When you decide to add a fireplace into your home, you can either choose a direct vent or vent-free fireplace.
The most efficient direct vent gas fireplace offers a safe, non-polluting alternative to traditional wood-burning fireplaces. They also come with the latest technology, require minimal maintenance and you can expect between 58-85% efficiency, and controlled home heating.
However, even a high efficiency gas fireplace can be a disappointment especially if you don’t put your needs first. I don’t want you to endure the costly electricity bills and fumes in your home this winter, which is why I’ve included the best direct vent gas fireplaces.
Most Efficient Direct Vent Gas Fireplace Comparison Table
What is a Direct Vent Gas Fireplace?
A direct vent fireplace is a special heating device that uses natural gas or propane to warm indoor spaces. The defining characteristic of a direct vent fireplace is the mode of operation.
Whereas traditional fireplaces utilize air that is found within indoor spaces for the combustion process, direct vent fireplaces utilize air from the outside environment. This differentiating feature is important because it determines the structure and nature of the operation of direct vent fireplaces.
A direct vent fireplace is made up of the inner and outer parts. The outer parts contain the casing which is installed in specific places within the house. The front section of the outer part usually comprises a transparent material. People can view the faux embers on the hearth of the fireplace through the transparent material on the front section of the fireplace.
The inner part comprises the firebox and the flue system. The firebox contains the section where the actual combustion takes place. The flue system comprises of pipes and vents that allow cool air to be sucked into the fireplace and the fumes from the combustion process to be ejected outside the building.
Therefore, a direct vent fireplace works by creating a loop in which cool air from the outside environment is sucked into the fireplace and warm air leaves. They can be vented directly either through the wall or roof of your house.
Difference Between Direct Vent and Vented Fireplace?
The first difference is in the venting. Direct fireplaces have two vents, the inner and outer ones. The inner vent sucks in cool air from the outside while the outer air channels fumes from the combustion process to the outside. A vented fireplace has only one vent. The purpose of the vent in a vented fireplace is to channel the fumes outside.
Second, a direct fireplace is a sealed system. Because of the sealed glass front, a direct vent fireplace does not rely on oxygen from the indoor space to drive its combustion process. The system draws oxygen from the outside and equally releases all the combustion products to the outside via its vents. A vented fireplace is an open system that relies on oxygen that is found within the indoor space for its combustion process.
Third, the vents of direct vent fireplaces can be installed either vertically or horizontally. The vents can terminate either via walls or roofs of your house. This means that you do not need to use chimneys if you have a direct vent fireplace installed in your house. Vented fireplaces, on the contrary, require a chimney. Besides, vented fireplaces can only have a vent that terminates vertically outside through the roof.
Benefits of Installing the Most Efficient Gas Fireplace
- Versatile than traditional fireplaces or even energy efficient electric fireplaces. When you need to carry out zonal heating, it is easier to use direct vent fireplaces than traditional fireplaces. They can be installed anywhere in the house where you think it is most convenient to provide additional heat.
- Come in all manner of sizes. Because of the great variety of brands of direct vent fireplaces, you can easily get the right device for your home. It is not possible to achieve this level of versatility when using traditional fireplaces.
- Safer than traditional fireplaces. The closed system of direct vent fireplaces ensures that all poisonous gases and other products produced from the combustion process are safely channeled outside the room either through the roof or wall. When using an open fireplace, poisonous gases such as carbon dioxide and even carbon monoxide will likely waft back into the house.
- More efficient than open fireplaces. Whereas open fireplaces have a combustion rate of only 15%, direct vent fireplaces convert between 65% and 85% of the energy produced from the combustion process into heat energy. This extractive efficiency rate can help you save on the costs of purchasing natural gas of propane used for heating.
Is It More Efficient to Use a Gas Fireplace or Furnace?
There is no direct answer to the question of whether it is efficient to use a gas fireplace or a furnace. This is the case because the two heating methods differ in the mode of operation. This difference has a direct impact on the level of efficiency that you can achieve when using either method.
Primarily, it is more efficient to use a gas fireplace than a furnace when you need to carry out zonal heating. Zonal heating is necessary if everyone is in one place in the house at a given time. If you need to heat the living room, then it would be more efficient to use a gas fireplace than a furnace.
A gas fireplace has been designed to provide heat in small indoor spaces, including living rooms and bedrooms. It directly releases the heat into the living zones of indoor spaces, thus rapidly creating and maintaining a comfortable environment. But you can consider electric fireplaces for large rooms if you want targeted heat in big spaces.
When you need to warm the entire house, it would be more efficient to use the furnace than a gas fireplace. The furnace has been designed to deliver comprehensive heating in all areas of your home through its ducts and vents.
However, if you consider primarily the extraction rate, then a gas fireplace is more efficient than a furnace. A significant percentage of the heat generated by furnaces is lost inside the complex duct system. For a fireplace, nearly all the generated heat is directly transferred to the indoor space where it is needed.
Is it OK to Leave a High Efficiency Gas Fireplace On Overnight?
It is not OK to leave a gas fireplace on overnight because of two reasons: safety and costs. Gas fireplaces produce poisonous gases, including carbon monoxide. Although the fireplaces may be sealed; the gases can get back into the house. If this happens at night when all the doors and windows are shut, then it may pose a real danger to everyone in the house.
Although propane and natural gas are not expensive, it is still important to consider the cost of leaving your gas fireplace running the entire night. When the fireplace operates overnight, it produces heat that may not be needed at all at the expense of burning extra fuel. Therefore, it is wise not to leave your gas fireplace operating overnight.
Most Efficient Direct Vent Gas Fireplace
1. Majestic Quartz QUARTZ32IN Direct Vent Natural Gas Burning Fireplace
The QUARTZ32IN is designed to be used in small houses; therefore, it can be the perfect choice if you are just moving into your first house. Its compact design and notably small frame size of 32 inches augur well with the living rooms of small houses. Furthermore, the fireplace has an elegant look that can be used to enhance the interior décor of your living room.
It has two heating options: 21,000 BTUs and 15,000 BTUs. You can toggle between these two heating options using the controls. However, if you have a small living room, you will hardly need to set the fireplace at 21,000 BTUs. Doing so may generate unnecessary heat.
However, it will cost you more to fully customize the fireplace. All the accessories, including a wall switch and a convert making the fireplace look modern, are sold separately. Moreover, you will have to purchase the hardware for the top or rear venting of the fireplace.
Nevertheless, this vent fireplace can be a good choice for small households, considering its design, performance, and control features.
- Its compact design is ideal for small living rooms
- It can be vented either vertically or horizontally according to your preference
- Easy to adjust its heating level using the controls
- Most of the accessories are sold separately
2. Empire Tahoe Deluxe 36″ Direct-Vent NG Millivolt Fireplace
- Deluxe 36" Direct-Vent NG Millivolt Fireplace
- Dimensions: 37" Width x 35 5/8" Height x 16 3/8" Depth.
- Millivolt Control with On/Off Switch
- Requires barrier screen DVFB36SBL or a door set. Contact customer service for more information.
One of the notable features of the Empire Tahoe Deluxe Millivolt Fireplace is its high level of efficiency. Ideally, the fireplace converts 83% of the energy from the combustion process into heat.
Additionally, the fireplace has a high BTU level of 20,000. The high BTU level and efficiency rate make this fireplace an effective source of heat for standard-sized indoor spaces.
It is quite easy and straightforward to install this fireplace in your house. It already has a top venting system, unlike many other fireplaces that are sold without them. However, you may require the help of a technician to get the fireplace up and running if you are not familiar with the technical installation procedures.
Although this direct vent fireplace is notable for heating efficiency, ease of installation, and great aesthetics, it does have some significant flaws. One of its notable flaws is that you will have to buy a door set or a barrier screen to make the direct vent gas fireplace work perfectly.
- Effective heating because of the high-efficiency rate of 83%
- Easy installation because the top venting system is included
- Great aesthetic elements, including black louvers, fiber lining that resembles a brick wall, and ceramic fiber logs
- The barrier screen is sold separately
3. Empire Comfort Systems Premium 36″ Direct-Vent NG Millivolt Control Fireplace
- Model #: DVP36FP31N-DVP36D2H
- Gas Type: Natural Gas
- Includes: Variable-Speed Blower with Temperature Switch, Logs, Burner, Tempered Glass, Herringbone Ceramic Fiber Brick
- Required: Must Choose Fireplace Barrier Screen or Door Set and Frame with Barrier Screen to Complete This Unit (Not Included; Order Separately)
- Overall Dimensions: 37.62" (H) x 39" (W) x 19.87" (D).
If you are looking for a direct vent gas fireplace that is the perfect combination of great performance and design, then the Empire Comfort Systems Millivolt Fireplace may be the right choice for you.
This fireplace has a modern and elegant design, thanks to the white finish and a Herrington ceramic fiber brick wall. These two features augur well with modern and traditional interior décor styles.
Although this fireplace requires a big space on your wall for installation, you can take advantage of its 42-inch size to enhance the look and feel of your room. The fireplace can look particularly outstanding if you install it in a large living room.
It is easy to personalize the performance of this fireplace. It comes with a range of easy-to-manage control features, including remote control and buttons. You can use the controls or your remote control to adjust the heating temperature as well as the speed of the blower.
- Elegant design comprising of a modern white finish and additional aesthetic features, including a ceramic fiber brick and tempered glass
- Great control for adjusting the speed of the blower and the heating temperature
- Hardware for top and rear venting systems included
- The door set and frame with barrier are sold separately
4. Superior Direct Vent Gas Fireplace
- BEAUTIFUL: Decorative grate and glowing embers deliver an elegant fire presentation.
- SIZE: Framing Width 35-7/8"; Framing Height 36-1/4"; Framing Depth 18-1/2"
- COMFORTABLE: Heat-circulating design increases warm air distribution for exceptional supplemental heat. Ceramic glass provides more radiant heat than standard tempered glass.
- EASY: Full-function remote simplifies operation. Standard high/low flame control allows you to control the ambiance in the room.
- EFFICIENT: Energy saving intermittent electronic pilot ignition system reduces gas usage and provides reliable operation.
The Superior Direct Vent Gas Fireplace has several features that enhance its performance as a source of supplemental heat in your home. Notably, its front surface is made of ceramic glass and not tampered glass as is the case with many direct vent gas fireplaces that are currently available on the market.
Ceramic glass is more effective in providing radiant heat than tampered glass. Therefore, this feature complements the effect of the inbuilt blower and the heat-circulating design of the fireplace to maximize the heating performance.
You can use the remote control to adjust the operation of the fireplace according to your heating requirements. There are two performance settings for the flame: high and low. Toggling between these two settings changes the heating performance and flame ambiance of this direct vent gas fireplace.
Moreover, you will find the pilot ignition system of this fireplace very easy and convenient to use. The system helps to save gas when the direct vent fireplace is in use.
- The ceramic glass front maximized radiant heating
- The remote control provides a convenient way of adjusting the flame and heating performance
- The design of the fireplace and an inbuilt blower maximizes heat distribution
- The fireplace has a small size of 35 inches
5. Napoleon GX36NTR Ascent 35 Direct Vent Gas Fireplace
The Napoleon GX36NTR is a versatile direct vent gas fireplace that is ideal for heating large indoor spaces, thanks to its amazing performance features. With a heating capacity of 26,000 BTUs and an efficiency rate of 77%, this direct vent fireplace is effective enough to rapidly create and maintain a cozy environment in the living room.
Moreover, it is convenient to use this fireplace as a source of supplemental heating in your home because it utilizes propane and natural gas to produce heat.
You can use the Napoleon GX36NTR as the focal point in your living room. Its black finish, a phazer log set, and charcoal embers are quite appealing when used in houses with any type of décor.
The Napoleon GX36NTR has one flaw: it supports top venting only. Several other models with similar heating capacity and size support vertical and horizontal venting. However, this may not be a big issue if you consider its high BTU score and extraction efficiency.
- Effective heating, thanks to a high output of 26,000 BTUs and ceramic glass for maximum radiant heating
- The phazer log set and charcoal embers enhance the traditional look of the fireplace
- It has an efficiency rate of 77% and can work with propane or natural gas
- It has only a top venting system
From this direct vent gas fireplace review, you might have realized that different models have similarities with slight differences.
As a buyer, you must always consider what your important needs are before jumping into online reviews and ratings. Of course, it’s important to take into account the views of other customers who’ve used the product. However, most of these reviews can be manipulated, which is why your needs must come first.
If you’re unsure what the most efficient direct vent gas fireplace for your home is, I’d recommend Majestic Quartz QUARTZ32IN Direct Vent Natural Gas Burning Fireplace with Intellifire Ignition. It’s relatively small, affordable, comes with a reliable ignition system, would work for a lot of homes, and offers different venting options.