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Gas Log Information, How Tos & FAQ

Looking for Gas Log Information? You've come to the right place. Check out our Gas Logs FAQ below for specific gas log information and how tos, or scroll down for more general info on gas fireplace logs. If you're looking for product information about individual gas log sets, take a look at our gas logs page.

If you need information about fireplaces, please see our fireplace information page.

Gas Logs FAQ

Best Gas Logs
How to Choose Gas Logs
Gas Log Reviews
Gas Log Installation
Gas Log Safety Tips
Gas Log Maintenance, Service & Repair

Why Gas Logs?

Gas fireplace logs have become increasingly popular in recent years for a variety of reasons. They offer a low-maintenance alternative to burning wood – there’s no chopping, hauling, smoke, ash, or sweeping up when you’re done. Gas logs are also very economical. Whether they burn propane or natural gas, they cost just pennies an hour to operate. Best of all, gas fireplace logs give you all the warmth and ambiance of a real wood fire, at the flick of a switch (or remote!).

Vented vs Vent-Free Gas Logs

Advantages of Vented Gas Logs – Vented gas fireplace logs provide a more realistic flame pattern than vent-free (ventless) gas logs, with higher flames that wrap around the logs like a real fire. This gives your fireplace more ambiance and charm. Vented gas logs require no carbon monoxide detector, unlike their vent-free counterparts.

Disadvantages of Vented Gas Logs – On the other hand, vented gas logs require you to have a vented fireplace, and to keep the flue open when using them. This means 85-90% of the heat that they produce goes right up the chimney. They also use slightly more gas than vent-free gas logs.

Advantages of Vent-Free (Ventless) Gas Logs – Ventless gas fireplace logs are a 99% efficient heating source. Although they should not be used to heat your entire home, they are a cost-effective and beautiful solution for heating a small room that your central heating system may not be reaching. Vent-free gas logs are much easier to install than vented logs, since they require no flue or damper. They use slightly less gas than vented gas logs. For an example of this sort of gas log product, check out the Empire Sassafras Gas Log Set.

Disadvantages of Vent-Free Gas Logs – What you gain in heating from vent-free logs, you give up somewhat in appearance. The flame from a set of vent-free logs will not be as yellow or as high as the flame from vented logs, and as such will not be as realistic. Since these gas logs are not vented, you will need to install a carbon monoxide detector to insure that CO levels do not become too high. You will also need to purchase an Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS) System, which will automatically shut off the gas if the oxygen level gets too low in the room. Vent-free gas logs also give off some water vapor as a byproduct of burning gas. If the air in your house is dry in the winter, this may be a positive thing, but if not, simply crack a window to avoid moisture buildup. These gas logs give off a smell similar to burning kerosene, which not everyone can tolerate. Finally, vent-free gas fireplace logs are illegal in California and some other municipalities, so check your local building codes before having a set installed.

Natural Gas vs Propane Gas Logs

Natural Gas Logs – If you live in an urban area, or you already have a natural gas line running into your home, then natural gas logs are probably the best for your fireplace. Natural gas is lighter than air, and when released into the air will naturally dissipate, making them somewhat safer than propane gas logs. Natural gas is much cheaper than propane, although it does not burn as hot. The cost of both natural gas and propane fluctuates, so check with your local providers for pricing information. Remember, to assess the heating value of a gas log set, check the BTU output of the burner for the type of gas that you choose.

Propane Gas Logs – If your house does not have a natural gas line, and there is no convenient way to have one installed, or if you already have propane heat, then propane gas logs are your best choice. Propane burns much hotter than natural gas due to its higher carbon content, but is more expensive as a result. On the down side, propane is heavier than air, which creates a safety risk since this gas can build up in pockets in the home. A safety pilot assembly is strongly recommended for propane gas log sets to minimize this risk.

Most of the time, this decision to go with natural gas or propane gas logs will be determined by the type of heating source that you currently have in your home.

Measuring your Fireplace for Gas Logs

Proper measurement of the fireplace is essential when buying gas logs. If the gas log set is too large, it may not fit, or may not burn properly. If it’s too small, well then it’s just going to look silly. Below is a step-by-step guide to finding the proper size for your new gas log set.

1) Measure the distance across the front of the opening to your fireplace.

2) If you are purchasing your gas logs with a safety pilot kit, subtract 8 inches from the front width of your fireplace. This distance is the largest gas log set that will fit in your fireplace.

3) If you are purchasing your gas logs with a millivolt pilot kit (remote-ready), subtract 12 inches from the front width of your fireplace. This distance is the largest gas log set that will fit in your fireplace.

Generally, you want your fireplace to be at least 15” deep for most sets of gas logs, the deeper the better.

Heating your Home with Vent-Free Gas Logs

Vent-Free gas logs can be a great way to heat a room in your house that is not being warmed sufficiently by your central heating system. Ventless gas logs are a 99% efficient heating source, whereas central heat is only 85% efficient. In addition, central heat cycles on and off frequently. This means that some rooms of the house will constantly be shifting from cold to hot and back to cold. Cycling on and off is inefficient, like running a car in stop-and-go traffic. On the other hand, vent-free gas logs warm up instantly, and provide a steady source of heat.

If your house has a room that is always cold, vent-free gas logs can warm that room without overheating the rest of the house. This will eliminate the tug-of-war over the thermostat, and allow you to heat only the rooms that you are using. You wouldn’t leave the lights on all over the house, would you? Then why leave the heat on in every room? Even better, if your electricity goes out and you have electric heat, your ventless gas logs will still provide you with a dependable heat source.

Vented gas logs do not offer this same capability, so if you want your gas log set to act as an extra heating source, make sure it’s vent-free.

Additional Resources

Shop For Gas Logs at
Gas Log .pdf file from the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Assoc. (HPBA)
Nice writeup on Epinions about gas logs