Master Bath Fireplace

A chimney-free fireplace adds cozy appeal to this decadent master bath.

Some remodelers looking to add the rustic touch are turning to natural gas or propane vent-free heaters, fireplaces, stoves, and log sets. In addition, people building a new home looking to heat an ancillary room (basement, bedroom, loft) or folks searching for heating options for a smaller second cabin are investigating vent-free products.

“There’s a widely held perception that a fireplace and other heating products are costly to install,” says Sue Walker, chairman of the Vent-Free Gas Products Alliance. “Today’s vent-free products are changing such thinking among homeowners.”

Vent-free appliances are similar to other space heating and hearth products, with one exception: They don’t feature a chimney, flue or vent, so installation costs can be up to 60% less than installing vented heating appliances.

Vent-free products can be put in virtually any room and any location in a home, as long as there’s access to a gas line. Vent-free products can even be installed outside to provide heat for outdoor living areas.

“Vent-free hearth appliances have been one of our fastest moving heating products this year,” says Ricky Sullivan, owner of Hearth and Grill Shop in Nashville. “Vent-free gas fireplaces, log sets, stoves, and heaters have become an easy and low-cost remodeling option in existing or new spaces.”

Soapstone Fireplace

This soapstone fireplace radiates heat into the room.

Vent-free appliances draw in room air, then heat and re-circulate it to provide maximum comfort. At peak operation, a typical vent-free appliance costs about 36 cents an hour to run. They can be installed in rooms that are used the most, enabling people to reduce their thermostat for central heat.

“With any appliance other than vent-free, it takes quite a while to build up heat in a room; a vent-free heater or log set provides heat immediately,” said Ajay Gupta, president of Housewarmings in Lexington, Kentucky. “This is a key point for our customers, along with the 99% efficiency of vent-free appliances and all the heat stays in the room. With today’s fuel costs, that’s a big factor for our customers.”

Every vent-free appliance sold in the United States has an oxygen detection safety sensor (ODS), equivalent to an electrical circuit breaker. It turns the unit off if the room’s oxygen levels drop around the unit. Design-certified vent-free heaters, fireplaces, stoves and log sets have been tested independently by the American Gas Association Research (AGAR) Laboratories and meet today’s indoor air quality guidelines.

Detailed fact sheets on energy savings and vent-free appliances can be found at ventfree.org.