When it comes to choosing a gas log fireplace, people usually choose between two traditional options – vented and vent-free. The vented system requires a chimney to vent the fireplace, as opposed to the vent-free system that does not use a chimney but releases the exhaust (containing the harmful carbon monoxide) into the home. In the end, both types have their own drawbacks: while a vented gas log fireplace dumps a lot of heat outside through its chimney, a vent-free fireplace pollutes the indoor air with chemical residues like carbon monoxide.
Interestingly, many homeowners do not consider the third option called direct vent fireplace, which is essentially a better alternative to both types of traditional gas fireplaces. A direct vent fireplace does not need a chimney, so it is relatively easy to install. All you need is to install the pipes through the wall.
A traditional vented gas log fireplace takes the air for combustion from inside the home and releases the by-products outside of your home through a chimney. The hot gases rise through the chimney naturally and are removed from the home through the roof. In the process, a lot of heat is lost. This is why traditional vented gas fireplaces are not as efficient as direct vent fireplaces. Back drafting is another common problem with many traditional models. If you use a fan in the kitchen to release the air outside, it may depressurize the indoor air. As a result, the indoor air may pull any harmful gases back into the room.
A direct vent fireplace outdoes a traditional gas fireplace in more ways than one. The former is a safer, more efficient and more versatile option. Unlike a traditional gas log fireplace, a direct vent fireplace draws in the air for combustion from outside through a direct vent. The same vent is used to release the by-products, including carbon monoxide and smoke. The vent uses a double vent pipe, with one pipe pulling in outside air and another releasing the by-products outside. The flow of air continues naturally. When the hot air goes out of one pipe, another pipe pulls in cooler air from outside to fill the gap. Because a direct vent fireplace creates cooler combustion gases, it does not require a chimney. All it needs is a double vent pipe, which can be easily installed through the wall. Here are the three main benefits of using a direct vent fireplace.
- It is safe: This type of fireplace does not require a chimney to release the by-products. This is why it does not cause any back drafting. While installing the pipes through the wall, you can use a fire-caulked flange for additional safety.
- It is efficient: A direct vent fireplace is a closed system and it comes with a sealed glass front. This means that all the heat generated by burning propane or natural gas is used to heat up the house, and no heat is lost.
- It is versatile: Another benefit with the direct vent system is that the fireplace can be installed almost anywhere inside your home. You can install the direct vent horizontally through the wall or vertically through the roof.
Do you have any other suggestions for why the direct-vent fireplace is the way to go these days? Let us know in the comments below!