Ventless fireplace raises safety concerns

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Dear Barry, We built a new home and installed a ventless gas log fireplace. As we look back, this seems to have been a stupid mistake. Since using the fireplace, a film has been forming on our windows. Our suspicion is that it is caused by exhaust from the ventless fireplace. What must it be doing to the air we breathe? It is too late to add a vent? --Deborah Dear Deborah, Installing a ventless gas log fireplace may have been an "unfortunate mistake," not a "stupid" one. Most home buyers, having limited esoteric knowledge of gas fixtures, would have no reason to suspect that a fully approved gas fixture such as this could be problematic or potentially unsafe. The film on your windows may in fact be a combustion byproduct, and this, as you suspect, could be unsafe to breathe. Until this can be evaluated by a licensed expert or by the gas company, use of the fixture should be suspended, and the pilot (if there is one) should be turned off. Ventless gas fireplaces operate without a chimne...