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  1. #1
    George Sharrett's Avatar
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    Default Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    Would someone be willing to share the verbiage they use when there is a ventless gas fireplace in a home. They strike me as a very bad idea but some gas "experts" seem to think they are OK.
    Thanks,
    George

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    Quote Originally Posted by George Sharrett View Post
    Would someone be willing to share the verbiage they use when there is a ventless gas fireplace in a home. They strike me as a very bad idea but some gas "experts" seem to think they are OK.
    Thanks,
    George
    The difference between a ventless fireplace and the old unvented gas heaters is that the ventless fireplace has metal tags attached which warns the occupant that using the ventless fireplace might kill them and the old unvented gas heaters did not have that warning.

    Either way you died, but your heirs get less from the lawsuit because you should have read the metal tag warning you about dying if you used the fireplace.



    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    David Bell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    The ventless fireplace has a btu rating less than a gas range


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bell View Post
    The ventless fireplace has a btu rating less than a gas range
    Are gas ranges intended to be left on over night?

    Nope.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  5. #5
    David Bell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    Nor is a ventless fireplace


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bell View Post
    Nor is a ventless fireplace

    Yes they are. That is why they come with ODS. I don't remember reading in their installation instructions that they are not to be used for heat and not left on - I am sure someone will post that from an installation instruction and correct me if that is the case. Always willing to learn.

    Gas ranges tell you not to use them for heat, many ventless fireplaces actually produce heat.

    Now, my vented gas fireplace ... most of the heat goes up the vent ... ... so, no, it does not get used for heat.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    My standard terminology

    The gas fireplace is a vent-less type. There should be a carbon monoxide detector present anytime this unit is operated. Also, the manufacturer’s instructions should be read to determine what kind of fresh air requirements there are for this fireplace. Often times there needs to be a window opened or some other source of fresh air supplied while this appliance is running.


  8. #8
    David Bell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    Most of the ventless units I have seen have 3 hour run time verbiage in the instructions from manufacturer. With the ODS and a decent CO detector in place I don't see a problem. Stupidity and bad installs may cause some problems but that goes for any fuel burning equipment.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    I checked with my local licensed gas installer. Ventless gas fireplaces are illegal in Ontario.


  10. #10
    Kevin Rutledge's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    This is what I put: " A ventless gas fireplace was present, which vents combustion products directly into the living space. These units are not designed to be a primary source of heat and should only be installed and operated in complete accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    This is what I currently have in my report;
    • Ventless Fireplace unit – Depending on who’s literature you read these units are a wonderful amenity in a home when properly used according to manufacturer’s instructions; or a very hazardous appliance that overtime can damage your home and/or cause health problems. I suggest you do some research, read various articles and make your own informed decision as to whether you want to use such an appliance in your home. Using “ventless fireplace” as a search keyword will bring up vast amounts of information.
    I used to just have, 'Use the unit for decoration only or throw it in the alley'. People seemed a little disturbed by that so I changed it at some point. Probably will change what I have now to include my disdain for these things. Haven't done it since I haven't actually seen one recently.

    www.aic-chicago.com
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    1) Safety - Safety - Safety -- I always recommend a CO alarm be installed when there are gas appliances installed.

    2) Wrote up a 31 year old furnace for immediate evaluation due to high CO (rusted exchanger) in November and two nights later their CO alarm went off. Two days after that there was a new furnace!!!

    3) Gas cook ovens are often a problem here in Santa Fe at 7000 feet; they buy them and install without setting up per mfg.

    4) Colorado Passed Mandatory install of CO alarms last year. Family of 4 died in ASPEN $9 million dollar property. "A team of four gas and heating technicians determined that a malfunction of the hot water and snowmelt systems caused extreme levels of carbon monoxide in the home."

    5) CO from car running problem and it doesn't matter if the door entering the house is closed or open. "decedent (age 82) went to bed & left vehicle running" (vehicl related CO) DOT HS 809 668

    Read more: Denver family found dead in Aspen home - The Denver Post

    FAQs about the new Carbon Monoxide Detector Requirements

    New requirements go into effect July 1, 2009
    HISTORY: The 2009 General Assembly began Wednesday, January 7th and our industry faced a politically charged piece of legislation concerning carbon monoxide detector requirements. The bill required that detectors be placed in every dwelling unit (single residential and multi-family housing). The bill was dubbed the “Lofgren and Johnson Memorial bill.” (The Lofgren family of four lost their lives in an Aspen home due to elevated carbon monoxide levels in the house). Shortly thereafter, recent deaths occurred in Colorado Springs in an apartment and then weeks later, a University of Denver student living in an off-campus apartment also was found dead due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

    Charles @ PreVue Property Inspections, Santa Fe, NM
    http://www.prevuepropertyinspections.com/
    "How can someone with glasses so thick be so stupid?"

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    Though "vent less" fireplaces and heaters rankle the sensibilities of some, they have a very good safety record when equipped with an Oxygen depletion sensor and used as intended.

    They are for supplemental heat only and not to be used in sleeping areas.

    They do add a fair amount of moisture to the home so this can also be a concern.

    They are not permitted in all jurisdictions so check with your local authority.

    As with all fuel burning appliances they have inherent risks and need to be used in accordance with the manufactures recommendations.


  14. #14
    George Sharrett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    Thank you all for your input. I sent the report off last night with this comment:

    This is a ventless fireplace insert. The room and entire house act as the vent for the stove. This is a controversial subject but there is a body of evidence to suggest that they are not save. They have been outlawed in many cities. I recommend that the buyers obtain a copy of the owners manual and read it carefully to help them make an informed decision about this unit.
    These stoves vent bi-products of combustion, including carbon monoxide, into the home. This is an odorless, poisonous gas. I recommend the fireplace be removed from the home.

    Stronger than some would submit but I would NEVER have one in my home, legal or not.

    George


  15. #15
    Stacey Van Houtan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    A important issue with ventless heaters, is the the ODS, A CO alarm may not warn you prior to death by lack of O2 and that is why they require the ODS
    There are BTU restrections in bed rooms and other rooms, and in cold climlate if the room where the appliance is located is able to be closed off from other rooms the a size restrections applys.

    If i rember over 10K in a bedroom and 30K eleswere needs ODS

    Many stateds have added requirmetns or outright bans

    IAQ is also a issue

    My verbage
    A free standing room heater should have the following requirements: Firmly Secured to the floor, installed on a non-combustible floor extending 18" on all sides of the heater, unless it is UL lisited and approved otherwise

    In addition a ventless fireplace or heater will have various requirments for correct installation. These requirments will vary dependent upon where the unit is installed its size etc.
    It is impossible for a visual home inspection to determine with any degree of certainty whether the installation and operation of a ventless heater is free of defects. We recommend having a Certified Chimney Specialist conduct a inspection of the Unit prior to closing.



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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    Wow, that's some real vague stuff there Stacey. If I were Joe, doesn't know anything about houses, Buyer, I wouldn't think there is anything at all wrong with vent free units.
    "We recommend having a Certified Chimney Specialist conduct a inspection of the Unit prior to closing."
    Are you sure you want to stand by that recommendation? Maybe I'm the dumb one here but I kinda figure vent-free = NO chimney. Not sure what CCS is going to tell the client besides, thanks for the check.

    www.aic-chicago.com
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  17. #17
    Stacey Van Houtan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    Wrong Installaition depends on where you live and what unit is installed and where is it installed in the home etc. I was defering it to a CSIA person but I think a HVAC person would be better. And if no owners manuel is present, a HI has no information to make any correct comment.

    Defer this Item and I think all SOPs would excluede it

    Some of what you would need to know to make a comment. BTUs, is it a gas or a gel (the gel peploe claim theirs needs no inspection) AHJ approval, Heating area measured considering the confined space rules, type of construction to guage ACH, ODS test?.


    There are lots of issues and many opinions about these products

    I had a brick front unvented heater in my basement growing up, My parents have be CO posioned twice,(from vented heaters) I am aware of the issues

    I don't like them BUT just as with other house components i try to make a risk anaylsis for my client baised on my knowledge not my bias, in MY area i would try to find one thing wrong or questionable and defer. Not recommend removal, as if propely installed they are a conforming item in KC


  18. #18
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    Cool Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    When tested in the lab, these units pass all safety and IAQ standards. There have been no deaths directly attributed to ODS equipped ventfree appliances since 1980. There has been a recent field study of properly installed and maintained VF fireplaces that revealed higher levels of NOx that previously thought and above acceptable IAQ levels. Illnesses from VF appliances are not being captured or reported.

    To determine if VF are acceptable in your locale, you need to refer to your applicable codes including local ordinances. Then you would need a heath specialist familiar with VF to inspect the installation and home then make a report. The codes severely restrict the application of VF in modern construction due to ventilation rates, IAQ and sizing to the room. The DOE climatic zone is almost important. Then, if you want to install VF into an existing fireplace, you will need a Level II inspection prior to installation. For instance, a factory built fireplace must be tested and listed for use with VF appliances. This means you cannot install VF into certain brands such as Heatilator and Heat&Glo regardless of what the log mfr says. It also means you cannot install VF into factory built fireplaces made prior to the optional VF test in UL 127 back in 1998. The mfr. will have requirements for clearance to the combustible mantel or use of a large canopy/ hood.

    As to who to refer to, you need to understand the hearth certifications:
    The CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep certification is geared towards servicing open hearth solid fueled fireplaces and stoves. There is almost no content regarding gas hearth appliances and last I heard, no training required and is about 110 question exam with optional one day class. I heard they are in the process of adding additional requirements to this. They require annual carrying charges to maintain the certificaiton once earned, which has driven many away. The Cert. is good for 3 yrs. You can recertify with enough CEUs and a check. The CSIA is the education branch of the National Chimney Sweep Guild though they try to claim they are separate entities. They are housed in the same building with same office staff, mail and phones.

    The National Fireplace Institute (NFI) has three certifications based upon fuel category: wood, gas and pellet Specialists. If you get all three and agree for them to expire on the same earliest date, you can use the Master Hearth Professional designation (MHP) This is a 110 question exam with optional 6hr class prep. You can take the exam at an airport through LaserGrade. There are no carrying fees and the cert. is for 3 yrs. You can recertify with enough CEUs and a check. The NFI is administered by the Hearth Patio BBQ Education Foundation, which was borne out of the precursor of the Hearth, Patio, and BBQ Assn. but is totally separate from the HPBA in that there is no selection of the Board of Governors other than by the Board itself. The HPBA has no power over them but they do provide office staff and are co-located in their Arlington, Va. offices.

    The Fireplace Investigation Research Education (FIRE) Service Certified Fireplace Inspector certification is a 6 day hands-on class taught exclusively by Dale Feb, the industry's leading authority. This course includes intensive classroom, lab experiments, hands-on instruction. There is a 130+ question exam with practical inspection test. This course is based heavily on codes and stds. . The cert. is good for 3 yrs with no carrying charges. Re-certification by CEU still requires passing a written exam on the code changes since your last cert. This cert. does include gas and oil fired hearth and heating appliances.

    The new FIRE Certified Technician course launches today in Moorpark, Calif. This is a two day beginners level course to expose the student to basic principles of responsibility, legal, moral and ethical issues, maintenance of vehicles, safety, documentation and reporting. It does Not teach the codes, which will be done in a followup course.

    BE careful of who you refer as you could become guilty of a "Negligent Referral" suite should things go wrong. Just check credentials and do your homework as no single certification is sufficient.
    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  19. #19
    Stacey Van Houtan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    Bob thank you for a more through comment on this issue. Where to the gel ventless FPs fit in, I understand that some call this is a dectorative fixtixure and is un-regulated. (a big Candle)

    I think this my be handled as I do other components and systems and use: call a component contractor such as CSIA, IAQ, and HVAC or other expert to evaluate the system and make any needed repairs,


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    As always thanks Bob, for the fine detail clarification on anything fireplace related.

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  21. #21
    Stacey Van Houtan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    I am now expanding my comment to; call a component contractor such as: CSIA, F.I.R.E., NFI, IAQ, and/or a HVAC or other quilified expert to evaluate the system and make any needed repairs,


  22. #22
    Bob Spermo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    David,

    Please define a "decent CO detector".


  23. #23
    David Bell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    Based on Alarmspecs.com;. Based on the editor's scoring, the top-ranked models are the First Alert GCO1CN, the Kidde 900-0113/KN-COEG-3, and the Kidde Combo 900-0114/KN-COSM-IB.


  24. #24
    Jack Murdock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    George,
    A vent free appliance when equipped with an ODS is a very safe appliance when used per the manufacturers instructions. I would suggest some language such as " this appliance should not be equipped with a thermostat and should NEVER be a sole source of heat." Unless something has happened recently a VF appliance equipped with an ODS is safer than any other appliance because according to CPSC they have never killed anyone. Moisture in the home can be an issue, for every 92,516 btu of LP thats burned (or approx 100,000) btu of natural gas an equal amount of water vapor is discharged into the living space. Direct vent is best but vent free is perfectly safe when used as the manufacturer intends. I am a liscensed gasfitter in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and have been installing these for years.

    Jack


  25. #25
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    Thumbs up Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    My choice is "ventless fireplace", because it is vent free and pretty helpful also. A ventless gas fireplace is a free standing appliance that supplies heat to home. Yes, they are heaters, but they are also works of art that add beauty, and warmth to my home very smartly.A ventless fireplace can keep warm and cozy also very much effective for winter .
    Ventless fireplaces do as much to warm my inner soul as they do to heat your room. They also do not require electricity so they heat my room without adding to your light bill. That is enough to make most people take a second look at the appliances.


  26. #26
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    Cool Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bell View Post
    Based on Alarmspecs.com;. Based on the editor's scoring, the top-ranked models are the First Alert GCO1CN, the Kidde 900-0113/KN-COEG-3, and the Kidde Combo 900-0114/KN-COSM-IB.
    Those alarms are listed to UL 2034 and thus serve only as death alarms. They do nothing to protect you from lower levels of CO poisoning such as long term harmful exposure. These alarms are designed to alert only once you have met the medical definition of CO poisoning or 10% COHb. You can get permanently disabled by chronic low level CO exposure. These alarms are deliberately dummied up to reduce 911 calls--not for public protection.

    Get yourself unlisted low level CO monitors for each floor level and within 15 feet of any sleeping room.

    Beware of anyone attaching a label as a product being "safe" because that is impossible and full of liability. A product may be 'safer' that another but NOTHING in this world is "safe".

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Ventless gas fireplace verbiage

    Quote Originally Posted by ventless fireplace View Post
    A ventless fireplace can keep warm and cozy also very much effective for winter .
    Ventless fireplaces do as much to warm my inner soul as they do to heat your room. They also do not require electricity so they heat my room without adding to your light bill. That is enough to make most people take a second look .........
    Please don't bother to reply to this, obviously a link-bot or whatever you cal it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    Those alarms are listed to UL 2034 and thus serve only as death alarms. They do nothing to protect you from lower levels of CO poisoning such as long term harmful exposure. These alarms are designed to alert only once you have met the medical definition of CO poisoning or 10% COHb. You can get permanently disabled by chronic low level CO exposure. These alarms are deliberately dummied up to reduce 911 calls--not for public protection.

    Get yourself unlisted low level CO monitors for each floor level and within 15 feet of any sleeping room.

    Beware of anyone attaching a label as a product being "safe" because that is impossible and full of liability. A product may be 'safer' that another but NOTHING in this world is "safe".
    Bob, thanks again. A timely reminder to check those alarms too.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

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