Vent Free Logs: Smells and concerns

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

Question regarding; Vent Free Logs:

Smells, heat & respiratory concerns,

Q. My husband just had Open Heart Surgery. We had a Fireplace Build 30/years ago and have been using a large buck stove. Because of his health conditions, we decided to go to Vent Free Natural Gas Logs. We have had a gas smell since we have had them installed.

The installer of our Vent free gas logs has been back and everything is correct. Today I called the Gas Company, no gas showed up on their monitor. But they could also smell the gas, “just a small odor”. I do not burn these thru the night, only from around 11: am to 8 or 9: pm and sometimes not that long. The biggest problem the gas order is smelling stronger in two bedrooms 20 ft away. Nothing would show up on the gas company’s monitors, but they to could smell the odor.

First, they claimed it was our cold air return, but we do not use our furnace/heat and cut the logs off at night. Then they came up with when we took the buck stove out, there is a lot of creosote back in where the stove was which is now open and the logs are setting in. He is claiming the creosote is melting and causing the smell Is this correct. Is there any product that I can get to clean this since it is baked on?

Stage 1, Creosote is often a dusty looking or may appear as a coffee ground texture.

 

 

Stage 2 Creosote, This often starts out as a very layer of lightly glazed creosote in the chimney system. This creosote will expand rapidly as it catches fire and changes into a brittle, fragile and puffy styrofoam consistency and can then easily block the chimney flue cause serious smoking problems!

 

 

 

 

 

Stage 3 Creosote, this stinking, tar, or gummy substance can accumulate in the firebox, on the damper, in smoke-chamber or at the top of the chimney flue cap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answer

Creosote is a fuel and “could possibly ignite into a fire, and it does stink! Odors move as air moves in many homes. It is my experience that some air is “still moving”, even if the furnace is not running, or pushing or blowing the hot air out of the vents

PCR being applied using a slip casting method of coating the interior of the walls of the chimney flue system.

If any creosote is visible at the start of one of our repair or installation projects,  we would have included a price to remove all of this creosote from the firebox, smoke chamber and chimney flue with a product called Heat Shield PCR (Poultice Creosote Remover) manufactured by CeCure LLC; c/o Saver Systems www.ChimneySavers.com/pcr

In most cases, this is not cheap to repair, but it does work and it will remove the creosote problem.

$1,200 to $1,900 dollars and possible higher are not uncommon. Once again PCR has resolved stinking flammable creosote problems for us.

We would have also included what is called a level 2 chimney cleaning inspection with our chimney scanning equipment. It is viewed as a “change of use” of fuel source according to the NFPA 2:11 or National Fire Protection Association. The standard for Chimney, Fireplaces, Vents and Solid fuel Burning Appliances.

 . . . . WITH ALL OF THAT BEING SAID, LET’S TALK ABOUT  

VENT-FREE GAS LOGS 

With that being said I’m personally not a fan of vent-free logs at all. My customer’s odor problems alone and this is just one reason that I stopped selling Vent Free Gas units altogether.
Take some time to read your manufacturer’s installation instructions, as well as their printed CAUTIONS section.
To the best of my knowledge, most manufacturers will state something about opening a window while the vent-free products are in use, which seems somewhat defeating when you think of it.
How long of a period of time they can be burned is also referenced.

I also feel you may be using these logs way too long of a period of time. But again follow your Mfg. instruction or call their help or customer support line.

Does the manufacturer of your Vent Free Gas Logs have cautions or warnings, regarding respiratory heath issue for seniors small children?

I have often read heath cautions on the use of vent-free gas around seniors, small children as well as family members with respiratory problem warnings; to seniors, small children along with individuals with breathing problem would knock out about 85 % of families that I know of, from installing these log sets, including myself with my own bouts with asthma.
It has been stated that burning 100,000 BTU of natural gas in any form, generates about 1 gallon of water. So my question is, so where does that water go, especially since the chimney flue is now closed up tight. Another possible issue is the dramatic rise in temperature of surrounding masonry, wood mantel and any possible hidden. Construction framing on the sides or the fireplace or under the hearth.

I know well that many fireplace shops and chimney contractors sell lots of these vent free units to a homeowner on the warmth benefit. And many of their customers really love them. For me personally, I know well that vent free appliances’ actually do produce a huge amount of heat. But for me, it comes with a high cost, as well as potentially to many health and safety concerns to my customers, as well as my own family.
I hope that I have shed some additional insights, on possible solving your issue.
Clay

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Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb
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Watch Our Chimney Flue Systems YouTube Video

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

Chimney Flue restoration project in Richmond, Indiana. The face layer of the brick got stripped exposing the building’ flue system.

I NEVER recommend a product or service that I don’t personally use (and love) myself but just to be totally transparent you should know that some of the links on my site ARE affiliate links and I DO make a small commission from any sales that are made. Thanks for your support!

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Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

   ” Carbon Monoxide Poisoning “

Nighthawk Carbon Monoxide Alarm 62525 copy
Carbon Monoxide Detector

* 7 Ways to help prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (CO)

1)- Have carbon monoxide detector installed on each level of your home

2)- Have your home’s heating and venting systems inspected annually

3)- Have your wood-burning and gas fireplace serviced yearly

4)- Do not use charcoal grills inside your house or fireplace

5)- Never operate a gasoline-powered engine in an unvented garages or basement.

6)- Never operate a car, mower or generator, running in the garage, even with the garage door open

7)- Never use a gas range or cook stove for heating inside your home, cabin, tent or camper 


* Carbon Monoxide poisoning is often referred to as “CO” poisoning . . .  the “Silent Killer”

 This poisonous gas is a by-product of the burning of any type of fossil fuel, or by-products such as gasoline, natural gas, fuel oils, kerosene, coal, wood, or charcoal.

When you breathe in Carbon Monoxide, it quickly replaces the oxygen in your bloodstream that your body requires. Without this needed oxygen, the cells throughout our body die, and your internal organs will begin to shut down. Thus, this is what makes CO gas so dangerous because that you can’t see, smell it, or taste it.

Carbon Monoxide detectors should be installed on each floor of the home!


Carbon monoxide produces whenever we use our automobiles, fireplaces, charcoal grills, and gas appliances. Usually, these appliances will cause no problems if you correctly vent them.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
In finding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Areas, be sure to inspect both the furnace and hot water heater flues.

All of the flue vents in your home, including your dryer vent, need to be serviced regularly.

CO can become very deadly with just a minimal amount of exposure. It is important to be aware of the many signs of CO poisoning, and knowing what to do may mean life or death for you or your loved ones.

Carbon Monoxide trouble often occurs when cars, trucks, or other engines are left running in enclosed spaces, such as garages. Therefore idling a car in an open garage could be very dangerous, as fumes leak back up into the living space of the home.

R: 128 G: 255 B: 192 X:39852 Y: 0 S: 424 Zs: 0 Zp: 1 F: 670 I: 0 ImgVer:08.05.07.23
Removing bird nesting from the fireplace

Sealing and insulating homes may trap poisonous gases inside the house. Often this is due to misusing charcoal grills, generators and heating appliances in unvented areas of the home.

You may have heard of restaurants closing because of customers becoming sick because of CO poisoning. Often this occurs in buildings burning gas stoves and ovens consistently.


* What are some of the symptoms of CO Poisoning? 

As carbon monoxide gases build up in the bloodstream and rob us of oxygen, symptoms may vary but include dizziness, headaches, upset stomach and vomiting. Other warning signs maybe a feeling of disorientation, confusion, drowsiness, rapid breathing, racing of the heart, clamminess of the skin, chest pains, blurred vision and even possibly seizures.

Therefore, if you breathe in too much CO it could make you pass out or even kill you. Because breathing in rather low levels of carbon monoxide gas over a prolonged period may go somewhat undetected as a feeling of being little sick or coming down with the flu. Those “flu-like” symptoms’ could be causing prolong heart problems or possibly brain damage.


Three Signs of a possible chimney flue blockages that may be causing spillage of very deadly Carbon Monoxide gases into your home.

1-White chalking called (efflorescence) on the outside of the chimney bricks 

2- Watermarks on the walls in the basement flue vents

3-Broken flue tiles on the top of the chimney   

100_2873

 

DSCF0712100_3230

Have you heard someone say ‘I smell Gas”?

If you think your smelling the rotten egg sulfur smell of natural gas what you are smelling is a chemical called Mercaptan and it gives off a very distinctive odor. Most people describe as the odor as “rotten eggs “or hydrogen sulfide. So, if you smell rotten eggs – leave the house quickly!  Do not use a light switch, telephone or cell phone from within the house; get everyone outside as quickly as you can!

Finally, everyone is at a potential risk for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.

As a result, each year thousands of individuals are dangerously exposed to CO poisoning, requiring emergency room care. Many are hospitalized or even die in their own home.


          . . . . .  In conclusion, we can’t See, Smell, or Taste Carbon Monoxide, but we can all learn how to identify it, treat it and prevent it!

Click here to check out more videos from Ask the Chimney Sweep.

Affiliate Disclosure

I NEVER recommend a product or service that I don’t personally use (and love) myself but just to be totally transparent you should know

that some of the links on my site ARE affiliate links and I DO make a small commission from any sales that are made. Thanks for your

support!

 

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Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

Chimney Flue Liner System

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

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Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

Fireplace Options

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

Fireplaces . . . . In this video you will find answers to the most common fireplace question about

Gas logs –  Vented gas logs  – Vent-free gas logs  – Gas Inserts –  Direct Vent  &  – Ethanol fireplaces 

This video offers simple description of  the different types of fireplaces  narrated  by Taylor president of AcmeStove

. .  produced by Patricia Harris, Keller Williams ; Alexandria VA.

 


 

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Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

Regency’s most efficient, cleanest-burning wood stove ever: The revolutionary Pro-Series – featuring triple-stage burn technology.

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

 . . . . . . Less Effort,   Less Loading   &   Less Wood to cut and carry into the house !!!!!

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Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

Caring for Prefabs

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

Fireplace Pre Fab New Construction Firebox12

The fireplace has certainly changed since its original design so long ago. Improvements have been made since the primitive use of fire containing devices, one of the most recent of which being the factory built or prefabricated fireplace unit. A prefabricated unit, or prefab, is made of metal instead of brick or other masonry materials. A prefab uses insulation, pipes which are cooled by air, and blowers to move the heated air around the house. These systems are very sophisticated and manufactured and listed for use as a unit. Each part is approved by the Underwriters Laboratory to be used in a certain way under certain conditions with other parts that make up the unit.

A prefab doesn’t require a cement base for a foundation like a masonry unit due to how much lighter the prefab is. These systems have either cooling spaces in which air pockets act as insulation or actual insulation which allows the units to be closer to combustibles than would be otherwise.

 

 

Factory Built Fireplace
Prefabs have reduced clearances and can sometimes be housed in wooden chimneys.

Factory built fireplaces generally last until a part needs to be replaced but is no longer manufactured. At this time the prefabricated unit has reached the end of its useful life because it needs that specific part in order to be operated according to UL standards. They must be installed according to manufacturer’s instructions and is not easy to remove in order to conduct an inspection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never install a wood stove into a prefabricated unit, a prefab is meant to be operated according to the manufacturer’s instructions exactly. Similarly, it is not safe to burn paper waste in a prefabricated fireplace unit because of how hot these fires get and how quickly they get so hot. (Since its close to the holidays, please remember that it is not safe to burn your Christmas tree in a prefab either; it produces a similar effect to a paper waste fire.) Also, when operating your prefab, the damper must be completely open and should remain open until the fire is completely out. Prefabs require less clearance than other appliances and are easily to install in most areas of the home because they are so light weight.

Prefab Fireplace Wall Panels

https://youtu.be/MLfY-fKpCAc

Prefab Fireplace Repair and Replacement

https://youtu.be/68_UdeIiWEY

 Replacing a Prefab Fireplace

https://youtu.be/lCWSKSnojWA

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Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

of … Unvented Gas Logs

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

Over the past few years, there has been some commotion in the industry regarding non-vented gas logs. (BEING UPDATED)

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Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

Chimney Fire

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb
Chimney Fire
A chimney fire warped this chimney cap.

A chimney flue is very important because it carries dangerous byproducts of combustion out of your home. Fires have been used for warmth for centuries, and over time our knowledge of what needs to be done in order to keep the chimney safe has evolved. A dirty or damaged chimney can be potentially destructive in that it can cause a chimney fire which can significantly damage your home and hurt or kill those who live inside of it.

What is a chimney fire? A chimney fire occurs when a fire actually moves up into the flue system so that it is not burning only in the specially designed firebox, it is burning in the chimney itself. A chimney is designed to hold the hot gases that are byproducts of burning a fire. It is not designed to hold a fire.

Some characteristics of a chimney fire include a lot of dense smoke and intense heat and a noise that sounds like a freight train rumbling by. Not only does a chimney fire cause damage to your chimney which almost always results in the chimney having to be relined or rebuilt, it can damage nearby combustibles which include walls to your home, the roof, etc.

Chimney Fires and Insurance Claims

The worst part about the incredible damage that a chimney fire can cause is the fact that it was completely preventable in the first place. A properly working and designed chimney is capable of ventilating the extremely hot gases that are the byproducts of combustion. However, when the flue system is missing mortar joints or has cracks, a chimney fire is able to happen because the fire is able to catch the wood framing of the home. Creosote buildup is another condition conducive to a chimney fire occurring. Any amount of creosote is capable of being caught on fire, but an excessive buildup is particularly bothersome to chimney professionals because this provides a chimney fire with plenty of fuel to burn for a long time, causing destruction.

In prefabricated, metal chimneys, it is important to use only Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) listed parts for replacement. Most UL listed parts and systems have been tested by this organization to withstand very high temperatures (above 2000 degrees) but under chimney fire conditions can still be damaged. When a prefab unit has been damaged by a chimney fire it must usually be replaced completely.

DSCF0712Cracked flue tiles, warping of metal parts associated with your wood burning system, warped or discolored chimney caps, and very puffy creosote which may be multicolored are all indicators that a chimney fire has occurred. A chimney that is cleaned regularly and inspected with video equipment is the safest chimney to burn a fire in. If a chimney fire should occur you must get out of the home immediately and call the fire department. If you are able to without putting yourself or anyone else in danger, before the fire department arrives it is helpful to spray down the roof of the home to prevent the fire from spreading to the roof.

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Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb