable of heating small rooms
- They are safe for pets and small children because there is no real flame
- They can cause an increase in your electricity bill
- They won't provide heat or light during a power outage
Vented Gas Fireplaces
Like ventless gas fireplaces, vented fireplaces require a gas line connecting to natural gas or a propane reservoir. Because they need a vent, they are better suited to homes with pre-existing chimneys and vents, as the cost of installing one is high.
- The cost of fuel is very inexpensive compared to solid fuels like wooden logs
- They can warm your entire home depending on its size
- Many different designs are available, so you'll find something to suit your style
- There are remote controlled and continuous flame options available
- As with wood-burning fireplaces, they lose heat through the vent and aren't energy-efficient
- Chimneys and vents need regular inspections to remain operational
- Unless your home has a pre-existing venting system, one will have to be installed
Alcohol (Ethanol & Gel) Fireplaces
One of the cleanest burning fuels available, alcohol produces a substance similar to human breath, as it consists primarily of water vapor and carbon dioxide. Like ventless gas fireplaces, alcohol fireplaces don't require a vent or chimney.
However, unlike ventless gas fireplaces, there are no gas lines, which means alcohol fireplaces can be installed anywhere but they require additional fuel. Alcohol fireplace fuels come in gel or liquid form, and they are made of Isopropyl alcohol and Ethanol alcohol.
- Alcohol is a clean-burning fuel, so they are eco-friendly
- They do not require a vent or chimney
- Since they don't require vents or gas lines, they are portable
- They don't produce any waste like ash or creosote
- Alcohol is more expensive than natural gas
- You will need to use more alcohol to heat your space because it doesn't get as hot as gas
- Alcohol gels and liquids are not as readily available as other fuels
Water Vapor Fireplaces
Like ventless gas fireplaces, water vapor (also called steam) fireplaces don’t require a vent or chimney. They operate using simple tap water and electricity to release a fine mist into the air. Perfect for homes with pets and small children, the realistic flames produced by a water vapor fireplace are cold to the touch.
- They can be installed anywhere because they don’t require a vent
- They produce the most realistic imitation flames
- Because the flames are cool to the touch, they are safe for pets, children, and commercial spaces
- Water vapor fireplaces don’t produce harmful emissions
- Because they run on electricity, they can’t operate during power outages
- They don’t produce any warmth, so they are ineffective as additional heat sources
Pros and Cons of Ventless Gas Fireplaces
A 20,000 BTU fireplace can heat up to 1,200 square feet, and because most don't require an electric pilot light, they're a fantastic addition to your home during power outages.
However, there are a few potential downsides to consider before installing a ventless gas fireplace in your home. We'll review the pros and cons below.
- Because no heat escapes through a chimney, they have up to a 99% efficiency rating
- Aside from an optional annual checkup, which shouldn't cost more than $150, they require very little maintenance
- They can be installed both indoors and outdoors
- Ventless gas fireplaces don't produce any waste like ash or creosote
- Modern models come equipped with built-in oxygen and carbon monoxide sensors
- Some people are sensitive to gas fumes
- Some states and municipalities have banned the use of ventless gas fireplaces
- If your ventless fireplace uses propane, refills can be quite costly
- Because gas burns hot, they may not be suited for small spaces
Can Ventless Gas Fireplaces Be Installed Outdoors?
Yes, ventless gas fireplaces can be installed outdoors! We offer several sturdy, weather-proof units that were crafted specifically for outdoor installation.
Having an outdoor fireplace adds to your space's ambiance and brings a touch of indoor comfort outside. They are also much more affordable and easier to install than traditional, wood-burning outdoor fireplaces, which many homeowners associations have banned due to environmental concerns.
How to Choose the Right Ventless Gas Fireplace
Before you install a ventless gas fireplace in your home, you should ask yourself a few questions.
- Where are you planning to install your new fireplace? In the living room? Outdoors? In your bedroom? Some states, such as North Carolina, strictly prohibit ventless gas fireplaces from being installed in smaller spaces such as bedrooms and bathrooms, so you'll need to review the laws in your area before deciding on a location.
- Do you want to be able to heat your entire home in the event of a power outage? Look for recommended BTU guidelines per square feet to find out what you'll need to heat your home.
- Are you installing your fireplace in a brand new construction, or are you renovating a prefab home? These factors can help you decide on the placement.
- Do you have enough space outdoors for a fireplace? If so, there are several attractive options. If not, don't give up yet. Some ventless gas fireplaces can be installed in a shared wall, half indoors and half outdoors.
- What is the style of your home? Are you looking for something modern and visually lightweight? Or do you prefer more traditional designs with added visual weight from details like a mantel? Taking your overall style into account creates a more cohesive, aesthetically pleasing home.
- How large is your space? Depending on the size of your rooms and your personal decorating style, a massive fireplace might not be your best option. Similarly, a slim, low-profile fireplace might not fit as well on a large wall.
- Last, but certainly not least, what is your budget? Vented gas fireplaces are an affordable option, but some have higher price points than others. You can stick to your budget and still have the fireplace of your dreams.
Thanks to their cost and energy efficiency, ventless gas fireplaces are an attractive addition to your home. Unlike traditional wood-burning fireplaces, which are inefficient for heating your home and produce waste and smoke, ventless gas fireplaces are a cleaner alternative for a much lower price.
Most modern units feature carbon monoxide and oxygen detectors that will switch off your fireplace if oxygen levels drop too low or carbon levels exceed the naturally occurring trace amounts in a room. Because they are required to meet federal guidelines before they can be sold, you can trust that ventless gas fireplaces are safe when they are used correctly.
We hope now you feel more confident in choosing the best ventless gas fireplace for your home. If you have any questions, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can click here to shop our ventless gas fireplaces.
Shop Ventless Gas Fireplaces:
- Ventless Gas Fireplaces
- 2-Sided Ventless Gas Fireplaces
- Ventless Gas Fireplace Inserts
- Outdoor Gas Fireplaces
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