Buying Gas Logs

A close-up of logs burning in a fireplace.

Natural gas logs are very popular, but it can be difficult to choose the correct ones because they come in many varieties to suit different situations and needs. Gas logs can be vented or unvented, propane or natural gas. Here's what you need to know about each option.

Vented or Unvented

A gas fireplace.

Vented logs are so called because, like wood, they create exhaust and require a flue. They must be installed in a fireplace capable of burning wood. Their flames look much more realistic than those of their unvented counterparts, but they produce very little heat because it escapes up the chimney. The upside of this is that the smell escapes with it. Just as wood logs do, vented gas logs require you to sweep the chimney.

Unvented logs use slightly less gas and don’t lose any heat up the chimney (or even require a chimney). They are much more difficult to install, though. In fact, you’ll need a professional for the installation. On top of that, these logs can deplete the oxygen in your house if burned for too long with the windows closed. Of course, opening the windows defeats the purpose.

Propane or Natural Gas

People sit at a fireplace.

Venting isn’t the only thing to consider; you have to decide whether to use propane or natural gas to power your logs. Propane burns hotter; natural gas is cheaper. If you don’t have natural gas, you’ll have to use propane unless there is a gas company in your area that will run a line to your house. Any leak is a dangerous leak, but the difference between natural gas and propane in that regard is that the former rises while the latter sinks.

Now that you know the different types of gas logs, you can decide which is the right option for you.