Adding a traditional wood-burning fireplace to your home can be challenging, especially if you live in an apartment or a state with heavy fire regulations. Luckily, gas log sets are a new alternative that allows you to mimic the look and feel of a traditional wood-burning fireplace without worrying about the side effects.
These appliances are reliable, safe, and beautiful to look at. The best thing about them is that you only need an existing hearth and a gas connection at home, and you are all set. There’s no need for any intrusive structural changes to your house!
However, with so many options available, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your home. In today’s guide, we’ll look at gas log sets, from what they do and how they work to the most popular models on the market. Overall, we will help you make an informed decision when buying one.
What Is a Gas Log Set?
A gas log set is a prefabricated fireplace you can install in your home without making big structural changes to its architecture. Besides having an easier installation process for already-existing homes, high-quality gas log sets are also more energy efficient than most wood-burning fireplaces.
These prefab fireplaces are designed to mimic the ambiance of wood-burning fireplaces, from the flames to the wood logs. They are called gas log sets because they include artificial wood logs. These provide that romantic wood-burning atmosphere without needing to use true logs. Not to mention, they are better for the environment and your health.
Benefits of Gas Log Sets
Although nothing will ever beat a wood-burning fireplace for traditional people, gas log sets provide a similar atmosphere. Plus, they offer superior energy efficiency and easier maintenance.
Here are the main benefits of choosing a gas log set for your home instead of traditional wood-burning fireplaces:
Gas log sets are designed to mimic the look and feel of traditional wood-burning fireplaces. So, if you are looking for the perfect combination of ambiance and power, there’s no better choice.
These appliances have better heat capacity than traditional fireplaces, but that’s not all! They are also better at preventing heat loss while directing the warmth to the areas that matter.
Wood-burning fireplaces are beautiful. However, they are also bad for the environment and your health. On the other hand, gas log sets provide a cleaner flame, helping reduce your carbon footprint while protecting your family’s and your health.
Gas log sets are safer to use than traditional wood-burning fireplaces. They have fewer fire risks and better safety features.
Installing traditional wood-burning fireplaces can be challenging, especially if you live in an area with heavy wood-burning regulations. On the other hand, gas logs require less paperwork and a cheaper installation.
What Comes in a Gas Log Set?
Every gas log set requires specific components to guarantee its functionality and safety. So, if you are looking for the perfect gas log set, you need to ensure it includes the following elements:
One gas valve
One steel grate
Prefab wood logs
Sand, fire glass, lava rocks, or vermiculite
The glowing embers (ventless gas logs)
A damper clamp
All the necessary assembly accessories
The pilot assembly
All of these components are important for the assembly process. Once you’ve ensured every part is included, you can start putting together your brand-new gas log set.
What’s Best: Sand, Fire Glass, Lava Rocks, or Vermiculite?
Gas logs require media to disperse the emissions and give your flames a more realistic look. They often use different options, depending on your preference and the type of gas log you choose. The right media will complement your gas log set while enhancing its looks, style, and safety features.
Here are the most popular media options for gas log sets:
Sand: Sand is the most popular and affordable media for gas logs. It works perfectly for dispersing any emissions of ventless or vented gas log sets without diminishing their power, realism, and elegance.
Fire Glass: Fire glass might not be the most popular option because of its price. However, it’s one of the most efficient ways to disperse emissions from burning natural or propane gas.
Lava Rocks: Lava rocks are another alternative for gas log set media. They are more elegant, but they are also more expensive than sand or fire glass. If you are looking for the most luxurious option for a modern or contemporary apartment, lava rocks are the way to go.
Vermiculite: Vermiculite is the best choice for gas logs because it offers excellent emission dispersion properties while remaining elegant and luxurious. This mineral is often used for liquid propane models because it creates a more even burn, providing a more realistic flame without damaging your log set.
Gas Log Set Types
Many gas log sets are available, and each one offers different advantages and benefits, depending on your needs and budget. Understanding the differences between the many gas log options is necessary to make the best buying decision.
Often, people will buy a gas log set only to discover it doesn’t work with their gas line or is too big to be installed in their existing fireplace. Read on to learn more about the different types!
Gas Log Sets by Ventilation System
The first question you need to ask yourself is whether you want a ventless or vented gas log set for your home. Understanding how a vented or ventless system works is essential before choosing the best option for your needs:
Vented gas log sets: A vented log set works similarly to a vented fireplace or stove. It requires a chimney to ventilate the residue from the burned gas. It is usually a built-in model you must attach to a pre-existing wood-burning fireplace to turn it into a gas fireplace.
Ventless gas log sets: They don’t require a chimney or ventilation system to work correctly. They are designed to create smokeless flames with 100% heat efficiency, meaning no gas is lost during burning. Therefore, there is no remaining gas after combustion.
Gas Log Sets by Design
Like fireplaces, you can choose between freestanding and built-in gas log sets. Each one provides characteristics and advantages that can benefit a particular type of home:
Freestanding gas log sets: The freestanding gas log set is the perfect option if you prefer a wood-burning stove’s cozy and traditional look. These sets are easy to assemble and have a good heat capacity and energy efficiency. However, they might be too classic for the most modern homes and apartments.
Built-in gas log sets: The built-in gas log set resembles a wood-burning fireplace the most. This option is perfect for people with an existing fireplace, chimney, and opening. That way, you can install the gas log to a gas line and have it ready in no time.
Gas Log Sets by Fuel
Although you know you are choosing a gas appliance, there is still a fueling question you need to answer. Are you going to use natural gas or Liquid Propane (LP)? These two options work differently and provide unique advantages for your home:
Natural gas logs: These models can be attached to your existing gas line, making them the more convenient choice for most homes. However, they require professional installation, maintenance, and the necessary permits.
Liquid Propane logs: Liquid propane is less convenient because it requires propane tanks to be delivered to your home every so often. Unlike natural gas, you’ll need to switch these tanks once emptied. Depending on how much you use your log set, liquid propane can be an expensive option.
Choosing the Best Gas Log Set Type for Your Needs
Now that you know more about gas log types and what they offer, you can choose the one that best fits your needs. Remember that each model provides different advantages for homes and users.
Here is a detailed breakdown of the different types to help you decide:
Vented Vs. Vent-Free
You first need to know that there are two types of gas log sets. Vented models require a chimney and other structural needs.
On the other hand, there are vent-free gas log sets, which don’t require ventilation. The vent-free models are the easiest and cheapest to install because they require no structural alterations in your home.
These are the advantages of vented gas log sets:
They provide a full natural flame appearance, perfect for people looking for that traditional wood-burning fireplace feel.
Unlike other gas fireplaces, vented gas logs have a superior flame height for a more natural display.
There isn’t a BTU number to limit vented gas log sets. This means they can reach higher temperatures consistently and safely, making them perfect for larger spaces.
You can rearrange the log set to get the perfect look for your fireplace, unlike ventless models, which don’t provide customization options.
Here are the advantages of vent-free or ventless gas logs:
Ventless gas logs have superior energy efficiency because they prevent the heat loss produced by the venting system.
Due to its greater energy efficiency, a ventless gas log introduces more heat to your home, warming up your space in less time.
The energy efficiency helps ventless gas logs consume less gas, making its usage more affordable for everyone.
Newer ventless gas logs are often equipped with Oxygen Depletion Sensors (ODS), which provide even better safety for your home and family. This feature turns off the gas if it determines oxygen has dropped dramatically.
Built-In vs. Freestanding
Once you’ve chosen your gas log type, whether vent-free or vented, you can select the best fit for your home. You have two options: a built-in gas log set or a freestanding model.
A built-in gas log set provides a more accurate representation of a traditional wood-burning fireplace. You add it to your home’s walls, and it is the perfect option to create that magical yet modern atmosphere most people want.
On the other hand, you could also choose a freestanding gas log set. A freestanding model mimics the look and feel of wood-burning stoves, making it ideal for more rustic homes.
Propane Vs. Natural Gas
There are two types of gas log fuel: liquid propane and natural gas. Each one has a different set of advantages and disadvantages for your home. When choosing the fuel for your gas log sets, you must consider operation cost, convenience, and durability.
Liquid propane contains higher levels of carbon, meaning it burns faster and three times hotter than natural gas. To have a liquid propane gas log, you’ll need to install a tank in your home, as there’s no other way to get this fuel. Since you’ll always need to buy and replace the fuel tanks, the operation costs can be higher.
On the other hand, natural gas is the most popular choice. It burns colder than propane but is more consistent and can be connected to existing gas lines in your home. Natural gas also protects your log set, helping it last for longer.
Understanding Gas Log Sizes
Unlike traditional fireplaces or stoves, gas logs aren’t tricky to size because the manufacturer determines the dimensions. This means you have fewer customization options, but there is better accuracy.
All you need to do to properly size your gas log set is check the dimensions of the space where you’ll install it. The bigger the room, the more powerful and large the gas log set needs to be. You should also consider verifying if the BTU will be enough for your space.
If you are still determining the gas log size you need, consider contacting the manufacturer or the official distributor in your area. At CAPO Building Specialties, we are always ready to help you with any questions about our products!
Understanding Burner Ignition Technology
Another aspect you should consider when buying a gas log set for your home is the type of burner technology. Choosing the right burner will depend on your budget and the kind of flame display you want for your gas log set.
Here are the most popular types of burners for gas log sets:
Radiant Burner Technology: It’s designed to burn radiantly or circularly. Due to this design, this burner provides the cleanest burn and the most efficiency for a gas log set.
Tube Burners: This burner provides the best burn for multi-layered log sets. It uses a tube to create flames on each log level, making it look more realistic without sacrificing efficiency and capacity.
Sand Pan Burners: These use sand on a single tube to create a cleaner burn, making them safer and more efficient than most options. They also create a uniform, constant flame with ember glows for maximum realism.
IPI or Intermittent Pilot Ignition: This uses different safety features to maintain a uniform and efficient performance, helping reduce your gas bills at the end of each month. Also, it includes safe ignition to keep your home and your family safe.
Standing Pilot Ignition: This burner is also known as Millivolt ignition and uses a push button to create a spark for the ignition. It allows the burner to create its ignition power without needing batteries or a power outlet connection.
Matchlight Ignition: This type of burner is available with and without a safety pilot, which can make the burner cheaper or more expensive. However, we recommend getting it with the safety pilot because it turns off the gas automatically if the flames go out.
Fireplace Log Brands: Hearth & Home Technologies Gas Logs
Although there are other gas log set manufacturers, few can match the quality and power of Hearth & Home Technologies. This company has many years of experience in the industry, innovating and revolutionizing fireplaces and anything related to warming up your home.
Hearth & Home Technologies is committed to safety, innovation, and providing all its customers with the best products. The company has created some of the most powerful and reliable gas log sets through this commitment to safety and innovation.
These are Hearth & Home Technologies’ most popular gas log sets:
The Fireside Grand Oak Log Set
If you have a big existing fireplace, there’s no better choice than the Fireside Grand Oak Log Set by Hearth & Home Technologies. This powerful fireplace gas log provides a beautiful display with big flames and a stylish design to mimic a traditional wood-burning fireplace. It includes an ultra-modern burner system that creates a multi-level fire.
The Fireside Grand Oak also has highly realistic wood logs for the best look. Its power, durability, and overall quality make it an excellent choice for most homes. These gas logs can even be used in outdoor fireplaces, thanks to their superior heat capacity.
Here’s what the Fireside Grand Oak offers:
11 realistic-looking logs that were molded from natural oak timber
A state-of-the-art burner with the most modern technology
Hidden controls that are easy to access.
Two different burner types: The Matchlight and the IntelliFire
The Fireside Supreme Oak Log Set
Another incredible and beautifully designed option by Hearth & Home Technologies is the Fireside Supreme Oak Log Set. It is a stunningly realistic gas log set that remains affordable without sacrificing quality or style. The concrete logs are molded from natural wood, producing a beautiful aesthetic and superior durability.
Few gas log sets can achieve the heat capacity and superior efficiency that the Fireside Supreme provides. For anyone looking for the best gas log set for their homes, this model by Hearth & Home Technologies is the real deal.
Here are some additional features and information you should consider:
Twelve realistic oak logs are included to help your fireplace mimic the look and feel of traditional wood-burning models.
There are three different sizes: 18", 24", and 30".
This model works with two types of burners: Matchlight with or without a safety pilot.
It has a see-through design that allows you to marvel at its realistic flames from any side.
The burner is not included.
The Fireside Realwood Log Set
Affordability and realistic flames shouldn't be mutually exclusive, and the Fireside Realwood by Hearth & Home Technologies proves it. Eight richly detailed wood logs provide the ideal setting for the most beautiful flame display. The outdoor option features a durable stainless-steel grate and burner to withstand the elements, no matter where you live.
The Fireside Realwood is, without a doubt, an option you should consider if you are looking for power and a beautiful design at a fair price.
Here you can find necessary information about the Fireside Realwood:
It comes in two sizes: 18" and 24".
You can use it with the Matchlight burner, with and without a safety pilot.
The burner is not included, but you can easily find it with CAPO Building Specialties.
The Campfire Log Set
The classic wood-burning look returns to popularity with the Campfire Log Set by Hearth & Home Technologies. Although it might not be the most affordable option, it is one of the most popular log sets, and for good reason. You can choose between three sizes and 10 or 11 highly realistic wood logs.
Superior safety features and reliable hidden controls are just some of the benefits of the Campfire Log Set. Additionally, you can use this beautiful log set with doors opened or closed without risking integrity or efficiency.
Here’s some additional info and features about the Campfire by HHT:
The front log conceals the controls without restricting access to them.
The 18" and 24" include ten wood logs, while the bigger size consists of 11 logs for a better display.
This log set includes the burner.
The Duzy Series Log Set
The Duzy Series is the ideal model for a radiant burner design. Outstanding realism combined with superior quality and flame technology make this gas log one of the most popular models on the market. This model includes eight wood logs made of high-quality ceramic with the most detailed contour for maximum realism.
This model uses Hearth & Home Technologies’ patented Natural Flame technology to capture the magic of traditional wood-burning fireplaces while maintaining the benefits of gas.
Here is some additional information about the Duzy Series by HHT:
This gas log reaches up to 5,000 BTU in radiant heat, perfect for small and medium open spaces or medium and large closed spaces.
It has been expertly engineered for the best possible heat efficiency.
Its safety features and hidden controls are some of the most reliable in the industry.
The burner is not included in the set.
FAQ: Gas Logs
By now, you should already have a good understanding of gas logs and their different properties. If you still have any questions, we’ll answer them here!
How Much Does a Gas Log Cost?
There are dozens of gas log sets available, from affordable to luxurious. However, most of them cost between $1,000 and $1,500.
You can find cheaper and more expensive options, depending on your preferences. Remember that the most costly models provide the latest flame technology, better realism, and reliable safety features.
How Long Do Gas Logs Last?
The lifespan of your log gas set depends on how much you use it and how well you maintain it. If you clean it constantly and don’t abuse its capacity, your gas log set can last up to ten or even more years.
However, if you don’t take care of it, your gas log set could start to show its age after three or five years of use.
What’s Cheaper, a Gas Log or a Heater?
In most cases, running a gas log is cheaper than using a heater because it has better heat efficiency. With less heat loss, there’s a more stable temperature without using more energy or fuel.
On the other hand, heaters depend on the cost of electricity, which tends to vary depending on where you live. Additionally, most heaters have no features to prevent heat loss, reducing their efficiency. This means they need more electricity and time to heat the same room.
Can You Leave Gas Logs On All Night?
Unlike electric appliances, log sets use gas. Therefore, leaving them on without supervision is never recommended. Even if you have a constant flow of natural or propane gas, there’s always a fire risk if the gas log remains on all night.
Some models come with a safety feature that turns off the gas supply when it detects problems with oxygen levels in the room. However, we recommend keeping your gas log on for three hours at most for safety reasons. It’s also worth installing a smoke, gas, and fire detector in your home.
How Much Gas Do Gas Logs Use?
This answer depends on how many BTUs your gas log has. For instance, standard gas fireplaces have 20,000 BTUs and use around 20 cubic feet of gas per hour.
Depending on the gas price in your region, it can be expensive or cheap to run one of these appliances for hours.
Can I Install a Gas Log Myself?
Gas log sets require professional installation because they must be attached to a gas connection. However, if you have experience working with gas lines, you can do the installation yourself.
Although there are fewer gas logs and fireplaces regulations, you still need to get the necessary permits before installing one. Therefore, we recommend checking with your local government before purchasing gas logs.
Should Flames Touch the Logs?
The flames in your gas log set should never touch the logs. If they do, it will create soot and other residues, which can eventually block the gas line.
We recommend always arranging your logs following the manufacturer’s guidelines to prevent this problem. You can find these guidelines in the owner's manual with every unit or contact the manufacturer for more information.
How to Maintain a Gas Log
As we mentioned before, gas logs require maintenance yearly or every two years, depending on how much you use them. How exactly can you maintain one of these appliances? Luckily, keeping your gas log cleaned and maintained is relatively easy.
Here’s what you have to do to maintain your gas log set properly:
The first step is to do a deep cleaning of the surface. Remove all dust and dirt accumulated around the logs. Do it carefully and thoroughly for better results.
After the surfaces are clean, you can focus on the mechanism itself. You must ensure the gas valve and other internal components are clean and working correctly. It’s essential if you’ve noticed a reduced strength on the flames and overall power.
If your gas log is a vented model, you must also thoroughly clean the chimney and venting system. By law, in most states, you undertake this cleaning project at least once a year.
We also recommend having your gas log set inspected every couple of years to ensure it works properly. The inspector will let you know if you should get your gas log set serviced for safety purposes or if it just needs better cleaning.
How to Install a Gas Log Set
Although we don’t recommend installing a log set yourself, you can do it if you have prior experience with gas lines and gas appliances. Here are the steps you need to take for a safe gas log set installation:
After reading the user’s manual, you can start installing your gas log set. As with all installations, we recommend having someone help you, especially when it's a heavy product like a gas log made of concrete.
The first step is to turn off the gas supply in your home. This step is crucial because it can help prevent gas leaks while keeping your home and family safe.
Now it’s time to connect the gas supply to the burner. You should do it using a flexible gas line and remember to attach the pilot kit if you choose to get one. You should install the pilot kit in between the supply and burner lines.
Arrange your burner following the guidelines provided by the manufacturer. Place the grate on top of the burner during this step. Remember that the flames should never touch the logs, or it can lead to eventual malfunctions.
Turn your gas on again and test your gas log set. You should check for leaks around the new appliance. It’s important to detect leaks before using the gas log set to help prevent fires.
Add the necessary media to your gas log. Depending on the model you bought, it might be sand, vermiculite, lava rocks, or fire glass. This step is necessary to disperse the gas and give your flames a realistic look you are looking for.
Now it is time to enjoy your brand-new gas log set!
Mistakes to Avoid with New Gas Log Sets
Now that you have your brand-new gas log set, there are some things you need to keep in mind for safety reasons. For instance, the correct arrangement of the logs is one of the essential parts of keeping your gas log set working correctly for a long time.
Here’s a list of things to avoid with your gas log set:
Never block the chimney flue damper. It’s important to allow the ventilation system to work properly to prevent gas leaks and other problems.
Avoid installing the gas log before cleaning every component of the fireplace. There cannot be soot in the firebox, damper, or chimney to allow good ventilation for the emissions.
Check the type of gas your home uses before buying a gas log set. If you have propane and your gas log requires natural gas, you can damage the mechanism by forcing it to use a different fuel.
Don’t install your ventless gas log near combustible materials. Vented models have better safety features and require less clearance. However, the ventless models have a higher risk of fires, and you will need to be more careful with them.
Avoid adding additional accessories to your gas log. For instance, avoid logs from other brands or lava granules because they can block the flame burners and create problems with internal combustion.
Always wait at least a minute before re-igniting the gas log after it has been extinguished. The mechanism needs time to move the emissions into the venting system before being ready to keep burning again.
Don’t add glass doors to ventless gas log sets. They burn too high and too fast and will shatter the glass eventually.
Ventless gas log sets shouldn’t be installed in fireplaces with cast-stone surround mantels. The high temperature and fast burn of your ventless gas log will crack the fireplace mantel in no time.
Avoid ventless gas logs if you or someone at home suffers from respiratory problems. All gas fireplaces and log sets emit a respiratory irritant known as nitrogen dioxide, which can harm some people.
Gas Log Sets vs. Traditional Wood-Burning Fireplaces
Although, for many people, nothing will ever beat the look and feel of traditional wood-burning fireplaces, gas log sets are still the best alternative. They provide an almost-realistic burning log display with flames and excellent energy efficiency.
Here are four reasons why gas log sets are a better choice for your needs:
Like with gas fireplaces and stoves, gas logs are better for the environment than traditional wood-burning fireplaces. Unlike burning real wood, gas log sets don’t release the same emissions into the atmosphere.
Gas logs burn cleaner and require less maintenance. There’s no need to worry about accumulated soot after every use. You can do maintenance every one or two years instead of every six months.
Using gas logs instead of a wood-burning fireplace is a safer option. Although there’s always a fire risk, it’s not as prominent as traditional wood fireplaces. They are some of the safest options for families with kids and pets.
Although operating costs are higher, gas log sets are more affordable in the long term. You won’t have to spend money on yearly chimney maintenance, deep cleaning, and wood chopping.
Gas Logs vs. Electric Logs
There are two types of log sets: electric and gas. Each of these sets offers different benefits and advantages, depending on your needs and budget.
Here’s how electric and gas log sets differ:
Although electric logs are safer and more affordable in some places, they don’t provide the look and feel of real flames. Log sets use real flames combined with high-quality burners for a more realistic experience.
If the cost of electricity in your city is too expensive, a gas log is the better option. Some models can operate using the least amount of gas per hour. Therefore, they can reduce the overall cost of operation.
Gas log sets are a better option if your home already has a gas line. The installation process is more straightforward because you only need to attach the gas line to the burner.
They have a higher heat capacity and are more efficient. One of these appliances can quickly warm up big open or closed spaces, making them the best option for big homes or hotel lobbies.
Find the Perfect Gas Log Set for Your Home with CAPO Building Specialties
Are you looking for high-quality and stylish gas log sets for your home? Look no further than CAPO Building Specialties!
We have some of the most reliable and popular gas log sets on the market from one of the most trusted gas logs suppliers: Hearth & Home Technologies. By only working with the best brands and manufacturers in the industry, we can ensure your complete satisfaction.
Check out our full Gas Log Set collection to find the right option for your home. Or visit our showrooms in California to learn more about our different home solutions and products. Our team of experts will be more than happy to help you find the best gas log for your needs!