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Kummer
04-17-2007, 03:35 PM
Any one have a recomendation on Gas fireplaces for new construction? I have heard both sides from some buddies about what direction to go. We are in Wilmington, Nc so it is a mild climate.
Anyone>??

Monte
04-17-2007, 03:40 PM
I have non-vented. I was told vented gas logs lose heat more than they gain. I could be wrong, I just went on the gas mans reccomendation..

djhuff
04-17-2007, 03:50 PM
I used to work for one of the top national builders and it was a company policy NEVER to use non vented. Think about it, it's burning gas, combustion in it's perfect sense puts off CO2 and H2O. Now at best you are adding extra Carbon Dioxide and water vapor into your house, then what happens as the unit ages, and incomplete combustion eventually occurs (which there is little indication that this is happening, and how many of us are going to have our fireplaces inspected every year).

Newer vented units are very efficient and put off good heat (but face it, most are used strictly for look), and with direct venting, you can put them just about anywhere, the flue isn't very big and can run almost horizontal to get out of the house.

Sorry, not worth it to me.

east tx skier
04-17-2007, 04:07 PM
Not a new construction, but we had a gas connection and had vented logs installed a couple of years ago. We always crack the flu a bit to allow for ventilation, but the heat output is fine without having to crank up the gas much. We got 36" dual burner logs from Rasmussen (http://www.rasmussen.biz/index.htm).

JohnE
04-17-2007, 04:43 PM
I would NEVER have an unvented gas fireplace in my house. They recently became approved in MA, but are dangerous still from what I understand.

What is the btu output of the unvented? If there were no drawbacks to the unvented, they would not make vented units.

Ric
04-17-2007, 04:50 PM
not sure what is meant by vented and non vented

my place has a gas log set that's nice but it's in a conventional fireplace which has a damper or flue control which we open during gaslog use.

I would also worry of CO more than water vapor or CO2, DJ, no?

east tx skier
04-17-2007, 04:53 PM
Vented requires ventilation. Ventless supposedly does not.

Ric
04-17-2007, 04:56 PM
Vented requires ventilation. Ventless supposedly does not. thanks funny guy

east tx skier
04-17-2007, 05:11 PM
Sorry, but after giving it some thought, I determined that there was really no unsnarky way to convey that information.

etduc
04-17-2007, 05:17 PM
I used to work for one of the top national builders and it was a company policy NEVER to use non vented. Think about it, it's burning gas, combustion in it's perfect sense puts off CO2 and H2O. Now at best you are adding extra Carbon Dioxide and water vapor into your house, then what happens as the unit ages, and incomplete combustion eventually occurs (which there is little indication that this is happening, and how many of us are going to have our fireplaces inspected every year).

Newer vented units are very efficient and put off good heat (but face it, most are used strictly for look), and with direct venting, you can put them just about anywhere, the flue isn't very big and can run almost horizontal to get out of the house.

Sorry, not worth it to me.
DJ,
You are 100% correct. Ventless can't be justicified, at any level. Up front cost, maybe less, but up keep is higher. Health risk is higher.

I'm in the heating/cooling business. Also, sold LENNOX hearth products for a short period. Go vented.

SkiDog
04-17-2007, 05:29 PM
I've built probably 20 houses in the last few years that ALL had ventless gas fireplaces. Not a one of these has EVER given the homeowner one once of trouble! Also, if you're building a new house, its a good idea to make sure that you have smoke and carbon mono. detecters as well. I have both, radon detector too, and none of them has ever gone off. So IMO, I would say that ventless is safe.

Ric
04-17-2007, 05:34 PM
Vented requires ventilation. Ventless supposedly does not. my question may not have been clearly stated as a question... does "vented" mean that the logs are in some way "vented" or does this nomenclature suggest that the fireplace is what must be "vented"?

east tx skier
04-17-2007, 05:45 PM
my question may not have been clearly stated as a question... does "vented" mean that the logs are in some way "vented" or does this nomenclature suggest that the fireplace is what must be "vented"?

The latter I believe. Vented means you need a vent. Ventless supposedly means you don't, although it would seem that it is strongly encouraged to have a vent either way.

bobbyB
04-17-2007, 05:51 PM
Kummer

Let me throw out another perspective. Even if the company that your considering purchasing from says it's legel, check with your local building department first. We hear it over and again here in Washington state that they where told it was OK by the seller, even though the sellers know better. Well worth a quick call to see if it's even an option.

To vent or not to vent? Personally I would never trust some appliance to continue to function properly in order for it to remain safe! Like all other appliances it's going to break or at least not function as well. The vent-less units realy on high efficiency burning to keep things at a safe level. When does it become unsafe?? I'm not willing to chance it. It's the same kind of thinking that lead me to want a MC.....peace of mind;)

B

SkiDog
04-17-2007, 06:28 PM
my question may not have been clearly stated as a question... does "vented" mean that the logs are in some way "vented" or does this nomenclature suggest that the fireplace is what must be "vented"?
Vented means you must have a chimney going thru the roof, ventless means you don't.

Ric
04-17-2007, 06:33 PM
Vented means you must have a chimney going thru the roof, ventless means you don't. what do we call those fireplaces I've seen in new construction over the past 10 years that has no chimney through the roof, but rather what appears to be a blower unit or exhaust fan unit mounted on an outside wall of the house behind the fireplace?

SkiDog
04-17-2007, 06:36 PM
what do we call those fireplaces I've seen in new construction over the past 10 years that has no chimney through the roof, but rather what appears to be a blower unit or exhaust fan unit mounted on an outside wall of the house behind the fireplace?
I would guess a Ventless FP.

JohnnyB
04-17-2007, 07:02 PM
I have a direct vent gas fireplace in my home (Wisconsin). It is very efficient. In the dead of winter we can't run it for more than 15-20min without overheating our 2 story great room.....throws lots of heat!!!

If I had it to do over, i'd go with wood. Some warmth but possibly more regulateable and better ambiance :D

wakolman
04-17-2007, 08:41 PM
I also live in Wisconsin, and I built our house last year and installed a [I]direct vent[I] fireplace. It is about 70% efficient, so most of the heat is felt inside, not lost out a chimney or spent heating the chimney. They can be installed almost anywhere in the home, and vented directly outside. You see the vent cap on the side of houses where there is a direct vent fireplace. We have turned it on maybe 3 times in the past year. Just for looks, and something to point the funiture at (50" plasma above).

JohnE
04-17-2007, 08:57 PM
what do we call those fireplaces I've seen in new construction over the past 10 years that has no chimney through the roof, but rather what appears to be a blower unit or exhaust fan unit mounted on an outside wall of the house behind the fireplace?

These are vented appliances. The metal cap on the side of the house is the termination. So "vent" means exhaust. The combustion air comes from the air in the room.

And keep in mind what BobbyB said. These ventless appliances just became legal in MA. They are governed by the State Plumbing and Gas Code. The big homecenters have been selling them for a while.

My part time gig is as a local building inspector. Our Gas inspector speaks very negatively about them.

Workin' 4 Toys
04-17-2007, 10:54 PM
Any one have a recomendation on Gas fireplaces for new construction? I have heard both sides from some buddies about what direction to go. We are in Wilmington, Nc so it is a mild climate.
Anyone>??
I almost completely lost what the question was after reading all the repsonses.:confused:

I would like you to clarify what exactly you might mean by "NON". Are you suggesting there is no "exhaust" for the burnt fuel? Or there is no combustion make up air?
Are you using it for heat, looks, or both? Will you require a protective barrier covering the flame to keep kids, people, pets, etc. out?

Leroy
04-17-2007, 11:09 PM
I have two vented, both for looks and if the power ever goes out in the winter. Last house had a non-vented and it worked good, but I was always nervous with it.

Workin' 4 Toys
04-17-2007, 11:13 PM
I have two vented, both for looks and if the power ever goes out in the winter. Last house had a non-vented and it worked good, but I was always nervous with it.

psstt...Leroy, get a generator already will yah, and forget about the power going out...;)
Speaking of which, did you ever get that "water powered" back up pump??

Leroy
04-18-2007, 01:05 AM
Ha, I would like to get a generator, but even that is kind of like building a nuke shelter.

I was looking at the pumps last week again, they are holding around $100 each here. OUr landscape is such that flooding is less likely plus my boat to do list is staying very high!

djhuff
04-18-2007, 08:09 AM
Let's clear something up...

Ventless units (they're not called non vented) are units that have no exhaust flue. they take their combustion air from the room, and discharge the exhaust back to the room.
Pros... can put them anywhere without worrying how to get the exhaust fumes out, burn very cleanly, don't use much gas.
Cons... don't look as good (flames) and future risk of problems with incomplete combustion.

Direct Vent units... Units that have a flue that vents directly to the outside, but not through a traditional chimney (do not confuse with "zero clearance"). The flue is normally an 8" metal pipe directed to the outside, minimal rise is required so these can usually be vented directly out of the floor the unit is on.
Pros... easily fits into most floorplans without major modification, puts out good heat, more lifelike looking gas logs, much of the heat is maintained in the home. allwos for a tv nook above the fireplace without interfering with the flue
Cons... Can only be gas logs, usually have a glass front that cannot be opened (without special knowledge), don't have the "most" lifelike looking logs.

Zero Clearance... These are fireplaces that are pre fabbed, with a flue that requires very little clearance to combustible material (1"). The flue must run up (no greater than a 3/1 slope).
Pros... Can burn wood, or the most lifelike looking gas logs. Good heat retention, very versatile in installation, very inexpensive.
Cons... Require venting vertically. Must be cleaned yearly (soot).

Masonry... Oldest, all masonry, vertical flue, requires footing under entire unit.

Hope this clears everything up. I tend to use zero clearance units as much as possible, with a gas fire starter (gives the easiest way to put gas logs in down the road)

JohnE
04-18-2007, 08:47 AM
Good summary, djhuff.

I'd also ask what are the btu ratings of a ventless? My understanding is that they don't throw much heat. And in MA, they are not permitted in a room as the only heat source.

Workin' 4 Toys
04-18-2007, 09:34 AM
Good summary, djhuff.

I'd also ask what are the btu ratings of a ventless? My understanding is that they don't throw much heat. And in MA, they are not permitted in a room as the only heat source.
I had a direct vent unit in my previous house I had built. It turned on and off by a wall mounted switch, easy to use. If you leave it on a while, it produces good heat, the room should have a circulation fan. I'd guess it is probably a very inefficient source of heat either way. Good for looks though.
I had a masonry f/p built this time. I think I will enjoy it alot more. This time I can chose between gas logs and/or wood.

Kummer
04-19-2007, 12:12 PM
I almost completely lost what the question was after reading all the repsonses.:confused:

I would like you to clarify what exactly you might mean by "NON". Are you suggesting there is no "exhaust" for the burnt fuel? Or there is no combustion make up air?
Are you using it for heat, looks, or both? Will you require a protective barrier covering the flame to keep kids, people, pets, etc. out?


My Fireplace Lingo I guess is a litttle off. Djhuff said it best
A> Ventless units (they're not called non vented) are units that have no exhaust flue.

VS

B. Direct Vent units... Units that have a flue that vents directly to the outside, but not through a traditional chimney

I appreicate all the feedback and it seems like a matter of opinion. My uses are to have the unit 1. produce heat for a 1200 sf den and kitchen area 2. look simmilar to real fireplace.

The comparison I have seems to suggest

A. Ventless units - PROS- Higest BTU output, placment flexablity CONS -danger from fumes, less realistic, produces moisture?

B. Direct Vent - PROS Burns clean w/o exaust releasing into room, best looks, CONS, Less Heat output, Consumes more gas/energy

Seems like if I can get a Direct vent unit with compariable BTU and gas consumption that will be the best choice. Am I missing something?

Thanks again. All this hosue stuff has cut into my boating time :rolleyes: I guess it will be worth it in the end.

Mag_Red
04-19-2007, 12:14 PM
My Fireplace Lingo I guess is a litttle off. Djhuff said it best
A> Ventless units (they're not called non vented) are units that have no exhaust flue.

VS

B. Direct Vent units... Units that have a flue that vents directly to the outside, but not through a traditional chimney

I appreicate all the feedback and it seems like a matter of opinion. My uses are to have the unit 1. produce heat for a 1200 sf den and kitchen area 2. look simmilar to real fireplace.

The comparison I have seems to suggest

A. Ventless units - PROS- Higest BTU output, placment flexablity CONS -danger from fumes, less realistic, produces moisture?

B. Direct Vent PROS Burns clean w/o exaust releasign into room, best looks, CONS, Less Heat output, Consumes more gas/energy

Seems like if I can get a Direct vent unit with compariable BTU and gas consumption that will be the best choice. An I missing something?

Thanks again. All this hosue stuff has cut into my boating time :rolleyes: I guess it will be worth it in the end.Interested in this as well as I'm breaking ground in about a week

djhuff
04-19-2007, 02:00 PM
Go down to Today's Fireplace (kind of near Landfall). If the store is like anything up here, they will have plenty of logs set up in differing units to look at. It came up in Yahoo as "Today's Fireplace" but the company has changed its name to "Hearth and Home Technologies" (I think).
They carry these: which "use" up to 21,000 BTU input in Natural gas. this is a direct vent.

djhuff
04-19-2007, 02:06 PM
HEre is an interesting take on Ventless Gas FP. It is a manufacturer of an alternative, but they provide some good backup to what I have said here.http://www.ventless-gel-fireplace.com/ventless-gas-fireplaces.html

Jesus_Freak
04-19-2007, 02:56 PM
I used to work for one of the top national builders and it was a company policy NEVER to use non vented. Think about it, it's burning gas, combustion in it's perfect sense puts off CO2 and H2O. Now at best you are adding extra Carbon Dioxide and water vapor into your house, then what happens as the unit ages, and incomplete combustion eventually occurs (which there is little indication that this is happening, and how many of us are going to have our fireplaces inspected every year).

Newer vented units are very efficient and put off good heat (but face it, most are used strictly for look), and with direct venting, you can put them just about anywhere, the flue isn't very big and can run almost horizontal to get out of the house.

Sorry, not worth it to me.

My concern with this post (along with your later referenced article) is that the relative amounts of these contaminants are not considered. The human is merely an internal combustion engine. Our gasoline is sugar and its derivatives, and our combustion products are CO2 and H2O. So, we are spewing out these items constantly. Of course, there is some level of natural gas being produced as well, right? We, along with our paints, cleaners, fabrics, polishes, nearby factories, automobiles, boats, etc., emit things which could be undesirable in large concentrations.

Soot formation, flame color, and CO monitors are all somewhat useful (not perfect) indications as to the level of incomplete combusion.

Lastly, regardless of the "state of the art" of vented units, there will never be a change in physics: Radiation minus lost_vented_heat minus lost_chimney_effect_heat will never compare with the direct convection coming from the flame.

So...unless someone has a keen sensitivity to the PPM level contaminants from incomplete natural gas combustion, the answer seems clear. But hey...that is the JF-$0.02 special.