Ventless Fireplaces

Written by Rachel Arieff
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Ventless fireplaces are fast becoming the popular alternative to the traditional, vented fireplace of yesteryear. The reason is pure convenience. It's true that the traditional fireplace is an icon of home living, lending a cozy, rustic feel, whether you're enjoying solitary time or family time together. However, for some people, the demands of a traditional fireplace are more than what the fireplace ultimately delivers.

To enjoy a traditional fireplace, you must of course already have one installed in your home, complete with a properly functioning chimney. If you don't have an existing fireplace, the cost of installation is extremely expensive. You need to maintain a supply of wood under the right conditions so that it doesn't get damp or moldy. You then have to be able to light the wood--no small thing, and if the wood is green or has been soaked, good luck! Finally, you must be vigilant while your fireplace is in use, for if you're not, your house can catch fire.

The Dormant Vented Fireplace

The sad truth is that households with vented fireplaces rarely use them. Only on special occasions, such as the winter holidays, do most people really dust off their fireplace tools and put their wood-chopping skills to work. Other than this time of the year, however, fireplaces typically lie in disuse because people simply don't want to do all the work required to get them going.

Traditional fireplaces are paradoxical things, for while they're one of the oldest symbols of relaxation, to actually get a fire going is usually anything but relaxing. Then there's the issue of maintenance. Maintaining a traditional fireplace in proper condition can be very stressful. Fireplaces must be cleaned regularly, and the flues kept shut when not in use, or you may have a surprise visit from local wildlife. No matter how clean they're kept, though, fireplaces will always create some degree of soot problem in the home.

Vented Fireplace Risks

Have you ever experienced a bird or a squirrel getting caught in your fireplace chimney? It is not fun. In most cases, you won't be able to get the animal out yourself and a professional fireplace cleaner must be called to handle it. This costs you time and money. If you have small children, fireplaces are an extra source of worry. Children can get stuck in chimneys and they can get burned, even long after the fire seems to have gone out, from the hot embers.

Vented fireplaces, when not in use, pose a terrible draft problem, even with the flue shut. Cold air enters through the chimney and warm air escapes. In today's difficult economy, complete with rising oil prices and skyrocketing heating bills, this can be a real problem for homeowners who need to watch their spending. On the other hand, a fireplace flue that doesn't properly open for usage can cause poisonous fumes to fill the house when a fire is lit.

Ventless Fireplaces as an Alternative

For the above reasons, although many people may have treasured childhood memories of fireplaces, they have given up on them because of the hassle and risk involved. However, this doesn't mean we can't still enjoy the pleasures that fireplaces have to offer. Today, ventless fireplaces offer a cleaner, safe and more convenient alternative to the traditional vented fireplace.

These ventless fireplaces create fire by burning a special type of fuel that creates no indoor air pollution and leaves no soot or residue. They require no chimney, special venting, or even an electrical or gas hookup, which means you can even use them in a small apartment. These fireplaces are portable as well, allowing you to easily move them from one part of the house to another when you want a change of pace--or from one house to another when you move.


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