What Does “Vent Free” Really Mean?

The latest fad in fireplaces, the vent free unit, has hit the market with a splash. Many people are raving over the high fuel efficiency and ultra low emissions. While vent free fireplace options do have a number of benefits, including these, they are not without their own challenges and setbacks. In fact, sometimes these units can pose serious danger to the health of the family in the home. Learn the truth about vent free gas sets.

Gas Fireplace - Spartanburg SC - Bless Your HearthVent free gas logs are specially designed to burn in a fireplace constructed for them. The design allows the fuel to burn at nearly 100 percent efficiently, which greatly decreases the amount of harmful emissions. Along with the low levels of emissions produced by the fire, a vent free gas log set also benefits the user by producing high levels of heat.

A number of safety features have been installed into vent free gas logs and fireplaces to ensure safe use in the home. The oxygen depletion sensor, or the ODS, measures the amount of oxygen in the room and shuts off the gas supply if the oxygen concentration ever falls below 18 percent in the room. Shutting off the gas supply then extinguishes the fire, allowing the oxygen levels to replenish to safer concentrations. In newer, more airtight homes, keeping up the oxygen level with this safety feature may require opening a window.

The safety pilot is another feature in which the gas supply is shut off if the flame ever goes out. First, this feature prevents highly flammable gas fuel from filling up the entire house, which creates a fire and explosion risk in the event of a spark. The safety pilot also saves the homeowner money by only allowing the flow of gas when a fire is lit.

While vent free gas log sets do have many advantages, they are not ideal for every home. They should never be operated for more than four hours, so homes needing long term heating from the fireplace should not rely on vent free options. Otherwise, the house will have low oxygen levels and excess humidity. For this reason, vent free sets should not be relied on in power outage situations either. Prior to vent free use, a new set must burn for three to five hours with an open vent to allow the set to properly cure. After this initial burn, the set can burn safely with the vent shut.

Choosing to invest in a vent free gas log set is a big decision. If you are unsure or if you have questions about the benefits and risks, get in touch with an expert to discuss your options. Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps, located in upstate South Carolina, can provide a professional consultation and guidance on making the best decision for your fireplace.

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