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Old 12-20-2011, 04:14 PM   #1
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Direct Vent fireplace exhaust location


I have confused myself.

I'm in the planning and permitting stages of finishing my basement (non-walkout). The plan/wish/desire is to have a direct vent, natural gas fireplace in the basement. It will be situated in a bump-out. Above this bump-out is a breakfast nook, with windows on all sides.

Upon reading the manual for a fireplace (I was actually smart enough to read the manual before buying), I am in a conundrum. As the walls are basically all-windows, I need to vent this underneath a window. From the directions, the exhaust must be 9" away from an operable window, and 12" away from a permanently closed window. From the diagram on the included directions, they show a possible location under the sealed window (on the left side). They show the location to the side of the operable window.

Can I install the exhaust under an operable window, as long as I am 9" below it (and 12" above grade)? Or do I need to change my window to a sealed window?

I attached the page from the instructions that have the required clearances.
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Old 12-20-2011, 04:23 PM   #2
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Direct Vent fireplace exhaust location


I may have answered my own question. I found directions from an alternative manufacturer, and they list 12" below an operable or permanently closed window.
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Old 12-20-2011, 04:39 PM   #3
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Direct Vent fireplace exhaust location


the exhaust from the fireplace irregardless of location can sometimes condense/sweat/fog up any window especially in cold climates and Chicago can be quite cold at times. I would avoid that. Non windy days are especially bad for that. Can also stain siding and may not be good for the window. I service fireplaces and they can be a pain in the butt sometimes. Glass needs cleaning from the inside once a year. Personally I would be a VERY nice electric fireplace with entertainment centre shelves and mantle etc combined. The flame in the higher end ones looks almost real and they have remotes and variable speed fans etc.
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Old 12-20-2011, 05:31 PM   #4
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Direct Vent fireplace exhaust location


I briefly considered electric. I wonder about the cost of operation vs. natural gas, however? I do know that I do NOT want a ventless fireplace. The smell, added moisture, and the fact that the bi-products are directly in the living space turns me off. I have a ventless heater in my garage, and I think that is a fine location, but not for my living space.
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Old 12-20-2011, 05:41 PM   #5
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Need to check the wattage rating of the heaters in those electric units as some can be fairly large and actually be used usefully to heat a room rather than for cosmetic purposes like the cheap ones. Gas fireplaces are NOT very efficient and are not really designed to be. More cosmetic but a heck of a lot better than any open fireplace. Depends on how much you plan to use it. I doubt there is much difference. The more U use a gas fireplace the sooner the glass gets a white smoke/ash/film buildup and then you need to clean it at least once a yr. If you don't it etches itself onto the glass forever and looks awful. I don't believe they are worth the hassle and install cost and initial cash outlay but they are very popular in new homes where I am. When they are not running they bleed NRG to the outdoors thru the chimney. They are nothing more than a open metal box and metal conducts heat and the draft thru them will conduct some heat also. We are splitting hairs here but I studied a LOT of thermodynamics and they are more cosmetic then NRG efficient if that is what a person is interested in.
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:04 PM   #6
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Direct Vent fireplace exhaust location


Thanks for your help/advice.

I was basically wanting to use it for a secondary heat source, on days when it felt cold in the winter. Being an auxiliary family room/bar/theater area, it will not be used 100% of the time. So, I figured I'd probably keep the vents/dampers in a moderately closed position and not waste energy heating a room not in use. When we want to watch a movie, flip on the fireplace and have warmth and ambiance all in one.

Most of the fireplaces I've looked at are in the 15,000-20,000btu range. I just clicked on the first $1,000 FMI electric unit I found available at my local place and found the specs to be 10,000btu, wired for either 220v or 110v. Using a quick online calculator, 10K btu is about 3000 watts. My current electric bill, with usage/delivery/service charges is about $0.098 per kwh. $0.29 an hour to use the electric does not seem horrible.

Looking at the natural gas usage, a 20,000 btu would be 1/5th of a therm. I'm currently billed $0.0485 per therm. That seems like the math is wrong.
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hyunelan2 View Post
I briefly considered electric. I wonder about the cost of operation vs. natural gas, however? I do know that I do NOT want a ventless fireplace. The smell, added moisture, and the fact that the bi-products are directly in the living space turns me off. I have a ventless heater in my garage, and I think that is a fine location, but not for my living space.
Go with gas because . When you lost power you lose all heat. With gas you have no power to it. P.s. That what I feel on tank-less water heater. Tank less need power and reg gas water non electric
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:34 PM   #8
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I had read in most manufacturer manual saying to crack open a window near by. I did ran a co test on one at a customers house and did had a small trace of co. That was on had pilot lit all times. I had notice some has the glow plug now
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:34 PM   #9
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.29/hr is cheap when U consider it is not going to run full blast anyway. some have a low/med/high switch so U can run it lower and cheaper. Gas fireplaces are great for emergency heat and my neighbors is over 30,000 BTU which is 2/3 the size of a small furnace. I don't believe they are worth the hassle to maintain or the install cost. The BTU rating is one thing, but the actual output is going to be lower as a lot of the heat is going out the chimney so they cost more in the long run. There is no energy efficiency specs like for a furnace that I know of and they are not really designed for energy efficiency but more for cosmetic use and space heating. Less than 1% of the buyers of them care anyway. More for the effect and usage than operating cost.
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:38 PM   #10
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I had read in most manufacturer manual saying to crack open a window near by. I did ran a co test on one at a customers house and did had a small trace of co. That was on had pilot lit all times. I had notice some has the glow plug now
When they get old they get rusty inside and can rot out and leak. The glass door has a expensive seal/gasket which may need replacing and the metal can warp and the glass and gasket not seal properly and Yes they can produce CO if not burning or maintained properly and Yes it can leak into the house and harm U. Now you C why they are not so attractive if you really know about them. B4 with the cheesy lookin electric ones which were noisy with the cheap fans nobody would really want one as the centrepiece of a nice rec room but now that the technology is SO much better they are worth the $$ IMO.
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Old 12-21-2011, 09:47 AM   #11
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Direct Vent fireplace exhaust location


Well, based on recommendations from this thread, I am going to seriously examine the electric possibility. Since I've never considered these before (my recollection of electric fireplaces was a super-cheesy loud one in the basement of my parents' house 25 years ago), are there any particular brands that are renowned for being better than others? Do they make electric units that install in-wall, like a gas firebox would? I don't really want it to be a "piece of furniture" and would rather have it integrated into the construction plans. Picking the unit first lets me frame exactly as needed, rather than redo things later.

Thanks again for the advice in this thread.
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Old 12-21-2011, 09:58 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by hyunelan2 View Post
Well, based on recommendations from this thread, I am going to seriously examine the electric possibility. Since I've never considered these before (my recollection of electric fireplaces was a super-cheesy loud one in the basement of my parents' house 25 years ago), are there any particular brands that are renowned for being better than others? Do they make electric units that install in-wall, like a gas firebox would? I don't really want it to be a "piece of furniture" and would rather have it integrated into the construction plans. Picking the unit first lets me frame exactly as needed, rather than redo things later.

Thanks again for the advice in this thread.
I say first day you lost power and for a week you be kicking your self in the butt.
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Old 12-21-2011, 10:00 AM   #13
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Direct Vent fireplace exhaust location


If we ever lost power for a week during winter in metropolitan Chicago, there would be enough butt-kicking to go around. (Also, I have a wood-burning, gas-start fireplace upstairs on the main level).

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Old 12-21-2011, 10:07 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hyunelan2 View Post
Thanks for your help/advice.

I was basically wanting to use it for a secondary heat source, on days when it felt cold in the winter. Being an auxiliary family room/bar/theater area, it will not be used 100% of the time. So, I figured I'd probably keep the vents/dampers in a moderately closed position and not waste energy heating a room not in use. When we want to watch a movie, flip on the fireplace and have warmth and ambiance all in one.

Most of the fireplaces I've looked at are in the 15,000-20,000btu range. I just clicked on the first $1,000 FMI electric unit I found available at my local place and found the specs to be 10,000btu, wired for either 220v or 110v. Using a quick online calculator, 10K btu is about 3000 watts. My current electric bill, with usage/delivery/service charges is about $0.098 per kwh. $0.29 an hour to use the electric does not seem horrible.

Looking at the natural gas usage, a 20,000 btu would be 1/5th of a therm. I'm currently billed $0.0485 per therm. That seems like the math is wrong.
it's most likely $0.485/therm, one therm is 100 cubic feet of gas, natural gas is selling at $0.312/therm right now.
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Old 12-21-2011, 10:11 AM   #15
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it's most likely $0.485/therm, one therm is 100 cubic feet of gas, natural gas is selling at $0.312/therm right now.
You are most correct. Looking at the gas bill again, I added in another decimal place. Thanks for catching that. So, a 20K btu gas fireplace would be about $0.10 an hour to run, where the electric is roughly $0.30 for a 10K btu system. Even though the gas is twice the btu, I'm considering them equal for gas inefficiency.

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