Vent free fireplace for heating? Bad idea?


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Old 10-24-12, 12:51 PM
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Vent free fireplace for heating? Bad idea?

My mother owns a large unheated summer home. The house has a living room fireplace. The living room has many windows and rounded ceilings, but not much wall space to mount a vented wall furnace. She is installing a vented furnace in the kitchen at the opposite end of the house. She is considering a vent free ceramic log heater for the fireplace in the living room.

The vent free unit would be for heating, not as a for show fireplace.
The unit would be operated 24x7 on cold days, without anyone in the same room.
The house is near the water and there is usually a moisture and mold problem, so I am worried about adding moisture.
Leaving a window open say 6" (base of window 33") would not be a problem.

Is this a bad idea? Is it worth a shot to see if it works?

Alternatively she could pay to have the chimney re-lined with a metal flue, and put in a gas stove for heating. I am thinking I need a vented for this but was wondering what others thought.

Vent free installation is $2000

Reline the chimney alone $3000. I would guess another $2000-$3000 for a gas stove inserted into the fireplace.
 
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Old 10-24-12, 03:07 PM
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I assume that is a "vent free gas ceramic log heater" in which case absolutely no. Why they still market these is beyond me. Cooking with gas is vent free, but even there they are recommending the kitchen vent be used. When the combustion is perfect, no CO, but as you indicated lots of moisture. I just searched again before quoting, but they said 1.6 pounds of water for every pound of propane. Then, if the burning is not perfect, the CO starts to build and it is deadly. Local codes may prohibit using one and/or her insurance company may object. But you should be the first.

If you have enough electricity, how about a mini-split heat pump? One unit in each end of the home and the main unit outside.

Bud
 
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Old 10-24-12, 03:22 PM
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Thank you for your reply. I see many vent free heaters for sale. The argument they make is all you need to do is keep a window open to let air in and out, that will take care of the oxygen and moisture. After that the built in safety devices and additional home CO detectors should take care of any remaining concerns. When I read about CO deaths in the news it is not from vent free heaters. I also am not seeing any horror stories about the moisture. It is possible that people that get them for heating and are dissatisfied just stop using them regularly. I also suspect most people get them for infrequent use as a fireplace.


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Old 10-24-12, 05:21 PM
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Opening a window is totally incomplete advice meant to sell a product. Bottom line is vent all combustion products to the outside. A proper solution now adds to the value, safety, and comfort of the house.

Bud
 
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Old 10-24-12, 06:45 PM
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I agree with Bud, if you open a window 6", all you are doing is letting cold air in, defeating the purpose of any heater. There is no guarantee any CO will escape through that opening. If there is wind, then less likelihood any gasses will migrate out.
 
 

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