Why Use a Gas Log Set?
The modern appeal of convenience and affordability has drawn more people to convert their old wood fireplaces into a clean and efficient gas log set. The benefits are numerous and they can really offer some unique advantages but with all of the different types and options, it can be hard to know what log set is right for you - so let's take a look at the key differences between gas log sets.
The first thing to consider when choosing a gas log set is they enclosure or space you're planning to put your logs - is your firebox vented or unvented? How big is the enclosure? What type of gas is available to use? All of these questions will get answered, but let's take a look at that first one: vented or ventless - what's the difference?
Advantages of a Vented Gas Log Set
- Traditionally the industry standard - proper ventilation is required
- Most wood burning fireplaces already have venting in place
- Potentially larger flames and more realistic flame presence
- Similar heat output to wood burning fireplaces (some heat will be lost due to venting)
Advantages of a Vent Free Gas Log Set
- Must be installed in an approved ventless enclosure (can also be installed in a vented firebox)
- Potentially more heat output since no heat is lost due to venting
- Oxygen depletion sensors monitor oxygen levels in the room to ensure safety
- Some state & local codes do not allow vent-free units
Fireplace Enclosure Size
Choosing the right log set is also about ensuring the right fit within your firebox enclosure - use the image below as a reference on how to measure your firebox and match it with a log set that's been specified to fit that space.
- Measure the front and back widths, the depth, and the height of your enclosure
- Choose a log size based on the available enclosure space
- A wide range of gas logs are available from 16" up to 70" for some sets
- Be sure to account for clearance of the gas valve or added remote receiver box
Fuel Type Options
The two available gas types for log sets are natural gas and propane - most often, homes in town will be equipped with natural gas while homes located in more rural areas will have their appliances run on propane.
- Both Propane and Natural Gas are available
- Consider what gas type available to you and choose the corresponding log set
- Work with a local gas plumber to ensure gas line size and BTU requirements are met
- Natural gas tends to be more affordable than propane
Manual Match Light Assembly
The simplest and most straight forward ignition type, match light systems don't feature any sort of safety gas valve or pilot light - simply open the gas valve manually, and light the burner with a lighter. This type of system is basic, but without any moving parts it's always going to work so long as there's gas running through the line - and you can raise and lower the flame height for various flame levels.
Manual Safety Pilot Assembly
A step up from match light systems, gas log sets with a manual safety pilot assembly help simplify the ignition process. The pilot assembly gets mounted on/near the burner and you'll manually light the pilot - leaving the pilot to continuously run as a "standing" pilot. Then all that's left is manually opening the gas valve using the control knob and the pilot light ignites the flames - simple enough.
Remote Control Pilot Assembly
The most convenient ignition option for gas log sets are units that feature a remote control assembly to automate the ignition process. The more basic units simply feature an on/off remote control to simply control the ignition while the more advanced units can raise and lower flame heights or even electronically spark the pilot light so you can avoid running the pilot light continuously.
Other Key Considerations
These central configurations are key to the performance of your gas log set, beyond them several variations are available to ensure there's a viable option to suite your specific needs. Other factors to consider would be: ANSI certification, 2-sided "See-Thru" logs, reversible logs or contemporary fire glass sets.
Certain local codes or state zoning laws require higher safety certifications hence the ANSI designation. Many manufacturers make log sets directly intended for this purpose and carry the ANSI certification to ensure the high safety standards.
See-Thru Log Sets
More popular nowadays are contemporary 2-sided fireplaces, or "see-thru" units, that divide two rooms or provide a unique accent. Therefore, these 2-sided fireplaces need a special set of logs to accommodate the unique design.
Reversible Gas Log Sets
If you're like many of us who are indecisive or like to play with custom designs and appearances, reversible log sets may be just the ticket for your fireplace. These log sets feature a customized 2-sided appearance that can be flipped around for unique combinations for different looks.
Contemporary Fire Glass Sets
For the more modern approach, contemporary fire glass sets are available to lend a distinct appearance. These unique burner systems feature the same high quality flame presence but have a special design so as to accommodate the use of contemporary fire glass of any color.
Gas log sets are a great way to reinvigorate your existing fireplace and create a more convenient and affordable heating solution. The safety and reliability of a gas log set is matched only by the efficiency and convenience they offer, so be sure to find a unit that matches your preference and enjoy the many benefits of a superior gas log set.