Thoughts on gas logs with insert

micro7311 Posted By micro7311, Aug 12, 2019 at 8:42 PM

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  1. micro7311

    micro7311
    New Member 2.
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    Sep 14, 2017
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    Hi, I would like to install a ventless gas log set into my existing fireplace. Even though I do have a working fireplace and chimney I do not want to install a vented insert, I want to keep it relatively simple. As I understand, those who have a working fireplace would buy a log set and place it within the existing firebox. However, I would like some thoughts on the ventless inserts with the blower, such as below. I like this system because (1) my firebox is 70 years old, so the install will look new and clean, and (2) it has a blower to help distribute the heat. Regardless of the brand, is it worth it to put something like this in or just throw the log set into the existing firebox?

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/ProCom-Gas-Fireplace-Insert-Duel-Fuel-Technology-26-000-BTU-FBNSD28T/203526645
     
  2. Tech Guru

    Tech Guru
    Burning Hunk 2.
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    Jul 17, 2015
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    Loc:
    Ontario
    Looks like the blower kit is optional, so unless you were adding it, this overall set up would be not much better than just installing logs. My urge to resist Vent Free is strong though, as your house becomes the chimney in that case. As much as they are designed to burn clean, the added moisture and potential for other issues is too strong. Its one thing to have a 2 -12K gas burner on your kitchen cooktop simmering a soup, versus 25-40K Btu of dirty (don't kid yourself, that's how they get the orange) flames burning for hours on end in your family room.

    I'll admit I'm biased though, as you can't even think about buying Vent Free where I'm at. Several years working for a manufacturer did give me quite a bit of feedback, though - so I am biased with a fair bit of experience. The main thing is, keep them clean-clean-clean, regular service and pilot maintenance is a must... Supplemental heat only, never rely on a VF appliance as a main heat source.
     
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  3. micro7311

    micro7311
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    Sep 14, 2017
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    Well, in addition to an aesthetically pleasing new firebox the blower was the main attraction as I would imagine it distributes the heat well. Although, I never saw one so I don't know to what degree it actually works. Will a suitably sized BTU log set for the area to be heated be sufficient without the blower? The room is about 12 x 18 ft and the whole floor is about 1150 sq ft. I am thinking a log set close to 30,000 btu would provide heat to most of the floor (with the blower?).

    Note I will not be using this a primary heat but as a supplement. Your concern about the vent free operation is noted.
     
  4. HonestOtter

    HonestOtter
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    Aug 20, 2019
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    Loc:
    Memphis
    3000+sf BADLY insulated draft 1980s house. 2 furnaces, 1 up 1 down, heat pump in large room and multiple space heater. In Memphis, mild winters. Lots of windows, all of the seals are bad, VERY little insulation upstairs. Bad weather stripping everywhere, Biggest dog door we could get (have 2 old big dogs). First winter we moved had to run the furnaces a lot. Natural gas is cheap so it wasn't bad but the duct works sucks, some rooms still cold while others warm. It had a Wood fireplace, that was converted to Vent gas. Vented gas fireplace are the choice of idiots.

    Halfway through our first winter I threw in a cheap 36k Procom vent free fireplace that I actually had for years. I thought it would help. Sadly I was wrong. It didn't help, It did almost all the work. Didn't need the furnaces, Used some space heaters in master bedroom until we Insulated the windows and fixed the poor circulation issue.

    It is UGLY, it is too small for the fireplace, You can hear the gas flowing (I know how to fix this). But its amazing. I genuinely think every house should be required too have a vent free fireplace. And I hate government mandates. I was a little concerned about "water" and "CO" that everyone warns about. I have 2 CO detectors above and below, they show 000 all the time. The extra moisture in the house is a blessing. Don't need humidifiers.

    We used it last winter, left it on 24hrs a day. Its a simple dial thermostat at the base, it would turn up and down and sometimes off. I suspect the ceiling fans, layout and drafty nature of the house helps circulate the warmth. Also fireplace brick mass helps keep things even. Again the weather is mild. I run the furnaces about an hour every month (when I remember), just to make sure they work. We still use the a space heater in the bedrooms on really cold (~20f) nights. But we also have at least 2 big dogs in the room. Don't kid yourself big dogs put off a lot of heat.

    I am actually here to see if I can find a better looking Insert. The whole family is coming to our house again for the holidays, and the log set is fugly. I am reluctant because if it isn't broke don't fix it.

    I figure if I actually finish insulating everything and maybe get an insulated dog door we will use even less natural gas. And it is possible humility might build up, but burning less gas produces less water. I guess if you have one of those airtight houses everyone raves about, maybe humidity is an issue. But dehumidifiers work and are cheap. Obviously CO2 is not an issue, you put out a way more CO2 than a vent free fireplace. I mean the average american diet of 3kC (kilocalories)/day, will generate almost 12 million BTU per day.

    I would say don't over think it. Get a cheap log set $100-$200 and try it. See if its enough heat, if you need better circulation. You can always upgrade to a nicer unit later. I bet your fireplace's thermal mass will help spread the heat and regulate it. You can always add blowers and or use the central air to move the heat around if needed. The hard part is to get the heat into the rooms with closed doors.

    I don't know what the other person is concerned about. All the vent free fireplaces I have seen need no real maintenance. I've seen a 3 million dollar house with a giant glass bed fireplace heat a massive room. When I worked on a ski resort ALL of the new buildings had vent free gas fireplaces in the lobbies running on a thermostat 24/7 6 months of the year. Obviously there will always be bad products, so have a CO detector or 2 (they are cheap). I would never burn propane for obvious reasons through a vent free, but Natural gas is very clean and safe.
     
  5. American Gas Works

    American Gas Works
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    Aug 19, 2019
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    Plymouth, MI 48170
    If the space you are heating is small, then I would suggest foregoing the blower as the room may get too warm too quickly. A vent free gas log in your existing firebox may be the way to go. You can spend a few hundred for a set of vent free gas logs at a big box store, up to about $1400 for a set from a specialty shop or online fireplace store. Whatever you decide, I would recommend getting a CO detector and if the room is very well insulated, you may want to crack a window when it's running so you have some fresh air. That's less of a concern if your room is drafty.
     
  6. micro7311

    micro7311
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    Sep 14, 2017
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    Thanks for both of the thoughts. It will be a propane unit because I do not have NG. I will be heating about 1150 sq ft. I'm OK with putting it in my existing firebox but I keep thinking that most of the heat will end up soaking into the brick, and I would obviously put some type of heat shield in the damper to prevent heat from escaping up it. The new firebox with blower may solve both those issues which is why I was considering it.
     
  7. micro7311

    micro7311
    New Member 2.
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    Sep 14, 2017
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    Northeast
    So I went ahead with the ventless logs inside my existing firebox. I am running the black pipe now. I am looking at this logset from Procom. 34,000 BTU. Will add a wireless remote since it is mV control. Does anyone have experience with this particular brand and BTU for 1150 sq ft heating area?

    https://www.factorybuysdirect.com/procom-ventless-propane-gas-log-set-24in-34-000-btu-millivolt-control-model-wzl24mva/

    This one from HD looks similar (39,000 BTU) $320 with remote, $160 without

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Emberglow-Savannah-Oak-24-in-Vent-Free-Natural-Gas-Fireplace-Logs-with-Remote-SCVFR24N/100595894

    Not sure which is the better unit seeing as I don't know much about this industry.
     
  8. Millbilly

    Millbilly
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    Dec 13, 2015
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    No. But once this is up and running would love to hear a review. I've heard too many ppl unhappy with theirs that I don't recommend them. Do you have carpeting or pets? I've heard this to he a contributor to foul odor with vent free.
     
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  9. Millbilly

    Millbilly
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    Dec 13, 2015
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    There is also room volume to btu requirements for these to follow. Definitely service the appliance as directed by manufacture, and definitely always have working CO detectors.
     
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  10. micro7311

    micro7311
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    Sep 14, 2017
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    When you say you've heard too may people unhappy, are you referring to vent free gas logs in general or the brands that I posted?
     
  11. Dmelia1

    Dmelia1
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    Sep 6, 2019
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    I had a 36,000btu ventless free standing installed in my old house that I bought from HD. 1700sq ft Cape Cod. Bought it to supplement the hot water baseboard as the living room never got cozy. The heat output was tremendous! Unknowingly at the time though everything folks discussed came true. It put a ton of moisture in the home and some foul smells. Anytime my wife would clean or want to burn a candle we had to shut the unit down as it would pull those perfumes in and burn them. Overall I hated it and ended up removing it.
     
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