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Gas Log Basics for Beginners

Hearth and Home Experts in Greenville, SC Answer Your Gas Logs Questions 

What are BTUs? Which gas heating option is the most energy efficient? Can my old masonry fireplace be used for a fireplace insert? At Buchanan Fire and Outdoor in Greenville, SC, we hear a variety of questions every day about gas logs. We know it can be overwhelming when you start to look at updating or adding a fireplace to your home or office. Once you understand the gas logs in greenville sc basics of gas fireplaces and log options, you’ll be ready to make the right decision for your home.

The Basics of Fireplace and Gas Log Options 

There are many benefits to utilizing gas logs in your home.  Gas heating is an energy efficient and cost-effective option for most homes and businesses. Plus, there’s nothing better than relaxing by a crackling fire at the end of a long day. It’s no wonder that gas fireplaces and gas heating options are becoming more popular among homeowners today. If you’re considering adding or improving on your old fireplace, here are some basics you should know before you start your search.

Venting- When choosing the type of log or fireplace you want in your home, you’ll first need to understand venting options. There are two basic options for gas logs, vented logs and ventless logs.

  • Vented Logs- Vented logs create similar levels of carbon monoxide so you’ll need somewhere for those gases to escape. A fireplace that has been rated for burning wood is usually okay for vented logs, but it will need a working chimney or damper. Since an open space is needed for vented logs, they tend to be less efficient than ventless logs. However, vented logs create a much more natural look and feel.
  • Ventless Logs- Unlike vented logs, ventless logs create lower levels of carbon monoxide, so they don’t require venting. Make sure any ventless system you choose comes with an oxygen depletion sensor. These sensors detect levels of oxygen in the air and turn off gas lines if the oxygen starts to dip below safe levels. Since heat isn’t lost through the chimney, ventless logs burn heat more efficiently. They also create more heat and are more cost-effective.

Fireplace Inserts- If you’re looking to improve efficiency, choose an insert option. Fireplace inserts help stop cold air traveling through chimneys. Basically, a fireplace insert blocks drafts. Couple this option with a ventless gas log system and you’ll be heating your home for much lower costs. You’ll need a pre-existing fireplace and a few hours for installation. 

BTUs-When you are researching gas appliances, you’ll notice a BTU rating. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. In laymen’s terms, BTUs measure how much gas energy is needed to raise the temperature by one degree Fahrenheit. That’s a BTU. Ratings on gas appliances rate BTUs by the thousands and show you how efficiently your gas is creating heat. You’ll need to know how many square feet you are looking to heat to find the right BTU rate for your home. Typically, a 1,500 square foot home would need a BTU/hr rating of around 100,000.

Materials-  Gas logs come in two basic materials, refractory cement and ceramic.

Refractory Cement Logs- These logs offer a stunningly realistic look with intricate wood grains and a variety of wood look options. You can choose birch logs or split oak or a variety of other looks. They are less expensive to purchase but some brands aren’t as long-lasting as ceramic options. Higher temperatures and short, repetitive switching on and off can cause lower quality cement logs to crack.

Ceramic Logs- These logs are made from either ceramic fibers or ceramic bisque clay. While they don’t offer as natural a look as cement, ceramic logs take on a realistic glow after burning for a few minutes. Ceramic logs are more expensive initially but last longer and are less likely to crack. They also provide efficient heat over long periods of time.

Choosing the Right Logs for Your Home

Finding the right gas log or gas fireplace option for your home can be confusing. The experienced team at Buchanan Fire and Outdoor in Greenville, SC has the answers. Call us today at 864-834-5226. We offer a variety of gas fireplaces and logs to suit your needs. We’re always here to help you choose the best options for you and your family.

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