Gas Fireplace Vent Hood

Do Gas Fireplaces Smell?

In Gas Fireplaces by James O'KellyLeave a Comment

Gas fireplaces are a popular form of fireplace found in homes and can generate great amounts of heat, but aren’t able to create the same traditional wood burning smell that an open fireplace can.

Gas fireplaces burn natural or propane gas to produce real flames and provide heat for a room, but do gas fireplaces smell as a result?

Ventless gas fireplaces may produce a faint smell when used but there should be minimal to no smells associated with using a vented form of gas fireplace. Unusual smells may be due to the gas fireplace being new or the fireplace needing servicing or cleaning.

Our natural vent gas fireplace doesn’t smell as the waste air from the fireplace is exhausted up the chimney and so the majority of any smells leave straight out of the home.

This may not be the case for other types of gas fireplace such as ventless gas fireplaces where waste air is exhausted back into the home and so we’ve put together this article to explain:

  • Whether gas fireplaces smell and the reasons why.
  • Which types of gas fireplaces smell more than others.
  • Whether you should smell gas when using a gas fireplace.

Do Gas Fireplaces Smell?

Whether a gas fireplace smells can depend on a number of factors but in the majority of cases a gas fireplace shouldn’t smell for vented forms of gas fireplaces.

These factors for whether a gas fireplace smells can include:

  • The type of gas fireplace, such as vented or ventless.
  • Whether the gas fireplace is brand new.
  • Whether the gas fireplace has not been serviced or cleaned recently.

The type of gas fireplace can affect whether a gas fireplace smells or not because not all gas fireplaces vent and exhaust air to and from outside a home, and some rely on venting waste air back into a home.

Whether a gas fireplace is brand new can also cause smells as certain chemicals burn off when first used and may be mistaken for a problem with the fireplace.

If a gas fireplace hasn’t been cleaned or serviced within the last year then this may be a possible cause for a gas fireplace smelling.

Natural Vent Gas Fireplace With Chimney
The type of gas fireplace, whether the fireplace is new and whether a gas fireplace has been serviced or cleaned within the last year can all have an impact on whether a gas fireplace smells

Type Of Gas Fireplace

The type of gas fireplace used can have a big effect on whether a particular gas fireplace smells or not.

In summary, there are three main types of gas fireplace:

  • Natural vent gas fireplaces (also known as B-vent)
  • Direct vent gas fireplaces (also known as balanced flue)
  • Ventless gas fireplaces (also known as vent free or flueless)

Natural vent and direct vent gas fireplaces can be classed as vented gas fireplaces, where the waste air from the fireplace leaves a home, either up the chimney for natural vent gas fireplaces or through a vent going horizontally through a wall to the outside for direct vent gas fireplaces.

As the waste air for vented forms of gas fireplaces leaves a home, there are typically no smells associated with the normal use of natural vent or direct vent gas fireplaces.

Our gas fireplace is a natural vent fireplace and waste air from this fireplace leaves our home through the chimney using the draft via a vent hood at the top of the fireplace. Natural vent gas fireplaces need a chimney in order to work and take air from the room to feed the flames.

Gas Fireplace Vent Hood
All of the waste air and associated smells leave our home through the chimney for our gas fireplace

Direct vent gas fireplaces vent air directly from outside and also send waste air directly outside using a dual venting arrangement.

This means that the air used within a direct vent gas fireplace doesn’t mix with the air in a home and is completely separated. Any smells associated with a direct vent gas fireplace is therefore removed directly from a home and a user typically won’t notice any smells when a direct vent gas fireplace is in use.

However, ventless forms of gas fireplaces don’t vent waste air from a home and so all of the by-products from a ventless gas fireplace stay within a home and mix with the air.

Ventless gas fireplaces are able to do this because they burn the fuel cleanly enough, but as a result there can typically be an ongoing faint smell associated with the use of ventless gas fireplaces.

Ventless Gas Fireplace
Faint smells may be experienced when using ventless gas fireplaces because the waste air is vented back into the room rather than being vented directly outside

When choosing a gas fireplace therefore take into consideration that a ventless gas fireplace (where waste air comes back into a home) is more likely to smell compared to a vented gas fireplace (where waste air leaves a home).

Unfortunately there is no way to stop the smell being produced from a ventless gas fireplace and is one of the downsides of using a gas fireplace that isn’t vented directly out of a house, but the smell can be reduced by having an external vent within the room or leaving a window open.

Brand New Gas Fireplace Smells

You can typically expect a brand new gas fireplace to smell for the first time(s) it’s used.

These smells typically won’t be as a result of anything wrong with a gas fireplace but can be experienced due to chemicals and other particles burning off as the fireplace is used.

The manual for our particular model of gas fireplace states that smells can be experienced when first installed and used.

The fire will emit a “newness” smell for a time after initial commissioning and extra ventilation may be required during this time’.

Focal Point Fires

How long this new appliance smell lasts will differ between each model of gas fireplace. Simply carry on using a new gas fireplace as normal and the smell should disappear. Speak to a professional if smells do not go away on a vented gas fireplace for a while after installation.

Gas Fireplace Smells Due To Lack Of Cleaning Or Servicing

 A gas fireplace may smell as a result of dust or other dirt and debris.

It’s therefore important to keep on top of regular cleaning and servicing of any gas fireplace to help reduce smells. A serviced and clean vented gas fireplace shouldn’t produce any noticeable ongoing smells.

Gas fireplaces should be cleaned as part of an annual service undertaken by a professional.

Gas Fireplace Coals
A gas fireplace that hasn’t been cleaned or serviced within the last year may start to smell when in use

Should You Smell Gas When Using A Gas Fireplace?

Ventless gas fireplaces may produce a faint gas smell during use, but any strong rotten egg gas smells associated with any form of gas fireplace should be considered as a gas leak and you should leave the house immediately and get professional advice.

It’s typical for ventless gas fireplaces to create a faint gas smell when in use as waste air is exhausted back into the room and the smell is a downside of not having form any external ventilation when using a ventless gas fireplace.

Gas smells should not typically be experienced with vented forms of gas fireplace such as natural vent and direct vent gas fireplaces.

If you can smell gas when using a gas fireplace, turn the fireplace off, open any windows and get a professional to come and look and/or service the fireplace to ensure that it’s in full working order.

If there is a constant strong smell of gas, leave your home immediately and speak to a professional who will be able to advise further. Natural gas has a rotten egg like smell and a strong smell of gas may be due to a gas fireplace leak.

Essential Gas Fireplace Tools

It’s important to ensure that you always have a fully working Carbon Monoxide Detector located near to your gas fireplace for safety purposes.

See our recommended Carbon Monoxide alarm here.

Further Reading

Are Gas Fireplaces Worth It?

Are Gas Fireplaces A Real Fire That Produce Heat?

Does A Gas Fireplace Need A Chimney?

Do Gas Fireplaces Need Venting?

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