Pennsylvania regularly experiences below-freezing temperatures in the colder months. To keep your home warm and comfortable, you need to have an effective fireplace. To find the right fireplace, you need to research all of your options.
This article will help you get started by describing one type of gas fireplace. Read on to learn about the direct vent gas fireplace.
What Is a Direct Vent Gas Fireplace?
The most traditional fireplace uses a chimney to expel its smoke into the outdoor air. Oxygenated air then flows down through the chimney to fuel the fire.
A similar thing happens with a vent-free gas fireplace. However, this fireplace pulls in oxygen from indoor air. It also releases some (but not a lot of) fumes back into the home.
A direct vent fireplace acts like the best of both of these worlds. It doesn’t use a chimney so you don’t have to go through the trouble of cleaning it. Still, it does release fumes and pull in oxygen from the outdoors via a vent.
How Does a Direct Vent Fireplace Work?
The vent in a direct vent fireplace consists of two flues that nestle inside each other. One of these is an inner flue and the other is an outer flue. The inner flue usually has a diameter that’s half the length of the outer flue diameter.
Air and Exhaust Flows Through Flues
After a home occupant turns the fireplace on, fresh air and exhaust fumes start to flow through the flues. Fumes travel from the firebox through the inner flue to the outdoors. Fresh air travels in via the outer flue down into the firebox and fuels the flames.
Sealed Glass Panel and Protective Screens
In addition, a direct vent fireplace unit has a sealed glass panel and protective screen. This keeps the fireplace isolated from the home interior. As such, the indoor air doesn’t interfere with the fireplace’s process.
Outer Flue Isolates From Cold Temperatures
The outer flue also isolates the combustion components from cold outdoor temperatures. As a result, a direct vent gas fireplace doesn’t lose heat as easily.
Pros and Cons of a Direct Vent Gas Fireplace
The many benefits of a direct vent gas fireplace can make this heating system a blessing to have in your home. However, you shouldn’t just base your decision to purchase this fireplace style on that alone. You also need to consider some of the deficits.
Pro: Flexibility of Vent Placement
You can put a flue and vent through the roof of your home if you wish. However, this isn’t a requirement. You can also put your fireplace’s vent through the side of your home.
This flexibility allows you to install your fireplace wherever you want in your home. The same wouldn’t be true of a traditional wood-burning fireplace, whose chimney must have direct access to the roof.
Pro: Increased Safety
The exhaust fumes of a direct vent fireplace flow directly to the outside. If your firebox’s glass panel and screen are sealed properly, no exhaust fumes should enter your home.
Why is this important? Exhaust fumes carry the poisonous chemical carbon monoxide. If too many fumes escape into your house, they can poison the occupants. Therefore, a direct vent fireplace is extremely safe.
Pro: Increased Heat Efficiency
The heavily isolated nature of a direct vent fireplace makes it more heat efficient. Less heat escapes to the outdoors and indoors. Thus, you won’t need to use more gas to keep your home warm.
This means that you’ll spend less on the gas you’ll use for your fireplace. You’ll also help keep some greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.
Con: Expensiveness of Gas
Compared to wood, gas is an expensive heat source. Even with the increased heat efficiency, you’ll likely end up spending a lot of money on gas.
Luckily, you can reduce this price. Try making your home more energy efficient. You may also be able to shop around for gas providers and choose the least expensive one.
Con: Lack of Wood Flames and Aroma
Many gas fireplaces will have fake wood logs or glass rocks so they can attempt to mimic a traditional wood fireplace. However, a gas fireplace can never be the same as a wood fireplace.
Some people enjoy hearing the crackling of a wood fire and smelling its aroma. If you want this, then maybe a gas fireplace isn’t what you’re looking for.
Direct Vent Gas Fireplace vs Other Types of Gas Fireplaces
Beyond direct vent gas fireplaces, other types of gas fireplaces include vent-free, power vent, and natural vent gas fireplaces. How does a direct vent fireplace compare to the other fireplaces?
Vent-Free vs Direct Vent Gas Fireplace
Vent-free gas fireplaces simply do not have any vents. Their fireboxes are often sealed, but gas can still leak out into the home. As such, they’re not a very safe gas fireplace choice.
Power Vent vs Direct Vent Gas Fireplace
A power vent gas fireplace uses a fan to blow the exhaust fumes outdoors. This can give you the choice of a variety of flue shapes. However, you’ll use more energy with a power vent because of the fan.
Natural Vent vs Direct Vent Gas Fireplace
A natural vent gas fireplace will use the air inside your home to combust. Then it sends the exhaust fumes outside. This model is less heat efficient than the direct vent gas fireplace model.
We Build Fireplaces in New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania
To sum it up, a direct vent gas fireplace is safe, heat efficient, and can be installed almost anywhere in the home. However, it can also be expensive to heat and may not have the same comfort as a real fire. Whether or not these cons are deal killers is up to you.
Whatever types of gas fireplaces you end up wanting, we can build them for you. For nearly 150 years now, our company has provided quality fireplace installations in the PA area. Check out our many fireplace options on this page.