question about gas log installation

chckandcoSeptember 15, 2011

We are contemplating getting gas logs rather than continue with a wood burning fireplace. I am totally confused about the various rules that I am reading about installation of vented and vent free gas logs, as they make no sense at all. We presently have a Majestic Warm Majik 42" wood burning fireplace with a heat circulating fan. It has an outside air source a mechanical variable fixed position damper that cannot be closed down further than part way. It has a triple wall chimney flue that is classified as zero clearance. We also have a gas log lighter in place, with a key turn gas valve, so all gas lines are already run to the unit.There are glass doors in place.

In reading about vented gas logs, it seems the rule is that one has to totally disable the damper from being able to close at all. We may or may not want to keep the gas logs forever and do not want to harm our dampering abilities for the future, no do we want to allow air loss through the glass door cracks by having a damper that cannot close. Why in the world is this a rule since people who burn wood logs certainly generate as much heat a gas logs and are allowed to be sensible enough to open and close dampers each time a fire is burned???

Can anyone say whether, as very experienced DIYers, we can install these ourselves and be responsible for the use of our damper in the same manner as we have in our wood burning fireplace for 30+ years??? Since all gas lines and venting and all else is already in place, this seems like a no brainer. Also if anyone an state a compelling reason the permanently close a damper, how can this be done so it IS reversible with no harm whatsoever??

Thanks in advance!

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randy427

If you forget to open the damper when burning wood, the houseful of smoke will soon clue you in. With a gas log, there is no immediate warning. The numbers of resulting carbon monoxide poisonings have driven this rule.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 4:44PM
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chckandco

Does the outside air source in the fire box not totally preclude the possibility of that happening???

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 5:19PM
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ionized_gw

Are you sure the gas line is adequate? Fuel requirements for the starter must be a lot lower than for the logs.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 6:58PM
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zl700

"Does the outside air source in the fire box not totally preclude the possibility of that happening???"

Inlet air doesnt know you forgot to open flue. As Randy writes, smoke is the indicator flue is closed when wood is burning, no indicator for gas. To remove or lock flue open is the CYA of the manufacturer for you and future premise owners.

"Are you sure the gas line is adequate? Fuel requirements for the starter must be a lot lower than for the logs."

Gas log inserts range 35,000 to 45,000 BTU's easily taken care of by the existing 1/2" log lighters .

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 10:27AM
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randy427

The inlet air source is not the issue. It's the exhaust air, a much greater volume than the inlet air, and its combustion by-products that will dilute the free oxygen concentration of the room air, as well as cause carbon monoxide to concentrate in the bloodstream, preventing oxygen from being absorbed. Thus a short term issue - reduced oxygen levels in the room; and a longer term problem - your body can't immediately make complete use of higher oxygen levels when the air is cleared. The effects range from headaches to flu-like symptoms to brain damage to death.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 11:10AM
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