Vent-Free Gas Fireplaces – Are They Safe?
Safety is of a great importance no matter what we’re talking about. When it comes to fireplace safety, it becomes even more of a pressing issue as the dangers that usually accompany fireplaces put your health, well-being, and life in a great danger. In this article, we will take a closer look at ventless gas fireplaces, establishing whether they are a safe option to heating your home or not. Thus, continue to read if you’re interested in this subject.
What You Should Know about Vent-Free Fireplaces
Ventless fireplaces that are fueled by gas use indoor air as combustion, exhausting a low level of combustion gases into the room. What you should know right from the get-go is that vent-free gas fireplaces comply with safety standards, the emissions that they release being negligible and thus not presenting a real threat to your well-being. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that they’re 100% safe, this being the reason why we will expand on the explanation regarding general information about the fireplaces, maintenance work, and the potential dangers that accompany them.
A vent free natural gas fireplace requires the installation procedure to be done by a professional as it must be connected to a gas line, but this operation won’t be too costly or complicated, so there’s no need to worry about it. Also, they are generally freestanding units that allow a lot more freedom when it comes to where and how you install them.
These fireplaces can either feature an automatic ignition that eliminates the need for an electrical circuit on the exterior to spark the pilot light, or they can rely on this circuit for ignition. From these two types of models, we definitely recommend that you go with automatic ignition as you will be able to run the fireplace even when the electricity goes out by making this choice.
Proper Maintenance and Its Effect on Fireplace Safety
The biggest impact on the safety issue when dealing with a gel vent-free fireplace is routinely and properly performing the maintenance work required for the unit. If you do purchase and install this type of fireplace, make sure that you perform the following maintenance tasks when it’s needed to ensure your safety:
- Annual inspection – Whatever you do, don’t ever skip on the annual inspection of the fireplace. Have a professional come and check the gas line, and call an expert from the manufacturing company to check if everything is alright with the fireplace itself. Any issue that appears will be discovered and remedied in time before the fireplace can become a hazard.
- Check and adjust the carbon monoxide monitor – This maintenance procedure must be done annually, preferably twice per year if it’s possible. The carbon monoxide monitor is responsible for the surveillance of the harmful emissions, and as long as it’s working properly, you are ensured of the fact that your health is not put in any danger by the fireplace. The most common problem that appears is that dust gathers on the monitor, dust that you obviously have to clear for everything to be in check.
Potential Risks and How to Avoid Them
While it’s true that with proper maintenance the potential risks of operating the gel vent-free fireplace are greatly reduced, it’s still best for you to be aware of all the potential risks involved and how you can avoid them.
- Oxygen depletion – When the fireplace operates, it uses the oxygen in the room for combustion. Thus, if you let it operate for more than 6-7 hours, you’re at risk of depleting the oxygen in the room and endangering your health directly. This is the reason why it’s not advisable to rely on the vent-free fireplace as a primary source of heat but rather as a secondary one.
- Buildup of carbon monoxide – As a venting mechanism doesn’t exist with vent-free models, it releases the exhaust fumes into the room. Thus, the prolonged operation of the fireplace might cause dangerous carbon monoxide buildup that can be nocive, even lethal. What you should do is to not operate the fireplace for too many hours in a row, and place it in a room that is large enough to provide sufficient air and oxygen for the combustion to take place.
- Respiratory problems – These problems appear as a result of lack of oxygen in the room and carbon monoxide buildup. The air quality deteriorates, creating adverse reactions in people who are sensitive, usually those who suffer from asthma. To avoid respiratory problems, don’t exceed the period of time recommended to operate the fireplace.
- Moisture – When the fireplace produces heat, it generates moisture as well. As there is no venting mechanism, the moisture accumulation indoors can become quite high, thus leading to problems in the house’s structure. Also, it leads to the appearance of mold if you don’t open the windows to air the room or if you don’t have a dehumidifier in the room that the fireplace is placed in.
- Fire – If there’s a gas leak or the fireplace overheats, a fire could occur. To avoid this disastrous situation from ever happening, never skip on the regular maintenance work that needs to be done. More precisely, at least once per year call in a professional to check the gas line and to check the appliance as well.
Verdict on Vent-Free Gas Fireplace Safety
As you have probably already concluded yourself after reading this article, it’s safe to operate a gas ventless fireplace as long as you make sure to do it properly. Not only do you have to respect the operational hours, not letting the fireplace run for more than 6-7 hours continuously, but you should also do the maintenance work required for it on time. The benefits offered by installing this vent-free fireplace surpass what other types of fireplaces can offer, being more efficient at heating the area that it’s placed in and seeing how it is completely safe as well, it’s surely an investment worth making.