Facts You May Want to Know About Vent-Free Fireplaces

Posted on Posted in Dangers of Ventfree

Soot on ceilings and wall form vent free fireplace use.

Soot all over the mantel from vent-free use.

Fact You May Want to Know About Vent-Free

1. Do not install any vent free product until all provisions for proper combustion and ventilation air are made.
2. Do not use any vent free product for the sole source of heating. Vent free products should be used as supplement heat only. Most manufacturers recommend no more than 2 to 4 hours of usage per day.
3. When using a vent free product, open a window a couple of inches.
4. Sizing of a vent free product is critical. The development of sizing guidelines for all vent free supplement products by the Department of Energy (DOE) states: There are 3 types of house construction that have to be considered; loose, average, or tight construction. Cycling and continuous operation are considered as well. The DOE divides the US into 5 regions and we are in region 3.
-Example of loose house construction
425 sq. ` with 8` ceiling = 3,400 ft.3 (cubic ft.)
*For the cycling operation, the DOE states that 11,560 BTUh is all that should be allowed in this area.
*For continuous operation, the DOE states that 9,180 BTUh is all that should be allowed in this area.
By following the DOE guidelines, if this were an average or tight construction scenario you may not want to install a vent free product.
5. Do not install a vent free product in a bedroom or a bathroom. This rule applies to the majority of vent free products. You may use 6,000 BTU in a bathroom and 10,000 BTU in a bedroom. However, you have to be careful in these areas once you close the doors. This now becomes a “confined air space” which has another set of rules. Very rarely these rules are shared with the consumers.
6. All vent free products create water in the area being heated. One thousand BTUh produces 1 ounce of water. This means a 30,000 BTUh vent free product will create 30 ounces of water per hour when being operated. That totals 720 ounces per day or 5.6 gallons. If the fireplace has no vent, where does all of the water go?
7. Do not operate a ceiling fan in a room where a vent free product is being operated. The air movement can alter the flame which causes soot and poor combustion. If the fireplace is not vented, where does all of the soot go?
8. Do not operate a vent free fireplace or gas log with logs, embers, or volcanic rock out of position. This is also a cause of soot and poor combustion. If the fireplace has no vent, where does all of the soot go?
9. Do not install a vent free product into a confined air space or unusually tight construction. Do not close doors to bedrooms or bathrooms if operating a vent free product in them. It then becomes a confined air space no matter if you follow the 6,000 and 10,000 BTU scenarios. It is not a good idea to use vent free in a foam insulated house.
10. Do not install a vent free log into a setting where solid fuel could not be burned or a UL 127 listing is not on the prefab firebox. This means no site built dummy firebox fireplace. There are no exceptions.
11. Do not install a vent free log set in a prefab fireplace that has not been tested and approved for a vent free log. The reason is once the damper is closed the firebox could over heat and cause a fire. There are thousands of prefabs in existing homes that are not listed for vent free logs.
12. Do not install a vent free product into a setting where all minimum clearances and heights to combustibles are not met. This is considered a fire hazard when clearances are not met.
13. Do not install a vent free log set that is too large for the fireplace. This limits the air flow which causes poor combustion and soot. If the fireplace is not vented, where does all the soot go?
14. Do not install a vent free product in an area that can be affected by drafts caused by kitchen exhaust fans, ceiling fans, returned air registers, or furnace, air conditioners, windows and doors. This can cause poor combustion , soot, possible higher CO levels and damage to walls ceilings and furniture. If the fireplace is not vented, where does all of the soot go?
15. Poor quality of gas can make a vent free product burn very dirty. This can cause large amounts of soot. If the fireplace is not vented, where does all of the soot go?
16. There are many products used in the home today such as candles, incense, oils, and many scented products. When these products are burned in the vent free appliance area, it can produce unpleasant odors, smoke, soot, and sometimes toxic fuels. It is recommended that one not use a scented product while a vent free product is being operated.

While reading this list you have been questioned several times about what damage and problems a consumer can encounter while using a vent free product. Fumes, water, soot, chalky white substance, and a yellow gooey substance (as reported by some) are some issues that can be encountered as a result of using a vent free product. Because there is no vent, these things will get all over the house. You will have to repaint to fix problems caused by soot. You and your family and friends will be breathing in these bi-products of a vent free product.
FACT: Your home becomes your vent
I know there will be those reading this that will not agree and could possibly be upset by these things. Vent free fireplaces are cheap and produce a lot of heat. In my personal opinion, the rest of the story is downhill. We at Fireplace Creations have torn out and replaced hundreds and hundreds of vent free products over the years. Vent free products are bad for your health, homes, and families.
All of the information listed above is found in the Owner’s Manual Installation Guide and The Development of Sizing Guidelines Research Division of AGA for Vent Free Products. It doesn’t matter what I, the builder, installer, or sales person says. The installer’s manuals and owner’s manuals ALWAYS override what we say.
Hopefully, this will be informative and helpful for you. That way you won’t make the statement we have heard time after time, while doing estimates for tearing out and replacing their vent free products,
“I WISH SOMEONE HAD TOLD ME”

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