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    What to Know When Buying Gas Logs

    When we asked some eFireplaceStore.com customers what their most pressing concerns were when selecting gas logs online, the results surprised us. We expected mostly technical questions, but what we heard were statements like "I don't know how to get started", "All of the gas logs look the same", and "I'm afraid that I'll choose the wrong gas logs and I won't be able to use them or they won't work right". After considering our customers' concerns, we decided the best approach was to provide a simple, straightforward walkthrough to take the guesswork out of the process of choosing the perfect gas logs. The good news is that if you're reading this, then that walkthrough is what you've found! Without further delay, let's get started.

    Natural Gas or Liquid Propane?

    Choosing gas logs for your home is fairly simple, and many customers already have a fuel source in mind when they begin shopping. For those who don't, however, let's take a look at the good and bad points of each fuel used with most gas logs: natural gas or liquid propane.

    Natural Gas

    Advantages:

    • Usually has a lower purchase price than propane gas logs
    • Lighter than air, dissipates into atmosphere after combustion
    • If your home already has appliances like a natural gas water heater or oven, natural gas logs will probably be an easy choice as your home is already set up for natural gas use
    natural gas line

    Disadvantages:

    • Must be hard-piped to any appliance from buried gas service lines
    • Natural gas service is not available in some areas


    Liquid Propane

    Advantages:

    • Contains more carbon dioxide than natural gas and burns nearly three times hotter
    • Can be operated independently of natural gas lines or appliances
    • Can be used in areas where natural gas service is unavailable
    propane tank

    Disadvantages:

    • Generally more expensive than natural gas logs
    • Usually requires installation of a dedicated tank outside of your home
    • Often requires contracting with a propane dealer to refill your tank

    When deciding on which gas log fuel source is right for your home, remember this — natural gas service is not available everywhere and neither natural gas nor liquid propane are practical in every situation. Gas logs are almost always installed by a plumber or contracted gas log professional, so contact your local natural gas service provider or a local propane dealer before you purchase any gas logs.

    Vented Gas Logs vs. Ventless Gas Logs

    Now that you've solved your fuel dilemma we can tackle the other major question: which gas logs make more sense in your home — vented gas logs or ventless? Once again, this doesn't need to be as intimidating a question as it can sometimes seem, but you do need to have your facts straight before you make a decision.

    The basic principle separating the two types of gas logs is that (not surprisingly) vented gas logs vent the exhaust resulting from the burning of any kind of fuel. Ventless or vent-free gas logs do not. In practical terms this means that lots of things (including some heat) go up the chimney or out the vent pipe when using vented gas logs, and almost everything (especially heat) is contained in the home when dealing with vent-free logs. Let's take another look to compare the two types:

    Vented Gas Logs

    Advantages:

    • Generally less expensive purchase cost compared to ventless logs
    • Ideal for homeowners seeking ambiance from their gas logs as opposed to heating capacity
    • Venting allows for a much higher yellow flame than vent-free logs, creating a more realistic-looking flame
    • Does not require a carbon monoxide (CO) detector
    • Since these logs must be operated with an open damper, whatever smell is produced goes up the chimney
    duluth forge vented gas logs

    Disadvantages:

    • Provides significantly less heat than ventless gas logs (probably won't fully heat most rooms)
    • Usually uses slightly more fuel than vent-free logs
    • Requires a chimney or other venting system


    Ventless (Vent-free) Gas Logs

    Advantages:

    • Much better heat output than vented gas logs, vent-free gas logs are much more suitable for heating a room or home than vented logs
    • Because the fuel must burn almost completely in ventless gas logs, they produce less pollution
    • Slightly less fuel consumption than vented logs
    • No requirements for venting and can be used in a fireplace or in a self-contained cabinet
    empire ventless birch gas logs

    Disadvantages:

    • Burning fuel cleanly produces moisture, so ventless gas logs introduce some moisture into the home's atmosphere
    • Burning vent-free gas logs gradually depletes the oxygen in the area, so burning them for long periods of time requires cracking a window, allowing in oxygen and some cold air that can offset some heating benefits
    • Illegal in California and some municipalities, so check your local regulations.
    • Require an ODS (Oxygen depletion system) and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector in the home
    • Smaller, less realistic blue flame compared to vented gas logs
    • Can produce a slight odor most people compare to burning kerosene (although many customers report enjoying the light odor)

    As you can see, there are positive and negative aspects to both vented and ventless (vent-free) gas logs. Every home and every homeowner has different requirements. Bear in mind that there are legal requirements involved with either type of gas logs in many municipalities, so check with your local gas and housing authorities before purchasing. After that, though, the above information should give you a good indication as to where to begin when choosing the right gas logs for you.

    About the Author

    Collin Champagne

    Approaching his 10-year work anniversary, Collin is one of our National Fireplace Institute (NFI) certified technicians and content manager for the eFireplacestore, eCanopy, and EliteDeals brands. He is a Master Hearth Professional, which means he is certified in all three hearth appliance fields — wood, gas and pellet.

    When not at work, he spends time with his wife, Lindsey, and his sons, Samuel and Eli, on their ranch enjoying their many animals. Completing projects around the ranch and spending quality time with his family are among his greatest joys. 


    Questions About This Article

    All customer questions are answered by our NFI Certified Specialists free of charge!
    25 Questions & 25 Answers
    Rick F.
    from San Jose, CA asked:
    March 19, 2021
    Are vented gas log sets rated for heat output? Where can I find the heat output rating on different manufacturers? Are there better heat output-rated manufacturers?
    1 Answer
    Vented gas log sets are primarily decorative and are not designed to provide supplemental heat. Whatever the BTU rating, the vast majority of the heat generated will escape straight up the flue in the fireplace.  Our best option for maximizing any heat would be the Real Fyre G52 series. This burner features a stainless steel “booster grid” that acts as a catalyst to increase the intensity of the fire and radiate heat into the room.
    Submitted by: Tyler M. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on March 19, 2021

    Jayne
    from NC asked:
    March 19, 2021
    My husband has a concern about vented losing too much heat, while I am concerned over toxins in air for ventless. How much more heat does a ventless give you versus a vented. Can you still collect enough heat in a small den with vented or should we go with the ventless?

     

    1 Answer
    Ventless logs will give you approximately 50-65% more heat than a vented set.  A vented set will typically heat a small den with an area of 10'x10'.
    Submitted by: Aaron D. on March 19, 2021

    Taryn M
    from Buffalo,NY asked:
    March 11, 2021
    I purchased a ventless fireplace to use outside. Can I use vented gas fire logs since there is an open front and not in an enclosed space?
    1 Answer
    No, we would still recommend an outdoor ventless gas log set, as you will want the burner to be stainless steel and the valve/control to be listed for use outdoors.
    Submitted by: Tyler M. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on March 11, 2021

    M E G
    March 1, 2021
    I have changed from propane to natural gas - can I change the vented logs I have?
    1 Answer

    This will depend on the manufacturer and model information of your burner or fireplace unit.


    Submitted by: Tyler M. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on March 1, 2021

    Marsha
    from Houston, TX asked:
    February 19, 2021
    I have a wood burning fireplace with natural gas set up and rack everything to light wood to burn. How do I ‘install’ vented gas logs? Do I just set them in the rack and continue like I would do with real wood?  If I purchase embers will it add to the heat produced? 
    1 Answer
    A gas log set will come with the logs and a burner system to make it function.  The rack and "log lighter" that you have there now will come out of the fireplace and be replaced by the gas log set.  Embers will not add to the heat produced with a  gas log they are a visual upgrade.  
    Submitted by: Brett W. on February 22, 2021

    Marsha
    from Houston, TX asked:
    February 19, 2021
    If I already have a fireplace with natural gas including a gas burner and rack, do I need anything other than the logs to have a 'fire'?
    1 Answer
    It seems as though you are describing a gas log lighter starter, intended to help burn wood.  If you do not want to burn wood and use only gas, we would recommend one of our gas log sets.  If you have a functional woodburning chimney, we would recommend a vented gas log set.
    Submitted by: Tyler M. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on February 19, 2021

    Joanna D.
    from Auburn, AL asked:
    February 15, 2021
    Can you use ventless logs in a regular vented fireplace with the vent open to let the heat out when used during warmer times for ambiance only?
    1 Answer
    Yes, provided the chimney is in good condition.
    Submitted by: Tyler M. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on February 16, 2021

    Todd
    from Hamilton, OH asked:
    February 6, 2021
    How long will vent free logs last? If there is no fan inside the fireplace box, can an exterior fan be used to circulate air inside the box?
    1 Answer
    If purchasing refractory logs, these will last a lifetime without issue and are generally backed with a lifetime warranty. However, we cannot speak beyond the warranty terms specified for any of the manufactured gas log sets we offer outside of stating that proper care and regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of any gas hearth system. Many customers who've regularly maintained their ventless gas log sets will often contact us looking for replacement parts for 20+ year old systems if this gives you an idea. 


    To answer your question, no fan should be used outside of the firebox-mounted tested and listed optional blower for any ventless gas hearth system. Any blower that would potentially alter the flame pattern of a ventless gas log set may result in the release of carbon monixide. 

    Submitted by: Will M. on February 8, 2021

    Nelms G
    from Waynesboro, GA. asked:
    February 2, 2021
    Vent less gas appliances add much more than "some moisture" to a dwelling.  Is there a calculation as to exactly how much moisture is added per BTU?
    1 Answer
    No, there is no formula to quantify the amount of moisture released per BTU. 
    Submitted by: Tyler M. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on February 2, 2021

    Carol W
    from Nacogdoches, TX asked:
    January 18, 2021
    Who can install them??

    1 Answer
    Typically, you can contact a local plumbing company of heating/air-conditioning company for assistance finding a gas technician who can install a gas log set.
    Submitted by: Tyler M. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on January 19, 2021

    Tom
    from Wisconsin asked:
    September 8, 2020
    Do gas logs require that a brick chimney have a stainless liner?
    1 Answer
    Gas logs require that the chimney meet NFPA 211 standards for a functioning fireplace chimney.
    Submitted by: Aaron D. on September 9, 2020

    Linda S
    from West Hartford, CT asked:
    May 6, 2020
    What else is needed with the purchase of a gas ventless log set, just a remote?
    1 Answer
    Our ventless gas log sets include the burner and logs, but not all of these have the option to add a remote control, and some of them have a remote control included.
    Submitted by: Tyler M. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on May 6, 2020

    Steven W.
    from Oregon asked:
    March 27, 2020
    On an episode of This Old House, they had a cone fireplace with a burner insert. They said it could be used as a burner unit or could also burn firewood.  Is it possible to add such a burner to an existing wood-burning stove?
    1 Answer
    That would be a Malm Fireplace. We do not carry any such burners to covert standard wood stoves.
    Submitted by: Owen O. on March 27, 2020

    Mike B.
    from Colleyville asked:
    March 15, 2020
    I have a newly installed Marquis Series fireplace, model MARQ36IN. Can I purchase a different log set for this unit?
    1 Answer
    We do not list this model in our inventory, so we cannot advise on parts for it. We apologize for the inconvenience.
    Submitted by: Tyler M. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on March 16, 2020

    Hubert L.
    from Oak Island, NC asked:
    February 2, 2020

    Can I install your logs and double burners in my old Heat and Glow vented fireplace, or do I need to remove the whole unit and install fire brick and then put your burners and logs in it?

    1 Answer
    Decorative gas logs must be installed in a functioning wood-burning firebox. They would not be allowed in the type of fireplace you have.
    Submitted by: Brian L. on February 3, 2020

    Connie S.
    from Kennesaw, GA asked:
    January 23, 2020
    My mother has a nice looking brand new set of propane logs that I would like to use in my vented gas fireplace. Can I use just the logs with some adjustments (professionally done of course) to our current burner?
    1 Answer
    No, for a new log set you would also need to get the burner that is made for the particular logs. Our log sets are sold as complete kits with the log set, burner, and grate, plus a pilot kit (valve/pilot) in some cases.
    Submitted by: Tyler M. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on January 23, 2020

    Alma W.
    from 24382 asked:
    December 17, 2019
    I have vented logs but my fireplace damper doesn't completely close. Can I put insulation to close it off, if so what kind?
    1 Answer
    If you have vented gas logs, please leave the damper open as operating a vented gas log set with the damper closed will result in death from carbon monoxide.
    Submitted by: Will M. on December 18, 2019

    Catherine L
    from Guyton ga asked:
    December 2, 2019
    If I have a vented fireplace set of logs, can I just change the logs to a ventless set of logs and not change the burner or do I have to change all of it?
    1 Answer
    You would need to change the whole set.
    Submitted by: Owen O. on December 3, 2019

    Rick H
    from Arkansas asked:
    November 24, 2019
    Can I use one of these vented log sets to replace the log set in my B-Vent fireplace?
    1 Answer
    With B-vent fireplaces, you may only replace the original logs with the exact same log style listed in the product literature included with your fireplace. Vented gas log sets may only be installed in existing wood fireplaces. 
    Submitted by: Will M. on November 25, 2019

    Jim
    from Ohio asked:
    November 21, 2019
    My existing logs are wired to a wall thermostat. Do you have any ventless for natural gas that would be compatible with my existing setup?
    1 Answer
    Yes, we offer many sets that can also be wired that way.
    Submitted by: Owen O. on November 21, 2019

    Kimberly T.
    from 35042 asked:
    November 13, 2019
    Can you have the red embers at the base of the logs with propane ventless logs? 



    1 Answer
    Yes, select ventless gas log sets will also include glowing embers. These will be shown in the photos of the various gas log sets. 
    Submitted by: Tyler M. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on November 14, 2019

    Jo
    from Springfield, MO asked:
    July 9, 2019
    Can I use Peterson vented gas logs with different previously installed burner system?


    1 Answer
    Because our log sets are only approved for specific burners, you would need to install a Peterson log set only on a Peterson burner. 
    Submitted by: Brennan W. on July 9, 2019

    Joel C
    from Alabaster. Al asked:
    June 21, 2019
    I have wood burning fireplace with a working flue which can be opened or closed, I want to install vent free gas logs. Are there any special steps that need to be taken to keep the heat from going up the chimney?
    1 Answer
    You should thoroughly clean the interior of the fireplace opening prior to installing a ventless system, but closing the damper should prevent excessive heat loss. 
    Submitted by: Will M. on June 24, 2019

    Dennis G
    from Northville MI asked:
    May 24, 2019
    Does the ventless gas logs come with a grate?
    1 Answer
    If you buy a Vent free log SET, and not the logs only, it would come with the grate and burner as well, Yes
    Submitted by: Owen O. on May 24, 2019

    Gerald S
    from Hogansburg, NY asked:
    May 23, 2019
    I can not seem to find a gas log to fit my fireplace.  Front Width is 24", Back Width is 16" and depth is 14".  When I do a calculator it states that there are no logs available.  Would a 16" ventless log be appropriate?
    1 Answer
    We actually have a 20" ventless gas log set that will fit in your fireplace.  This is the Real Fyre Valley Oak Ventless Gas Logs.
    Submitted by: Tyler M. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on May 23, 2019

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