Gas logs can be a fantastic way to bring the warmth and glow of a wood-burning fireplace to your home without the work of maintaining a wood fire. When you install gas logs, you can enjoy a cozy fire with the flip of a switch or the push of a button! Made of ceramic or refractory cement, gas logs come in two varieties: Vented or vent free.
Vented gas logs
Vented gas logs are installed into an existing wood-burning fireplace. When burned, the logs produce carbon and soot that draft up your chimney as it wood with a traditional wood-burning fireplace. Vented gas logs produce the most realistic flame pattern, with yellow flames that leap in a random pattern around the logs. The realism of the logs can be enhanced by placing the logs on a bed of sand and rock that add the look of glowing embers.
Vented gas logs must be burned with the chimney damper open, meaning much of the heat of the gas logs escape up the chimney. Vented gas logs provide about the same heat output as a tradition, open-hearth, wood-burning fireplace. Because of the output of smoke and soot, fireplaces outfitted with vented gas logs require the same cleaning and maintenance as a wood-burning fireplace. Chimneys and fireplaces must be swept and inspected each year to avoid a potential fire hazard. However, any smell or carbon dioxide produced by the fire is exhausted up the chimney.
Vent-free gas logs
Vent-free, or ventless, gas logs can be installed in an existing open-hearth fireplace and burned with the damper closed, or in a separate firebox approved for use with gas logs. One major advantage to vent-free gas logs is that they be installed in virtually any room or along any wall, as chimneys or ducts are not a consideration. The major advantage to vent-free gas logs is that all of the heat of the fire is returned to the room, rather than being lost up the chimney.
However, the logs do produce a less-realistic blue flame with a pre-programmed burn pattern. Additionally, the primary byproducts of the fire are carbon dioxide and water vapor. The amounts of carbon dioxide introduced to a room by vent-free logs is generally recognized as safe, though if logs are burned for more than an hour, a window should be opened to allow for better venting. The water vapor also can cause moisture or mildew to build up within a room.
FireSide Hearth & Home can help you decide!
If you’re considering gas logs for your home, talk to the experts at FireSide Hearth & Home. We can help you weigh the pros and cons of both vented and vent-free gas logs, and help you determine which type of gas logs is right for your home!