Ventless Gas Logs

Hi everyone,
I am looking at converting my wood fireplace to a gas one. However, I noticed 3 styles.
1. Gas Insert - Too expensive for me 2. Vented Gas Logs 3. Ventless Gas Logs
I am attracted to the Ventless for these reasons. 1) I can close the damper and save on heat going up the chimney. 2) Our house can use the water generated by the fire. 3) It produces a lot of heat (as compared to a vented). 4) It is affordable.
My only sticking point is the safety. We would only run it when we are awake and when we are home. Given these circumstances, are they safe? I assume it is like a gas stove.
Finally, what is the average cost per hour running it. I assume it depends on BTUs ect. So is there a web site that can help me calculate monthly usage costs?
Thanks in advance!
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I have two sets of gas logs (both vent free) in my home now. They are safe. I have a two story, with one set in the "basement" on a setback thermostat. This keeps the floor of the second story warm and less heat ( 2001 vs 2002 ) was used.
Most of the vent free units are 95+% efficient. They also have "oxygen depletion sensors" that will shut the unit off in the event of a CO leak. I also have two CO (carbon monoxide) detectors and have never had either go off.
The thermostat option added about seventy bucks to the set of logs , but IMHO it was well worth every penny. Also, if I ever lost electricity, there is no doubt that I could heat the entire house (2700 ft) with the two gas logs.
Lowes had a set of 24" Vent Free for $200 that looked pretty nice.
Good Luck.
Larry

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Larry,
Thanks alot. I've read posts similar to yours on other boards but wanted confirmation. I've never seen them in use. Do they look nice? Authentic? On average, how much do they cost to run per hour?
Thanks again! Manta

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The set I use most often ( downstairs) is set on about mid range (if I set it on high it will put you out of the room). I think we paid about $250 on clearance for the set, and they do look real nice. I have even thought of making a heat sensor audio circuit to reproduce random crackling :-).
No idea on what they cost to run. All I can tell you is we had a heck of a winter last year (Ohio) and my place was nice and cozy throughout. The year before, we fought with the thermostat trying to make it comfortable downstairs without being 78 upstairs.
Good luck.
Larry

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My name wrote:

How much did you save on heating bill? I am thinking about buying one to save my heating bill. Is yours a portable unit or is it something that replaced your existing fireplace?
Do you have moisture problem? A ventless log can produce 1 - 2 qt or water per hour. I have searched the web on ventless fireplace and some people recommand against it because of the amount of water produced.

Furnace can have efficiency up to 95% or so. That's why I'm interested in your saving.

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In line responses...

I did not save a single cent on my heating bill BUT had no intention of doing so anyway.... My ventless log set replaced a see thru regular fireplace..which opened to both the rec room and to the living room..

Never noticed any change in the amount of mositure...BUT I can never run the logs for a solid hour...even on the low setting because they produce way too much heat......

My sensors never go off either..BUT like I said I can not run the logs very long because they produce too much heat......does a heck of a job removing the chill in a room however..
Bob Griffiths
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Bob G wrote:

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Responses in line after this message.
I will never have a vent free appliance in my house. Period. After 2-3 years of constant use, the ceramics start breaking down. That will cause production of CO.
Now, on with the show.

Wrong. The ODS have nothing to do with CO production. They are for sensing too low of a level of oxygen (you know, the stuff we humans breathe?) to support life. Anyway, all an ODS is a small pilot. Did I mention I will not have a ventless appliance in my house?

Have you had them tested? What's the threshold of the units? Some units won't go off until they have been exposed to 50+ PPM for 2 hours. Others will go off from 'flicking your Bic' near them. Guess which one I have?
I do have a gas cooktop. Every time it gets turns on, my vented (instead of recirculating) range hood goes on. The hood has an infinite speed controller on it, so it's usually on real low.
These are my opinions. If you don't like them, ignore them. If you like them, great! It's your money and your life.
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Regarding ventless gas logs, I have read quite a few articles about the potential of high CO emissions as well as adding more indoor pollution. There are also many municipalities (including my own) that disallow ventless gas logs (I think they're banned in Calif.?). I have also heard that the flame is not as aesthetically pleasing as in a vented one. Apparently, the flames stay quite low and have little color variations.
I have a vented gas log set and I can tell you that I can heat up my family room (23'x15') quite nicely. I am quite pleased with mine. It looks almost real.
Just my .02.
George

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I have had vent-free logs for a few years. I have no concern about CO, because 1) it is not easy to damage a gas burner in such a way that it generates significant CO except in an oxygen starved environment, and the oxygen depletion sensor is made to address that, and 2) I have redundant CO detectors, one with a digital readout, just in case.
My grandparents lived 40 years in a home that was heated only with vent-free gas heaters, as did many of their friends. No one had heard of CO detectors at the time.
Some posters mentioned indoor air pollution. Gas logs produce carbon dioxide and water vapor. Carbon dioxide is inert, and water vapor can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how tight your house is. If your winter humidity levels are already high, getting vent-free logs are a bad idea. If you home is too dry, then the logs will help.
In all this time of use, the CO detector readout showed a non-zero readout only on the first use of the logs. It never got off zero again. The alarm threshold is 20, as I recall.
Another person noted the downside: mine put out a *lot* of heat, even at the lowest setting. You might want to get a unit with a IR remote thermostat. For those occasions when you are just wanting the aesthetic appeal of the logs for a few hours, just open the damper and let the heat go up the chimney.
It is my impression that the vent-free logs generally look less realistic than the vented logs. However, you should be able to look at any logs you are considering in operation. Don't buy logs you can't observe.
A neighbor told me of what may be the best solution: a vented gas log assembly that is nonetheless efficient. However I think this is not just logs, but includes a free standing fireplace with heat recovery design.
Keep in mind that most vented logs in modern fireplaces have *negative* efficiency. That is, turning on the logs in a heated home sends more heat from the home up the chimney that the logs deliver to the home. A friend of mine could not understand why her electric bill went through the roof last January when she ran her vented fireplace all the time. "The heat pump ran all the time!"
If you have a very old home with a fireplace that was actually designed to heat the home, the situation can be better. If you look at 200 year old homes, you will see fireplaces with large openings and a rear wall that slopes slightly forward. The bricks of the rear wall get warm and radiate heat into the room. Contrast that with the nearly cubical fireboxes in most modern residential construction.
Rick
Manta wrote:

--
Rick Matthews snipped-for-privacy@wfu.edu
Department of Physics http://www.wfu.edu/~matthews
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