Snow has already fallen across parts of the country, and that means winter is just around the corner. Meteorologists and other weather experts, including the Old Farmer’s Almanac, have forecasted the upcoming winter to be as frigid as the previous year. This prediction has caused everyone to start thinking ahead about how to stay warm in spite of the sub-freezing temperatures. Staying warm outside can be as simple as lots of layers, a warm jacket, and a hat, but keeping warm inside is another story. Some homes in the Washington D.C. area rely on fireplaces or stoves to heat part or all of the house during the cold months. If this applies to you and your home, you may not realize you have the option of utilizing a direct vent stove or insert for your fireplace.
As opposed to a traditionally vented fireplace or stove, a direct vent unit does not use a chimney. Instead, the unit vents directly outside using a double pipe set up. The interior pipe allows the smoke and other fumes from the fire to escape the house, while the pipe surrounding it creates a thin “wall” of fresh outside air that feeds oxygen to the fire. A benefit of this type of fireplace or stove is that you can use this unit in very airtight homes without needing to open a window. It works this way because the unit does not use any oxygen from the home’s air to fuel the fire. Rather, it burns oxygen from outdoor air.
Direct vent fireplaces and stoves are among the most efficient gas-powered appliances, second only to vent-free units. However, they keep the indoor air much cleaner than vent-free units. One aspect to watch for with direct vent appliances is to use the venting pipe designed to go with the unit or to have the venting pipe custom made for the space. The measurements are very precise to create the right draft, or air flow, into and out of the fire to ensure the fire stays lit. Also, some units may require venting through an outside wall or through the roof specifically, while others can vent out either location.
When installed properly, direct vent fireplaces and stoves can burn continuously if the user chooses to do so without risking air quality in the space. They have low operating costs and are ideal in homes with another primary source of heating. Many considerations go into choosing the right type of stove or fireplace insert for your home, so you may wish to consult with a fireplace and chimney specialist to further explore your options. If you live in the area of Washington D.C., you can contact Winston’s Chimney Service for a professional consultation.