Gas Log Fireplaces: Things You Should Know Before Buying One

On December 10, 2007 by Lauren

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The increasing popularity of gas logs led manufacturers to come up with several appliances that use this technology. One of these is the gas log fireplace, which you can mount to the wall of your home. But did you know that the residue from burning gas logs is not always ventilated outside? Before having a gas log fireplace installed, learn the difference between vent-free and vented units and their advantages or disadvantages.

Vented gas logs can replace wood logs in a traditional chimney. There are those that use natural or propane gas, and they burn with the damper open. Keep in mind though that this is not a solution for a chimney problem. If you’ve got a dirty or damaged chimney, using a gas log could still cause a chimney fire. Before burning gas logs on a traditional fireplace, make sure that your chimney gets professionally checked for any cracks and that any creosote buildup gets cleaned.

As for ventilation, direct venting is your best option. This system uses a two-layer pipe placed through the wall behind the fireplace unit, or above it. One pipe gets air from the outside to make the gas combustible, the other takes waste to the outside and effectively reduces the risk of carbon monoxide buildup inside the house.

Vent-free gas logs, on the other hand, come with their own Oxygen Depletion Sensor, which turns the gas off before the carbon monoxide levels in the room get dangerously high. They are designed to create a very hot flame that decreases the level of soot and carbon monoxide produced by other types of gas logs. Since vent-free gas logs create lots of heat, it’s very important to keep combustible materials far from the fireplace. While in use, make sure the fireplace doors are left open and leave a window slightly open to let fresh air into the room.

Whether or not you get a vented or vent-free gas log fireplace, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions before burning any fuel. Observe basic fireplace safety at all times to prevent any fireplace accidents.

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