Why we don't sell vent-free (room-vented) appliances.
(Google "Dangers of Vent Free" for more info)
After doing research, we decided we would never put a vent-free (room vented) appliance into our home. Because of this decision, we didn't believe it would be right to sell them to our customers. This decision was made even though vent-free products were/are a hot item. That was over 20 years ago, and we still believe it was the best for our company and our customers.
In the last several years we have removed well over 400 vent-free appliances and replaced them with our direct-vented products.
The reason for removal of the vent-free products ranged from water running down the windows and walls, discolored walls, soot, mold and mildew issues, bad smell, not a realistic look, getting headaches, staying sick while using it, etc...
If you have any of the above problems from your vent-free product we can help. Also, if you are building, let us help you with your fireplace design.
Things you should know before choosing a vent-free (room-vented) appliance.
When burning gas and the combustion process occurs several by-products are produced. Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Formaldehyde, and Water.
When used as recommended, only several hours a day (less than four) the levels of chemical and gases that are considered acceptable for residential application exceeds the guideline allowed by OSHA or the EPA for air quality in the work place. When a 40,000 BTU vent-free (room-vented) product is used continuously it produces high levels of pollutants.
For proper operation, the American Gas Association Research Division (AGARD) outlines proper usage of a vent-free appliance less than 4 hours a day, not to be used as a sole source of heat nor in confined spaces. What about power outages and Ice storms? Follow sizing guidelines. Sizing is one area that the consumer is usually misled.
Example of Sizing Guidelines: [Top of Page]
The house is located in Doe Region II - MS, AL, TN. The space to be heated includes living room and dining room which connects to the foyer and kitchen. The house is a loose house construction, little insulation, no storm windows, no vapor barrier, with an air exchange rate of about 1.0, so a lot of air flow. The living room has 425 sq ft, the ceilings are 8 ft tall, the foyer has 119 sq ft, the dining room has 196 sq ft, and the kitchen has 247 sq ft. Only about 11,560 BTUh is recommended for this area if the fireplace has a thermostat where it can cycle. If you plan to use the vent-free (room vented) appliance to operate continuously, then only 9,180 BTUh is recommended. This may not be enough heat, but it is what is recommended for acceptable indoor air quality.
The tighter the house, the less BTUh that is recommended. Remember if you choose a vent-free (room vented) appliance, make sure it is properly sized. Never use more than 4 hours per day, and never sleep in a room where a vent-free appliance is being operated.
Why should you worry if your vent-free product is sized properly; whether or not it's creating enough water to damage your home or cause mold and mildew, or if those headaches are being caused by your vent-free appliance. Eliminate the possibilities, eliminate the doubt, and only choose a vented or direct-vent product for your home. You will breathe easier and will be money ahead.
This is what you might expect from a vent-free (room vented) product when it operates correctly.
When the combustion process starts, moisture is created. Besides smell, this is probably the biggest complaint from vent-free appliances. When a vent-free 40,000 BTU appliance is used to heat with, it can produce over 6 gallons of water a day. This may cause windows and walls to sweat as well as discolor the walls. The water will be absorbed by the drywall, walls, flooring & furniture, etc. This can cause structural damage to the home. This may also cause mold and mildew which creates problems for people with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems.
Something to think about: all states require ventilation fans in bath rooms to remove moisture. Does it not make sense to do the same in any room a vent-free product is operating?
During the combustion process Carbon Dioxide is created. Carbon Dioxide at low levels may not be harmful. Moderate to high concentration of Carbon Dioxide may cause discomfort, raising the breathing rate and may cause eye irritation.
Carbon Monoxide is produced at all times, usually around 1%. This may not be dangerous to people in good health, but can affect pregnant women and their unborn babies, small children, the elderly, people with asthma, heart and/or lung conditions may also be affected at very low levels.
Something you should know: never move or add logs to a vent-free gas fireplace. Do not use with a fan blowing on logs. Keep logs free of dust and pet hair at all times. If you do not follow this guideline, carbon monoxide levels may become dangerous and even life threatening. Why take the risk? Use vented or direct-vented products.
Nitrogen Dioxide is also produced when using a vent-free appliance. This can cause problems to the immune system and possibly increase respiratory infections. This may feel like there is no moisture in the air - dry nose, throat, etc..
Things you should know: [Top of Page]
- When operating a vent-free appliance make sure you have proper combustion and ventilation air. This may require opening 2 windows a few inches to create a flow of air. If not, high levels of CO and soot may occur.
- Do not allow fan or ceiling fan to blow on logs. This can cause higher CO levels and soot.
- Do not operate vent-free appliance if there is a broken or chipped log. This can cause higher CO levels and soot.
- Make sure logs are clean and debris such as carpet fuzz, pet hair, etc. are removed from burner. If operated with dirty burner, high levels of CO and soot may occur.
- Never sleep in a room where a vent-free appliance is being operated.
- Vent-free logs must be installed in a solid fuel burning or factory approved box. Do not build a dummy fireplace. This could create a fire. Some manufacturers do not allow vent-free logs in their prefabricated fireplace. Check manufacturer's guidelines.
- Make sure gas pressure is correct; if not this can create high levels of CO and soot.
- Do not operate a vent-free log if they have carbon build up. This may cause high levels of CO and damage inside of home due to soot.
- Do not use vent-free logs on propane if tank is less than 120 gallons.
- Always follow sizing guidelines when using vent-free appliance.
- Never use a vent-free appliance for sole source of heat. Remember - this means when power is out for days. Use less than 4 hours per day.
- Why worry about all the possibilities that might happen when using a vent-free product. Increase your safety and health. Use vented or direct vent products.