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.

Brad Keyes
Brad Keyes, CHSP

Brad is a former advisor to Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) and former Joint Commission LS surveyor. He guides clients through  organizational assessment; management training; ongoing coaching of task groups; and extensive one-on-one coaching of facility leaders. He analyzes and develops leadership effectiveness and efficiency in work processes, focusing on assessing an organization’s preparedness for a survey, evaluating processes in achieving preparedness, and guiding organizations toward compliance. 

As a presenter at national seminars, regional conferences, and audio conferences, Brad teaches the Keyes Life Safety Boot Camp series to various groups and organizations. He is the author or co-author of many HCPro books, including the best-selling  Analyzing the Hospital Life Safety Survey, now in its 3rd edition. Brad has also authored a variety of articles in numerous publications addressing features of life safety and fire protection, as well as white papers and articles on the Building Maintenance Program. Currently serving as the contributing editor of the monthly HCPro newsletter Healthcare Life Safety Compliance  gives Brad further insight into the industry’s trends and best practices.