Vent-free fireplace inserts have several advantages over vented models. Since they don't require any venting or external equipment, you can place them in both free-standing mantel cabinets and masonry fireplaces that are no longer functional. In terms of efficiency, vent-free inserts are also superior to vented ones. Vented units can lose a significant amount of the warm air they produce up their chimneys, but ventless fireplace inserts are entirely self-contained, allowing all of the heat to remain inside the home.
By Frank from Williamsport, Pennsylvania on July 25, 2014
I live in a 100 year old house. I want to put a vent free unit in the corner. I am concerned about fire. The floors are wood. Is a vent free unit safe in a corner? The corner measures 38.75 inches x 38.75 inches. The ceiling height is almost 9 feet. Can you recommend one? We are interested in a winter time evening fire and not concerned about a lot of heat. I want it to look like an insert as we will build a wall around it where it will look like an enclosed triangle. What about heat build up in the enclosed space above the unit? Finally, we want to have a 25 to 32 inch flat panel above the fireplace mantel. Is this possible?
By Tyler M. on July 25, 2014
Per your dimensions, we recommend one of our Empire Vail 26" vent-free fireplaces, one of which you can see here:
If you are installing a television above, we recommend installing a mantel shelf to the clearances stated in the manual for that fireplace and placing the TV above the shelf. Recessing the television into its own enclosure is another suggestion.
By Tom from Sedalia, MO on October 22, 2013
I'm looking for a natural gas fireplace insert to use as a backup heat source. I have a fireplace and chimney that I currently have a Kozy Heat model DBL-2000 (Monticello) electric insert with surround. The surround is 8.5 inches on the top, 7 inches on both sides and 1.25 inches on the bottom. The dimensions on the actual fireplace are larger. I'm guessing maybe 36" wide by 25" tall but that is purely a guess as the surround covers the entire area and I cannot get an accurate measure without removing the surround. I will do so if necessary. The gas insert can be either direct vent or vent free. I'd prefer vent free due to costs. Can you suggest some models that might meet my needs?
By Collin C. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on October 23, 2013
I have an 18" set of gas logs (vent free). Can I buy just the insert?
By Collin C. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on October 16, 2013
Vent free gas logs and burners are mated to each other from the factory, as a dangerous release of soot or carbon monoxide can result if items from different manufacturers are paired together.
There should have been a metal build tag that came with the original burner, if you still have the item. If you no longer have it, I am afraid an entirely new kit will have to be ordered.
By Luis Molina from Atlanta on November 17, 2012
What makes a vent free fireplace "vent free"? Does it need a sensor? Does it need an automatic shut off valve?
By Tyler M. - Fireplace Specialist on November 19, 2012
All vent-free appliances are equipped with an oxygen-depletion sensor (ODS) that will automatically shut off if oxygen levels in the room drop. This is built in to the pilot assembly of all of our vent-free fireplaces and stoves and is not an extra item.
By Collin C. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on November 19, 2012
Vent free fireplaces are completely self contained. By using a lower output burner system, they are able to be used with no exhaust vent. These units will also have an oxygen depletion sensor that will close the gas valve, should oxygen levels in the room reach unsafe levels. These units make excellent supplemental heat sources when installed in large areas with plenty of circulation.
By Russell from Fincastle, VA on June 19, 2014
I presently have vent free propane gas logs. I am dissatisfied with the smoke damage to fireplace, mantel and ceiling. Does a vent free fireplace insert have less smoke to deal with?
By eFireplaceStore on June 19, 2014
The amount of byproduct released generally has to do with the BTU output of the vent free set, rather than the type of vent free appliance. It is likely that swapping to a vent free insert will not cure the issue, especially because propane tends to have a greater amount of odorant that accelerates the creation of soot.
You may consider switching to a direct vent insert. While they are not as efficient as a vent free version, they still radiate a good deal of supplemental heat and do not use air from the room for combustion.
By Sandra from KY on July 9, 2013
Do you have a ventless fireplace insert set that can be used outdoors under a covered porch?
By Tyler M. - NFI Certified Specialist on July 9, 2013
We have several models that you can use for your application. Please see our full selection of patio fireplaces below, then use the search options on the left-hand side of the page to select "Vent-Free" in the "Vent Type" category:
What is the difference between a firebox and a fireplace insert? We need a ventless system with a blower to push the heat into the room. Which would be best for us? There will be no connection between the fireplaces and the outside walls.
By Chris C. on January 26, 2015
A firebox commonly refers to a chassis which can be installed into a framed opening, and a log set of the end user's choosing can be installed. A fireplace insert is a complete appliance including the chassis, log set, burner, and valve assembly which is designed to be installed into an existing masonry or prefabricated fireplace. Fireplace inserts also require the use of a face-plate or surround to cover the gap left between the leading edge of the fireplace and the existing fireplace. A vent free fireplace consists of a chassis, log set, burner, and valve assembly which may be installed into a framed in opening. They are closely designed like a firebox, but the burner and log sets are typically specific to the fireplace itself, and cannot be easily changed. I have listed examples below of each:
Can I convert an 18" log for vent free fireplaces from LP gas to natural gas?
By eFireplaceStore on October 16, 2014
Unfortunately, vent free appliances cannot be converted between fuel types. This is due to potential safety issues if the conversion is not done properly. Each manufacturer produces the set to be used with a certain fuel.
By Larry from Hemet, CA on November 12, 2012
Are vent-free fireplaces contraindicated for people with asthma?
By Tyler M. - Fireplace Specialist on November 12, 2012
Vent-free appliances are not recommended for homeowners with any respiratory issues, particularly asthma. For more information on this and other factors to consider, please see the "Vent-Free" section of our Gas Fireplace and Stove Buying Guide.
By rande from Idaho Falls, Idaho on February 10, 2013
Are there elevation restrictions? Can vent free be operated as a primary heat source?
By Collin C. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on February 11, 2013
Vent free appliances have an elevation restriction of 4,500 feet. Due to the lack of oxygen, they suffer from frequent pilot outages at any higher elevation.
These units must also only be used as a supplemental heat source. Because of oxygen depletion, the unit will eventually shut down if used as a primary heat source. I highly recommend the use of a direct vent appliance as a primary heat source and at higher elevations.
By Tim from MA on April 26, 2015
Are there any concerns with carbon monoxide with vent free natural gas inserts? Also, are there any laws against using them in Massachusetts that you know of?
By Brennan W. on April 27, 2015
Vent free appliances do not put out carbon monoxide. They operate at an efficiency that puts off only carbon dioxide and water vapor. While they are approved for sale in Massachusetts, you will need to speak to local code enforcement before installing, as different jurisdictions have different rules regarding installation of fireplaces inserts.
By Nick from New Orleans, LA on January 2, 2014
I need to find a firebox that has a clear opening of at least 30"H. The width is less important. My client has tall andirons that she wants to place in the firebox. Whether the box is vented is not important, as a third party bio-ethanol burning device will likely be chosen to place in the box (any advice on this would also be helpful). I see a few models that are 34-36" high (overall dimension), but it looks like the actual opening would be too small to accommodate the andirons. Can you tell me if you have such a model?
By Tyler M. - NFI Certified Specialist on January 2, 2014
Yes, we have a vent-free firebox with an opening height of right at 30", please see it here:
That box has an opening of 32 1/2" wide and 30" tall.
By Dave from Virginia Beach, VA on November 13, 2012
I have an old pre-fab woodburning fireplace that needs replacing. I got an estimate of $6500 for the whole job. Can I seal off the chimney and install a vent-free gas insert in its place for cheaper?
By Tyler M. - Fireplace Specialist on November 13, 2012
Yes, the cost to replace your manufactured fireplace with a vent-free unit should be considerably cheaper, even when factoring in the cost to run a gas line to the fireplace and removal of the original.
I have an electric fireplace in my double wide trailer. Can I replace it with a gas burning, vent free insert?
By eFireplaceStore on November 11, 2014
Certainly. If the current electric insert is installed into a wooden enclosure, the enclosure could not be used with the gas insert. However, there is not a reason why you could not install a vent free gas model within an enclosure of some sort.
By Vipul from Chicago, IL on April 29, 2013
Do you have a vent free natural gas fireplace insert that will fit in a firebox that's 36 wide, 32 high and 24 deep? I'd like an insert with gas logs, blowers and is remote ready.
By Tyler M. - NFI Certified Specialist on April 30, 2013
Thank you for this information. We recommend the Medium Innsbrook Vent-Free Gas Fireplace Insert with Millivolt Controls, which comes standard with the burner, log set, decorative brick panels, blower and remote-ready millivolt pilot assembly. You will need to add the remote control itself separately; options can be found in the "Accessories" tab on that item page. Please also note that your opening height of 32" will not be completely covered by the three surround options for that insert. You may want to consider adding the Empire SH1BL Fireplace Insert Shroud, which would fit behind one of the three surrounds and cover an area of 48" W x 37 7/8" H.
By Ken from Augusta, GA on October 23, 2012
I'm looking for a vent-free double-sided insert.
By Kevin E. - Fireplace Specialist on October 24, 2012
We have a limited selection of see-through vent-free appliances, and fewer still that can be framed into a wall.
If you are searching for a zero-clearance, two-sided, vent free fireplace, please check out our Vail 36".
By Ray from NC on January 3, 2015
Do vent free fireplace inserts have a carbon monoxide sensor built into them?
By eFireplaceStore on January 5, 2015
While an oxygen depletion sensor is part of their standard construction, the units do not have a carbon monoxide system of any kind. It is recommended to install and maintain at least a couple of carbon monoxide detectors in any home that uses gas appliances.
By Sheila from Bloomfield Hills, MI on March 7, 2013
I am looking for an insert that can be used with gel fuel cans - not the ethanol. I want the natural flame and crackling sound that the gel fuel offers. The gel fuel styles does are not quite what I want so I've decided to use a surround of my choice but I need the insert. Does your company offer that type of insert?
By Collin C. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on March 7, 2013
Unfortunately, the company that we used to procure the inserts from, Classic Flame/Jensen, will no longer sell the insert by itself. All of their products will come with a surround or entertainment center as part of the package.
While I have looked, I have yet to find a supplier that will offer an insert by itself. I believe this is due to potentially liability issues that could arise if the unit was not installed properly into a listed surround. I apologize that I do not have a source that can provide just the insert.
By Mark from Toms River, NJ on November 25, 2014
I have a home that has an all brick fireplace. The dimensions are:
I'm looking for a gas type insert vent free model (with a remote) that I could install into the above dimensions. I could increase my depth to 21" if needed by just adding some framing members. What would you suggest?
By Kevin E. on November 25, 2014
Something like our DIS33 would work for you. It would fit your dimensions fine, you would simply need to add one of the insert faceplates in order to cover the gap from the insert body to the edge of your fireplace opening.
By Jerry from New Jersey on October 24, 2012
Can you put vent-less gas logs in an electric fireplace?
By Tyler M. - Fireplace Specialist on October 24, 2012
No. Ventless (or vent-free) gas logs are only meant to be installed in existing wood-burning fireplaces (brick/masonry or manufactured fireplaces that are listed to accept gas logs) or universal, vent-free fireboxes.
By Tim from MI on April 10, 2013
Are there advantages of having a ventless propane fireplace insert over a vented? Can a ventless propane fireplace be turned on by an external thermostat and run when the power goes off?
By Collin C. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on April 10, 2013
Ventless and vented fireplace inserts both have their own set of advantages and drawbacks. Vented fireplaces use no room air for combustion and give a realistic flame pattern, but are not as efficient as a vent free insert and individual exhaust and intake liners must be used. Ventless appliances require no vent pipe to be run, are very efficient, and simple to install. However, they use room air for combustion and must be serviced on a yearly basis to prevent the release of harmful materials.
Both of these categories of insert can be equipped with a remote or wall thermostat. Millivolt (standing pilot) inserts can indeed be used in the event of a power outage as well.
By Terri from Kettering, Ohio on December 17, 2012
I'm new to this whole idea. I have a house built in 1962 with a large 48" by 24" wood fireplace. The pre-sale inspection came back as needing a chimney liner before it could be safely used. If I bought a vent-free insert, would I need to seal off the chimney? What other work would be required? When looking at insert costs, is there the insert AND the coals or logs?
By Collin C. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on December 18, 2012
Generally, an insert is sold as a complete unit and will include the logs as part of the assembly. The insert will be a completely sealed system and would not require any connection to the existing chimney.
However, due to the wide and short dimensions of the fireplace, we do not have an insert that would completely cover the full width of the opening. Even with a surround, there would be some exposed space on either side. As such, a customer surround or backer plate would need to be custom-fabricated to take up the extra width.
Another option would be to use vent-free logs in the fireplace and have the chimney relined.
By Dosia from Goldsboro, NC on February 13, 2014
My fireplace opening is 44 1/2" wide by 28" high by 28 1/2" deep. What do you have to fit this opening?
By Collin C. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on February 13, 2014
One of our most popular and reliable units that would fit your fireplace opening is the Medium Innsbrook Vent-Free Gas Fireplace Insert with Millivolt Controls. This model has the capability to be wired to a remote or wall switch for control of operation. It is important to note that the surround for this unit is slightly narrower than your fireplace opening. As such, the opening would need to be narrowed with additional trim sections.
By Debbie from Cape May, NJ on July 18, 2014
What size gas logs do I need for a 36" gas insert?
By eFireplaceStore on July 18, 2014
Typically, a 24 inch set would be the correct size to use in a 36 inch box. However, if you would like to provide the front width, back width, and the depth of the fireplace opening, I will be happy to verify sizing.
By David from Glen Rose, TX on December 9, 2013
We have an existing insert that needs to be replaced. The available space is 38 3/4" W x 26 3/4" H x 15-16" D. It is propane, vent free, and has a blower. What do you suggest?
By Collin C. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on December 10, 2013
If I am replacing vented gas logs with ventless ones do I need to have a plumber do this for insurance purposes? The gas lines are already there and functioning, simply turned off at the gas logs this time.
By Collin C. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on March 11, 2013
When making any gas connections, I highly recommend have a licensed plumber do the work. They will be equipped with the tools to properly seal and leak test their connections.
By Lavene from Ozark, WV on March 9, 2013
I am considering replacing my existing seven year old vented gas logs with ventless in increase the efficiency. I was told that I could just shut the damper, replace the existing log/burner unit with the ventless one and enjoy it. This sounds too easy. Is there a safety issue, or an insurance coverage issue with just doing this?
By Collin C. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on March 11, 2013
Replacing a vented log set with a vent free version is indeed a fairly simple conversion. The only thing to consider is the amount of space the unit is heating. Vent free heaters have a tendency to add moisture to any room they are operating in. They also draw all of their combustion air from within the room. As such, they work best when installed into a large space with good air circulation. Other than this stipulation, they are a great way to add supplemental heat to a room.
By Pamela from Rome, GA on November 21, 2014
We have an insert that is 45 inches wide and 32.5 inches tall and it has gone bad. We need a ventless insert that uses propane. Do you have anything like that?
What is required to use "wellhead" natural gas in a vent free fireplace insert?
By Collin C. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on September 18, 2013
There is technically nothing separate that is required to operate an appliance on wellhead gas, however every manufacturer that I know of advises against it. Lack of odorants, possible impurities, and variation in BTU content are all concerns. To ensure safe operation, it is best to use only city supplied or treated and stabilized gas.
By Joel from Buffalo, NY on May 21, 2014
I have a pretty nice electric fireplace and I would like to keep the unit, but replace the box with a natural gas vent less unit. Can I do this?
By eFireplaceStore on May 21, 2014
Usually, a gas fireplace and an electric fireplace are self contained assemblies that operate using their respective systems. There is not a way to use an electric fireplace inside a vent free gas unit, as the vent free system will have its own burner and log set.
By Shenna on November 9, 2012
I am trying to find a modern gas fireplace, linear (not square), to put on an internal wall with venting out the top to the roof, no logs but with crystals/stones/rocks, with zero clearance. Can you help me find that?
on November 9, 2012
We have a few options to help you in your quest for a linear top-vented fireplace. Please see a few of our available units below:
Top-vented Fireplace 1Top-vented Fireplace 2Top-vented Fireplace 3Top-vented Fireplace 4
Please see each of those pages for more information on each unit, including a link to a downloadable owner's manual for each, located below the item description and features. We also have vent kits available for each of these units. Please let us know if you have any additional questions.
By Martin on November 9, 2012
What is a millivolt control? Does the pilot light stay on all the time with a natural gas fireplace? Can you manually turn your fireplace off and on? Do you have to have a remote control or a thermostat?
on November 9, 2012
A millivolt system has a small flame that generates power for the unit's gas valve to operate. As a result, they do not require outside power to operate and can be used in the event of a power outage. The only thing that would be rendered inoperable would be the blower, if applicable. Because of the amount of power the fan needs to operate, it cannot be used during a power outage. With a millivolt system, yes, the pilot will stay lit all the time with natural gas (or propane). You can indeed manually turn it off and on with the control knob. You can even turn it all the way off (extinguishing the pilot) if you wish, but you will have to re-light the pilot every time you want to operate the fireplace. Otherwise, it will go from fully operational back down to just the pilot light. The knob will have three options - "OFF", "PILOT", and "ON", indicating these three options.
On almost all of our millivolt units, you can indeed purchase an optional hand-held remote control or a wall-mount thermostat. We also have hand-held remotes that feature thermostatic control. If you want, please advise on any specific unit or units that you are interested in, and we will be happy to help you explore all of your options regarding remote controls.
Please let us know if you have any additional questions.
By Kris on November 9, 2012
I currently have a gas burning fireplace that vents up an external chimney. The fireplace is not the type that can burn real wood. It burns gas only. The front is a solid piece of glass that does not open.
Can I remove that insert, plug off the chimney pipe and make a direct replacement with a vent free fireplace insert?
With the current fireplace, way too much of the heat goes up the chimney so I would like to put in a direct venting unit so that all of the head stays in the house.
on November 9, 2012
While you would not be able to pull the burner assembly and log set from your direct vent fireplace and replace it with a vent-free burner, you should be able to remove the entire direct vent fireplace and replace the entire appliance with a vent-free alternative. Please follow the below link to view some of our vent-free appliances.
We're happy to discuss this renovation with your further. Please let us know if you have any additional questions.
By Boykin on November 9, 2012
I work for a developer and trying to find modern styled vent free fireplaces that run on natural gas. Do they exist or do I need to buy a contemporary box and then find an insert (river rock, glass, etc.)?
I have a precast fireplace that has some cracks in it and it was deemed unsafe to use as a wood burning fire place. Can I use a vent free fireplace insert and not worry about heat transfer ?
By eFireplaceStore on May 22, 2014
Generally, it is not an issue to use a vent free insert in a fireplace that has been deemed unsafe for use as a wood burning model. However, vent free appliances are not legal for use in California. Would you consider using a direct vent insert instead? Like a vent free insert, a direct vent model will use a self contained, slide in chassis. However, it will utilize a pair of 3 inch flexible aluminum liners that will run up the existing chimney to a termination. One liner draws outside combustion air and the other vents exhaust gases.
By Tracy Marks from Ardmore, OK on December 10, 2012
My house is heated by a heat pump. When it gets cold, it is not too efficient. I have a functioning fireplace but we never use it. I would like to get something to insert in the fireplace that would burn LP and would blow out some hot air to supplement our heat pump. What would you recommend?
By Collin C. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on December 10, 2012
For supplemental heat, you would be best off to use a set of vent-free gas logs. Traditional vented gas logs are largely for looks and do not add much heat to the immediate area, while vent-free logs are classified as room heaters and can supply enough heat to warm a 800-square foot area on average.