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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    26

    Vent free stove in our basement?

    Thanks to everyone that answered my previous question about a DV stove in our finished basement (approx 450 sq ft). The installation on the DV stove we bought is a lot more than we thought it would be ($2000 more than what we paid for the stove...yikes!). So we are exploring Vent free options. We haven’t looked at any specific models yet (only need a small one) but the installer told us that they produce a strong odor. Does anybody have any experience with vent free stoves? Plusses and minuses?

    We have an open stairwell connecting our basement to the main floor so I was thinking that the odors may move upstairs instead of remaining persistant in our basement (living/TV room).

    Thanks
    Chris

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    1,078
    Well, ventfree fireplaces are not legal to install in Wisconsin, if that tells you anything.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    390
    Wisconsin also has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country too, if that tells you anything about WI. :-) Vent free gas fireplaces are legal in 47 states. There is debate on both sides of that issue, which I will not get into.

    There are some that have a very strong opinion of VF fireplaces that have never seen one. I have been in the service and repair industry for over 10 years and I have not found them to cause a lot of issues IF, and that is a BIG if, properly used and maintained. I have serviced several thousand vent free gas fireplaces and have not encountered many issues with them.

    With that said, what state do you live in? VF can give off odors that come from the materials that the logs are made of, house odors(paint, candles, pets) and other things as well. I have found that ones that use concrete logs have fewer odor problems. The biggest complaints that I run into is they produce too much heat. I install a thermostat that takes care of that issue.

    The combustion process produces a quart of water vapor an hour and in very tightly sealed homes, this additional moisture can cause problems. Here in the southeast we have so much humidity in the summer that we need the additional humidity in the winter.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    1,078
    Sorry, don't mean to bash the VF, I just don't know much more about them than what I said. They have their place I suppose.

    Quote Originally Posted by logdoc_rob View Post
    The combustion process produces a quart of water vapor an hour and in very tightly sealed homes, this additional moisture can cause problems.
    Thats pretty much why they are not allowed here. Houses are built so tight, they are trying to protect people from themselves. Saves us headaches anyway so I'm not complaining.

    If the house turns a lot of air and, as logdoc said, IF it is maintained properly (by a pro) they are safe and can kick out a lot of heat.

    You are burning gas, and heating up metal and logs and whatever else is in the air in your house. All of this could contribute to an odor.

    logdoc, how does VF compare to direct vent with odor? Can they be nearly odor free like direct vent or is there always some combustion odors? I know if people get their glass undone a little on the direct vents they call us complaining of odors.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    390
    I've seen DV with odor problems caused by lack of proper servicing. Dust can collect on the the top of the inner firebox and I've actually seen several that were so dusty that you could see smoke rolling out of there and it set off the smoke detectors !!!!

    A lot of the odors from VF are from not being properly serviced. Dust, dirt and pet hair are the major causes, but aromatics in the house also cause odors, candles, new carpet, cleaning solutions and such also cause odors.

    The water vapor contributes to the odors as well. There are always dust particles floating in the air and they are pretty much odorless in their dry state. When that dust particle combines with a water molecule, the dust smells like whatever it origionally came from. It's kinda like a dog, when it comes back from the groomer it smells all pretty, but if you mist it with water, it smells like a dog.

    The higher quality VF like the Peterson G-10 or the Empire Comfort's White Mountain Hearth series with the Sassafras logs are pretty much odor-free, but I will not sell a set with the ceramic fiber logs, I encounter too many odor issues with those types of logs. I have many very picky customers in multi-million dollar homes that have these above mentioned gas logs with no complaints. Not saying that I'm 100% correct in my views, it's just what I've seen with my own nose. :-)
    Last edited by logdoc_rob; 08-06-2009 at 10:40 AM. Reason: Fat fingered words. :-)

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