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Ventless or vented? Stove suggestion?

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by geka, Jan 27, 2009.

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  1. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    I don't have a dog in this fight, and frankly don't care what the OP puts in their house, but I have to agree with the statement above... for back up or occasional secondary use, I do think these are well suited for these applications. If the things were that unsafe, they wouldn't be sold, period.

    BTW, I'd also welcome a little extra water vapor in my house during the winter. ;)

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  2. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Complete combustion requires oxygen and produces CO2 and water. Incomplete combustion creates other potentially dangerous compounds like CO.
    Even under ideal conditions most combustion processes are not 100% complete.

    I think most here understand this but some are just less willing to take risks or don't have a situation where a ventless is suitable.

    I've run a ventless in a shop without problems. I've run one in a relatively tight house and had problems. Just like anything else the device has to fit the application.
  3. trafick

    trafick Member

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    jdemaris,

    On line 5 of the manuals for both of the Vermont Casting vent-free gas stove models (Reliance and Stardance) it states "DO NOT install in bedrooms..." Now why wouldn't they want their product in the bedroom...where you sleep.

    As I said. If you are happy with vent-free then great. I wouldn't have one.
  4. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    Seems you are saying that they are all the same?

    I don't own, nor do I have any experience with any Vermont Castings gas stove or heater. Don't want to either. I assume just by the brand name that they are pricey. I'll take function and utility over appearance and brand recognition anytime - especially for part-time use backup heaters. No ambiance needed.

    At the outset, I detailed the make, model, and type of heater I've been using. Not a Vermont Castings, NOT an open-flame heater, and NOT prohibited for use in bedrooms.

    And again, the original post was not about installing as a main or full-time use heating source. Just part-time use and backup during power outages.

    I'll add that before these gas heaters were legal in New York, many people were using unvented kerosene heaters instead during power outages. They were the rage for many years. and a heck of a lot more dangerous.

    15 years ago, unvented gas heaters were illegal in 30 states. Now, they are illegal in only five, last I counted. That was after the American Gas Assocition Reserach Division concluded that:

    "under very specific installation conditions, within specific regions of the
    country, providing proper and again case specific, Btu sizing and air ventilation for the
    room, these products do not represent a health hazard. "

    They further stated, in specific reference to the heaters that I have mentioned and the problem of making general statements about all the heaters - as many posters have done here:

    "in the safety of low Btu, Blue flame or Plaque type, infra-red heaters, which have less of a
    tendency to emit high levels of products of combustion, harmful or otherwise.
    Unfortunately, the Vent-Free Gas Products Alliance has chosen to include all product
    types. Promoting them equally, under a general category and representing them as a single
    entity. Therefore this review has to be, as, general with regards to it's scope of product
    types."
  5. Linnae

    Linnae New Member

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    I'm with both of you. I grew up with beautiful old (I'm talking 1920s-old) NG radiant heaters in every room, had them in my houses for another 20 years after I married, have recently installed a lovely little ProCom Blue Flame as supplementary/emergency heating and am nuts about it.

    To be sure, all my homes have been older houses w/good fresh air exchange, but in all my very long life I have never heard of anything bad happening w/such heaters that wasn't the direct result of negligence, ignorance, or stupidity. A well-designed & well-maintained vent-free gas heater is the safest, cleanest, most convenient, efficient, inexpensive solution to the first requirement of human survival--maintaining body heat.

    I have had it up to here with the imbecilic notion that if one fool somewhere can possibly misuse something, no one can use it. These people won't be satisfied till they have us all strapped down in hyperbaric plastic bubbles feeding us intravenous tofu.
  6. Fsappo

    Fsappo Minister of Fire

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    We sell vent free and vented appliances in our shop. We sell vent free in the event someone really can't vent. We also educate the customers before they buy one:
    1. In a lot of cases you can notice an odor. ( I have a vent free in my LR that I use. I notice an odor after 2 hours or so)
    2. They do contribute moisture to the home. Most homes around here are plagued with very dry air during the winter and the moisture is most welcomed. In a tight home that uses a hot water system instead of a hot air system, I wouldn't recommend it.
    3. I've never experienced or heard of a documented case that caused me to believe that vent free appliances would be any more hazardous than other appliances. Keep the proper detectors in the home. I'd reckon to say there are more casualties per appliance with wood stoves than with vent free appliances.
    4. If they get out of tune, they can create soot, which is bad for the lungs and can make your home filthy. Because of this, I dont promote using them set unattended on a thermostat.

    It's my opinion that they are safe to sell and use provided they are maintained and have the proper detectors installed along with them.

    A side note, my vent free logs will come out of my fireplace and will be replaced with a vented fireplace insert so I can use the fireplace for extended periods of time without getting the odor. I'll add a humidifier to the room to make up for the moisture I'll be losing.
  7. abaton6

    abaton6 Member

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    I would not sleep very well using a ventless stove. Don't do it.
  8. Linnae

    Linnae New Member

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    Suit yourself. I've been sleeping well with them for most of 75 years.
  9. ruth140

    ruth140 Member

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    660 East Bay Ave Manahawkin n.j. 08050
    you cant heat 2000 sq ft with a vent free unit anyway. the largest vent free unit is 30,000 bts.
    so go with a high heat direct vent gas fireplace. travis ( Fireplace Xtrordinair makes a nice one and Mendota does too. and they both have great turn down rates.
    .... my 2 cents :)
  10. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

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    I have a direct vent as back up if we go away for days in winter. Make sure you get a pilot light; you will need it if you loose power.
    Be safe. Ed
  11. Fsappo

    Fsappo Minister of Fire

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    I am currently heating my whole house with a 30K btu ventless heater. No smells, no need for humidifiers and a much more steady heat than the on/off hot air system. But my house has all 8' cielings. The reason I mention this is that vent free stoves are almost all convection heat. If you have a room with cathedral ceilings you can stand 5 feet in front of a ventless stove and not feel heat. A direct vent stove on the other hand provide very nice radiant heat as well as convection. In my opinion better for taller rooms. You'll also have a much nicer flame to look at.
  12. abaton6

    abaton6 Member

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    http://www.epinions.com/content_3647578244



    Is Choosing A Vent-Free Gas Fireplace Stupid or Foolish?... You Decide.
    Dec 16 '03

    The Bottom Line Choose a vented space heater or gas fireplace, and prove to our future generations that we have indeed learned something from our cave dwelling ancestors.

    I have written many articles about the foolishness of vent-free gas fireplaces. I have rambled on about the stupidity of expecting them to be safe for you and your families. I have tried to express in logical argument as well as, technical terms why they are a stupid and extremely foolish concept. In response to the many decisive and as yet, undisputed arguments, seemingly intelligent people continue to buy them, abuse them and wonder at the ways in which they can hurt them.

    I've come to realize that I can't stop people from buying them. I've come to accept that I can't stop people who have them, from abusing them. I've even come to accept that people will continue to have bad experiences with them.

    I can only hope that this message will continue to make some people aware of the dangers they present and I hope that a few of you listen, read, and learn. My only hope in writing these warnings is that some of you will come to understand where you are heading and you will act to stop personal disasters, before they happen to you and your family.

    Vent-free gas fireplaces, whether fired on natural gas or propane offer the foolish promise of being close to 100% efficient. Yes,... they are delivering almost 100 percent of the heat from the gas consumed into your home. They are also delivering 100 percent of the by-products of combustion into your home. Carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, water vapor, sulfur dioxide and heat are the primary by-products of combustion.

    A brand new, properly designed, installed, and set-up vent-free fireplace may operate reasonably safely for the first few years. If your installing contractor fails to follow specific installation instructions, and manufacturer's specifications, you and your family may have a problem. If you, as the consumer, fail to follow the manufacturer's operating instructions and maintenance instructions, you may have a problem. If the appliance becomes old, which all appliances do, it could develop defects which create problems for you and your family.

    * The problem could be carbon monoxide poisoning, CO is silent, colorless, odorless, and extremely deadly. It could result in the death of a small pet or even a family member.
    * The problem could be water vapor damage to the structure of the home. Wall paper peeling off and structural damages have been recorded.
    * The problem could be that, you or some members of your family are susceptible to the fore-mentioned by-products of combustion and develop respiratory problems.
    * The problem could be coming home one day to a home that has been devastated by soot damage and your home insurance company denies your claim. (Some already have, such as State Farm.)

    The point I am trying so hard to make is this...

    Unvented (Ventless, Vent-Free) gas fireplaces are not forgiving. If the manufacturer, makes a mistake in the fabrication of it, you pay the price. If the installing contractor makes a mistake, you pay the price. If you fail to have it maintained properly over the years, you will pay the price and when it fails from old age, as all appliances are bound to do, you will pay the price.

    So what began as an opportunity to save a few dollars per year will eventually become your nightmare, or perhaps, if you are one of the lucky ones, the nightmare of the person you sell your home to. In any event, having spent the better part of my life in this industry and having seen the damage these products can do to a family, I know that the short term efficiency benefits are very short in terms of human life and the fuel savings are over-shadowed by the penalties of those who eventually face product failure.

    Some countries around the world have wisely banned vent-free fireplaces. Some states within the union continue to ban them. Too many accept the premise that this industry represents a precious contribution to retail sales that make the economy stronger, without regard for human health and welfare.

    I do not speak of these things from the side lines of the world. I am intimately involved in the day to day resolution of problems with them. I would like nothing more than to find people waking up to refuse this technology that was developed for the sole purpose of making another almighty buck at the expense of people who know no better.

    STOP BUYING AND USING VENT-FREE GAS FIREPLACES!

    Direct vented and naturally vented gas appliances are readily available and can be installed in virtually any situation for almost the same cost as a vent-free appliance. The small cost of lost heat through the flue pipes are an extremely small price to pay for the enjoyment you gain from a vented gas stove or fireplace, the enhanced integrity of your home and the health of your family.

    My last ditch reminder of the dangers you will face with the selection of a vent-free gas fireplace are;
    * Was it properly designed? (How can you know?)
    * Was it properly applied to your home? (Size, input rate,
    recommended air changes per hour?)
    * Was it properly installed in your home? (Qualified
    installers?)
    * Have you had a proper combustion analysis conducted in
    your home? (CO and CO2)
    * Was it properly maintained in your home? (Annually as
    recommended and promoted by those liable for your
    health.)
    * Are you aware of what to look for when it fails, ( and
    it will) from old age and use in your home? Such as
    sudden sooting problems, headaches, vomiting, members
    of the family becoming comatose.

    Please feel free to email me for alternative suggestions to vent-free gas fireplaces. There are many products, many options and they are all favorable to your health.

    NOTE: I do not sell or endorse any specific products.

    Best regards,
    Gasman
  13. pip3398

    pip3398 Member

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    I know this is a little late and won't likely get too much attention. I know of several situations that have been costly because of vent free units and most of them have been for other reasons not mentioned in this article.

    I went to an estimate for a vented gas unit a few years back, and the house just purchase by my customer had 3 vent free units in operation. To start, I was there about an hour and a half and came away with the worst headache that I couldn't get rid of all day. The most intriguing thing was that all of the windows had a fog between the double panes and had rotted sills. Moisture covered all of the windows and sills. The new owner was going to replace all of the windows and sliders. While I was there it felt like a sauna. I am sure there was probably mold issues that gave me the headache, but that would still be a result of the moisture issues.

    Another time I had a customer come in for a vented unit for a new room. We figured out the venting and I asked about gas line. He proceeded to tell me about the vent free he installed and the 3 days he spent in intensive care from polyurethane he was applying while running the vent free. His wife found him nearly dead overcome with fumes. Vent free units burning anything and everything that travels through the air and send those fumes through your house. Just try spraying some hairspray in a room with one burning. Watch the flame go from blue to Orange in seconds. Pet hair, dust and dead skin cells also regularly burn in them. Kind of gross.

    On a similar situation, a good friend of mine installed one in his garage. He used it 2 years and is a mechanic using a number of solvents. I could not hang out there more than an hour with that running as I would get another headache (probably from the solvents). His only reason for taking it out was of the damage it did to his $100,000. tools. Beautiful snap on wrench's sockets etc. that now have white water mark like corrosion on them. I've always worried about him breathing those chemicals and there byproducts from burning them. His lungs though but he is 53 and already seems to be affected.

    I have heard several other stories, but these are a few that stick out. I think vent free units make a good backup, but would not recommend them for any type of continuous usage. If vent free is so safe, why do we vent hot water heaters? In the local area you can have a vent free but are required to have a vented range hood over a gas kitchen stove.

    If you are going to use it for regular heating, use a vented product. Don't take chances with your health.
  14. abaton6

    abaton6 Member

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    Good post pip. I would not have a non vented unit in my home. I'll pay the extra for a direct vent unit. I try and tell folks here in Vt that non vented units are not good for you, but my advice falls on deaf ears.
  15. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    We use ours for backup in a draft old cottage. I'd like a DV eventually, but it'll work to keep our pipes from freezing in the event we can't get home to restart the Lopi for some reason. VF does have a smell, but we use an air purifier and don't really smell it much when it does pop on-but it's not on much.

    IMO if you want a stove for the looks and to run much, go DV. If you want backup heat for under $500 that will run a few hours a week, and you have a co2 detector and a drafty house, VF will probably work. DV usually looks better anyway.
  16. Deron

    Deron Member

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    We've had a vent free log set we use as supplemental heat in our great room for three years now.

    No issues whatsoever, other than 15 minutes of mild odor the first time it's used every season.
  17. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    I don't buy this for a minute! Your house will soon be destroyed and your health will soon fail from using of one of these vent-free devices... I know this as fact as I read it on Hearth.com! Never mind that there are probably hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of these units (not to mention vent-free gas stoves) in use around the world... those people and their dwellings will soon perish too! :rolleyes:

    Like it or not folks they do seem to have a very proven track record. I'd venture to say wood burning is far more hazardous than a properly installed vent-free unit used for suplimental heat. I have never seen a single issue with one installed and used properly (or even improperly for that matter), but I've seen plenty of issues related to burning wood over the years!

    I might be leery of using one of these devices for my main heat source in a tight structure, but I would not hesitate for a second to use one as supplemental heat, especially in a not so tight environment. Then again I'm one of those crazy people that burn wood in my house too!
  18. Lisaparn

    Lisaparn New Member

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    Vent Free Installation Map[​IMG]

    This forum was posted a number of years ago but I felt it was important to respond for the reason that it will be viewed many times again in the future. This chart points out the areas where vent free can and can't be installed and states where there are limitations. There are pockets within states such as New York City,Texas and Ohio where vent free is not permitted. I work in the fireplace industry and offer vented as well as vent free products. When a customer enters our store looking for a gas heating product we ask a number of questions and then determine which application will be best for that particular customers needs. It is in everyone's best interest to sell a product based on the BTU'S needed, it's intended use, whether it's being installed in an existing room in the home and the age of the home. With that being said we sell by far more vent free fireplaces, stoves and gas log sets and have very few issues after the sale. On occasion we will have a customer who is very sensitive to a vent free appliance and will need to exchange it for a vented unit. The reason for this is that a vent free appliance will pick up on odors emitted into the air and burn it smelling like a fume in the house and that can be very offensive to people who are sensitive. You shouldn't paint, stain, use strong cleaning products or burn scented candles in the same room as the fireplace until those odors dissipate. Vent free fireplaces stoves and gas logs are allowed in most rooms of the home. Vent free can't be installed in a bedroom unless it is 10,000 BTU'S or less. The vent free products have a capability of heating up to 1300 square feet with 38,000 BTU's which is just too high for an enclosed room. Vent free is a great product if used the way it was intended, as a secondary heat source and depending on the age of the home how well insulated and used about 4 to 6 hours a day. You can view our line of heating products on gas-fireplace.com, I also have written a blog which explains in more detail about vent free products.
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