Take Precautions with a Vent-Free Gas Fireplace
LESLIE: Fred in Ohio needs some help with a heating question. What can we do for you?
FRED: Yes, I recently purchased a LP gas vent-free fireplace.
FRED: And it just has an on-and-off remote control switch on it and I was wondering if there’s some way that I could change it out to hook up to a thermostat so I can leave it on and actually benefit from heating my home from this rather than just for an appearance-sake type thing.
TOM: Well, Fred, I’ve got to tell you that we don’t like vent-free fireplaces too much around here because they’re not really vent-free; they’re – you are the vent. It’s basically venting …
LESLIE: Yeah, they’re venting into your house.
TOM: Venting into the house and they’re discharging a lot of moisture into the house and they can be potentially unsafe if they don’t run properly and they start to create carbon monoxide. So I am concerned about the fact that you have a vent-free. You really, with any appliance, can’t modify that appliance – especially the controls on it – without potentially doing something that’s very dangerous. So I wouldn’t recommend that you try to add a thermostat to it or anything like that. I would use it very carefully. I would use it only under supervision and I would make sure that I’ve got a carbon monoxide detector in every level of your home.
FRED: OK. Is there anything else I need to do to make it safe, then, since you really don’t like them?
TOM: Well, I can’t give you something that’ll make it safe besides getting one that’s vented. I mean if you want to have an LP fireplace that’s great but you can easily get one that’s vented through the wall or a direct-vent. I just don’t like fireplaces that are vented into the house.
TOM: You know, they actually are outlawed in the entire country of Canada, which is pretty advanced with their environmental rules and regulations. So I mean we’re allowed to build them here but it doesn’t mean we’ve got to like them.
FRED: OK, well thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Fred. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.