If you’ve always wanted a fireplace in your home but did not have the room for a traditional fireplace, a direct vent fireplace which uses propane or natural gas provides the solution.
Instead of venting through a chimney, this type of fireplace vents directly to the outside through a hole in an exterior wall.
It is composed of a completely enclosed firebox that draws in outside air for combustion then vents the resulting gases to the outside. It also has a glass front which allows radiant heat to enter a room.
Other advantages of a direct vent fireplace are its high energy efficiency of ninety percent (since if they are installed properly they have no drafts or heat loss) and the fact that it is safe to place furniture on either side of the fireplace.
A gas-fired direct vent fireplace can also look surprisingly like a traditional wood-burning fireplace, with artificial logs that glow and burners that produce tall, dancing flames.
Some models can even produce the cracking sound of burning wood. And, if you want to complete the effect, you can burn special incense that mimics the smell of a wood fire.
A direct vent fireplace also comes in many designs from the standard one-sided model, whose surface lies flush with the wall, two-sided, three-sided ‘peninsula’ models and four-sided islands.
Their widths also range from thirty to forty-eight inches, and heights from twenty-four to thirty-inches; however, they are quite shallow, which is a space-saving advantage for people living in apartments.
But if you want to install this type of fireplace in your home, make sure to keep safety concerns in mind. One concern is that since a direct vent fireplace removes oxygen from a room and replaces with carbon monoxide, it may result in a toxic buildup of CO.
Thus, you should pick a model with a safety monitor and automatic shutdown or install a carbon monoxide detector for safety purposes. The glass front of the fireplace can also become very hot, so make sure that children do not touch it.
Also ensure that the model you are buying has been certified by an organization as being compliant with state safety and building codes.