Ventless fireplace not venting

IL, United States   


I own a 1918 foursquare house with a typical narrow, square chimney that is in decent condition. No doubt, the fireplace was originally a wood burning one, but later when they installed a boiler, they ran the vent through the chimney and replaced the wood fireplace with a ventless gas fireplace unit.

We are unable to use the gas fireplace because of the exhaust fumes that come into our living room, so I’m exploring two ideas and need some guidance:
1) Could I replace the ventless fireplace with a wood burning stove and join the fireplace vent with the boiler vent (with a “Y”)?
2) If #1 is not possible, would a new ventless system work given the current chimney configuration?

Thanks for any guidance you might offer.


Want to add your response? Please sign-in.

by ChimneyChick | December 22, 2015 ChimneyChick's avatar
Midland, Ontario

I would NOT install another unit into the same cavity as you may not get the proper draw and it is against Code.
Re the ventless, I would [personally] never install any ventless appliance in my home as the fumes will always go into the home. If you are considering a new unit, get one that is direct vented to the outside of the home and be assured that all fumes EXIT the home atmosphere at all times.
AND I would have someone come in and seal that opening shut that exposes the steel liner for the bolier.

by Rhino | December 22, 2015
Mount Vernon, Ohio

Definitely, do NOT hook anything else up to the boiler flue. Educate yourself on the proper use of them before attempting to use it.  It probably needs a thorough cleaning by someone with ventless knowledge and experience.  If it has been a while since it has been used, it will probably also need to be burned for a while to get rid of the foul odors - similar to the odor you get when a gas furnace is fired up for the first time every fall.  It’s just worse because it is in your living room not your basement, and there is no vent like a furnace.  All that being said, some folks can just smell vent free appliances and they don’t like them.  If you are one of those people, get rid of it because you will never be as happy with it as you would be with a direct vent product.  Also, if you have a ventless log set, you shouldn’t be using it here either because of the exposed liner in the chimney.  I think your best bet is to find a qualified technician to evaluate your situation.

Smoke Signals: Have a question about your chimney?