Vent-free fireplaces are also called unvented and are a popular alternative from a traditional fireplace. You can tell vent-free gas logs from vented logs in that they produce a blue flame. These logs are specially designed to provide almost full fuel combustion, which means less carbon monoxide and soot.
The great aspect of vent-free fireplace logs is that if you have a standard masonry fireplace, they can simply be placed inside. You will also have a nice choice of log types that are extremely realistic. For example, you will find logs that look like oak, ash, pine, and other types of wood. You can also choose from three logs, four logs, five logs, and so on. Then, to add to the overall ambience of the fireplace, you can even by special material that sits in the bottom of the fireplace that creates the look of glowing embers when a fire is burning.
Dating back to the 1980s, all vent-free fireplaces were required to have an Oxygen Depletion Sensor that shuts the fuel source off before a carbon monoxide problem reaches dangerous levels. When it comes to moisture, since this is a byproduct of combustion, you will find that in a vent-free fireplace, the moisture can enter into the home.
The advantage of using gas logs in a vent-free fireplace is that they generate a good deal of heat. For this reason, when burning a fire in this type of fireplace, make sure any combustible material is kept far away. You also want to make sure you burn the logs only when the door is open and if you want to push the heat out into the room better, you can install a blower.
For safety purposes, it is crucial that you do not fall asleep or leave the gas logs burning unattended while burning a fire. In fact, most manufacturers of vent-free fireplaces and gas logs recommend that this type of unit be operated for a limited time. Some may recommend you not burn a fire longer than two hours and some will recommend four hours. Therefore, be sure you pay careful attention to information provided by the manufacturer of your vent-free fireplace and gas logs.
Another good idea when burning a fire, even on a cold winter day is to slight crack a window to allow fresh air into the room. You also want to remember that just because a unit is larger than another unit that does not make it better. For this type of fireplace and log, you should actually choose the size of unit that coordinates best with the size of your room. If you have a smaller home or room to heat and you put a large, 40,000 BTU unit in, you will be overwhelmed with heat and experience problems with air quality that could be dangerous.
Before you run out and buy a vent-free fireplace and gas logs, make sure they are legal in the state where you live since they are not legal everywhere. You can check your local building codes to make sure. Finally, if you were going to go this route, you would be wise to invest in a couple of carbon monoxide detectors. These devices are inexpensive and available at your local hardware or home improvement store.