Obviously, you want to be warm, but you also want to keep your family safe. Consider these facts about vented gas fireplaces when you start shopping:
1. Air quality - vented gas fireplaces draw all of their air from outside, meaning they don't draw heat out of the room like a traditional wood fireplace does. More importantly, since it is vented straight out the chimney none of the air returns into the room, meaning no air quality issues can come up.
2. Safety - As already mentioned, no by-products of burning will enter the room. However, there is one even more impressive safety feature: vented gas fireplaces are built with safety valves that close the line if the pilot light goes out. This prevents the gas from dangerously running without burning and prevents explosions.
3. The Look - the number one complaint against a gas fireplace is that it lacks the tradition, the nostalgia of building a wood fire. Fortunately, that's not really the case anymore. With a brick interior and painted high temperature logs, no one will even be able to tell the difference. Due to the air being vented, the flame burns at an even and realistic color and temperature, replicating a wood fire almost exactly.
4. Cost - one of the most overlooked facts about gas vented fireplaces is how efficient they are. Because the airflow and temperature are so easily controlled, they take very little gas to run; most less than $.20 an hour in most areas (obviously it depends on how much gas costs in your area).
5. Comfort - They're warm! Gas vented fireplaces can quickly heat a room and keep that room warm, again with very little cost. Isn't that the whole point of a fireplace? Having one guarantees that room won't ever be cold in winter again, it'll always have a fire to snuggle by, and you can having a roaring fire while you watch a movie. Those little moments add up for some great memories that you can't put a number on.
Just keep these facts in mind while you're shopping, and enjoy the fireplace you end up choosing.