Gas log fireplaces come in two different versions: vented and vent-free. Vented models are safer, but tend to be used primarily for ambiance or as a home highlight instead of straightforward heat production. Vent-free fireplaces produce heat more efficiently and give the homeowner a wider range of options when installing, but they do not always offer the same aesthetic value.
Vented fireplaces are connected to a flu or chimney that leads through the house and outside, creating a channel of open air to the fireplace. These type of gas logs are usually installed where a traditional, wood burning fireplace used to be. On occasion a chimney can be installed specifically for a gas fireplace, although this is most common in new houses.
Vent Free Construction
Vent free gas log fireplaces are self-contained systems that can be installed in walls or open areas, and are not connected to the house or the outdoor air. These units can range from tightly sealed wood versions which need to be replenished to wall-mounted fireplaces that are connected to a old chimney where the flu has been sealed shut.
Benefits to Vented Gas Logs
Vented Gas Logs allow air to flow freely between the fireplace and outside, replenishing the oxygen that the fire needs to burn. This creates a much stronger flame which is more useful for aesthetic reasons and can be used to imitate the natural wood-fire of a traditional fireplace. Vent gas logs also have a direct and relatively effortless way to release their by-product emissions, the chemicals released as the gas burns that may be hazardous if trapped in the fireplace and allowed to escape into the house.
Benefits to Vent Free Gas Logs
Vent free fireplaces are not connected to any existing flu or chimney, and so are much easier to install and can often be moved from place to place. If there is no existing chimney, then the homeowner will be spared the expense of installing one. Vent-free gas logs are also created with temperature-control in mind. They release nearly 100 percent of their heat into the home instead of letting a portion escape outside, and many include climate control systems that allow homeowners to adjust the temperature of the room.
Vented gas log fireplaces generally come with added expenses, and cannot be moved once they are installed. They do not produce as much heat as the vent free models, and so require more gas to provide the same type of temperature control. Vent free gas logs, while they save energy, do not produce the same realistic flame of the alternate version, and leak a small amount of emissions into the room. To combat this problem, the types of gas used and the containment systems of vent free fireplaces are carefully controlled to ensure that they offer no danger to homeowners.
The Pros & Cons of Vent-Free Gas Fireplaces
When installing a fireplace in your home, one of the options you will have is whether to install a vented or vent-free...