The clean lines of modern architecture, interiors and exteriors, can present some inconvenient mechanical challenges, especially in up-scale, high-rise residential properties.

Imagine having to conceal the exhaust vent and exterior terminations for over 250 luxury gas fireplaces. Rest assured, future residents of the elegantly designed Tower Residences at Century Plaza in Los Angeles will be none the wiser, whether they are enjoying views of the Hollywood Hills from their glass-lined balcony or hosting an indoor fireside cocktail party. From floor to ceiling, every surface will be as sleek and refined as one would expect in such a grand setting.

The 44-story, triangular-shaped buildings are designed to draw the eye, towering over one of L.A.’s most storied locations, the now exquisitely renovated Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel. The towers are also just steps away from the Avenue of the Stars and Constellation Boulevard. Brimming with amenities, nearly all of the 268 residences will include a frameless, power-vented gas fireplace made by Ortal. DuraVent’s Concentric Venting System (CVS), recommended by Ortal, was selected to vent these fireplaces.

Ortal carries a wide range of modern and traditional fireplaces and is particularly known for its contemporary designs, such as the front-facing, built-in styles chosen for the Tower Residences. These unobtrusive fireplaces were perfect for the stylishly minimalistic interiors. However, making them work would require some flexibility from both Ortal and DuraVent.

“The customer loved that our product was frameless and that a recessed television could be installed directly above it so that the wall surface remains perfectly smooth from floor to ceiling. The challenge was in the venting,” said Sean Anderson, West Coast sales manager for Ortal.

It’s a common tale. Venting gas fireplaces in multistory buildings can often result in aesthetic compromises, such as interior bulkheads needed to hide exhaust vents and terminations scattered across a building façade, neither of which would be acceptable in these multimillion dollar condominiums.

Power-venting gas fireplaces helps mitigate these issues because, unlike standard direct-vent appliances, power-vented appliances can be vented up, down, and around all sorts of structural obstacles. However, one problem still remains. The size of the vent pipe itself can take up precious real estate. Most gas fireplaces are manufactured with vent outlets that measure up to eight inches in diameter. Fortunately, Ortal has worked with DuraVent for many years to provide vent solutions that effectively reduce the venting space requirements, including special adapters that allow smaller, concentric vent pipe to be used.


Superior Venting Flexibility

DuraVent’s CVS pipe has become the go-to choice for Ortal’s power-vented fireplaces. Since the exhaust pipe is nested inside the fresh-air intake pipe, only one penetration is needed through a roof or wall for both the exhaust and combustion air. The air intake (outer vent space) draws air from outside into the firebox while combustion gases exit through the inner exhaust pipe. 

The CVS is compact with a 3-inch inner pipe made of super-ferritic stainless steel and a 5-inch outer pipe made of galvalume. When used with gas appliances, this system is zero clearance and can be run through existing joist spaces without encroaching on the vertical or floor space. This gives installers the flexibility to install the fireplace wherever the client wishes, even in the middle of the room.

This flexibility came in handy since the exhaust systems for each residential unit would be installed “as built” by union labor, without the aid of pre-drawn venting plans.

“This project is unique in light of the fact there were no concrete mechanical venting details. The DuraVent CVS flue systems allow great flexibility, coupled with the in-line fan option to meet project objectives and add the fantastic amenity of Ortal fireplaces in these beautiful high-end condominiums,” said Eric Peterson, president and CEO, of CAPO Fireside, the West Coast distributor for Ortal.

Each vent installation in the towers includes between 20 and 40 feet of pipe and three to eight elbows, but you would never know it. The footprint and ceiling heights never had to be adjusted to accommodate the pipe, and fireplaces were consistently located according to plan.

“That’s the big advantage of combining 3-by-5-inch CVS pipe with power-vented appliances. The vent installation accommodates the fireplace and space, not the other way around,” added Peterson. For more information, visit