Ventless Gas Fireplace Basics

It is much easier and more attractive to use ventless gas fireplace logs today as safety and log designs have become much more realistic. During the coldest winter months, sitting next to a fire serves both aesthetic psychological warmth and real physical warmth. Electric and gas heaters offer no character and are hideous boxy structures tolerated for the warmth they bring. The same natural gas or propane BTU’s running through a gas log fireplace brings warmth with the augmented interior design of the fireplace design enjoyed year round.

Ventless Gas Fireplace

In the past, having a chimney and proper ventilation was the only way to enjoy the benefits of a fireplace. Dangerous creosote build-up, hazardous fumes, variable flame control valves and spark arrestors were completely necessary to enjoy a fireplace. Wood storage and the scorpions, snakes and bugs that live in stored wood were acceptable annoyances; part and parcel of enjoying the year-round hearth. New advancements in technology now allow a ventless gas log fireplace without dangerous safety concerns and without compromising the beauty and added décor a fireplace adds to any room.

A ventless gas log fireplace creates the warmth and the design of a conventional fireplace without the need for a chimney. Vent-free gas fireplaces are one of the more energy efficient options due to BTU limits that maximize heat retention. There are a large number of choices regarding style, size, color, “wood” selection, non-traditional modern designs and valve controls including remotes and wall-switches for all gas fireplace burners.

Gas log fireplaces in general have easy to use controls that include simple igniters similar to a gas range and gas bbq grill. Ventless gas log fireplace burners are almost always used indoors and tend to use variable remote controls, wall-switches and thermostatic controls that could not last long outdoors. Indoors and lacking a flue’s pull most vent free gas fireplace burners utilize a standing pilot to avoid relighting the burner for each use. Remote receivers are cleverly hidden inside hollow ceramic logs and decorative pine cones. Logs are hand-painted for a maximum attempt at realism.

The ventless gas log fireplace offers an efficient and instant solution for a heat source without the complex designs necessary for vented gas fireplaces and wood burning fireplaces. Set up and installation are so easy that homeowners deciding on a ventless gas fireplace with access to a gas line could decide to purchase a fireplace for a room and be enjoying the hearth that evening. For the homeowner deciding to use vent free gas logs the solution is an effective source of heat because although gas volume is limited there is nowhere for heat to go but inside the home.

Vent-free gas log arrangements combined with BTU limits make gas fireplaces very clean with low fumes resulting from fuel consumption. Other power sources like electricity or batteries are not necessary. Additional features for gas log fireplaces are conveniently available that may use other energy sources but gas is inexpensive everywhere.

Easy installation of ventless gas logs primarily means there is no expense for installation of a chimney. Building a traditional fireplace generally includes a construction firm for building once a design is provided. An engineer or architect is sub-contracted to make plans submitted to the city bringing an inspector to the site. Once approved the design is built but a separate permit, inspection and license is needed to cut through a roof and re-seal a roof around a fireplace vent. Again: design, plans, city, construction and inspection. The process can become very expensive. Many homeowners value the wood burning fireplace with crackling flames, popping sap and real woodsy smells over the expense. New-construction makes the process easier but an existing home will spend a lot of money building an indoor fireplace.

wood burning fireplace

A wood burning fireplace will often have a steel flue running through the chimney often built to mimic a rustic appearance. Above the home a termination cap spreads emerging heat and fumes while displacing falling rain or dirt. A wood burning fireplace with a damaged flue can be very expensive to repair as the rustic décor is dismantled rock by rock looking for the faulty seal and it has become typical to install vent free gas logs into existing fireplaces rather than incur the expense of repairing or cleaning chimneys with broken seals or clogged with deposit from years of burning gases and wood.

The vent free gas log fireplace simply needs some space in a room and a gas line. Installing ventless gas logs in a home without a fireplace includes purchasing a vent free firebox, building or buying a mantle and the gas logs with a burner, valve and logs. The vent free firebox is designed to refract heat and protect any materials used in the construction of a wall or fireplace mantle around the vent free firebox. Sitting in front of a fireplace we only see the inner firebox decoratively lined with brick pattern. With a protective vent free gas log firebox a fireplace mantle can be constructed with drywall, wood or cabinet particle board which would otherwise be in danger of burning.

Ventless gas logs are designed to burn safely in the home with no ventilation or reduced ventilation and must always have an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) and a thermocouple to ensure against gas dangers. A manual safety pilot contains a continuously burning flame which can be extinguished during long periods of unuse. The pilot light allows a fireplace control valve to turn the fireplace burner off and on without the use of an ignition and properly primed thermocouple every time the fireplace is enjoyed. Manual control valves work very much like the valve used to control heat on a barbecue grill and are cheaper than valves with a remote.

The remote safety pilot uses a remote transmitter to turn a valve open or closed, on and off using a hand held remote like a television control. The pilot stays lit and the manual valve spins at the behest of the remote transmitter and a receiver hidden within the fireplace. Finally some ventless gas log fireplace remote controls use a variable valve that can control how much the valve spins open and closed providing flame height adjustment via remote transmitter. Wall switches and thermostatic controls are remotes that operate on an on/off fireplace valve with high and low setting manually pre-set on the valve of the fireplace.

As with anything, it is always wise to exercise caution. Always read the operation manual and ensure the ventless gas log fireplace is properly installed within the insulated ventless firebox. Learning about the risks is one of the best ways to prevent accidents. Vent-free gas log fireplaces have become very ornate with decorations rivaling the realism of vented gas fireplaces and wood burning fires. In addition ventless gas log fireplaces have recently evolved into the contemporary designs of the modern home with fire effects that do not strive to mimic to appearance of wood but enhance the beauty of light with crushed colored fire glass and both natural stone and geo-metric shapes. The growth is tremendous because the vent-free gas log is safe, economical and effective for both its beauty and pragmatic use as a heater for the home.

7 thoughts on "Ventless Gas Fireplace Basics"

[…] design for ventless gas log fireplaces, outdoor fire pits and fireplace screen and fireplace tools. Make contact with custom fireplace and fire pit design for ve…" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="355" […]

Mario Petrella says:

Can you tell us if leaving the flue open over our vent-free fireplace logs will result in the pilot light being extinguished by a strong draft (when the log unit is off)?

Dale Howard says:

Probably not. That’s not to say it cannot happen, but it is unlikely. And I applaud you for keeping the damper open over unvented logs. Even though leagal and listed, they can be unsafe if left running too long. Venting them anyway is a smart idea. BTW, if the pilot did go out, it would only an inconvenience, not a danger; there’s a mechanism to stop the gas from flowing.

Neill says:

I just bought a house with a gas log fireplace but there does not appear to be a flue, and as a result, there is black soot collecting on the mantle and blinds throughout the house. Am I just not seeing the flue? Or is there a way to avoid this? Thanks

Scott says:


This is probably too late to help you, but for anyone else experiencing soot with gas logs: You need to stop using your gas logs immediately and consult a professional. Properly working gas logs should never create soot. Soot is in an indication that the gas is not burning correctly and, as a result, you could be introducing harmful substances (like carbon monoxide) into your home. Not sure if you have vented or unvented logs (you need to find out by looking up the model number), but since you report no flue, you should have vent-free logs. You need to have a professional come out and determine what is causing the problem. Until then, do not use them!

Sheryl says:

This is a question not a comment I hope you can help me. We have a ventless gas fireplace in our new home (5years old). I turn the gas pilot light off in the summer and I just fired it up yesterday. It ran for at least 5 hours and when I turned the flame off, the pilot light was still sputtering and was taller than usual. What can I do to stop the sputtering? Do I need to take a wire brush to the components and clean it off??? Please help!
Sheryl – Columbia SC

High's Chimney Service Inc. says:


We do have a gas technician on staff here who would know what’s going
on, but I am not a gas expert myself so I won’t attempt to answer
specifically. So said, I can tell you this: it would not be a good idea
for you to do anything with the fireplace yourself. Gas fireplaces
really should only be serviced by people who really know gas
fireplaces. The settings all need to be just right- the pressure, the
gas-air mix, the orifices, the electrical components. IMO, it’s not
something to fiddle with yourself because it’s pretty easy to upset the

This is a good time to call in a professional. Not usually popular
advice, but I think it’s right in this case.

Stay warm!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *