Natural gas fireplaces provide a number of benefits over traditional wooden fireplaces, including the ability to start a fire at the push of a button and reduced overall maintenance. However, there are two main types of natural gas fireplaces – vented and ventless. Like their names would suggest, the main difference between these two types of fireplaces is the presence or lack of vents, but that difference results in a distinct set of advantages and disadvantages for each type of fireplace. Understanding what each type of natural gas fireplace has to offer can help you choose the one that best suits your home's heating needs.
Vented Natural Gas Fireplaces
Vented natural gas fireplaces make use of a full fireplace, with an open damper that allows the fumes from the burning gas to be released from your home. This is because they do not burn very cleanly, creating gases and smoke that need to be released from your home for health reasons. However, vented natural gas fireplaces provide large flames that are comparable to those of traditional wood fireplaces, and they are far less likely to leak fumes into your home due to their vented nature. This means that they will not seep the smell of natural gas while in operation -- a huge benefit.
However, vented natural gas fireplaces also do not provide a great deal of heat, as a large amount of the heat that they produce escapes out of the open damper. This means that vented natural gas fireplaces may not be the ideal choice as your main heating option.
Ventless Natural Gas Fireplaces
Ventless natural gas fireplaces, sometimes called vent-free fireplaces, do not need an open damper to operate. This translates into greater heat production for your home, as well as higher operational efficiency. Ventless natural gas fireplaces will use less gas, depending on the model and size of your home, than a comparable vented natural gas fireplace. This can help save you money on your energy bills over the long run.
However, as they do not have a vent to release all of their fumes, ventless natural gas fireplaces carry the potential of letting the smell of natural gas (comparable to rotten eggs) enter your home, which can be extremely unpleasant. Further, ventless natural gas fireplaces do not produce the same amount of flames as their vented counterparts, which can take away from the aesthetic of your fireplace.
Talk to a heating contractor like those at Ronnie Ritchie Service Co Inc to learn more about these common fireplace options.