Fireplace Gas Logs are a cheaper alternative to a gas fireplace insert and may be exactly what you are looking for. If you are trying to find great way to utilize your fireplace but can’t afford the $4000 – $6000 for a gas insert than you may be interested in a set of gas logs. Fireplace gas logs come in a wide variety of sizes and styles from rustic charred logs to more contemporary glass burners. Available in various sizes from the small 16″ to the massive 60″ you can find exactly the right size for your fireplace.
When shopping for your fireplace logs you may run into the terms vented and vent free let us explain the difference for you so you can make the correct choice.
- Vented Gas Logs – These are the more common of the two types and have been around longer than the vent free versions. Vented gas fireplace logs have to be vented to the outside through a chimney. If you install a vented gas log into your fireplace the damper system will have to mechanically fastened open. Depending on your local building codes you may have to remove the damper completely. Something to consider when you do this is that your damper being left open or removed will create a significant source of heat loss through the chimney. It doesn’t matter if you are running the logs or not there will still be a strong updraft that will be sucking heat from your home. You can install a set of glass fireplace doors to help stop some of this draft. Vented gas logs usually have a fuller more realistic looking flame than the vent free sets.
Ventless Gas Logs – Ventless or sometimes called vent free gas logs do not require a chimney to vent into. They are designed to burn the gas more completly and with a pilot safety system that allows them to be vented into the room they are installed in. They still have to be installed in a code approved 0″ clearance firebox in order to be safe to use. Vent free have not been around as long as the vented versions of gas logs but they are growing in popularity. One of the reasons vent free logs make sense is when you install a vent free log set into a fireplace you can leave the damper intact. Now it is probably still a good idea to crack open the damper while you are running the logs to allow some of the exhaust to vent. When it is not running you can close the damper limiting the amount of heat lost through the chimney. Please keep in mind that with the damper closed even with the logs off you might still have the pilot running which may generate some burn-off. If you are sensitive to odors than you should probably stick to the vented versions.
Contemporary and Traditional Gas Logs
A fireplace gas log is made up of two key components, the burner system and the decorative logs on top. Logs come in a variety of different styles and configurations for people with different tastes. You can get logs that look like Birch, Oak or Pine and they can have a split or whole appearance. In addition to the style of the log you can also get them stacked in different configurations. Some logs are designed to look like they are resting on a log grate and others look more like a campfire. In addition to logs sets most manufacturers are now offering a more contemporary or modern looking crushed glass burner.
These burners operate in the same way that the logs do but instead they are covered in crushed fireplace glass, glass beads or even diamond looking glass gems. Along with the glass you can add a number of different accessories to further customize the look. You can choose from river rocks, geometric shapes and cannonball spheres. Be sure to check out the manufacturer’s website to see all of their options.
Optional Remote Control
In addition to being able to be turned on manually with a built in switch fireplace gas logs are also available with the remote control option. Some remote controls can be added later on but not always. There can be specific valve systems needed on order for the remotes so make sure you find out what type you want before you buy. There are three different types of remote controls:
- Basic On/Off remote – This type of remote will turn on and off the gas logs. If your log set has the ability to adjust the flame height up or down you would still have to manually do that with this remote.
- Thermostat On/Off Remote – Operates the same as the basic remote but has a built in thermostat feature that can turn the unit on or off based on the room temperature. Because of the way gas logs operate a thermostat remote is probably not the best fit.
- A Variable Remote – In addition to turning the burner on and off a variable remote can also control the flame height. It does this by way of a small motor built onto the gas valve.
All Fireplace Gas Logs Are Not The Same
While shopping you may notice some pretty significant price difference between some of the gas logs. Even in burners of the same exact size and type there can be hundreds of dollars difference.
One of the things to look out for is the construction of the logs. Some manufactures produce a cement cast log while others have a log made or more a ceramic fiber type. Of the two you will find the cement cast to be more expensive. If you have the ability to handle each type we encourage you to do so. You will immediately notice a difference between the two, the cement cast logs feel much heavier and less fragile than a ceramic fiber log. Some brands even make these with inner steel bar reinforcements for even more durability. Some manufacturers claim that the cement cast logs will maintain their finish and appearance longer. You will also see a difference between the price of some of the valves depending on the remote capability.
Measuring For Your New Gas Log
It is important to correctly measure your fireplace for your new gas log. As with any of our gas products proper measurements will ensure that everything fits and there are no complications when the unit is installed. There are four measurements you will need to get and they are the height of the fireplace opening, the width of the opening, the depth front to back and the width across the back. At the Chimney King of New England we can come out to your home for an on site evaluation. During which we can take accurate measurements for you to ensure that you get the right product for you.
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