top of page
  • Writer's pictureJordan Chew

Direct-Vent, Vent-Free, B-Vent Gas Fireplaces—Whats the Difference?

With so many options to choose from, we wanted to make sure that you know what you are buying.

Direct-Vent Fireplaces

How it works: Direct-vent fireplaces draw in air from outside your home for the combustion process, then vent the exhaust outdoors. This is all done through a double vent pipe. One which takes in outside air, and one which sends exhaust fumes back outdoors.

In the home: Due to their small installation requirements (just a simple venting system to outside), direct-vent fireplaces can be placed on almost any wall throughout your home. If there are no walls available, or a central location is preferred, direct vent systems can be vented up through the roof. This makes these pieces a very versatile heating option within the home.

Top vent vs. Rear vent

Direct-vent fireplaces are also very efficient on fuel. Almost all fuel taken-in (gas or propane), produces usable heat. With a completely sealed unit from all external elements, efficiency is met with considerable heat production.

Vent-Free Fireplaces

How it works: As the name states, vent-free fireplaces need no type of venting system. These units draw in air from inside your room for combustion, then burn very cleanly and efficiently so there is no need to vent exhaust outside. All of the heat and air within the unit is taken and released within the room.

In the home: Vent-free fireplaces are very unique in that they require no external venting systems to be installed. This means that their versatility of installation is endless, even getting into those tight or inconvenient spaces. Vent-free units do however need a large room with ample air circulation, as air must be able to flow through the operational room. You would never want to operate a gas stove in a small room, and the same is true for a fireplace. The most clear advantage of these units is the lack of venting system, preventing any heat loss through vents, making them 100% efficient.

Cool air in, warm air out

B-Vent Fireplaces

How it works:

B-vent fireplaces draw in air from inside your room to create combustion, then release the exhaust through a chimney in the roof of your home. These fireplaces are very similar to the installation of a wood-burning fireplace, but still run off of either propane or gas.

In the home:

Of the three, B-vent fireplaces are the least efficient in energy use. Although they may be cheaper to install in some cases, a cold draft down the chimney on a windy winters day, may result in chilled air pushed out through the unit. As well, with this venting system, some heat loss may occur out through the chimney. Due to the need of a chimney, these pieces are not ideal to seamlessly install in a wall within your home. A need for roof ventilation is a must!


We hope this has helped put some meaning behind all that terminology that is used within the fireplace industry. If you have any more questions, an idea for a post, or need some clarification on further terminology, please don't hesitate to email us at

9,538 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page