Vented or Non-Vented Built-in Gas Fireplaces

Vented or Non-Vented Built-in Gas Fireplaces

We bought an antique mantel to put into our new house. We want to make the best choice for a gas fireplace to go in it.

Vented or Non-Vented

At first it seems like a non-vented fireplace might be better. They say they have up to 99.9% efficiency. Vented gas fireplaces range from 64% to 85% or so.


You can’t put a ventless fireplace in a bedroom. Our bedroom will get a small stove type, like the little Jotul we have at the log cabin. We ran a gas line to the outside wall of the bedroom.

Direct Vent stoves and fireplaces have two vents. They both run inside the same pipe, so you don’t actually see two vents. One part of the pipe brings in fresh air. The other part exhausts any fumes.

BV or DV Vents
BV or DV Vents

DV or BV Vent

You see some stoves that are marked BV instead of DV. This is not a typo. DV is direct vent. BV means it uses a Type B gas vent, a double wall of metal pipe that doesn’t bring in outside air. It is also sometimes called a Natural Vent. A BV vented fireplace has to have a chimney that reaches above the roof.  They draw in the air from the room to burn. They should come with an oxygen detection sensor (ODS) that shuts off the fireplace if the oxygen level gets too low.

Jotul GF 100 DV Nordic QT in the log cabin bedroom
Jotul GF 100 DV Nordic QT in the log cabin bedroom


We had decided that we were going to have an unvented fireplace in the living room. They are not safe for a bedroom, but a lot of people have a beautiful gas fireplace in the living room with no chimney.

You don’t have to put in any kind of vent or chimney to put in a ventless fireplace. So they cost way less to install.

As far as I know, they don’t sell any ventless fires that don’t have built-in safety equipment; a carbon monoxide (CO) detector and an oxygen detection sensor (ODS). The carbon monoxide (CO) detector shuts off the fireplace if carbon monoxide builds up in the room.

Ventless fireplaces don’t draw in outside air. They burn the oxygen in the room. The oxygen detection sensor (ODS) shuts off the fireplace if the oxygen level gets low.

If you read the brochures for ventless fireplaces, they recommend that you always leave a window open when you run the fireplace.

So that 99.9% efficiently burning fire isn’t very efficient heat if you are leaving a window open. And even the most efficient are still dumping fumes into your room.

These fireplaces are pretty much just for looks. We’ve changed our minds. Both fireplaces will be vented.

Buck Stove T-33 in a Dark Oak Mantel
Buck Stove T-33 in a Dark Oak Mantel

Built-in or Zero Clearance Fireplaces

Before we changed our minds about the fireplace being vented, I looked at the Buck stoves. We had a Buck wood stove that was really efficient.

The mantel is 27″ wide at the back. Buck Stove 384 NG is 32″ wide, too big. But Buck Stove T-33 NG is 26.5″ wide. They sell it in a mantel, so it could be put into our mantel. Or we could set it into the wall and put the mantel in front of it.

Buck Gas Stove
Wide High Deep Space BTU Price $/Ft
384 NG 32.00 23.50 14.25 1650 33,000 $1,499.99 $0.91
T-33 NG 26.50 23.25 14.50 1600 32,000 $1,238.99 $0.77

They are ventless, 99% efficient. They look efficient, too. The price to square foot is dividing the price by space the manufacturer says it heats. So the one that fits would be only 77 cents per square foot and heats 1600 square feet. Warm enough!

Eventually I figured out that, although we could shoe-horn it all together, it doesn’t meet clearances and might burn our house down.

And by then we had already pretty much decided we wanted something that vents to outside.

Valor Portrait Ledgeview gas fire with our mantel
Valor Portrait Ledgeview gas fire with our mantel

Valor Fireplaces

I am so in love with the look of Valor fireplaces. They were one of the first things we looked at.

When I first bought the log cabin, they had one of these in the showroom at Etowah Fireplace. I called them up to get a price and they don’t sell them anymore. I submitted my information on the Valor website for someone to contact me. I found another local business that said they sold Valor. They were closed for Corona virus, so I left voice mail and sent an email to the email address on their website.

Somebody got back to me by phone and asked a lot of questions, Someone else emailed me and asked a lot of questions. I went to the Valor website and got a lot of answers.

Valor Portrait Ledge gas fire with our mantel
Valor Portrait Ledge gas fire with our mantel

All of these gas fireplaces that I love are in Valor’s Portrait series. The fireplace is one part.

Space BTU Efficiency Price $/Ft
Valor 530IN 600 15,117 70.20% $2,328.00 $3.88
Valor 530INI 660 13,223 64% $2,328.00 $3.53

The price to square foot is dividing the price by space the manufacturer says it heats.

The front is another part.

Wide High Deep Price
Portrait President 26.25 38.00 11.00 $759.00
Portrait Ledgeview 22.50 32.00 12.75 $792.00
Portrait Ledge 22.50 30.13 12.75 $887.00
Portrait Clearview 22.50 32.00 12.75 $914.00
Portrait Senator 26.25 38.00 11.00 $993.00
Portrait Bolero 26.25 38.00 12.00 $1,168.00
Portrait Classic Arch 26.25 37.00 13.50 $1,359.00
Portrait Windsor Arch 26.25 37.00 13.50 $1,359.00

They aren’t inexpensive, but they cost less than I feared.

Valor Portrait Windsor Arch
Valor Portrait Windsor Arch

Some fit into the space better than others. My absolute favorite doesn’t really fit well at all.

This was the total for the Valor Portrait Windsor Arch with everything I need to install it.

Portrait ZC Engine NG 530IN $1,822.00
Traditional Logs & Liners Kit 530LSK $157.00
Windsor Arch Front-Black 539AFBv2 $1,049.00
Pipe Galvanized 24 inch Length 46DVA-24 $64.00
Pipe Galvanized 12 inch Length 46DVA-12 $51.00
Wall Thimble Galvanized 46DVA-WT $64.00
Horizontal Square Termination Cap 46DVA-HC $271.00
Freight Delivery $125.00
Subtotal $3,603.00
Sales Tax (7.0%) $252.21
Total $3,855.21

All purchases made with a credit card will be charged a 3.21% credit card processing

I love this fireplace so much. But my husband so doesn’t love it at all.

The biggest problem is, they don’t put out much heat. only 15,117 at most. Valor says they are for 600 square foot rooms.

Cliff says that we are not going to pay this much for a fireplace that is “just for looks.”

Napoleon Vittoria GD19 with our mantel
Napoleon Vittoria GD19 and Traditional Hammertone Pewter Surround and Ornamental Insets with our mantel

Napoleon Vittoria GD19

I really love this one, too.

Vittoria™ GD19N-2

Napoleon’s Vittoria™ gas fireplaces easily install into smaller wall applications, perfect for entranceways and corners.

Napoleon Wide High Deep Space BTU Efficiency Price $/Ft
Vittoria GD19 21.75 34.13 13.00 575 11,500 75% $2,099.00 $3.65

But it only heats 575 square feet. Napoleon sells bigger ones, but they won’t fit.

The guy at Etowah Fireplace recommended a Jotul, like we were so happy with in the bedroom at the log cabin.

Comparing Vent-Free Gas Stoves >