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Gas fireplace logs are sturdy synthetic devices that have the visual presentation of standard wood logs. Most commonly, gas logs are used in traditional fireplaces that have been outfitted with a gas insert and a connection to a utility gas line. The idea behind the logs is to provide the warmth and ease of a gas fire but retain some of the charm associated with wood logs burning in a traditional fireplace.
The use of gas fireplace inserts makes it possible to retain the architectural appeal of traditional fireplaces while taking advantage of a heating option that does not leave behind a great deal of ashes and soot. The insert, with its imitation logs, provides a way to distribute the flames created using the natural gas connection. The effect is a fire than can be easily adjusted at any time, and will not require frequent cleaning. In addition, gas fireplace logs last for quite some time, even with frequent use, which makes them very cost effective.
Like the bricks used in many conventional wall mounted gas heaters, the logs are made of materials that are fire resistant and hold up well for an extended period of time. They are often made of a combination of metals with synthetic agents that help to create the appearance of cut wood logs, but are able to stand up to the constant presence of flames from the gas jet. The logs are made available in both vented and vent-free models.
Vented types of gas fireplace logs have a yellow flame that is very similar to the look produced by burning wood in an open fireplace. They can be purchased in models that work well with natural gas connections or with the use of propane fuel. This makes them a good option for freestanding fireplaces made of metal as well as traditional brick and mortar fireplaces.
Vent-free gas fireplace logs produce a flame that is more blue than yellow, not unlike the flame found with many gas space heaters. One of the advantages of using vent-free logs is that they will produce less soot than the vented varieties. This translates into less effort to keep the fireplace clean.
Both types of logs have advantages as well as drawbacks. Many people have a distinct preference for one type of the other, based on the type of fireplace they use and the look they wish to achieve. Before purchasing either type, shoppers should investigate each option carefully and go with the type that is best for the fireplace where the logs will be used.
Gas logs are the logical choice for people with "traditional" fireplaces who want to be able to use them but don't want to keep firewood on hand. They are designed to radiate heat, making them great for emergencies -- those cold, winter days when there's a bunch of ice on the ground, the power is out and there is no estimate as to when it will be restored.