Can You Burn Real Wood in a Gas Fireplace?
You cannot burn real wood in a gas fireplace. Gas fireplaces are not designed to handle the process of burning real wood. Combustion is a complex process. It produces a lot of byproducts, including soot, smoke, ashes, and gases.
For a safe combustion process, one must ensure that the place where the combustion occurs has adequate facilities. There should be enough ventilation so that all the poisonous gases produced during the combustion process are eliminated. One must also ensure that soot and ashes are appropriately stored during the combustion process and regularly removed.
Sadly, your gas fireplace does not have any of these facilities. Its flue, firebox, and overall ventilation components are not designed to support the combustion process.
It is not a good idea to attempt to burn real wood in your gas fireplace. If you try to do this, you will be exposing yourself and others to various adverse effects.
Notably, the gas fireplace may catch fire because it lacks the necessary ventilation. The fire may quickly spread across the house and cause massive damages.
Also, if you attempt to burn real wood in a gas fireplace, your entire home may become full of smoke. Excess smoke will make everyone uncomfortable. It may also trigger severe allergic reactions in people who have breathing problems, including asthma.
When to Replace Your Gas Logs
Although gas logs are built to last for several years, this varies with various factors. The type of material used to make the gas logs determines how long they last and, eventually when you will have to replace them.
If you have ceramic gas logs, you will be assured that they will last longer than cement gas logs. Ceramic gas logs can withstand a lot of heat much better than cement logs.
If we assume that other factors are constant, you may have to replace your ceramic gas logs after about three or five years. It may be necessary to replace your cement gas logs after about two to three years.
Whether your gas logs are vented or not determines how long they last. If you have ceramic gas logs vented, you will not have to think about replacing them for at least ten years.
This length of time also depends on how well you maintain your gas logs. If you have ceramic gas logs that are ventless, you may have to replace them after about five years, even if you keep them well.
Therefore, replacing your gas logs depends on the type of material used to make them and whether they are vented or ventless.
Gas Logs vs. Gas Inserts vs. Gas Fireplaces: What is the Difference?
It is easy to be confused about gas logs, gas inserts, and gas fireplaces. All these three heating options have subtle differences that make every one of them suitable under specific conditions. You need to understand the differences to make the right decision.
Here are brief descriptions of every one of them.
Gas logs are a stack of ceramic or cement logs that you place inside your standard fireplace. Gas logs have a burner that burns the gas to produce heat. The gas logs are designed to look precisely like real-life logs of wood. They are also of the same size as real logs.
There are two types of gas logs: vented and ventless. Vented gas logs use the existing chimney in your house to channel the exhaust from the combustion process. Ventless gas logs do not use the existing chimney in your home to remove the exhaust from the combustion process.
People tend to use gas logs primarily for aesthetics purposes. The heat that gas logs generate is much less than that created by other options, including gas inserts and gas fireplaces. However, gas logs are the cheapest option of the three.
Gas inserts comprise the actual heating element and two boxes. The smaller box houses the heating element, which burns the gas. The larger and outer box fits into your natural wood-burning fireplace.
Thus, gas inserts provide an effective way of converting your wood-burning fireplace into a more advanced and more comfortable to maintain a gas-burning one.
Gas inserts produce radiant heat by warming the air that is contained between its two boxes. The heat then spreads across the entire home over time. Due to its design and heating method, gas inserts produce more heat than gas logs.
Gas inserts may be vented or vent-free. You will need to use the chimney that is already installed in your home for vented gas inserts. Vent-free gas inserts operate without a chimney.
Built-in gas fireplaces do not need an existing wood-burning fireplace for their installation. Therefore, gas fireplaces are not modifications of existing fireplaces. A gas fireplace can be an excellent option for heating your home if you do not have an existing fireplace.
Gas fireplaces work just like gas inserts. They produce a lot of heat and use the radiant heating method to warm your home. In terms of heating capacity, gas fireplaces are the most effective option than gas logs and gas inserts.
5 Reasons Why Gas Logs Are A Better Alternative to Firewood
- Easier to maintain. It is easier to maintain gas logs than traditional fireplaces that burn wood. If you use firewood in your fireplace, you will have to clean the place to remove soot and ash regularly. Doing this is not necessary if you have gas logs in place.
- Gas logs are eco-friendly. Firewood comes from trees. The more firewood you burn in your fireplace at home, the more trees are cut to supply it. Sadly, trees take tens of years to grow. Therefore, using firewood is not an eco-friendly way of warming your home. Luckily, gas logs are made from ceramic or cement; their preparation does not interfere with the forests.
- Gas logs are cheaper than firewood. Gas logs may last for years before needing to be replaced. New firewood logs must be inserted in your fireplace every time you need additional warmth in the home. Thus, it costs much less to use gas logs than firewood.
- Gas logs are cleaner than firewood. Burning firewood produces a lot of smoke and other substances. The smoke may easily trigger massive allergic reactions in people who have breathing problems. Gas logs do not produce smoke and other similar substances.
- Gas logs are visually appealing. Modern gas logs are very realistic and visually appealing. You can choose from a broad range of gas logs that resemble specific types of wood. Gas logs can genuinely enhance the ambiance and feel in your home.
Types of Gas Logs for Fireplaces
Gas logs can be categorized in terms of the materials used to make them or their mode of action. Based on materials, gas logs can either be ceramic or cement. Based on the mode of action, gas logs can either be vented or vent-free.
Vented vs. Vent-Free Gas Logs
Vented gas logs use the chimney in your house to channel the products of gas combustion outside. Thus, vented gas logs are used in houses that have fully functional fireplaces with chimneys.
However, a considerable amount of the heat that vented gas logs produce goes out through the chimney. Ventless gas logs do not need a chimney. The main benefit of using this kind of gas logs is that you end up with more heat than if you use vented ones.
Ceramic vs. Cement Gas Logs
Ceramic gas logs start to glow faster than cement gas logs. Thus, ceramic gas logs will give you heat instantly. Moreover, ceramic gas logs tend to last longer than cement gas logs. Therefore, you end up getting value for your investment if you purchase ceramic gas logs.
How to Choose the Right Gas Logs
Choosing the right gas logs can go a long way in helping you heat your home effectively and for a long time. The following are a few essential things that you should consider when choosing the right gas logs.
It would help if you chose between logs that use natural gas and those that burn propane. There is not much difference in performance between gas logs that burn natural gas and those that utilize propane. Therefore, what you choose may be determined by the kind of appliances you already have in your home.
Fire Control Options
Gas logs come with different ways of starting and controlling the fire. The most basic control option entails the use of a key valve. The key valve can be on the wall or floor but outside the fireplace. Gas logs that have this control option can be lit using a matchstick. The gas valve lets you control the intensity of the flame.
Some gas logs have a standing pilot for starting and controlling the fire. The manual safety pilot comprises a knob inside the fireplace. You can use the knob to switch the gas logs on and off and control the burning intensity.
The most advanced gas logs come with remote control. You can use the remote control to adjust either some or all the functions of your gas logs.
Gas logs come in various sizes. You need to select the right size of gas logs to enhance the internal look of your home. Remember that the aesthetic value of gas logs is as important as their heating capacity.
Therefore, please measure the size of your fireplace and get gas logs that match it.
Gas Log Safety Tips
Although gas logs are relatively safe sources of heat for your home, they, nevertheless, pose a degree of danger. The most common risk of using gas logs is fire outbreaks. However, it is possible to use your gas logs safely by following these tips.
- Install the necessary detectors and sensors. Oxygen Depletion Sensors and smoke detectors can help minimize the risk of fires. The ODS triggers your appliance to go off when the oxygen levels in the air decline. This prevents the production of poisonous carbon monoxide gas.
- Carry out routine maintenance procedures. Let a technician regularly check your fireplace to ensure that the gas logs are in excellent shape. This will prevent accidents.
- Evacuate the home if you smell gas or see that the color of the flame changes. Sudden changes in the color of the flame may indicate a severe problem. Also, when you smell gas, evacuate the house to prevent fire outbreaks.
- Keep the kids away from your gas logs. Do not let the kids operate your gas logs. The kids can easily mess up with the appliance and expose everyone to danger.
- Keep your chimney clean. Having a clean chimney always will minimize the amount of soot that is produced by your gas logs. The presence of soot and smoke can make your home very uncomfortable for anyone.
Why NOT Install Gas Logs on Your Own
There are several reasons why you should not install gas logs on your own. First, in many states, the law requires that only a certified technician installs gas logs and related heating appliances. Therefore, to comply with the law, let a certified technician do the job.
Second, installing gas logs and related heating equipment is a highly technical process. If any step of the installation process is not correctly completed, the consequences may be severe.
They may range from carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide gases leaking into your house to soot accumulating. Therefore, it is an excellent idea to let a technician complete the process for you.
Best Gas Logs For Existing Fireplace
1. Natural Glo Large Gas Fireplace Logs
If you are looking for versatile gas logs that you can use in all types of fireplaces, go for the Natural Glo Large Gas Fireplace Logs. These gas logs are designed to be placed in vented fireplaces, those that have direct venting, and even in electric fireplaces.
Thus, you can rely on them to effectively heat every part of your home, including the living room, porticos, and even verandahs.
The Natural Glo Large Gas Fireplace Logs are quite large. Their size, which is like that of normal logs, enables them to fit perfectly into any fireplace where you decide to use them. This real-life size reduces the chances of your fireplace getting damaged during installation.
These logs are made from ceramic. As you would expect, they last longer and warm up faster than cement gas logs. However, you will have to bear with the slightly strong smell that they produce when they are still new, and you start using them for the first time.
- They are life-size and fit perfectly in conventional fireplaces
- Great value for investment because they are long-lasting
- Ideal for use in all types of fireplaces
- The gas logs emit some fumes when still new for some time
2. RealFyre 18″ Coastal Driftwood Set
The RealFyre 18″ Coastal Driftwood Set is an exquisitely designed and hand-painted set of fireplace logs ideal for your woodburning fireplace at home. Because the gas logs are hand-painted, they appear so real that one would be forgiven for confusing them with actual logs.
Moreover, the gas logs produce a very realistic flame. If you adjust your modified fireplace settings appropriately, you can create an amazingly natural ambiance in your living room. Thus, this set of gas logs lives up to the belief that many people like gas logs because of their aesthetic value.
You will not regret using RealFyre 18″ Coastal Driftwood Set. The appliance can last for several years if you maintain it properly. Moreover, it starts to glow in a matter of seconds when you switch it on. It can be a great source of instant heat in your home during the winter.
The only downside of using this gas logs set is that you will have to separately buy the burner system. Nevertheless, this is not a big deal because it is the case with many other gas logs brands.
- It provides an exquisite and natural appearance because it is painted by hand
- Excellent flame height and effects
- Highly durable because it is made of ceramic
- The burner system is sold separately
3. RealFyre Split Oak Designer Plus Vented Gas Logs
The RealFyre Split Oak Designer Plus Vented Gas Logs is a premium appliance that you should consider using if you would like to balance between aesthetics and performance.
As you would expect, these refractory ceramic gas logs are painted by hand to resemble logs from a split oak tree. Therefore, they can blend perfectly with modern and contemporary interior décor styles.
The bottom log is 24 inches long, while the others are smaller. Your technician will lay the largest piece at the bottom and then arrange the smaller ones on the top. The bottom piece’s large size makes the entire set fit perfectly and sit comfortably in all types of fireplaces.
However, as is the case with all products, your RealFyre Split Oak Designer Plus Vented Gas Logs have some faults. The most notable drawback of using these gas logs is that there are only six pieces in a set.
Although the small number of pieces does not affect the appliance’s heating performance, it may be an issue if you are particular about how your fake logs should appear in the fireplace.
- They are large to fit any fireplace
- The fire logs are reinforced with steel for durability and a more stable look
- Perfect for indoor and outdoor fireplaces
- There are only six pieces in the set
4. Barton Ceramic Wood Gas Fireplace Log Set
The Barton Ceramic Wood Gas Fireplace Log Set comprises nine pieces of perfectly painted and designed fake logs of ceramic fibers.
The use of ceramic fibers enables the logs to last for quite a long time and produce heat instantly. Thus, using this log set helps you perfectly balance this appliance’s heating performance and aesthetic value.
The only significant drawback of using this set of gas logs relates to how they behave when exposed to very high temperatures. Although they tend to look more natural when they get scorch marks from intense heat, keeping your flame high for a long time causes them to darken quite fast.
- The nine pieces provide a fuller fireplace and great view even when arranged randomly
- It comes with a complimentary piece to make the fire more realistic
- Designed for use in various types of fireplaces
- The pieces turn dark fast when you keep the flame high for a long time
5. Duluth Forge Ventless Propane Gas Log Set
One of the most notable features of the Duluth Forge Ventless Propane Gas Log Set relates to its heating capacity. With a BTU rating of 33,000, this gas log set can effectively provide the warmth needed to keep everyone in a medium-sized room comfortable even during the winter.
Apart from its heating capacity, this set of gas logs has great aesthetic value. It is hand-painted to resemble real-life birch logs. You will enjoy using these gas logs in your home for the ambiance that they create.
You will have to rely on manual controls to operate this gas log set. Using manual controls is quite cumbersome. Given these gas logs’ excellent heating performance and exceptional aesthetic value, one would expect them to come with the remote control option.
- The gas log set fills the entire fireplace perfectly to enhance the appearance
- High heating capacity of up to 33,000 BTUs
- Designed for use in a vent free environment
- The gas logs do not have more advanced and convenient control options, including remote control
6. Goplus Ceramic Wood Gas Fireplace Log Set
One of the Goplus Ceramic Wood Gas Fireplace Log Set hallmarks is that you can use it to warm any part of the home, thanks to its versatility. This gas log set is built for your patio heater, electric fireplace, and even a fire pit if you want to warm an outdoor area.
It has excellent heating capacity because it produces about 33,000 BTUs when operating. Besides, the log set has a realistic look of real-life logs. The logs are large enough and ten in number; therefore, they fit perfectly in your fireplace.
To get a realistic appearance of the flame, you must keep the settings of these gas logs set high. This can be a concern if you would like the flames to look very realistic without increasing the appliance’s heating capacity.
- The gas logs provide heat instantly because they start to glow within seconds
- High heating capacity to complement their perfect real-life look
- They can be used in fire pits, patio heaters, electric fireplaces, and even ventless ethanol fireplaces
- You need to keep the settings high to get a realistic flame