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Thread: vent free

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    NJ
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    23

    Question

    I have been reading the posts concerning vent free fireplaces. I installed one in my home two years ago. I am reading the horror stories on this site. I installed mine in my basement in order to make it comfortable down there when my family wants to use the rec. room. I may run if for an hour or two a few times a week during the winter. I do notice a faint odor when it is used but it is very similiar to the faint odor I get when using my gas range/stove in the kitchen. I have a CO detector in the room with the fireplace. There has never been an alarm condition. My house was built in 1948 and is not the most energy efficient home around. (single pain windows, little insulation, etc.) Am I really puting my family at risk using this thing? I realize these things are not designed as a primary heat source, but for applications such as mine I found it to be very convenient. Since CO has no odor any odors from the unit must come from the impurities in the air. Has anyone ever used there gas dryer when there was wet paint in the house. The clothes will smell real bad. I am thinking this is a similiar condition with the odor from the fireplace. Anyone have any thougts on this subject? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    12

    Vent free no problem

    Vent free appliances have been in use for about 100 years. They are very safe and can be wonderful for exactly the purpose that you use yours for. Many people make several mistakes when sizing these units for their homes and invariably have many problems with over-heating and stuffiness. The only thing that most people never do is maintain their units by keeping them dust and dirt free. That is so simple and goes a long way to keeping your home comfortable and fresh. Vacuum the logs, wipe the burner clean and then take a drinking straw and blow any dust away from the pilot assembly - you can also blow into the pilot assembly, but do not poke or prod anything. Especially if you have a curved cover around the back of the pilot assembly, do not touch it, just blow air across it to keep the little holes open to breathe air from the room (it often gets clogged with dust). Also never let the logs cover any of the yellow flame, that introduces incomplete combustion and sooting to the room (same for burning candles - the carbon from the candles will draw into the fireplace then spread to a much larger area than they usually do. Fore more information check out the vent free alliance - http://www.ventfreealliance.org/ they have plenty of documentation that covers areas that I have not. That's it. You have a great product that will give you many years of cheap heat! P.S. If you have a switch to operate the unit, go and get a thermostat remote control to have the unit cycle on and off while you use it to keep the temperature perfect.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada Occupation:Interprovincial Plumber, Commercial Gasfitter Interests:
    Posts
    2,414

    Re: Vent free no problem

    Originally posted by hackman
    They are very safe and can be wonderful for exactly the purpose that you use yours for.
    Sit back and wait for it. Better yet, wade through the archives and read the general opinion on vent-free.
    I love my job, but paydays Thursday

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    6,579


    Ventless combustion systems of any kind are a disaster waiting to happen. Just go here and do a little research.

    http://www.bacharach-training.com


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada Occupation:Interprovincial Plumber, Commercial Gasfitter Interests:
    Posts
    2,414
    Sometimes I think we should have a permanent thread about vent-free.
    I love my job, but paydays Thursday

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    12

    I completely understand, but

    I can say that our organization has been involved with the hearth industry for over 100 years. For as long as vent free has been around, we have been selling it. I agree that there can be problems, but they are invariably caused by homeowners making up their own rules, or neglect. Otherwise we see very few problems even after several thousand installations. I respect negative opinions about vent free, but the fact remains that they do work; they may not be for everyone, and I do favor direct vent appliances myself, but I have direct personal experience with the vent free and it is a great source of heat if first sized correctly and then maintained regularly. I do not intend to debate the subject over and over, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I just tell it like I see it and state only the facts that I know. With vent free, less is more and I feel that most people buy too much flame because it looks better to them. That is the worst way to buy this type of system. And with a thermostat connected, the unit cycles so it keeps the air from getting too stuffy. Whatever. I know there are plenty of negative opinions out there, but it does not deter the customers from coming in and looking for only the vent free. I feel that to be responsible it is important to give the customers the options, know the room size, type of usage etc... so it can be done right.
    I am not going to convert anyone to my camp, just there are plenty of people who enjoy the vent free and plenty that don't - there is something for everyone. Educating the customers is important and setting up routine service at the beginning of each season is important. It is really the home centers that are dangerous. Their customers just buy the stuff and do whatever they want to and then call the professionals to bail them out. Well, that is enough for now guys. Thanks for the comments, I respect your views.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada Occupation:Interprovincial Plumber, Commercial Gasfitter Interests:
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    Just curious, what makes a vent-free safe?
    I love my job, but paydays Thursday

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    12

    alright alright

    I could just reverse the question - what makes it unsafe?, but anyone could reply with any number of unsafe things about any product. So the same thing that makes a gas oven safe makes a vent free fireplace safe. I cook on the range every day. Plus it passes all standards that are out there that govern their use. What makes a firearm safe? The person using it makes a difference. Follow rules, be safe. You know what I mean. We really have to both agree to disagree. I respect your point of view. It's all good.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada Occupation:Interprovincial Plumber, Commercial Gasfitter Interests:
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    Gas ranges can be dangerous. What makes a vent-free fireplace safe?
    I love my job, but paydays Thursday

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    South Dakota
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    The more you know about carbon monoxide, the less you want to take chances with it. That is why many local communities pass codes preventing ventless heaters in spite of the fact that the national codes allow for them.

    Ventless gas cooking appliances have caused ilness and deaths and they operate less than heating systems do.

    CO gives no warning of its presence. Many thousands of people never learn that the real cause of their illness is co not the flu or some other seasonal bug.

    I would never have an unvented combustion applicance in my home, ever.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    12

    safe use

    Hold on a second, I have to stick my head out the window to get some fresh air - I was just using the stove.

    Ahhhh that's better, I now have a clear head.

    Anyway, I would say that the most important thing that makes ANY fireplace, and even a vent free one safe is proper selection by paying attention to the space it is being used in, and following all instructions included with the unit. Safe operating procedures would be the best answer I can give you. Otherwise it is like anything - in the wrong hands anything can be dangerous. I am saying that the product is safe if used properly, it is not idiot proof - and I have met many idiots. So anything can happen, but I have used them every day for 6 months for 8 years straight with no problem. Our customers love them too. Very rarely do we hear any complaints except where the customer bought a larger burner than required because they had an emotional attachment to the pretty fire. Did I really say pretty? We know that's not true. So there you have it - my answer. I hope you like it a little bit. But you are not required to. Are you chuckling yet? I am sure you have your thoughts on the matter, but use so few words. Just know that my favorite fireplace is a Regency P36 direct vent; so you know where my head's at, just I know that not everyone wants the fireplace that I do, so I have to be educated and educate our customer about both. Hey, I usually go for direct vent inserts first then work my way down from there. The customer usually is able to make up their own minds once they get familiar with the different categories.
    Later, I have to get to sleep - have to save my energy to sell fireplaces in the morning.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
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    Re: safe use

    Originally posted by hackman
    Hold on a second, I have to stick my head out the window to get some fresh air - I was just using the stove.

    Ahhhh that's better, I now have a clear head.

    Anyway, I would say that the most important thing that makes ANY fireplace, and even a vent free one safe is proper selection by paying attention to the space it is being used in, and following all instructions included with the unit. Safe operating procedures would be the best answer I can give you. Otherwise it is like anything - in the wrong hands anything can be dangerous. I am saying that the product is safe if used properly, it is not idiot proof - and I have met many idiots. So anything can happen, but I have used them every day for 6 months for 8 years straight with no problem. Our customers love them too. Very rarely do we hear any complaints except where the customer bought a larger burner than required because they had an emotional attachment to the pretty fire. Did I really say pretty? We know that's not true. So there you have it - my answer. I hope you like it a little bit. But you are not required to. Are you chuckling yet? I am sure you have your thoughts on the matter, but use so few words. Just know that my favorite fireplace is a Regency P36 direct vent; so you know where my head's at, just I know that not everyone wants the fireplace that I do, so I have to be educated and educate our customer about both. Hey, I usually go for direct vent inserts first then work my way down from there. The customer usually is able to make up their own minds once they get familiar with the different categories.
    Later, I have to get to sleep - have to save my energy to sell fireplaces in the morning.

    Do you also provide carbon monoxide detectors for the customers who purchase ventless units from you?

    Perhaps you should check out http://www.bacharach-training.com and read up on carbon monoxide.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada Occupation:Interprovincial Plumber, Commercial Gasfitter Interests:
    Posts
    2,414
    Thunderstorm sent me off-line, Had to go to bed early

    Anyway, not few words just questions. What makes a vent-free safe? We can't sell them in Canada, are we paranoid, or do the powers that be know something?
    I love my job, but paydays Thursday

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