Just the thought of chimney installation breaks many people out into sweat. Apart from the tremendous installation requirements, many homes are not equipped for a chimney. Does that mean you can’t get the fireplace you always dreamed of? Certainly not. There are some NZ ventless fireplace options.
Unvented gas fireplace
This fireplace option comes with an oxygen detection sensor to detect the level of oxygen in the room. It kills all the natural gas present in the room to not produce smoke. However the greenhouse gas emission is significant and if the oxygen detection sensor malfunctions for some reason, there can be serious health hazards. Due to this, many apartment buildings do not allow installation of ventless gas fireplace.
Bio fuel fireplace
This is the best unvented option. Bio fuel is basically 100% alcohol produced from plant extracts. This fuel is poured into the burner and when lit produces fire. While the heat produced may not be as significant as a gas fireplace it is still quite a bit. It produces very little carbon dioxide and some water vapour. The carbon dioxide emitted is so little that it can cause no health hazards. As for water vapour, you won’t even notice it; its production is that little. It does not emit any other particles. For any fire to burn, it requires air. So this fire too would consume some air. But the consumption is not significant. Its biggest advantage is that it doesn’t produce any smoke- only pure flame.
It produces insignificant amount of soot on the surface around the fire and no ashes or smoke. Bio fuel was initially used in Scandinavia where it was mixed with petrol to provide clean combustion. Its success there made it an option for fireplaces. Since it is unvented, it can be placed anywhere, especially since there are many freestanding options available. However, one must remember to take safety measures while placing it.
While each model comes with its own set of instructions, general requirements are:
- Requires level placement to avoid any spilling.
- Checking all brackets etc for wall mounted ones and ensuring they are mounted on non-flammable surfaces.
- Ensuring no electrical appliance is placed over a recessed one. Like installing TV over a fireplace may not be a good idea. Even if the wall is heat resistant, a safe distance needs to be maintained.
- Should not be placed near any flammable materials.
If these steps are taken, bio fuel fireplace could be the best unvented option for your home.