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Is It Time to Replace Your Old Fireplace with Gas Logs?

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One of the least expensive ways to convert an old masonry fireplace to a gas-operated appliance, gas log sets do not require any structural changes to your fireplace. Older wood-burning masonry fireplaces can be so inefficient as well as harmful to the environment due to the amount of pollution emitted by their fires. Gas logs offer heating efficiency that is both convenient and environmentally friendly. Using a set of gas logs as a supplemental heating appliance will save you money on your winter heating bills. At Magic Sweep, we are often asked about gas logs, and we would like to share with you some information from About Home about vented gas logs.

Gas Log Fireplace Conversion - Chesapeake VA - Magic Sweep

What exactly are gas logs?

Operated by either natural or propane gas, gas logs consist of burners concealed within artificial logs constructed from fired ceramic clay, molded ceramic fibers, or molded refractory cement. Designed to look as realistic as possible, gas logs provide you with the ambiance of a wood-burning fire without all of the chores involved when you burn wood. The yellow flame produced by vented gas logs may even trick people into thinking it is a wood-burning fire. When you are shopping for gas logs, you will discover there are two types: vented and vent free. Because of safety issues, Magic Sweep only sells and installs vented gas logs.

Can all old masonry fireplaces be converted to use vented gas logs?

Most traditional fireplaces can be easily converted for installation of a gas log set; however, there are some exceptions. If your chimney is damaged or has problems drawing enough air to burn wood, you will probably have to look into another venting option to be able to safely operate gas logs. If your chimney does not have these issues, Magic Sweep strongly recommends a professional cleaning by our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps to remove creosote before using your gas logs.

What are my other venting options if my chimney is damaged?

Magic Sweep can easily install a special venting pipe for your gas logs. You may want to consider direct venting, which involves installing a pipe with two layers directly above the set or through a hole in the wall behind the set. With this venting system, the outer layer of the pipe draws in outside air for combustion, and the inner layer draws out the toxic gases from combustion to the outdoors. This system greatly reduces any risk of carbon monoxide and other poisonous gases leaking inside your house from the combustion process.

Why are vent free gas logs considered to be unsafe?

With no way to directly vent toxic gases to the outside of your home, vent free gas logs run a greater risk of leaking carbon monoxide and other toxic gases into your house. While vent free gas logs do burn at a higher temperature for complete combustion, which lessens the production of carbon monoxide, and are equipped with an Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS), the operating instructions must be followed carefully and thoroughly by the homeowner. Additionally, vent free gas log sets are not legal in every area because of the possible dangers involved.

Interested in replacing your old fireplace with a gas log set? Get in touch with us at Magic Sweep to find out how we can help you with this conversion.