Monday, July 11, 2011

Gas Fireplaces: Vented and Ventless

Gas fireplaces are a brilliant way to incorporate the look, design, and warmth of a hearth, with the benefit of being powered by gas.  They can be created indoors or outdoors, and they generate more heat than a standard gas heater, so in addition to looking great, they are incredibly functional. In the past, ventless as well as vented fireplaces that were powered with gas logs were not known for being either stylish or realistic. Knowing there was a market for both, there have been great strides made to make the more attractive and appealing. When it comes to gas fireplaces, you have two options: vented and ventless. They are entirely different, and are specifically suited to your needs and space available.

            If you do not have a fireplace, but want one, a ventless fireplace may be a good choice to consider. Unvented gas fireplaces are powered by natural gas and liquid propane, which enables them to run indoors without a chimney, or any type of ventilation. They are equipped with sensors that monitor oxygen levels, to ensure that depletion is not occurring, and breathing conditions are safe. Thermocouple determines heat, while BTU’s are limited to keep gas fumes that have been burned in check. Specific patterns in design work to control the carbon emitted in the gas. Previously, one of the big drawbacks to ventless gas fireplaces was the unnatural look, the vulgar appearance of the Oxygen Depletion Sensors. Much effort was placed in redesigning this scheme, to create a more realistic look that imitated a traditional fireplace more exactly. To make the logs more lifelike, they are now hand-painted, with charring. Their movements imitate those characteristics of a regular wood-burning fire, for a very true-to-form version.
            Artistic approaches have been taken very far with these ventless fireplaces, and many different versions have been rendered with such accents as glass, river rocks, and geometric designs. If you opt for a ventless gas log, the possibilities are endless!
            Vented gas fireplaces differ from unvented as they are basically traditional fireplaces that are powered with gas logs, versus using actual wood. The process of sourcing wood, and then storing it can create a great deal of hassle. When using it in the fireplace, it is burdensome because it has to be stacked in a particular fashion, and then kindled as it burns. Often you have to take different measures to get it lit, using bricks or cubes. After the beautiful fire fun is had, you have to clean up the residue and remaining ash. Vented gas logs light easily, their temperature adjusts with control valves, and once you are through enjoying the fire, all you have to do is turn it off. And then, there is no clean up necessary.
            As with a traditionally set up wood-burning fireplace, in order to properly use vented gas logs, you need a chimney and flue, with a cap. A firebox is not necessary if the fireplace builder acknowledges the burner’s size and valve.
            The  size of the fireplace determines the BTU limit on vented gas fireplaces, and they are so easy to handle because of their control valves, which are in control of flame heights. Imagine simply having to flick a switch, during the coldest parts of the year, to achieve a great fire that warms the room! When you burn your gas logs, you can follow any pattern you wish. Re-stacking can be done as much as needed, to achieve desired the flame patterns, because the fumes released from gas are funneled out by the chimney. Vented gas logs can be burned all year long, safely, pleasurably, and effectively.

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