When making the switch from wood to gas, many homeowners are overwhelmed by the number of choices they have. Likewise, even customers with existing gas units often confuse what kind of gas appliance they have.
The two most commonly confused gas appliances are gas logs and gas inserts. While similar, these fireplace options have a number of distinct differences. These differences, as well as the pros and cons of these two heating appliances, are discussed below.
A gas log is a gas burner that is covered by “firewood” made of molded concrete, clay, or other ceramic, fireproof fibers. Gas logs most closely mimic the look and feel of a wood fireplace. Likewise, gas logs can be easily installed into an existing firebox, especially in homes where the masonry fireplace already has a gas line.
Gas logs can be used with both natural gas and propane and come in a variety of decorative styles. Homeowners can even choose the type of “wood” their gas logs are made of, such as oak, birch, or hickory. Gas logs are able to create a realistic flame due to the fact that they burn gas “dirty”. This leads to the yellow flames of a traditional wood fire. Some gas log models even come with glowing “embers” to further enhance the realistic look.
Gas logs require minimal maintenance and can be easily cleaned using soft cloths or a vacuum cleaner. Only cleaning products designed for use in fireplaces should be used. In addition, extreme care should be taken when cleaning the gas logs; moving or shifting the gas log may impact your fires and can even cause gas leakage.
Gas logs are relatively low cost to operate. Most gas logs consume between 50,000 to 90,000 BTU per hour of gas. This converts to between $0.60 and $1.50 per hour for natural gas and between $0.75 and $1.75 per hour for propane. Gas logs have the same efficiency as a wood burning fireplace; much of the heat they create is lost up the chimney rather than heating the room.
Gas inserts are closed-system combustion units that can be installed in an existing firebox or used as a free standing unit. Like gas logs, they are available in a variety of styles and sizes to fit any home and budget.
The closed-circuit combustion of a gas insert makes them much more energy efficient than wood burning fireplaces, as well as being more efficient than some other gas appliances. Because little to no heat is lost to outside air, gas inserts can operate with as much as 85% efficiency. In addition, they produce little to no air pollution. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, gas inserts produce 99% less particulate emission than wood burning fireplaces.
In addition to improving efficiency and reducing air pollution, gas inserts are better suited to being used as a primary heating appliance. Many gas inserts come equipped with built in blowers, allowing them to quickly warm an entire room or section of a house. Gas inserts are also extremely easy to use; many homeowners enjoy the fact that they can now start a fire with the touch of a button.
Whether you are interested in gas logs or gas inserts, the highly trained and knowledge sales staff at Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney can help you find the heating appliance that is right for your family. If you live in and around Littleton, CO contact us today to find out how a gas log or insert could benefit you!