Are Ventless Gas Logs Safe & Efficient? How about Vented?

Gas log safety and efficiency More and more people are swapping their standard wood-burning fireplaces for gas and electric fireplaces. While there’s something magical about the crackle of a wood-burning fire, some may find that it’s not worth the effort and maintenance.

Gas log sets offer many benefits to the homeowner who still wants that cozy glow of a fireplace. Not only do gas logs generate more heat, but they’re also much safer than wood-burning fireplaces. It should seem obvious, but there’s less of a risk of fire. This gives many homeowners peace of mind when deciding how to heat their homes — and as a bonus, there’s no need to worry about chopping wood or cleaning soot!

While gas logs are safer and more efficient than wood-burning fireplaces, it’s important to not lose sight of these two factors if you do decide to purchase a gas log set. Here are some ways to make sure your gas logs are as safe and efficient as possible.

Gas log fireplace safety

There are two main configurations of gas logs: Vented and ventless. Vented gas logs rely on an exhaust or venting system to operate, while ventless gas logs function without any sort of venting system. Just like real burning logs, both types of systems produce carbon monoxide — a toxic gas that can be lethal — when they burn. Here’s how to keep your family safe when using these systems.

Vented gas logs

Vented gas logs are safer than ventless logs because they use some sort of venting or exhaust system to expel harmful gas from your home. To make sure your vented gas logs are working the way they should, it’s essential to keep your chimney or flue damper open while the vented gas fireplace is in use. Make sure it’s securely propped open to allow for adequate exhaust. A closed flue damper will keep hazardous gas inside your home.

Ventless gas logs

Because ventless gas logs do not rely on an open flue or chimney to operate, there is no room for the gases created to go. Consequently, gas can build up in the room much more easily than with vented log systems; however, all ventless fireplaces come with oxygen depletion sensors that will shut off the unit should oxygen reach an unsafe level.

To prevent gas from building up in the home, never operate your ventless gas fireplace for more than an hour without opening a window to exhaust the toxic gases. You’ll also want to avoid operating these fireplaces for extended periods of time in general. Always use caution and common sense when you decide to cozy up with your gas fireplace.

Other gas log safety tips

No matter if you have a vented or ventless gas fireplace, here are some basic safety tips to keep in mind when using your gas log fireplace:

  • Keep flammable objects at least three feet away from the fireplace.
  • Always inspect building codes to make sure your ventless system meets safety regulations. Some municipalities have restrictions on ventless gas fireplaces, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the law in your city or state.
  • Keep children and pets away from the heat source.
  • Make sure you have a working pilot system. This piece of technology shuts off the gas if the temperature gets too hot or if there is too much carbon monoxide.
  • Always have functioning carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Replace the batteries twice a year — a good time to check is during the beginning and end of Daylight Savings Time.

With both systems, it’s good practice to have your fireplace serviced by a professional technician once a year to make sure it’s running properly. A qualified service tech can also spot signs of wear and tear that may compromise your family’s safety.

Gas log efficiency

Vented gas logs are less efficient than ventless gas logs because much of the heat escapes through the exhaust to the outside. On the flipside, ventless gas logs are much more efficient, since most of the heat stays put inside your home. If you settle on a vented system, you may want to invest in some quality glass fireplace doors for added heat retention.

Vented vs ventless gas logs: Which is right for me?

RH Peterson Real-FyreIt may make sense for one person to go with a vented system and another with a ventless system. There’s really no wrong answer — it just depends on your priorities.

Ventless gas logs, when used correctly, can make for an excellent heat source in a space like a sunroom or an addition that doesn’t have access to central heat. Again, it’s important not to operate ventless fireplaces for extended periods of time without opening a window, as doing so can cause carbon monoxide to build up in the room.

Vented systems, on the other hand, are not as efficient as ventless gas logs but are safer.

To find the gas log set of your dreams, take a look at our collection of gas logs. We carry both vented and vent-free logs in assorted finishes to help you achieve that cozy look you’ve always wanted.

Not sure if a gas fireplace is right for you? We’ve broken down the differences between gas and electric fireplaces to help you make your decision.

 

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Mickey Luongo

Mickey is the resident heating and air conditioning expert.

2 Comments

Steve Marcinko

about 2 months ago

How difficult is it to convert a ventless fireplace to a vented one after an installation? Thanks!

Reply

Mickey Luongo

about 2 months ago

It depends on the type of fireplace. Most manufactured fireboxes cannot be converted.

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