Category Archives: Gas Logs

Safety of Ventless Gas Appliances

As the name would imply, ventless gas appliances, such as fireplaces or gas logs, operate vanguard-ventfree-fireplace-mainwithout the necessity of any sort of vent. Requiring no chimney or flue, ventless appliances can be placed in essentially any room of your home, which makes them extremely convenient to install. And because no heat from a ventless appliance escapes to the outside, all the usable energy stays in the space, cutting down on heating bills during cold winter months.

Since these appliances require no ventilation, some customers have expressed concerns regarding safety and indoor air quality. Fortunately, we can confidently say that ventless gas appliances are not only highly efficient but also extremely safe to use.

How It Works

The vent-free system works relatively simply. The “fire” consists of natural gas, propane, alcohol-based gels, and electricity. It burns at optimum efficiency in order to reduce the production of moisture and carbon dioxide for a well-ventilated room.

Safety Features

In order to ensure reliable operation, federal agencies heavily regulate the use of vent-free appliances. Within vent-free appliances is an exclusive system that detects oxygen levels and adjusts the appliances accordingly—low oxygen levels cause the flame to extinguish. This system, referred to as the Oxygen Detection Pilot System, is tamper-resistant. Any attempt to modify or tamper with the system will immediately disarm any gas supply, as well as the ignition service. Other safety features every vent-free appliance comes equipped with include:

• An automatic shut-off valve (triggered if the flame is disturbed, altered or extinguished in any way)
• A regulator that prevents over-firing if gas pressure were to increase
• An ignition that eliminates the use of matches or lighters
• Safety grills for fireplaces, gas logs and heaters
• Temperature regulator

Indoor Air Quality

In regard to carbon monoxide and oxygen levels, a federally funded independent research study on vent-free products concluded that CO emissions from vent-free gas products are well within nationally recognized indoor air quality guidelines, even for sensitive populations. In recent years, there have been several questions as to whether ventless appliances contribute to extensive moisture that causes mold growth. Again, a federally funded independent research study showed ventless appliances do not generate enough water to raise humidity to a level high enough to cultivate mold-growth. (In fact, water vapor from ventless appliances may even improve air quality for individuals who experience sinus issues in cold weather. Read our water vapor blog to learn more!)

Consumer Safety

At Fine’s gas, our number one priority is customer safety and satisfaction. There are a few steps to consider when investing in any sort of appliance that emits heat, vented or not. First and foremost, all homes—whether they have ventless heating appliances or not—should have a carbon monoxide detector. If you are considering investing in heating appliance, be sure it fits the area you are planning to put it in, and take note of its relation to drapes, walls, furniture, etc. Finally, always seek the help of a professional. Installing a heat source is not a do-it-yourself project.

Fine’s Gas provides reliable experts to walk you through any purchase and answer any question you may have. For more information on our products and services or to find out about the installation process, contact us today!

Debunking Myths: Straight Facts About Ventless Gas Appliances

empire-vent-free-gas-fireplaceAlthough millions of American homeowners commonly use vent-free gas logs, there is still some confusion in the marketplace about these products. Even worse, much of this confusion is based on the dissemination of inaccuracies and misconceptions about ventless products. Fine’s Gas would like to address some of these fallacies and provide you with the facts.

Myth: Vent-free gas appliances cause health problems.
Fact: While some people may have special sensitivity to various household environmental factors, there are no independent, documented studies that show vent-free products cause illness or negative health effects. On the other hand, a thorough, well-documented independent study has been conducted on the effects of vent-free gas product emissions. The study concluded that vent-free gas logs performed well within all nationally recognized guidelines for indoor air quality.

Myth: Carbon monoxide (CO) emissions from vent-free gas logs may be an issue, especially in households with children, pregnant women, and elderly people.
Fact: The effects of vent-free gas logs emissions on sensitive populations have been tested extensively. Researchers used the recommended maximum levels of CO as set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) with sensitive populations, such as children, pregnant women, and the elderly, as the benchmark. The results of the research proved that vent-free gas heating products performed well within the CPSC guidelines for carbon monoxide and all other indoor air quality guidelines by OSHA, NIOSH and ASHRAE.

Myth: There is no standard that regulates the safety of vent-free logs.
Fact: Vent-free gas logs conform to the national product safety standard, ANSI Z21.11.2. This standard mandates many construction and performance requirements that, among others, include tests for proper combustion under abnormal conditions. All vent-free gas products sold in the U.S. are certified by recognized listing agencies for compliance with this ANSI standard to assure their safety and performance.

Myth: There is nothing to prevent a thrifty homeowner from using ventless gas logs as a sole heat source.
Fact: All major building codes categorize vent-free gas logs for supplemental use and require that a primary source of heat (e.g., a furnace) be present in the home before a ventless product can be installed. It is clearly stated in the operating instructions of every vent-free appliance that they be used only for supplemental heating.

Myth: There are many places where vent-free gas logs are not accepted for use.
Fact: Currently, the vast majority of states in the U.S. allow for the sale and installation of vent-free supplemental gas heat appliances. International Mechanical Code (IMC), the National Fuel Gas Code, and most other codes in the U.S. allow for vent-free appliances. Unfortunately, the Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC) does not permit the use of ventless products; however, many localities are now adopting the IMC over the UMC, and therefore, allowing the use of vent-free products.

Myth: Vent-free gas logs produce too much heat in tightly constructed homes.
Fact: The heat output of properly sized vent-free products can be easily controlled by the homeowner and set to the desired comfort level. However, installers of vent-free gas logs in homes that have extremely tight construction should be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and building code requirements for supplying ventilation and combustion air. In some cases, additional mechanical ventilation may need to be added before installing a vent-free gas heating appliance.

Myth: Ceiling fans should not be installed in rooms with vent-free fireplaces.
Fact: Ceiling fans may be used to help distribute the heat. However, fans should not be allowed to blow directly into the fireplace to avoid any drafts that alter burner flame patterns, which can result in sooting.

Myth: All vent-free appliances have inputs of as much as 40,000 BTU of heat, but most rooms need only 5,000 to 15,000.
Fact: Nearly all ventless gas logs have manual or thermostatic controls that let the homeowner adjust the input rating to the preferred level of heating (e.g., low to high). Vent-free appliances come in a variety of sizes, ranging from inputs of 8,000 BTU to a maximum of 40,000 BTU. Smaller units are available for bathrooms (2,000 to 6,000 BTU) and bedrooms (10,000 BTU). Manufacturers provide clear sizing guidelines with their products.

Have additional questions about vent-free gas logs and fireplaces? View our FAQ pages, or contact our team today!

Preparing for Winter

Stay warm with a fireplace from Fine's Gas!Although fall and winter in the Southeast are known for fairly mild temperatures in the grand scheme of climates across the U.S., many Southerners will say they’re just not cut out for frigid temperatures. And if this year’s Farmer’s Almanac predictions come true as they did last year, we’re in for some more bad weather in the winter of 2014–2015.

If you were anywhere near the South last winter—and perhaps even if you weren’t—you remember the snowstorms of 2013–2014. The “snowpocalypse” in January actually shut down the entire city of Atlanta. And while many media outlets and bloggers nationwide poked fun at southerners for not being able to function in a snowstorm, the greater truth lies in the fact that we just weren’t prepared.

Although we can’t solve issues like the lack of access to snow plows and salt trucks, Fine’s Gas offers a wide range of options that can help you remain warm and comfortable while you carry out the number one recommendation for beating winter snowstorms in the South: staying home and off the roads.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

We’ve all seen the empty grocery store shelves that result from a weather forecast that includes snow. Rather than waiting for the threat of wintry weather, it’s best to prepare your home long in advance. Whether you’re interested in a more permanent solution such as installing a fireplace or simply looking for a backup propane or gas heater, the knowledgeable staff at Fine’s Gas can help you decide on the best products to meet your family’s needs.

Gas Space Heaters
Gas space heaters are a fantastic option for cold weather preparedness, as they can be used as a cost-effective supplement to your HVAC system for warming a perpetually chilly room, and they double as a backup source of heat in event of a power outage. Our natural gas and propane space heaters are efficient, yet powerful, and several models remain cool to the touch to ensure the highest level of safety. Even if your family is huddled together in a small space, you can rest assured that little ones will not be in danger of burns with models such as the RCE-391A Vent-Free Gas Heater from Rinnai.

Gas Logs
Because the majority of gas logs do not use any electricity, they offer a fantastic benefit during cold winter months. Like gas space heaters, gas logs are intended to serve as a highly efficient supplementary source of heat but provide a reliable backup if you lose power. Gas logs are safe and effective sources of heat and can be installed very quickly. Depending on your needs, you may choose:

• Vented gas logs
• Vent-free gas logs

If you’re still unsure about which type of gas logs you need after reading our additional resources, please contact us. We would be happy to answer any questions and help streamline your decision-making process.

Fireplaces come in a wide range of sizes, styles and heat sources. Fine’s Gas offers:
• Electric fireplaces
• Direct vent fireplaces
• Vent-free gas fireplaces
• Wood-burning fireplaces
• Free-standing stoves

Timelines for fireplace installation vary depending on type and model. Some are even designed to drop right in to an existing hearth with a flue. Contact us to discuss which type of fireplace will best meet your needs.