Direct Vent Gas Stoves versus Ventless Gas Stoves

The Pros and Cons of Ventless and Direct Vent Gas Stoves

By Mark J. Donovan

I’ll say right up front, when deciding between direct vent gas stove versus ventless gas stoves, always go with the direct vent gas stove option whenever possible. Direct vent gas stoves are by far the safer and healthier choice.

Several years ago we lost electricity to our home for four days during the winter. Fortunately we had a wood fireplace that kept the home from dropping below 32 degrees and preventing frozen pipes. However, the fireplace struggled to keep the home at 45 degrees. Needless to say, living through those cold days and nights was quite miserable. Shortly after we had electricity restored to our home we went out and purchased a direct vent gas stove. In the process of looking at gas stoves I learned quite a bit about vented gas stoves and ventless gas stoves.

Vented Gas Stoves vs Ventless Gas Stove Basics

Direct vent gas stoves have a pipe that vents combusted fuel pollutants out of the home. The vent pipe is directed outside the home either via a back wall adjacent to the gas stove or via the roof. Direct vented gas stoves have very high efficiency rating levels compared to wood or pellet stoves.

A ventless gas stove on the other hand has no vent pipe, which makes them easy to install and more affordable. Consequently the combusted fuel pollutants associated with a ventless gas stove end up venting out to the interior of the home, albeit they are at extremely low levels. This said, ventless gas stoves have extremely high efficiency levels, e.g. 99.9%. By ensuring high efficiency burning, pollutant levels released to the interior of a home are minimized.

The combusted fuel pollutants include Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide, and Nitrogen Dioxide. Though the pollutant levels released from ventless gas stoves are well below Federal guidelines, combined with the facts that a home is tightly sealed during the winter months and that there is other air pollutants trapped in the home, one has to question the air quality of a home burning a ventless gas stove.

To their credit, ventless gas stoves also have built in oxygen detection safety sensors to sense if oxygen levels within the home are too low. If the oxygen sensor detects that the oxygen level is too low it automatically shuts off the ventless gas stove. The oxygen sensor switch-off point is set well above what is considered a dangerously low oxygen level.

Ventless gas stoves also produce higher humidity levels within the home when operated. This can have both positive and negative aspects to the home.

Finally, ventless gas stoves have lower maximum BTU (heat output) ratings, to help reduce the pollutant output levels within the home and to comply with federal regulations.

Finally, some states and countries forbid the use of ventless gas stoves in homes due to the safety concerns mention above.

Vented Direct Gas Stove and Ventless Gas Stove Prices

Ventless gas stoves typically cost less than vented gas stoves. Ventless gas stoves start out at around $500, where direct vent gas stoves are priced in the $1,000 to $2,000 price range.

Ventless and Direct Vent Gas Stove Options

Direct vent and ventless gas stoves are available in numerous styles, sizes and BTU (heat output levels). Glass options also vary widely. Carefully consider the room(s) that you plan to heat with it and ask the stove supplier what is best for your particular situation.

Direct vent gas stove fireplace

In addition, when buying a vented gas stove or ventless gas stove, make sure to carefully consider all the options, including the type of ignition system, thermostat/flame/remote controls, and the incorporation of a variable speed blower fan.

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