If you are looking to enjoy fires in your fireplace but dread the thought of hauling and storing wood or keeping a fire burning, a gas log set may be the route for you. Starting a fire with a gas log set is a simple as flipping a switch or pressing a button on a remote control. You save yourself quite a bit of work by burning gas as opposed to wood or even pellets.
When it comes to gas fireplaces there are two kinds; vented and vent free or unvented gas log sets. There are a few primary differences between these two types of gas logs. Vented gas
logs use a chimney or other flue system to allow the products of combustion to go up and out of the home. Not all gas log sets require ventilation. Vent free gas log sets have manufacturer specifications stating that their products can be installed without a chimney or other flue system.
Gas burns clean, so as long as you have a cap at the top of your flue system (if you select vented gas logs) you shouldn’t have to have it swept out each year, only inspected. If you do not have a cap on the top of the flue system you should; birds, raccoons, and other animals can bring nesting material into the flue system create a dangerous situation. Gas logs should only be installed in an existing masonry fireplace if it has been cleared to vent the products of combustion by a chimney professional.
A chimney flue that cannot vent the products of combustion from burning wood cannot vent the products of combustion from gas logs. If you have used the chimney to burn wood in the past it should
be cleaned to remove creosote and any other debris before installing gas logs. Direct venting is also an option for vented gas logs. This entails using a double walled pipe to vent the products of combustion. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to directly venting as with any process of installing a gas log set. Vented gas logs usually have a more natural looking flame than vent free gas logs. Since vent free gas logs burn the natural gas more completely it generally burns hotter. This hotter flame will usually be blue. Vented gas logs can burn less efficiently, create a natural orange or yellow looking flame, but do not put out as much heat.
There are concerns about whether or not using vent free gas logs compromises air quality in a home. It is imperative to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using gas log sets, vented or vent free. If you have a family member that is elderly or has a breathing problem you may not want to install a vent free gas log set.
Gas fireplaces that have a pilot light that is always on costs more each month than a pilot light that you can turn on and off. By switching to this more efficient pilot you can save around $9.00 a month on your energy bill based on your location. Propane is an option for burning as well as natural gas. Propane fire places operate a lot like gas fireplaces and have similar options for vent free models if space constraints or other concerns bar you from venting your fireplace.