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Best termination for direct-vent LP fireplace and recommendation for brands

MStaudaher | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

I am in the planning stages for a ~3900 sq ft single story home in climate zone 5B (Central Oregon).  I have been looking at linear direct vent fireplace units (54″ – 72″) and have a couple of questions.  The unit would be located away from exterior walls and would need to be vented through the roof or through a wall.  If one could make it workable to vent through a wall would there be any advantage, from an energy perspective, to do that vs just venting through the roof?

Also, these units are quite expensive.  Does anyone have any recommendations for brands?  Cost and energy efficiency are certainly considerations for me.  I also have looked at units that allow for installation of televisions above the fireplace and do not require blowers to move air.  It would be nice to limit sound issues and to effectively heat in a power outage.

Any suggestions on brands and vendors would be appreciated.  I don’t know if it is possible to purchase units without going through a dealer where they charge a fortune.

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Replies

  1. FluxCapacitor | | #1

    I just did quite a bit of research on this. I’m having a KozyHeat direct vent installed on Monday.

    There are many brands available, I looked at just 5 brands before settling on the KozyHeat, which seems like a solid unit and a good value. Most importantly the KozyHeat has perfect dimensions for my existing fireplace.

    The nicest units I saw where from Mendota, but they didn’t have a model that was a really good fit for my fireplace dimensions.

    The Mendota’s were about 50% more $ than the KozyHeat but looked really nice.

    1. MStaudaher | | #5

      Thanks for the information. I looked them up, but couldn't find any information on pricing. Do you mind telling the cost/configuration of your unit and what size you decided on purchasing? Also, why did you decide on KozyHeat?

      1. FluxCapacitor | | #6

        I got the Kozy Heat Chaska 34. It’s $5k installed, while the Mendota I looked at was $7,500 installed.

        I picked the Chaska 34 because it put the biggest glass front viewing area possible in my little existing 25” x 35” fireplace.

        The Chaska 34 is rated at 34,000 BTU, but how much of that actually makes it into the living room and how much goes out the direct vent? I don’t know, but most these units aren’t super efficient.

        I’m getting this mostly for ambience and as backup heat if power goes out to my electric heat pump.

        BTW it seems that most these fireplace manufacturers use only one or two brands of ignition/fan controls, which is why they all seem to use the same remote control.

  2. user-6185887 | | #2

    I have the Heat and Glow Cosmo 42 It looks great but as a heating appliance it is pretty pathetic. If you are in front of it the radiant heat will warm you but it is not warming the air much.

    Mine is in the center of the house and vents strait up thru the roof made air sealing easy, where and outside wall or as a bump out looks hard.

    I did put a TV over mine without a fan it has been fine. See photo.

    Walta

    1. FluxCapacitor | | #7

      Looks nice though.

  3. Deleted | | #3

    Deleted

  4. tommay | | #4

    Best thing to do is download the installation manual of the unit you are purchasing. It should show you the venting options as well as vent lengths allowed as suggested by the manufacturer, local codes then apply, but most will go by the manufacturers suggestions. It should also show clearances allowed for combustibles and outside exhaust.

  5. GregDeitrick | | #8

    FWIW, Mat Risinger argues that direct vent fireplaces are one of the 5 worst building products:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9SsMIBGn2M
    Skip to 5:34 and listen only to his comments related to energy efficiency of the device and the house. His opinion that they look fake is irrelevant.

    I think I heard Joe Lstiburek comment to the effect that you don't put in a window for energy efficiency because it is always less efficient and more costly than the wall it replaces. I would argue similarly that you don't put in a direct-vent fireplace for energy efficiency because it is inherently less efficient than a high-efficiency condensing gas/LP appliance. Put one in because you like looking at them. I have 2, and if you look just right you can see through to the outside. The air seal for the house is no better than the air seal of the firebox; probably pretty poor. I also need to keep the pilot lights burning to help prevent bugs from coming in the vent. Yes I can run them when the power goes out to put a bit of heat in the house. But from an energy efficiency perspective a better strategy would be to hook up a backup generator to our high efficiency propane furnace to maintain heat during power outages.

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