Weather forecasters are expecting another frigid winter this year, similar to last winter, which has everyone considering all of their heating options. For those utilizing a gas fireplace for at least a portion of the heat in their homes, now is the time to choose whether vent free gas logs, vented gas logs, or a direct vent appliance will suit your home the best.
The vent free gas logs offer the benefit of nearly 100 percent fuel efficiency. These low heating costs mean big savings, and this high efficiency also allows the fire to burn with the damper completely closed. These fires also burn surprisingly hot and can warm up a fairly large space, making them ideal as a heating source. However, they cannot burn for more than four hours at a time without depleting home’s oxygen levels and making the space very humid. Additionally, they need the chance to cure before using them as vent free logs. The first three to five hours of burning must be done with the damper open before it can burn safely without venting.
Vented gas logs provide the most realistic look of all the log options. The logs can be rearranged, aside from the bottom two logs, to make the set look most appealing to you, and you can add little details like extra logs or pine cones as long as they are designed for vented gas fireplaces. These logs must be burned with the damper completely open because the fire produces toxic fumes just like a wood burning fire does. The open flue also allows most of the heat to escape through the flue, which means the vented gas logs should not be relied on as a heating source for the home.
The direct vent appliance offers relatively new technology that offers the best of both the vent free and vented gas logs. This special fireplace insert has a double pipe venting structure that expels harmful fumes through the inner pipe and draws in fresh oxygen to the fire using the space between the outer pipe and the inner pipe. Just 7 ½ percent less efficient than the vent free unit, it provides significantly better air quality by not using the oxygen inside the home and by expelling all of the byproducts from the home. It also creates much more heat than a vented fire, making it a good candidate for a secondary heating source.
Choosing to utilize vent free gas logs, vented gas logs, or a direct vent appliance should be based on the other heating options in your home and your lifestyle. To speak with a fireplace and chimney expert in the Washington D.C. area, click here to schedule an appointment with Winston’s Chimney Service.