Vent Free Gas Logs
Vent-free gas logs are attractively designed to look just like real wood, but without all the fuss and mess. Although there are many advantages to a vent-free gas log, you should be aware of the disadvantages and safety concerns mentioned below as well.
Vent-free gas logs do not require a chimney or any outside venting to work. They don't need to be set up in an existing fireplace or even along a wall.
Vent-free gas logs are designed to be very efficient at burning all of the fuel they consume. There is very little waste.
That efficiency makes vent-free logs more economical than their vented counterparts. Further, since you don't need a chimney, you can keep the damper closed and not lose heat to the outside. Vent-free logs cost a few pennies per hour of use.
Since they burn fuel so efficiently, even a small log can produce a great deal of heat.
The efficiency of the log means that it produces a blue instead of a yellow flame. Some may feel that this makes a vent-free log less realistic or cozy.
Several states, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, and Utah prohibit the use of vent-free gas logs.
Vent-free gas logs do require a home that is adequately ventilated. Although the production of fumes and gases is minimal, it is still not advisable to run a vent-free log in an airtight home. You will need to open a window or otherwise make sure there is an adequate supply of fresh air.
Low atmospheric pressure, such as is common at higher altitudes, can cause the pilot light to go out. If the gas is not vented, this is more of a problem. (As mentioned, vent-free gas logs are not legal in Colorado.)
Although a vent-free gas log can burn for hours and hours, it is not advisable to take advantage of this. In general, you should limit your use to a few hours at a time. You should never go to sleep with the logs burning.
Some of these safety concerns can be addressed by installing a carbon monoxide detector. That's a good thing to have in your home in any event.
When purchasing a vent-free gas log, don't overdo it. Make sure it's rated for the size room in which you intend to install it.