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Gas logs: Vented versus vent-free

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.Gas logs, vented versus vent-free - Royal Oak MI - Fireside hearth and home

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!

Enjoy the convenience of a gas fireplace insert

A fireplace adds a lot to your home: Value, comfort, style, and ambiance (to name a few) but a traditional wood-burning fireplace also adds a lot of inconvenience to your life such as the hassle of storing and hauling wood, continuously tending fires, and an ash-filled fireplace to clean out. If you love the thought of a roaring fire, but hate the work that goes with it, consider a gas fireplace insert.

A gas fireplace insert fits into your existing wood-burning fireplace and can be vented through your chimney. It maintains the style and ambiance your fireplace brings to your home but without the headaches of a wood-burning fireplace. A gas fireplace comes with many advantages including convenience, efficiency, and cleanliness.

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Gas is more convenient

When it comes to fireplaces, it’s hard to beat the convenience of a gas fireplace insert. With the flip of a switch, you can enjoy the soothing flames and gentle heat of a fire. Many gas fireplace inserts come with remote controls and thermostats which can allow you to customize the heat output of your fireplace. The size of the flames will adjust based on how warm you want your home to be. Of course with gas, there is no regular tending of the fire, no hauling logs, and no ash clean up.

Gas is more efficient

The hidden secret behind open-hearth, wood-burning fireplaces is that they do little to heat your home on cold winter nights. In fact, wood burning fireplaces suck the already heated air out of your home to fuel their fires, and up to 90 percent of the heat produced by the fire goes right up your chimney. A gas fireplace, on the other hand, is fueled by relatively inexpensive natural gas, and 75 to 99 percent of that heat is returned to your home, depending on the model of gas fireplace you choose.

Gas is cleaner

Wood-burning fires are also incredibly dirty and they degrade both indoor and outdoor air quality. Wood-burning fireplaces let off a lot of fine particles which are either sent out your chimney into your neighborhood’s air or back into your home where your family can breathe them in. Wood-burning fireplaces are actually cautioned against by groups such as the American Cancer Society and some cities ban wood-burning on days where air quality is low. Wood-burning fires also cause a buildup of creosote in your chimney which must be cleaned regularly to avoid the risk of a chimney fire.

Gas is easy to install

In most cases, a gas insert can be installed easily into your existing fireplace space but a gas line will need to be added to fuel the fireplace. If you’re interested in seeing how a gas insert would fit into your existing fireplace space, call the experts at FireSide Hearth & Home for a consultation!