Almost everyone loves the sound of the crackle and pop of a wood burning fire in the fireplace but due to new environmental regulations in some areas,  fireplace lovers are in search of realistic looking gas logs to take the place of the wood they have always burned.

Gas logs provide ambiance without the maintenance  and hassle associated with burning real wood.  No messy ashes to clean up, no wood to chop, and more heat in your room are some of the benefits to enjoy when you switch from real wood to gas logs.

When you’re shopping for gas logs, you’ll need to choose between vented or vent free. There are several factors to consider including  looks, efficiency, local building codes, and fireplace placement.

Vented logs look similar to a real wood burning fire.  These logs require an open chimney flue or damper.  They look great but some of the heat they generate can go up the chimney.

Vent free logs can be burned with a closed chimney flue.  They do not give the same realistic appearance of a roaring fire that vented logs have, but the heat they generate stays in your home instead of going up the chimney.  These type logs are not to be used in bedrooms, bathrooms, or recreational vehicles and must be installed in areas where curtains, clothing, or furniture are at least 3 feet away from the fireplace.  Vent -free logs are not recommended for drafty or high-traffic areas.

Be sure to check with your local and state codes before installing a vented or vent free gas logs system.  In some areas vent free log systems are not permitted.

Types of Fireplace Gas Logs

There are two types of gas logs:  Liquid Propane (LP) and Natural Gas.  LP gas burns about three times hotter than natural gas since it contains more carbon.  If you choose this type, you will need to have a LP gas tank installed at your home and find a dealer to have the gas tank filled.

Natural gas does not burn as hot as LP but it costs less.  These type logs must be hard-piped to an appliance from buried gas service lines.  If you home already has a natural gas water heater, clothes dryer, or oven, you are already set up for natural gas logs.  If natural gas is not available in the area where you live, you will need to choose LP logs.

Remember these safety tips for operating your fireplace:

-Dispose of all ashes from a wood-burning fire in a metal container

-Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home

-Never use gasoline or charcoal lighter fluid to start a fire

-Keep flammable objects at least 3 feet from the fireplace and keep a fire extinguisher handy.