Dangers of Vent-Free

Do Vent-Free Fireplaces Really Exist?
The title given to room vented fireplaces is “Vent-Free”. This is meant to communicate that the fireplace does not require vent pipe/ flue/ chimney. The brilliance of the Vent-Free term is that a lot consumers assume that their Vent-Free fireplace does not require any venting at all. Is this true? Of course not! It is clearly stated in the owners manual of these fireplaces that you must provided proper combustion and ventilation air. However, this raises the questions: Why must we provide ventilation air for non-vented fireplaces? How do you provide ventilation air for a fireplace with no vent? These are both great questions, so I am going to tackle them individually. First, you most provide combustion and ventilation air. This is something that is most often overlooked. Each Vent-Free fireplace needs to be sized appropriately for the size room that it is in. This is because any Vent-Free fireplace or gas logs set consumes room air and spills back into the same room which the gas is exhausted. To put it a bit differently, these type fireplaces burn up the oxygen in the room that you and your family would typically breathe and replace it with gas exhaust. This is why you must provide combustion and ventilation air; to ensure your room does not run out of oxygen for you and your fireplace and to allow the gas exhaust to escape to the outside, so that it doesn’t fill up your room. So how do provide proper combustion and ventilation air? I would always refer to the owner’s manual of the particular Vent-free product in question, but most would tell you to open a window. At this point, most people can see that even Vent-Free fireplaces have a vent. They vent directly out of the front of the fireplace opening and turn your home into a chimney. This is why we say there is no such thing as a Vent-Free fireplace, but in name only. So unless you would like to live in your chimney, Vent-free is probably not the choice for you.
Why We Won’t Sell Vent-free Products
For 32 years, we at Fireplace Creations have worked very hard to provide our customers with quality products and service after the sale. We also do not back down on our view of vent free products. Over the years, we have torn out hundreds and hundreds of vent free fireplaces and vent free gas logs and replaced them with our direct vent gas fireplaces and inserts.
Our website allows us to reach many different people in many areas. Because we encourage consumers to Google “Dangers of Vent Free”, we acquire more traffic from a wide range of consumers. We receive many calls and email from those inquiring about vent free products and their concerns with them.
Fall is our busy season and when it arrives in pours the calls and email. The subject matter of many of them are experiences or issues they may be facing with a vent free product that is in their home
. These are some examples of those calls.
  • I have this fireplace. Last year every time we turned it on it smelled really bad, so we stopped using it.
  • I have a fireplace and when I turn it on the mantel gets so hot I’m afraid that it is going to burn my house down.
  • Last year my gas logs smoked up our house and we had to repaint this summer. What do we need to do?
When called or emailed about issues like these, our first response is always to ask is your fireplace vented, direct vented, or vent free. Ninety percent of consumers are not certain and want to know how they can know. To answer them we explain how to look up inside the fireplace to see if there is an opening or not. Most consumers with these issues find that they do have a vent free product.
This is concerning to us at Fireplace Creations. If a consumer doesn’t know what product they have, how do they know how the product is correctly used? In my opinion, vent free fireplaces and gas logs are sold with misinformation or NO information. When we show consumers what is in the owner’s manual for a vent free product, the normal response is that no one shared that information with them. In a few of the vent free products we have replaced, the consumers have shared with us that their builder said it was a lot cheaper and that is what everyone was doing now. They didn’t think it was right to not have a vent, but they followed the advice of the builder.