Asked on Dec 23, 2011

I have a vented heatalator fireplace with gas logs from 1993.

CherieclarkWoodbridge Environmental Tiptophouse.comDon J


The logs have been replaced once but are still so inefficient because the warm air from the house goes up the chimney. I was looking at vent free but even though they are 99% efficient moisture and some fumes I believe come in the house. Sealed direct vent gets extremely hot on the face glass front. I would think it would be a burn hazard for children or pets. What is good choice? What is safe?
6 answers
  • None venting fireplace systems use a catalytic converter to make the combustion process safe in the house which is why you can get the 99% out of them. Your correct on the moisture and some fumes coming into the home. Some of the newer systems have built in sensors that turn off the fireplace if CO becomes to high to become unsafe. So these can be a good choice to use as a heating source in the colder months. However these much like wood burning fireplaces must not be left unintended for any length of times for safety reasons. So that must be considered when choosing this type of fireplace to use. As far as the sealed combustion units and the glass fronts that get hot. Sure they can burn if touched. This is why most come with a screen that is placed just in front of the glass panel to prevent this from becoming real dangerous. The screen also gets hot as well, but not so much that it will burn you as bad. As far as pets, they will leave it alone. Kids, much like some adults must be told to stay away. No different then when you had your gas log system running. So I would not think its to much to worry about. In your case I would choose to use the latter system. Pull the old gas log system out, and have a professional fireplace company install the new sealed system with gas log and glass front installed. Be sure to get the system with the outside air supply and you should ready to go!

  • Don J
    on Dec 23, 2011

    the reason I was also thinking of getting the non venting is because the company I spoke with said a sealed combustion unit would have to completely replace what I have and inserrt the new unit at acost of $3,000. this not including replacing the slate surrounbd and hearth floor. that said, I will use this for a long time and want to purchase the right thing but not break the bank. Make sense??

  • I understand exactly what your saying. Anytime someone spends lots of money on a project they want the best choice that they can afford. Good luck with this project and let us know how you make out once its done!

  • Don J
    on Dec 23, 2011

    Thanks for the info. It was very helpful. May I ask.... Is 3-4 thousand a reasonable price for the direct vent fireplace you suggest

  • Considering the cost of the appliance, the gas piping, the adjustments to the hearth and fireplace front. It sounds as though its in the middle of the road on cost. Some of the higher end units can run that much alone, without the cost of install being factored in. In any case, regardless of what you choose, be sure to have permits if required in your area to be pulled and have it inspected for safety once its installed and running.

  • Cherieclark
    on Feb 11, 2016

    While you are trying to decide what to do use a fan in front of the fireplace to draw the heat into the room..this way most of it will come into the room instead of going in the chimmey. Easy fix for temporary.

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