Gas Fired Ventless Fireplaces

Q: Are gas-fired ventless fire places permitted in nursing homes?

A: I would say they are not permitted, but it has a lot to do whether or not the gas ventless fireplace is considered to be a heating device by the AHJ. According to section 18.5.2.2 of the 2000 edition of the LSC, it says fuel-fired heating devices must be connected to a chimney or a vent. The key issue here is whether or not the gas ventless fireplace is considered a heating device or not. I know many people consider gas fireplaces as aesthetic devices only, but they do produce heat even though that may not be the reason they are requested, so I would say the ventless devices are not permitted.

If I were the AHJ and you asked me, I would say no. But you can ask all 5 or 6 of your AHJs and see what they say, but if only one of the bunch says no, then you cannot do it. If you wanted to install a gas fireplace that is vented, you would have to do so in an area that is separated from patient sleeping areas by a 1-hour fire rated barrier. You would also have to meet other NFPA standards for construction found in section 9.2.2 of the 2012 edition.

Ventless Fireplaces

Q: Are gas-fired ventless fire places permitted in nursing homes?

A: I would say they are not permitted, but it has a lot to do whether or not the gas ventless fireplace is considered to be a heating device by the AHJ. According to section 18.5.2.2 of the 2000 edition of the LSC, it says fuel-fired heating devices must be connected to a chimney or a vent. The key issue here is whether or not the gas ventless fireplace is considered a heating device or not. I know many people consider gas fireplaces as aesthetic devices only, but they do produce heat even though that may not be the reason they are requested, so I would say the ventless devices are not permitted. If I were the AHJ and you asked me, I would say no. But you can ask all 5 or 6 of your AHJs and see what they say, but if only one of the bunch says no, then you cannot do it.

If you wanted to install a gas fireplace that is vented, you would have to do so in an area that is separated from patient sleeping areas by a 1-hour fire rated barrier. You would also have to meet other NFPA standards for construction. See section 9.2.2 of the 2000 edition of the LSC for details

Gas Fireplaces

imagesCAX8FCJWGas fireplaces inside a hospital, just doesn’t seem to be a good idea, at least not to me. I remember telling my COO at the hospital where I used to work that gas fired fireplaces are not allowed in a hospital by the Life Safety Code. He believed me until an architect told him I was wrong, that they were allowed, under certain conditions. The COO never forgot that and eventually had one included in the design of a new lobby for the hospital.

Now, I should not have lied, and I should have explained the risks involved with a gas fireplace, but I had a suspicion that he wouldn’t have listened to me anyway. In the same lobby renovation he included a water-wall feature that the infection control manager and the facility manager were dead-set against. Two bad decisions that should not have been made…. But what the heck. That’s life.

 

To be sure, gas-fired fireplaces are permitted in a hospital, under the following conditions:

  1. They must be vented to the outdoors. This means the ventless type of fireplaces are not permitted.
  2. They must be separated from patient sleeping areas by 1-hour fire rated barriers.
  3.  They must be equipped with a fireplace enclosure guaranteed against breakage up to 650 degrees F, which is constructed from heat tempered glass or other approved materials.
  4. Combustion air must be drawn in from the outside.
  5. Must be equipped with safety features to stop the flow of fuel in case of excessive temperatures.

The 2012 edition of the LSC has relaxed the rules of fireplaces and allows gas fireplaces in patient care areas, but not sleeping rooms. And the new code allows solid fuel fireplaces also. Isn’t that a kick in the grass?

I guess they call this progress.