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Choosing the Right Gas Fireplace for Your Home


Youíve decided to invest in a gas fireplace. Maybe itís the first fireplace for your new home. Or maybe youíre rebuilding or remodelling your fireplace and you want to install a gas fireplace. The first thing that youíll have to decide is whether youíll pick a vented or ventless (vent-free) model. Sure cost will be a major factor in your decision-making but what are some of the other things that you should be considering? Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Some of the advantages of a vent-free model are that you donít need to buy any pipes or cut any holes in a wall which means it costs less to buy and install.  You can install it anywhere in your home. These gas fireplaces burn at nearly 100% (99.9%) efficiency, and emit less harmful gasses than most other portable heating appliances.

Disadvantages of a vent-free model are that it keeps all of the heat in the room including the exhaust. The exhaust contains traces of carbon monoxide and other residues.  People have complained of strong odors which may affect people with asthma, allergies or other breathing disorders. This might not be a suitable fireplace for pregnant women and people with chronic health issues such as heart conditions. Vent-free models have been known to leave mold and mildew on walls and ceilings. To lower the risk of carbon monoxide build-up, it has been advised that homeowners leave windows open which isnít preferable. Some models come with an oxygen-detection sensor (ODS) which automatically shuts down the appliance when oxygen levels drop below a certain level.

Direct-vent fireplaces have many advantages such as higher effectiveness; they offer efficiencies ranging from 75% to 85%. Some of them are can generate a lot of heat; some of them are even furnace-rated which means they have the capacity to heat homes beyond 1500- 2000 sq. ft. They exhaust directly outside the home from pipes that extend two to four feet out of the roof.

Vented fireplaces donít have many of the issues of ventless fireplaces. Because all exhaust fumes are vented outside, they cannot linger in the room. They can be installed wherever a vent can be installed. Unlike the vent-free model they can be operated continuously without having to worry about residue buildup. You can choose from a wide range of trims and finishes and options such as flames and logs creating a focal point in any room.

The main disadvantage is due to the higher costs of the vented fireplace. Because pipes have to be installed and holes have to be cut in the walls or roof there are additional costs. Heat does escape through the vent pipe. If a model that uses the dual fuel option which a vented gas logset is added to a fireplace already capable of burning wood. These models consume a lot of gas because both the damper and glass doors need to be left wide open while the logs are operating. If the direct vented model uses a B Vent, the logs are enclosed in a firebox resulting in less burned.

While there are many pros and cons to each type of fireplace, youíll have to evaluate the best fit for your needs. Feel free to call us we would be glad to help.

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