Types of Gas Logs for Fireplaces
They look and heat great, so what else is there to know? Turns out that choosing the right sort of gas logs is important, not only for maximum heat benefits but also for cost efficiency, safety, appearance, and ease of use.
Gas logs provide a lot of advantages. In addition to lending the ambience of wood-burning fireplaces without all of the hassle of sourcing and cutting hardwood, installation and maintenance is simple, and the heat to cost ratio is one of the best, making gas logs perfect for heating your home in the winter without a high energy bill. Whether you’re needing a heat source for your common area or would like a small supplemental heater to add coziness and romance to your bedroom, gas logs are versatile and available for a variety of fireplaces or gas heaters.
We’ll help you determine each factor (Chimney? No chimney? Vent-free or vented?) and then you can decide for yourself which gas logs will add the best heat and attraction to your common area or bedroom.
What are Gas Logs Made of?
The term gas logs refers to a gas burner covered by artificial wood made either of ceramic fibers, ceramic clay, or refractory cement. Each of these composites is designed to withstand high heat and resemble natural wood as closely as possible. Each set usually includes a burner system and a grate, and gas logs are especially versatile because they can be used in a pre-existing wood fireplace, making installation requirements minimal. Vented gas logs also have the option to burn brightly with little heat, which means you can enjoy the appearance of a fire on a summer evening without heating the house.
Buying your first set of gas logs only has a couple of factors to include, and shouldn’t be a hassle. You’ll need to know your fuel source, whether you need vented or vent-less, and just a few other important things.
Propane or Natural Gas?
First determine the source of your fuel, as you’ll be purchasing your logs to match your source. If you’re not sure which you have, propane is usually delivered to your home and stored in a tank outside. Natural gas is delivered by an underground pipe directly to your home. When purchasing gas logs, you’ll be able to choose from either one.
Vented or Ventless?
The next item to determine is whether or not your gas logs need to be vented or vent-free. Vent-free gas log sets offer the most versatility and are the easiest to have installed, as they don’t require a pre-existing chimney with a flue and the unit can be installed almost anywhere that you can place a firebox. Vented gas logs rely on the flu size, and will need to be installed in a pre-existing wood burning fireplace with a chimney. Vent-free logs can also be installed in a fireplace with a chimney and you won’t need to open the damper.
Gas Logs Size
Sizing is important when it comes to gas logs. Obviously, the size of your fireplace or gas log unit will help determine what size to get for both sizes, but when choosing vented logs, the size of your flu will also determine which size works best.
Gas Logs Styles
Once you’ve determined the above factors, the next step is to decide the appearance and overall ambiance you’d like your new fireplace to provide for your home. And while selecting “more charred” logs vs. “less charred” might seem silly or unnecessary, it’s an essential part of the process. And so is determining the type of material your gas logs will be made from.
Gas Logs Material
Manufacturers use molds of actual wood to create the realistic look of gas logs, whether made from ceramic fiber, ceramic clay, or refractory cement. Each material is rated to withstand high amounts of heat, and you shouldn’t need to replace your gas logs for at least 2-5 years, depending on frequency of use. A good way to know when your gas logs need to be replaced is to keep an eye on the appearance; if they seem faded and start to show signs of wear and tear or are beginning to crack or crumble, it’s time to replace them.
Things to Keep in Mind:
- Ceramic gas logs tend to last a little bit longer than cement logs due to their high heat rating, and won’t fade with long-term use as quickly as the cement ones. Consider replacing cement logs after about 2-3 years of frequent use. Ceramic logs can usually go 3-5 years before being replaced.
- Some ceramic gas log models are reinforced with steel bars to keep them cracking and bending, and will make them even more durable in the long-run.
Gas Logs Appearance
You want your gas logs fireplace to appear as natural as possible. Fortunately, there’s a lot of realistic models to choose from, and in the end, it’s going to come down to your personal preference and the ambiance you want to create in your home. Some gas log sets come with “extras”, like wood-style grates, glowing embers, or sand granules for placement beneath the logs themselves. Keep in mind that some sets are aesthetically designed to be viewed from all sides, and work particularly well in island, peninsula, or see-through type fire boxes, so placement of your gas logs is important as well. Most sets are designed to prevent controls from being visible, and this is especially true of any designed for fireboxes that are see-through.
To help make it easier to choose, here’s our top 3 favorite gas log sets that will provide a realistic feel and quality performance:
White Mountain Hearth Whiskey River Vented/Vent Free Gas Log Set
If you’re after the realistically charred look for your gas logs, this set is perfect. You can choose from 18”, 24”, or 30” sizing to ensure the right fit for your fireplace, and the set can be used in either a vented or vent-free unit. Each log is hand-painted, which provides nuanced details that are extremely realistic and every set is made up of 7 logs total. Flames shoot up between the logs and also glow like embers from beneath, providing the perfect resemblance to a real fire and offering plenty of warmth.
Everwarm Low Country Timber Log Set
With sizing options the same as the Whiskey River set, the Everwarm Low Country Timber Gas Logs is a versatile model made of refractory cement. Designed specifically for vent-free units, this gas log set also has the option to add a remote, giving you easy control over your heating source from anywhere in the room. Lightly charred effects on the 7 highly durable logs bring a realistic and cozy feel.
White Mountain Hearth Rock Creek Log Set
If you’ve been trying to find the perfect gas log set for your peninsula or see-through firebox, the White Mountain Hearth Rock Creek set is it. Hand-painted refractory logs provide a realistic look from any angle. Size options are available, and the number of logs included in the set varies with sizing (18” – 9 logs, 24” and 30” – 11 logs). Designed for use with a vent-free firebox, the flames flicker around and through the logs much as a real fire would, and you can choose the propane or natural gas option, which gives you even more freedom.
Choosing a gas log set for your home will include a few simple factors such as fuel type and vent type, but once those important questions have been answered, it really comes down to finding the perfect set to bring the right mood into your space. Gas logs are a great cost-effective way to provide supplemental heat in your home and make your living room or bedroom feel cozy and rustic. Shop our gas logs now to enhance the warmth and comfort of your home.