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No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

Posted by Rebeccamom123 (My Page) on
Sun, Nov 17, 13 at 10:43

I've recently added new white built-ins surrounding my fireplace with a flat screen tv mounted above the mantel. Now, I'm terrified of using my traditional wood burning fireplace for an actual fire because I'm worried about soot and smoke damage to my white mantel and built ins.
I was in home depot for light bulbs the other day and saw these cool looking logs that burn gas to a real flame without the full surround of a traditional gas insert. They were called vented gas fireplace logs. I've read about water residue damage and monoxide nightmares from the vent- free version so I won't do that. I have a working flu/damper so the vented version should not be an issue. I do really like the idea of not having to install a whole chunky insert and instead keep the exposed brick visible in the sides and back of my fireplace.

Anyone with one of these doodads that that can share experience or pictures? What is the general opinion of these systems? I'm looking for a real fire look/ambiance with a much cleaner burn that can be controlled via knob or remote. Any heat provided is a bonus. When we used to burn real wood fires, I think we actually lost heat in the long-run having to keep the damper open for hours after the fire so any heat gain is a plus but I'm certainly not relying on this as a heat source.

Here is an example of the type of log insert I'm considering: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000E86B9W/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=U TF8&psc=1&smid=A2RD94HAYE44NQ


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

I have just the gas log setup. My fireplace was a wood burner when I moved in but already had the gas line installed so I just needed to have the log set installed. It sits on an iron grate just like wood logs would do. It's turned on/off and flame is controlled by a knob. I just have the metal "curtains" and no glass doors covering the opening.

I love mine and it's very realistic, although you don't get the crackling sound.


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

Yes, that's exactly the plan for mine. The grate with gas logs. My fireplace already has a gas line to it also which is ideal. Do they smell funny? Do you get any heat from them? And are yours vented through your flu? Do you have to keep the damper open when you turn the gas on?


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

I had gas logs in my last house.. and parents gifted me with a set of vented gas logs/fireplace when I moved into this house. We just discussed last night whether to go with the gas (in my case, I need to run a line) or stick with the wood fireplace. I don't think anything replaces the ambiance of a real wood fire-- but it comes at a cost-- not just soot and smoke but you also need to have a place to store wood and you need to purchase/chop. The flames are real on a gas fireplace and you do get *some* of the ambiance with *none* of the hassle. You also have the peace of mind that when you turn it off at night and go to bed, everything is off. There are no smouldering embers, no sparks. Soooo.. I've opted to go with the gas logs.

I will be putting them in the fireplace today (just to get the darn box out of the corner of the living room!) and hopefully getting the line installed before Christmas.


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

I have that set up, it was converted from wood burning by the previous owner. The damper has a clamp on it that keeps it partially open, although you can turn a knob to open it fully while running the flames.

There is heat if you are right in front of the fireplace, and the rooms seems somewhat warmer if we close the doors to the hall, but it will not provide the same heat as other systems with wood burning or heat blowers.

There is no smell & no heat above where the tv is. The pilot always stays on & makes a very minor burning noise if the room is silent.

We have the metal curtain/no glass cover.


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

You do need to keep the damper open while a fire is burning. I do notice additional heat from the fire but have never noticed any odor.


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

We use gas logs in a converted wood fireplace. Love them. They were not cheap. I think $800 for the whole set up.


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

You could also consider a gas insert which would provide an excellent heat source (if needed) along with the same "look." Not cheap, expect 3-5 K.


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

I'm liking the $800 versus 5K. dgmarie, that is a gorgeous fire and looks SO real! That is exactly the look I'm trying to create. I think for me the vented logs are going to be the way to go. While it would be nice to get the heat from it as well, I'm not ready to make a 5K investment. We can always make that switch in a few years. I assume it's easy to swap out.


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

We converted our wood burning fireplace to gas logs & love them. You can pick different setups of logs, embers, pinecones, etc. No odor, some heat. My biggest issue is remembering to close the damper when not in use.


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

Great to hear. I think I'm going to place my order tomorrow. The version I am planning to get has a match light ignition/pilot. It looks like it's almost the cost of the logs to get the remote starter. Is it really worth the xtra $300 for that? When it's just my family I don't care if I have to light the match, and when company comes over I'll likely start up the fire before guests arrive, anyway.

http://www.gaslogguys.com/item_name_Grand-Mountain-Alpine-Flame-Vented-Set_path_10508-2164_item_2877112.html


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

We have a gas insert (converted from wood burning) but having a heat source was a deciding factor (and boy does it work great!). The insert was $3,600 plus we had to hire an electrician to add an outlet so it was not cheap.

I like the no hassle advantage of gas logs so I say go for it. It really adds a cozy feel (ambiance) to a room!


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

Our wood burning fireplace has been changed three times...First wood burning, then gas logs and then electric. Wood burning is really best for heat and ambiance. But ashes to empty and smoke/ ambers to worry about. Then gas.....it was okay but not as much heat and we found our gas bill was out of this world. We now have an electric insert....not as much heat but have the ambiance and cleanliness of a nice fireplace.


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

Grandmaof3 brings up a good point.........you'll need to consider the cost of gas in your area, then decide just how much you're saving by converting.
I have 2 gas fireplaces and enjoy both of them......but they do eat thru the gas.

If you decided to keep the fireplace as wood burning, I wouldn't worry about smoke damage/soot on your TV or mantle. DS has a fireplace similar to yours, uses firewood, and there has never been signs of soot, etc. on the TV, white trim or mantle.


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

Wow I am floored it cost some thousands for the conversion. We had a gas line already in the wood burning fireplace as a gas starter. We went with Rasmussen gas logs from the fireplace store. It puts out plenty of heat but like any standard fireplace it isn't meant to warm the house.


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

Remote vs. match light.....yes, totally worth it. We have three fireplaces--- one was originally gas (LR) and one wood (library) and one we put in downstairs under the movie screen. We converted the wood fp to gas-- so much easier, and remotes make them easy to use. Ours actually provide a lot of heat and are our backup source is the power fails. You can also get a remote that turns the fire on and off By itself on a timer, or on a thermostat built into the remote. It's a bit like Harry Potter, lol.


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

we have had regular wood fire places--not efficient! we have had wood burning inserts--awesome--you could be in your bikini in January! but you still have to deal with cutting wood and storing -etc. We have had gas logs--easier than wood but again only 60-70% efficient. 2 years ago we put in a gas insert--85% efficient-like a "mini heater" it's awesome-we use it all the time. Not as cheap as the gas logs--I think this ran 3-4K--but so worth every penny!


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

Having had a 230 year old colonial with 8 fireplaces (5 that had gas) I can say the one we used most was wood burning. I just like the smell and sound you get with wood, but I know I'm in the minority as most people like convenience over everything else!


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

Converted three fireplaces to gas logs in my old house. Went with three wood burning ones in this house. There are always plenty of trees to cut up here in the woods, and, no matter how "authentic" they look, gas logs just don't create the same atmosphere as the real thing.


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

No question that nothing will beat a real wood fire. I used to love coming home and smelling that woody air even before entering the house. But my main purpose is to avoid the soot and smoke in the house, and prevent damage to all new white cabinetry (fireplaced family room is open off kitchen) and damage to my new white built ins. While I don't mind wood storage and sending kids out to the side of the shed to bring wood in (kind of a nostalgic chore from simpler days) but I'm willing to sacrifice that experience, crackle and smell for a clean, easy burn with *almost* the same ambiance.

I might be sorry I didn't do the full insert to create a real heat source but the cost is prohibitive right now, with everything we just spend on all the other stuff. And I like that I can keep my original brick interior of my fireplace exposed with the grate/gas log set up.


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

Open fireplaces, without the inserts, give radiant heat right in front of the fireplace, but the draft needed for proper combustion actually sucks more heat out of the room than you are gaining from it's radiation. A fireplace is an expensive to operate decorative room feature that increases your heating costs. As long as you are aware of the added operating costs of both it's gas consumption and the additional load on your furnace, "just" do the gas log conversion. If you want something efficient that will aid in heating the home, then you need an insert, with it's higher price. You pay more up front, or you pay more every time you use it. It's your choice.

Wood fireplaces are even worse, energy efficiency wise. They add even more air pollution into the mix.

Here is a link that might be useful: Indoor Air Quality


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

Rebeccamom,

Have you tried Dura Flame logs? They give a nice ambience w/o the smoke smell.


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

Yep, tried the duraflame thing but the problem is you can only burn one at a time so you never really get a full fire.

I went ahead and ordered the one in the photo - they gave me a great bundle deal under $500 including the remote control starter. Installation will take under an hour versus about 4-5 hours with the full insert. At a steep hourly rate, that can be a cost consideration too:
http://www.gaslogguys.com/item_name_Grand-Mountain-Alpine-Flame-Vented-Set_path_10508_item_2877112.html

It should arrive within days and we'll hopefully have a beautiful, CLEAN fire going for our thanksgiving meal.


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

I love this thread and have wanted to put gas logs in my FP for years. I have a gas line in there already, but the FP has some kind of recirculating fan around the firebox. We never used it the few times we had a wood fire in the FP but will that be a problem with gas logs?

Did those of you who have the vented gas logs, not the insert, install it yourself or have it done?

Another problem with our FP is that it is on the north side of the house and when the wind blew, it blew smoke smell throughout the house. That's why we only used the FP a couple of times after we moved here. But even after cleaning out the FP (and I scrubbed it well), every time a neighbor north of us had a fire in their FP, the smell came in through our FP. And that was with the damper closed. We finally stuffed some insulation in the top of the fireplace and taped it off. End of smell and cold breezes in the winter.

But my worry is that if we uncork the FP so the gas logs can use the flue, that we will be back to having cold breezes and smoke blowing through when the wind blows.


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

That is a really nice set Rebbecamom. I think your concern was wixe because, from the photos, it looks like the cabinets projecting at the side of the fireplace may cross the zone where you shouldn't have combustibles with a wood fire.

At least for our wood burning fireplace, the installation instructions say there should be no combustibles in front of a line that goes out from the side of the firebox at 45 degrees for 24" on each side of the fireplace up to some height above the fireplace. I don't know how universal that requirement is, so perhaps your set up would have been okay with your fireplace.

We put in a wood burning fireplace for the family room that is sealed so there is no issue with embers or sparks. It heats the family room really well and provides the look of real flames, but one can't hear the crackling of the fire. Also, we don't feel comfortable running it when our little grandchildren are visiting because the glass gets really hot - if we were going to run it with small children around, we would probably want to put a protective fence of some sort around it which would not help ambiance. It uses external air intake which can be adjusted to control how hot the fire burns and to damp down the rate of burn. It is nice to not have to worry about leaving the fire going when we go to bed.

For the living room fireplace, we are considering putting in a gas log set - we have never used that fireplace and have no need of running it for heat, but it would be nice to turn it on occasionally for looks when using the room. We don't need two heating fireplaces and I don't want to deal with wood in the living room.


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RE: No love from fireplace forum - gas insert, anyone?

I guess this post was timely! We're all thinking about a long winter ahead, hibernating in our homes by the fire ;) I'm already looking forward to curling up with a book on my leather sectional in front of the fire. I even got a Yankee Candle scented "Hearth" which smells just like my wood burning fires did to add to the experience.

Cloud - you bring up a really good point about clearance code. That thought never even occurred to me when I had the built-ins installed. Yes indeed, one more reason why I'm glad with my decision. My set is scheduled to arrive Wednesday - for installation this Friday. I'll let you all know how it goes!


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