Say “NO” to ventless heating
I have had two major experiences with ventless heating that were bad. One was a dear elderly friend lived in a downstairs apartment. The upstairs tenant, in an effort to save on his heating bill, turned down the heat and was using a kerosene space heater. The fumes from the heater dropped into the apartment below. My friend nearly died and spent nearly a week in the hospital recovering.
I screened a man using CEDS. I was demonstrating my equipment at the local health food store. He sat down. He had been a weightlifter but some mysterious illness was sapping away his strength. He was headed for the Cleveland Clinic. He could no longer work a full day and soon might not be able to work half days. He had lost a great deal of muscle mass. I came up with creosote in his system. When I questioned him, he said he was using a ventless heater in his workout room. I didn't know then about the dangers of ventless heaters and turned to the Internet and found the information below which I sent to him.
"Children are at special risk of exposure to airborne contaminants since they receive a higher dose because of their smaller body mass. I especially don’t recommend the use of ventless fireplaces in houses where young children are present. Your husband’s response is a classical case of denial. Wishing such devices to be safe does not make them so. The use of ventless fireplaces almost under any circumstances is a “poor idea.”
"Letters From Vent-Free Gas Fireplace Owners" - (1)
"If you're considering a vent-free gas appliance, you should first read these letters, excerpts and E-mail postings written by vent-free owners. We've edited out the names of specific manufacturers and retailers wherever they appeared in the original text ." - (1)
"My Family of four was poisoned for over two years, before we found out why we were all so sick. My five year old daughter was having many illnesses, eventually led to seizures. This all stemmed from a ventless gas fireplace we installed in our basement. Three months after it was installed my daughter had her first seizure. Husband began having severe headaches, trembling, memory loss, and numerous other ailments. Neurologists diagnosed daughter as epileptic!!!!!" - Kim - (1)
"In November, we decided to try out our new vent free gas fireplace...In early January, we were still experiencing the odor and also seemed to notice a listlessness in our children, dizziness and sometimes headaches, while running the unit. At this time we still did not have a CO detector, so we have no idea how high the reading got at this point.
"We finally decided to go out and buy a CO detector. Within half an hour of turning the unit on the warning alarm sounded. We called [RETAILER] again and now he says that these detectors warn you way before there is a problem, so he still says we do not have a problem. We decided to buy another one and have one on the first and second floors. The upstairs would alarm within half an hour and the downstairs within 2-1/2 hours." - (1)
"I have a [popular vent-free model], and for 2 years I've been trying to make it so it doesn't smell and give me headaches and dizziness. I don't leave it on for more than half an hour because I can't stand it, so leaving it on too much is not the problem." Marbet Wolfson, Exeter, NH - (1)
"We recently purchased a ventfree gas fireplace for our home. My wife started getting terrible headaches when it was on. We stopped using it and turned the gas off to it and her headaches went away. Is there any way to properly vent a ventless fireplace or do I need to purchase a new one? Thanks, Clyde Myers"
"A: I'm afraid there is nothing you can do with a vent-free except replace it with a vented model." - (1)
"We too had soot damage in our home from vent free gas logs, to the tune of $41,000 dollars. In addition I started experiencing shortness of breath. After 3 months of tests I had a lung biopsy which showed that I have "black lung". Both lungs have soot inside and outside. This is something that will not go away. I'm going to the University of Michigan Medical Center today with the hope of finding out what will happen from this point on. I was told that my lungs are worse than those of a coal miner exposed to coal dust for over 20 years. In addition to the lung problems, I have a heart condition developing because of the lack of oxygen going to the heart" - Greg C. Filer - (1)
"I was so relieved to find your site so I could send my mother letters that would validate her as to her health problems of the last two years. She has a ventless system in her new home and her health problems began the first winter of use - it was run 6-8 hours a day. She had sinus problems, headaches, lethargy, dizziness, disorientation, hallucinations and eventually breathing problems. In eight months of use she went from 140 pounds to 99 pounds and when tested at 99 pounds she had a lung breathing capacity of 21%. She was sleeping on the couch most of the day. My sister and I felt like she was dying before our eyes. The doctors were stumped and ran test after test including 2 aids tests and a lung cancer screen.
"After the fireplace was turned off for the spring/summer season of 2001 she began to feel much better. She still has residual symptoms - shaking, dizziness, breathing problems and confusion. Her lungs have been permanently damaged and her lifespan has been shortened by several years. - Stephanie Mosely" - (1)
"I too purchased one of those vent-free gas fireplaces, and experienced the headaches, plants dying, and moisture problems. I also found the house had a mold problem.—Chris Hammerbeck" - (1)