The heat produced is healthy heat, and the smoke has very low carbon monoxide output and is considered safe. This is unlike fumes produced by equivalent machines that use real fuel to produce heat. Though in the last few years, gas-burning fireplace products have been rigorously tested for safety by independent organizations.
One of the most valid concerns regarding modern, non-wood burning fireplaces is the question of safety. If a fireplace inside the house uses fuel instead of the more controllable (not to mention less expensive wood), then is there a chance that the fireplace would explode due to a leak?
The answer is quite comforting- it is definitely safe. It appears that we have a lot of small, independent organizations doing the job of inspecting and testing fireplace products before they reach the mass market. This should be enough comfort at the moment.
Modern fireplaces also have a lot of safety features that allow the fireplaces to simply stop when something is amiss. Think of it as a chain of safety commands, break the chain and the machine will stop to make everything that much safer.
The Ignition System
As for the lighting or the ignition system of modern fireplaces, everything is relatively safe since in the event that power suddenly goes out, nothing would actually happen. Unlike the usual misconception, the millivolt ignition system for fireplaces does not use electricity, but instead uses an ingenious electromagnet for its purpose.
One important thing to remember is that the millivolt ignition system, or the pilot flame as some would call it, is the central feature in modern fireplaces. In the event that this part of the fireplace system disappears or ceases from fully functioning, everything would simply stop as well. No gas will flow, no thermocouple would heat up. Again, these safety features have been implemented to make sure that even the smallest errors would not cause any problems for the people using and trusting the modern fireplaces for warmth and ambience.
Ventilation on the other hand should be the concern of the homeowner. Of course there would be some fumes; these are natural products of the act of burning. You can go about it two ways: you can either install some form of ventilation, or you can simply ignore the fumes, since the low carbon monoxide output is hardly unsafe anyway.
Also, modern fireplaces that do not require ventilation have sensors that measure the oxygen levels in the surrounding environment. This is done to make sure that no one would be harmed by increase in levels of carbon monoxide in the breathing space. If the mechanism thinks that the oxygen levels are far too low, the whole fireplace simply shuts off.
Fireplaces that have ventilation have temperature readers that measure the heat emanating from the top of the fireplace. If the readings there are too high, then the unit also shuts off.
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Article Added on Monday, October 5, 2009
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