Ventless or Vented Gas Fireplaces: Which is Right for You?

Do You Know The Differences Between Vented and Ventless Gas Fireplaces?

If you want the warmth of a real fire without having to manage a real wood burning fireplace, a gas fireplace could be right for you. Decided to buy a gas fireplace, gas insert, or gas log set? That’s great! If you haven’t yet decided between any of those three heating products, check out our blog post on the pros and cons of each option. Once you decide, you will have to pick between two venting options: vented vs ventless gas fireplaces. So, what are the pros and cons of each type? Which one works best for you?

In this blog post, we look at the difference between vented and ventless gas fireplaces. You will find that the advantages of a gas fireplace far outweigh the negatives. This article is meant to give you the ammunition you need to make the right decision for which fireplace product is best for you and your home. We have already written about the differences between vented and ventless gas logs in a previous post. In another future post, we will look at gas inserts as well. Continue reading to learn more about vented vs. ventless gas fireplaces to learn the best heating product option for your home.

Vented Gas Fireplace Advantages

What are the pros for direct vent fireplace venting? Let’s look at the advantages to using vented gas fireplaces in your home:

Safety

Due to how it is designed, a vented gas fireplace will not affect the indoor air quality of your Cape Cod home. Vented gas fireplaces use a high temperature glass panel to separate the burning area of the gas fireplace from the inside of your home. So, your direct vent gas fireplace will take air in from the outside and then exhaust all the gases to the outside. This contrasts with a ventless gas fireplace, which vents into your home.

More Realistic Looking Flame

Vented gas fireplaces generally have a more realistic looking flame. For ventless gas fireplaces to reduce the risk of emissions being transmitted into your home, the burn temperature needs to be higher. As a result, this higher temperature produces a less realistic, sometimes blue flame. When it comes to a vented gas fireplace, it produces a realistic flame because the temperature is controlled. This results in a flame that most closely resembles a wood burning fire. If realism is important to you, vented will always beat ventless.

Must Vent to the Outside

Vented gas fireplaces do require a way to vent to the outside. This venting could take place through an existing brick or masonry chimney, but you are not limited to just using an existing chimney to accomplish the necessary venting. If you don’t have a chimney, the vent can be terminated horizontally through an exterior wall instead of vertically to the top of the roof through a chimney. This will give you some flexibility and more options as to where you can place your vented gas fireplace in the home. In essence, wherever there is an exterior wall, you can install a vented gas fireplace.

No Heat Loss

Vented gas fireplaces use outside air for combustion. This results in no cold air coming in the house from windows, doorways, or other leaks to feed the fire like a natural wood fire does. As a result, this allows the room air to not lose heat and then warm up faster.

Vented Gas Fireplace Disadvantages

We have gone over the advantages of a vented gas fireplace. Well, are there any vented gas fireplace cons? Actually, there are some minor disadvantages of vented gas fireplaces, although we do not think they are anything that could stop you from making your purchase. They are just some details to keep in mind so that you can make the correct decision for your specific home. Here are the top 3 things to keep in mind when considering a direct vent gas fireplace:

No Access to Flames

A vented gas fireplace is so safe because of the sealed combustion behind its glass. You cannot remove the glass or get access to the flames for the vented gas fireplace to function properly. This might be an advantage to those with small children or pets, but it could also be considered a negative by other people.

Usually More Expensive than Ventless Gas Fireplaces

Generally, gas fireplaces direct vent pricing is more expensive than a ventless gas fireplace. With professional installation and any remodeling that needs to be done, vented gas fireplaces will cost you around $3,500 – $8,000. Ventless gas fireplaces, on the other hand, will cost between $1,000 and $5,000.

Vented Gas Fireplaces are Not as Flexible as Ventless Gas Fireplaces

In order to install a vented gas fireplace, you must use a chimney or an exterior wall. This is so that it can both take in air from the outside and then vent out the by-products from the flames inside the fire box. This is not as flexible as a ventless gas fireplace. Since the ventless gas fireplace vents directly into the home, it does not need to be placed in a spot where it can vent to the outside. So, ventless gas fireplaces could be installed in areas like the interior of a home (without a chimney) – places that vented gas fireplaces could not ever be installed.

Ventless Gas Fireplace Advantages

Moving on to ventless gas fireplaces, we will compare these to their vented counterparts. Here are the top advantages of the ventless, or vent-free, gas fireplaces:

Heating Efficiency

Since the air vapors are redirected back into the home with a ventless gas fireplace, no heat is lost up the chimney or flue. As a result, this makes your ventless gas fireplace very efficient at heating up the room fully and quickly. This is in comparison to a vented gas fireplace, which will heat your room slowly but surely.

More Affordable

As we stated previously, a vent-free gas fireplace system will be a more affordable investment than a direct vent gas fireplace. So, if budget is a major concern, this option will be easier to pull off.

Easy to Install Anywhere

Without needing to vent the air outside, this gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of where you can install your ventless gas fireplace. These can be installed in a lot of places that vented gas fireplaces cannot be installed. For example, it can be installed on a wall that is not venting to the outside, like an interior wall. Or, a fireplace in center of the house is even possible. There are no holes needed in the wall, nor any other renovations or building needed within the home. This opens a lot of other opportunities that you might otherwise not have had with a direct vent gas fireplace.

Ventless Gas Fireplace Disadvantages:

So, those are the ventless gas fireplace pros. Continue reading to learn about the disadvantages of using a ventless gas fireplace. These are not really even major disadvantages, but just characteristics of a ventless gas fireplace that you should be aware of, as you make your decision between ventless and vented. Here are the top 4 things to keep in mind about a ventless gas fireplace:

Less Realistic Looking Fire

Ventless gas fireplaces are usually less realistic looking than a vented gas fireplace. If you are mainly looking for an aesthetic, you should go with the vented gas fireplace. However, if you prefer warmth over aesthetics, go with the ventless option.

Condensation

Ventless gas fireplaces release the natural air vapors right back into the home, which raises the humidity. This can cause condensation on windows or doors. The higher humidity can create problems with wooden pieces, such as floors or doorways. This could potentially cause mold or mildew within the home if you don’t stay on top of it.

Smells

With the air vapors of a ventless gas fireplace, you will also get the smells of gasoline and soot into your home. Depending on your preference, this could be uncomfortable or undesirable. If you suffer from a respiratory illness, such as asthma, this may cause some discomfort or difficulty breathing. So, it is important to keep this in mind when making your decision.

Some Restrictions

Vent-free gas fireplace units have a minimum clearance to combustibles that must be met for installation. For example, this includes wood mantles and other combustible items that the gas fireplace must be a certain distance away. In Massachusetts, ventless natural gas fireplaces cannot be installed in a bedroom or bathroom. They also cannot be the primary source of heat in the room they are installed in. So, you must have a conventional heating source in that room already, such as gas, electric, or oil heating.

Cape Cod’s #1 Vented & Ventless Gas Fireplace Superstore: Breakaway

If you are located on Cape Cod, Breakaway is your go-to source for ventless or direct vent fireplaces for sale. As the #1 fireplace dealers on Cape Cod, we carry and install both types of gas fireplaces. This can be the perfect hearth product to complement your home. Our experienced staff is prepared to help you select the right model and arrange your gas fireplace installation. And, if you are interested in learning more about our other heating products, such as gas logs, decorative gas stoves, gas inserts, or generators, Breakaway can help you with these as well.

For any installation of a gas fireplace, or repair of a heating product, it is important to always work with a certified HVAC professional. Make sure that you follow your recommended service and maintenance schedule for proper upkeep of your gas fireplace investment. Luckily for all Cape Cod residents, Breakaway and its parent company, Hall Oil Gas And Electric, are both fire place installers and offer yearly maintenance for your gas heating products.

Visit Breakaway at one of our stores in South Dennis or Mashpee, call us at 508-398-3831, or contact us below to learn about the best heating products for your home.

SOUTH DENNIS

Monday – Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sunday: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

435 Rt. 134 South Dennis, MA 02660
Next to Mid Cape Home Centers

Phone: (508) 398-3831

MASHPEE

Monday – Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

17c Trinity Place Mashpee, MA 02649
Next to Boston Interiors

Phone: (508) 539-1674