Most people associate a fireplace with firewood and a big chimney useful for ventilation and for Santa. But technology and advances in fuel delivery have now allowed our homes to be outfitted with ventless gas fireplaces. No chimney necessary, and they can even be purchased online.
Why don't ventless fireplaces need a chimney? Well, Unlike wood burning fireplaces, a ventless fireplace uses natural gas or gel to produce heat. These types of fuels are deemed to have a lower emissions rate than wood.
Despite that, The Boston Globe considered the question of ventless fireplace safety and generally came out with the view they could be hazardous.
According to The Globe, if used properly, which means only for supplemental heat (i.e. not full-time), a ventless fireplace is fine. However, homeowners still have to be careful because such fireplaces create indoor water vapor which can lead to mold in the walls. Ventless fireplaces and mold don’t seem like they would go together, but they do. Then there is this:
There are fail-safe gadgets on the units to shut them off if oxygen levels fall to a certain level, or carbon monoxide rises to a certain level, but what if they fail?
For many, this is perhaps the scariest part of a ventless fireplace.
Of course, it goes without saying that if you use a ventless fireplace and these gauges fail to work and you suffer an injury, you would be well-advised to consider an attorney practicing in the area of products liability and defective products.
Similarly, if you are in the process of buying a house and have retained an attorney familiar with how local houses are constructed, he or she might be able to warn you about ventless fireplaces and to get the house tested in advance, both for gases and ventless fireplace-related mold.
- Find a Boston Real Estate attorney (FindLaw)
- Lead Poisoning Threshold: Prevent Lead Poisoning in Boston (FindLaw’s Boston Real Estate News Blog)
- Don’t Let Your Christmas Decorations Lead to a Lawsuit (FindLaw’s Boston Real Estate News Blog)