Do All Stoves Need a Vent?

If you're thinking of getting a new stove, whether a gas range, a corn stove or wood pellet stove, you'll also have to consider ways to vent it. Any stove that burns fuel needs to be vented to avoid odors and carbon monoxide build-up. Only electrical stoves and heaters can be operated without vents.

Gas Ranges

All fuel burning stoves must be vented for safety.

If you own a gas range, a vent is a necessity. Many gas ranges come with a hood which directs particles created from cooking as well as nitrogen dioxide created by incomplete burning of the gas to the outdoors. Nitrogen dioxide has been known to aggravate respiratory problems such as asthma. In addition, cooking odors flow through the hood and away from the living quarters. The best range hoods vent to the outside, although some newer apartments may recirculate the air from cooking instead of venting.

Gas Heating Stoves

Whether they burn propane or natural gas, gas stoves used for heating burn cleaner than either wood or pellet stoves. Although gas stoves do produce less soot and other particles, they must be vented to the outside to avoid a build up of carbon monoxide and other gases which are the result of incomplete combustion. Carbon monoxide is the most dangerous pollutant as it is totally clear and odorless making it difficult to detect. A buildup of this gas in closed areas can lead to death.

Pellet Stoves

Pellet stoves burn small compressed wooden pellets. Unlike wood stoves and fireplaces, however, these stoves often need electricity to move the pellets into the burning chamber. Some pellet stoves also have thermostats to regulate the temperature. While pellet stoves burn fuel efficiently with little waste and odor, they still need to be vented to the outside. However, the vent or pipe leading to the outside can be much smaller than those for other stoves.

Corn Stoves

Corn stoves operate on the same principal as pellet stoves. Instead of burning pellets, corn stoves burn dried corn cobs. These stoves also burn fuel efficiently and cleanly, but still require outside venting to keep any harmful gases or pollutants away. Fuel for these stoves can be purchased from local farmers or through livestock feed supply stores. While more common in rural areas, these stoves are gaining in popularity in urban areas as well. Many pellet stoves can also burn corn and other biomass substances.

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