Vent-free wood stoves are ideal for homes with limited space. Since they don't require any bulky vent pipe or external attachments, you can place ventless stoves in places you would never be able to fit vented models. Similarly, if you're searching for efficiency, you're definitely going to want to go with a vent-free stove. This is because while vented units can lose a significant amount of the warm air they produce up their chimneys, ventless wood stoves are entirely self-contained, allowing all of the heat to remain inside the home.
I have a Napoleon GVFS20 natural gas vent free stove. Can it be converted to use propane?
Unfortunately, no. Because of the danger of vent free systems that have been improperly converted, the unit will come from the factory set up for one fuel or the other and cannot be converted in field. I apologize for the inconvenience.
Do any of these stoves operate without an electric blower? Also, if there are no vents, where does the smoke go?
Many models of stoves offer a circulating blower as an option, but they are usually not required for operation of the unit. Vent free fireplaces and stoves are limited to a certain BTU output and feature a sophisticated burner system and precise log setup. These features ensure that soot and harmful combustion byproducts are virtually non-existent, making a venting system unnecessary. It is important to have a vent free appliance serviced on a yearly basis to ensure that it continues to operate cleanly.
Where does the smoke go if one does not have a vent?
Vent free appliances are manufactured so that they do not release soot or CO when burning. The burner is designed to facilitate and optimal fuel ratio, with no obstruction to the flame and the release of only carbon dioxide and water vapor. It is important to note that they do use oxygen from within the room for combustion and as such, they do not work well in smaller spaces and high elevations, due to the lack of available oxygen.
What is the difference between gas and propane in terms of price and quality? What is the recommended tank size for a propane fueled stove?
Propane has a higher energy content than natural gas, but is usually more expensive to use. If natural gas is available in your area, it is generally the preferred fuel, as the cost is less, not storage tank is required, and vaporization issues are not a concern. If propane is the only option, a minimum 30 pound tank is recommended for most appliances. The larger the tank, the greater the operating time without having to wait for the tank to "catch up" and vaporize more fuel.
I am switching to propane heat and I want to know how the ventless stoves process the water vapor from the propane. I prefer the ventless because of the high efficiency but I do not want all the water vapor from the propane in my home. Where does it go?
The water vapor released into the room from the burning of propane is indeed one of the big arguments against using vent-free appliances, as it may cause windows to fog up and there have been issues with mildew in some cases. For more details about the differences and the pros and cons between direct vent and vent-free, please see our Gas Fireplace and Stove Buying Guide.