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Choosing gas logs doesn’t have to be difficult. There are a few simple considerations to take into account:
If your house is already hooked up for natural gas, then you want a burner that uses natural gas. If your house is not hooked up for natural gas, and there’s no easy way to hook it up, propane is the way to go.
The choice between vented or vent-free (ventless) gas logs is pretty simple. Vented gas logs have a higher flame that is more yellow, and that actually curls around the logs. However, these sets produce very little heat. On the other hand, vent-free gas logs produce a good deal of heat, but the flame is mostly blue and does not touch the logs, since these sets need to burn as cleanly as possible. So, if you want gas logs primarily for the look, go with vented gas logs. If you want them primarily for heat, go with vent-free.
Getting the sizing right is crucial, especially if you’re buying on the Internet. Check out our gas log information page for all the info you need to get this right the first time.
Although often overlooked, the gas log burner that comes with your gas log set is just as important as the look of the logs themselves. The burner produces all the characteristics of the flame - height, flicker pattern, color, and depth (1, 2, or 3 rows). The burner is particularly important for vented gas logs, which produce a taller, yellow, and more realistic flame when compared to vent-free gas logs. Also check the BTU output on vent-free burners to see how much heat they give off. The BTU output is unimportant on a vented burner, since almost all of that heat goes straight up the chimney. To make sure that you've got the right burner for your gas fireplace logs, it's best to buy the logs and burner as a complete set. If you need a replacement gas log burner, make sure to get the one that was made for your set of gas logs, as a burner that does not fit your set can ruin your logs, create soot, and possibly release carbon monoxide into your home.
There are three basic options for controlling the flame on your gas log set. The first is a manual on/off valve, which has a square key that you insert into the valve in order to turn on the gas. We don’t sell any of our sets with that option, though, because it’s possible to leave the gas on if you use this sort of valve, which could fill your home with gas.
The second control option is a manual safety pilot valve, which comes standard on all of our gas log sets. This is similar to the pilot valves seen on a furnace or a water heater. To light the pilot, simply turn the knob on the valve to “Pilot,” light the pilot, and hold the knob in for about 30 seconds until the pilot stays lit on its own. Once the pilot is lit, you can turn on your gas logs without having to light anything. In addition, when the pilot light is out, the valve automatically closes and no gas can pass through it. The safety pilot valve allows you to rest assured that no gas is escaping into your home.
The third control option is a millivolt safety pilot valve. This valve is similar in operation to the manual safety pilot, with an added bonus – it can be hooked up to a control device such as a wall switch, thermostat, or remote. If you’re looking for a remote, you can either get a simple on/off remote, or a model that allows you to adjust the flame height.
FastFireplaces.com sells both kinds of safety pilot valves on their own in our Gas Log Parts section.
There are a large variety of accessories for your gas logs, so I’ll just highlight a few of my favorites. Platinum Embers are a low-cost addition to your set that really makes it sparkle. They are significantly brighter than regular embers, and I like to mix both regular and Platinum for the most realistic look. For another touch of realism, add a Cracklin’ Log or Cracklin’ Pine Cone. These accessories not only look great, but actually recreate the popping, cracking sound of burning wood. I also like the wood chips that Peterson makes. Of course they go great with Peterson gas logs, but you can use them with any brand to complete the look of your logs.
Yes, we’re going to toot our own horn here, but we’ll make it quick. FastFireplaces.com has a broad selection of gas logs, a low price guarantee, fast shipping, and most importantly, real experts you can call that will help you every step of the way, including after you’ve received your gas logs. We never want to be undersold on price, ever, so if you find a lower price out there, don’t hesitate to tell us about it.