Fireplace FAQs - 4 Key Areas

Frequently asked questions about fireplace center around four key areas; Venting, Remote Control, Converting from one fuel to another, and Piping & Dampers.

Venting Questions

What is the difference between direct vent, b vent, totally vented and ventless?

A wood-burning fireplace is totally vented. For a complete explanation of these terms, see our venting page .

Can I put a cabinet around direct vent, ventless or b-vent?

Cabinets are boxes that extend about 18" from the wall. Mantels are wood frames that only extend about 4" - 6" from the wall.

* B-vent cannot have a cabinet. A b-vent fireplace must be installed in the wall, allowing all the piping to be hidden. You may then use a mantel.
* Direct vents can have a cabinet if you vent piping out the back.
* Vent-free can have a cabinet.

Can I use vented gas logs in a stove? ...In a fireplace? ...In a coal burning fireplace?

Vented gas logs can only be used in a wood-burning fireplace. A coal-burning fireplace is too shallow. Vented gas logs are not recommended for a stove due to safety concerns.

I am remodeling my basement. Should I go with direct vent or vent-free?

Direct vent will give you great looks and a good amount of heat with little moisture. Vent-free will give you lots of heat and good looks but the number one complaint about vent-free is it works too well, or puts off too much heat. If the vent-free is sized correctly to the room, you will not have a problem with heat or moisture.

What is a chase?

A wooden structure built around the vent pipe to protect it from the weather and to keep the flue gases venting properly.

How energy efficient is direct vent compared to b-vent?

A b-vent fireplace is the least efficient venting option and can be vented horizontally or vertically. Direct venting is the most efficient; some are even “heater rated” and can be vented horizontally, vertically or both.

Remote Controls

What does remote ready mean? Does it come with a remote?

Remote ready means that via the remote (wired or wireless) you can turn the unit on and off which requires a millivolt valve that creates millionths of volts of electricity to control the valve. Remote ready units do not come with a remote because there are up to 20 different kinds of remotes.

Can I use my wired wall switch or thermostat with variable high-lo logs or fireplace?

No. You have to use the remote that is designed for the high-lo variable logs or fireplaces.

What is a high-lo valve?

Via the remote, you will be able to raise and lower the height of the flame. The remotes are adjustable as either on off or thermostatically controlled.

Should I buy a remote ready vented logs set?

No. Because you would have to always leave the damper completely open which means you’d lose $.60 of every heating dollar you put into the house. Therefore, when you want to turn it on, you have to open the damper. So most people just turn it on when they are opening the damper and find the remote unnecessary.

Should I buy a remote ready with vent-free gas logs?

Yes. We suggest that you get a thermostatically controlled remote so that you can keep the room at a comfortable temperature and so you can turn the unit on and off. The longest lasting valve and remote are the units that vary the height of the flame.

Conversion Questions

Can I convert my vent-free natural gas product to another fuel?

No. By national code, you cannot convert any vent-free product.

Can I convert my vented propane gas logs to natural, or vice versa?

Yes. You can convert natural to propane and propane to natural, but in most cases, you need to buy a new valve. Your manufacturer can provide conversion instructions.

Piping, Dampers & Flue Questions

How much can I close my damper with vented gas logs when in use?

You cannot close your damper at all with vented gas logs while they are burning.

How can I seal my damper with vent-free gas logs?

We would recommend that you close the damper as tight as you can and get a Lock-Top damper that seals at the top of the chimney.

With a direct vent insert, do I need to reline the chimney?

No, you do not have to reline to wood burning specifications, but you must use the piping that is recommended by the manufacturer, which fits into the existing chimney.

What are the different kinds of burner pans for vent-free gas logs?

There is sheet metal, black pipe and stainless steel. The advantage of the sheet metal is that it is less expensive. Black pipe is heavier than sheet metal and costs a little more. The disadvantage of both is that they can rust through because they have very little rust protection. Stainless steel costs more, but will not corrode or burn through and it will last a lifetime.

How high above the roof should a chimney extend?

The minimum clearance for wood or b-vent is 3 feet above anything within 10 feet. For direct vent it is 18 inches above anything within 10 feet.

With direct vent or wood burning, what kind of piping do I use?

You must use manufacturer-approved piping.

Can different piping be used if I can’t find the original manufacturer’s?

No. If you use another manufacturer's piping and it creates a problem in your house; i.e., a fire or smoke damage, no insurance company will cover you. You will also void the warranty and inspectors will not approve it.

If brick is cracked can I burn wood?

If the crack is bigger than the tip of a graphite pencil, we do not recommend that you burn wood.

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