Vented vs Ventless Gas Fireplace

There are many benefits to gas fireplaces, but you need to know which kind is right for you and your family's needs. You have the choice between a ventless gas log fireplace and a vented gas log fireplace. We've assembled this vented vs ventless gas fireplace comparison guide to help you understand the differences between the two.

Few luxuries surpass the warmth and ambiance of a fireplace lighting up your living room on a cold winter's night. Friends and family gather around the fire to play games, tell stories and unwind after a long day. If you're building a house or looking to install a fireplace, you should consider purchasing a gas fireplace.


What Is a Gas Log Fireplace?

Gas log fireplaces differ from standard wood fireplaces in a few ways. The most obvious difference is the fuel source. Standard fireplaces burn wood while gas log fireplaces burn either propane or natural gas to produce flames. Both types of fireplaces serve the purpose of heating your home and providing a warm, radiating light. Unlike other home heating methods, fireplaces can heat your home while also being the center point of a room where friends and family gather to celebrate and relax.

Gas log fireplaces provide supplemental warmth to homes with existing heating methods. They offer the ambiance of standard fireplaces without the hassle of cleaning up ash from the surrounding floor and chimney. And best of all, you won't have to chop and stack wood to keep the fireplace burning!

How Does a Gas Fireplace Work?

Gas fireplaces work by combusting propane or natural gas to produce flames, generating heat. The gas fireplace will pull fresh air into the fire chamber and mix it with the heat given off by the flames, increasing the air's temperature. The fireplace then releases this air, filling your room with warmth. You get the look and feel of a standard fireplace without all the work that goes with them.

Gas fireplaces are easy to light and run, saving you time and energy when you want to experience the pleasure that a fireplace provides. As long as you have a supply of propane or natural gas connected to your gas stove fireplace, you'll have heat and flame on demand, whenever the need arises.

Gas fireplaces use fireplace gas logs to mimic the look of a real fireplace. These special logs resist burning under the heat of the flame and help the gas fireplace to function. There are two types of gas logs to choose from: vent free gas logs and vented gas logs.

Vented vs Ventless Gas Fireplace Logs

Vented and ventless gas fireplace logs are different and serve different purposes. It's essential to know which you should get because your choice will affect the functionality of your natural gas or propane fireplace. You can install either a ventless gas fireplace or a vented one, and you'll need to match the logs accordingly.

If you're not sure which type of gas fireplace or logs to buy, learn the differences between them so you can go ahead with confidence knowing that you're making the right decision for your family's fireplace needs.


Vented Gas Log Fireplace

Vented gas log fireplaces require proper venting for safety and efficiency. Like standard fireplaces, vented gas logs will release carbon monoxide into the air as the fireplace burns the propane or natural gas. For this reason, you must connect vented gas fireplaces to a chimney or flue to release harmful emissions out of the house while keeping the warmth inside. Each time you use your vented gas log fireplace, you must remember to open the damper for safe functioning.

Some people categorize vented gas log fireplaces with "fake fireplace logs." The reality is that vented gas fireplaces look like the real thing. Since they require the same venting as standard fireplaces, they give off a more realistic flame than ventless gas log fireplaces. For this reason, they're a great choice for homeowners who are hesitant to part with their standard fireplace but want a safer and easier fireplace experience.

Another aspect of vented gas log fireplaces that you should keep in mind is heat loss. Vented gas fireplaces will lose some of their heat through the chimney or flue as they burn the propane or natural gas. This results in a loss of efficiency. This causes vented gas fireplaces to take longer to heat a room, and they may have a harder time bringing a room up to your desired temperature.

Homeowners with existing chimneys or flues may choose vented gas log fireplaces over ventless ones. Since they already have a proper venting structure, the installation will be easy and non-intrusive. They'll be able to enjoy the realistic, beautiful flames that a vented gas log fireplace provides without the mess of a standard fireplace. When making your decision, remember that vented gas fireplaces win in looks, but they lose in heat production compared to ventless gas log fireplaces.

Ventless Gas Log Fireplace

A vent free gas fireplace differs from a vented one in several ways. First, it does not need a chimney, a flue or any other venting structure to function safely. Besides burning fuel more efficiently than a vented gas fireplace, it contains a sensor that monitors oxygen levels. This gives it a higher level of efficiency. Since it's ventless, you won't need an existing chimney to install one. Installation is easy for homes of any style, with or without a chimney.

The first difference you may notice between ventless and vented gas log fireplaces is that ventless ones look less realistic than their vented counterparts. Since they lack the airflow an open damper and chimney provides, the flames are noticeably stagnant. On the other hand, ventless fireplaces can send more heat into your room due to the lack of a vent through which heat can escape. This makes them more efficient than vented gas fireplaces.

Ventless gas log fireplaces are a great choice for homeowners seeking an efficient heat source that provides a comforting glow, although they lack the realistic appearance of a standard fireplace or a vented gas fireplace. Since they do not require a chimney or flue, they're easy to install in any room of the house. However, you'll have to keep some extra safety precautions in mind when using them.

Are Ventless Fireplaces Safe?

Although ventless fireplaces are more efficient, you need to keep safety in mind as you operate them. Since there are no venting structures to remove harmful carbon monoxide emissions, you run the risk of letting harmful gases into your home. Despite this, ventless fireplaces are safe as long as you use them properly.

Be conscious of your usage. Treat a ventless gas log fireplace like the other gas-powered appliances in your house. Consider venting a nearby window or limiting how long you use it. Never leave it on when you're away from home, and call your local fire department if the smell of gas becomes strong. Seek professional advice if you have any concerns about how to use a ventless gas log fireplace.

How Much Does It Cost to Run a Gas Fireplace?

If you're considering installing a gas fireplace, then you need to know how much money it will cost to keep it running. Several factors affect the price to run a gas fireplace, including the following:

  • Efficiency: Vented gas fireplaces are less efficient than ventless ones. This loss of efficiency is due to heat escaping through the chimney or flue. A vented gas log fireplace will need to work harder to generate the same amount of heat as a ventless gas fireplace. This translates to a higher cost over time.
  • Room size: The size of the room you're heating with your gas fireplace will affect the cost of running it. Rooms with high ceilings will be especially expensive to heat. Heat rises, so it will take longer for the air around your body to increase in temperature
  • Size of your gas fireplace: The larger your gas fireplace, the more expensive it will be to run. Check your gas fireplace's BTU rating. Try to match the size of your gas fireplace with the room for peak efficiency.
  • Other heat sources: If your gas fireplace is a secondary heat source for your living room or bedroom, then you can save money when you run it. Use your gas fireplace in tandem with your home's primary heat source to keep the cost of use lower.
  • Cost of fuel: This is how you'll determine a ballpark number for monthly costs. How much does your natural gas or propane provider charge you per unit? This price will affect how much it costs to run your propane or natural gas fireplace.

How Hot Does a Fireplace Get?

Gas fireplaces add a comforting ambiance to any room, but you're likely interested in them for more than looks. You're looking for a source of heat that needs less upkeep than a standard fireplace, so you'll want to know how hot the fireplace can get. The answer depends on which type of gas log fireplace you choose.

Vented gas log fireplaces can provide radiating warmth to a room, but they lack the ability to heat your entire house. It is a great option as a secondary heat source, as it does generate some heat. Although, depending on how large your room is, a vented gas log fireplace might struggle to heat even a single room due to heat loss through the chimney or flue. Despite this, it provides warmth to add a cozy element to your living room or bedroom.

A ventless gas fireplace is more efficient than a vented gas fireplace because none of the heat escapes through a venting structure. The heat it produces will stay in your room, increasing the temperature more quickly and noticeably. For this reason, a ventless gas fireplace is a better option if you're looking for a more efficient and effective way to heat a room. The aesthetic appeal may be less in a ventless gas fireplace, but the comfort and heat will be greater.

Remember to monitor the length of time you use your ventless gas fireplace. Keep carbon monoxide levels down by using it in short bursts or cracking a window. It's best to use your ventless gas fireplace as a secondary heat source.

Both types of gas fireplaces generate heat in a safer way than standard fireplaces, but they're both better suited as a secondary heat source to use in addition to your home's primary heat source.

Vented vs Ventless Gas Fireplace Operations

Classic fireplaces require you to chop firewood, light kindling and monitor your logs to keep them lit. Gas fireplaces provide a much easier experience. The following sections describe how to operate both ventless and vented gas log fireplaces.

How to Operate a Ventless Gas Fireplace

Ventless gas fireplaces operate by igniting the pilot light with a lighter or with a small electrical impulse from a control panel. You must make sure your gas fireplace is receiving propane or natural gas to light it. Use a gas key to turn on the stream of gas to your fireplace. Be sure to turn on the gas only when you're ready to light the fireplace to limit the amount of gas entering the air.

Once your ventless gas fireplace is lit, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the warmth. Even though ventless gas fireplaces burn gas more cleanly than vented ones, you must still remember to be conscious of your usage to keep the air in your home safe to breathe.

How to Work a Vented Gas Fireplace

Vented gas fireplaces operate in much the same way as ventless ones. One difference to consider is the need for a chimney or flue to let carbon monoxide and other harmful gases escape. When igniting your vented gas fireplace, you must remember to open the damper to provide proper airflow. Forgetting to do so could result in harmful conditions within your house.

Always be sure to turn off the gas flow when you're finished using your gas fireplace, whether it uses vents or not. Proper safety precautions are the first step toward enjoying your gas log fireplace.

Vented vs Ventless Gas Fireplace Maintenance

Your new gas fireplace requires regular maintenance and upkeep to keep it running. Here's how you should approach the process of keeping your gas fireplace safe and functional.

Ventless Gas Fireplace Maintenance

Ventless gas fireplaces are easy to maintain since there are no chimneys or flues accumulating soot to worry about. The most important thing to remember to clean is the oxygen sensor. This keeps you and your family safe by shutting off the ventless gas fireplace before oxygen levels become unsafe.

You should make sure your pilot opening is clear of any dirt or sediment to ensure a healthy flame. This will keep your ventless gas fireplace efficient and easy to light. You may also need to clean the glass covering panel to keep your gas fireplace looking good as new.

Vented Gas Fireplace Maintenance

Vented gas fireplaces have no oxygen sensor to clean, but they do have a chimney or flue that you need to maintain. A buildup of sediment in these structures could be unsafe, increasing your risk of fires and unclean air. Have a professional check the status of these structures to let you know if they need cleaning.

Besides that difference, you should maintain a vented gas fireplace the same way you'd take care of a ventless one. Check the pilot opening and keep the glass covering panel clean of dirt, and you'll enjoy your gas fireplace for years to come.

What is Your Vented vs Ventless Gas Fireplace Decision?

Ingram's Water & Air is here for your your vented vs ventless gas fireplace needs. We offer high-quality products at a fraction of the price of big-box stores, so you can rest assured you're making a smart purchase when you shop with us. We've been selling home comfort products online since 2000, making us one of the most reputable online HVAC equipment sellers around.

Check out our gas fireplace inventory today, or browse our entire selection of products. We look forward to helping you take the next step in your home heating and comfort needs.

2 comments (view/add)
  • Margie
    Posted on 1/22/2021

    I have a ventless gas fireplace in my sun room which I loved at first. One, it has a thermospate which I thought was great. How ever it causes so must condensation that it is a mess, I purchased a portable dehumitafier. Two, it has created black stoot all over everything.As a result I have turn it off. I just know that if there is ever a storm and I loose power I will always be able to turn it on have heat in that room. Any suggestions?

  • Dan Danowski
    Dan Danowski from Ingrams
    Posted on 1/22/2021

    One downside of ventless technology is that it puts out a lot of humidity. A portable dehumidifier or running your air conditioner in dry mode (if it has one) can help reduce that. In terms of the black soot, I would recommend you have a professional come in to evaluate the system.

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