Question: We are planning to build our new home and would like to install a fire place. Since we live in the deep south (Baton Rouge, LA) a fire place is more or less a room decoration rather than a practical/useful heat source - it is simply not needed. In our climate, we are more concerned with 95 degree temperature and 90% humidity about 9 months out of the year. Current experience with our existing conventional wood burning fire place is that we tend to use it for a few hours about 5 nights per year! I don't expect the unit at the new house to be used much more than this. Thus, we want to save money on the fire place, but still have a functional, nice looking unit. For this case, would you recommend a gas, ventless unit? I have seen some electric models that look realistic - what is your opinion of them? Are you at liberty to suggest manufacturers and model numbers for both gas and electric models? Answer: Here's what it boils down to, quite simply. A) Vented products add heat, not moisture into a home. B) Vent free products add both moisture, by way of gas combustion, and heat into a home. C) A direct vented product is a terrific choice of a vented product because you can run a small amount of venting from the product straight back, and then terminate of the outside wall of your house. D) A vent free product does use any venting. E) A direct vented product will not contribute odors into a home because it is a sealed product. It gets its combustion air from the outdoors, and then dispels the exhausts back outside. F) A vent free product may contribute odors in the home because air that contains odors will be drawn into the product, burned, and then disbursed back into the living area. This burning of the odor-laden air can sometimes exacerbate the odor. G) A direct vent product uses several safety features on the valve and pilot system to shut off gas supply should there be an interruption of its operation. H) A vent free product uses an ODS System which monitors oxygen levels and will shut the product down should there be a problem. It would seem to me that the use of a vent free product would not adversely affect anything in the house as the climate is moisture laden anyway. It may contribute to odors, especially in a new home where you have several materials "out gassing" like carpets, paint, varnish, silicone, etc. But, if I lived in your area, I would lean toward a direct vent, vented product. It eliminates these unknown factors. But, I don't know what your tastes are, your budget, and area where the product will be installed. That's where a dealer comes in. First, I recommend that you look at several brands such as Heat N Glo, Majestic, and others listed on the Hearth web site. They are all quality products. Second, find out where you can see them in person. Then, get the details you need in terms of installation requirements, etc. Armed with all of that, you can make an informed decision. Good luck.