Gas Fireplaces: All your burning questions answered - Bassemiers (2023)

If you search the web for the best gas fireplace, you will find three main options:

  • ventilated
  • Ventless (or without vent)
  • Direct vent

You don't have to be an expert to decide which style suits you best, but it's extremely important to understand the differences in fireplaces before you spend your hard-earned cash on the wrong product.

5 questions to ask yourself before you buy:

  • What is the purpose of this fireplace? Heat, decoration, efficiency, power outages?
  • How often will it be used and how many hours a day will it be on?
  • Do I currently have a fireplace that I am remodeling or upgrading?
  • How important is security?
  • What is my budget?

Okay, let's break down your options:

Vented gas fireplaces:

A vented gas log belongs in a fireplace that can burn wood. If you don't have a fireplace, don't worry. Installation is absolutely possible. Aerated logs are little more than handcrafted concrete logs. They are designed to mimic a wood fire when placed over a gas burner.

Profi– Aside from the crackle and smell of real wood, this is the closest thing to natural looking fire. Sounds great right?

Con– The bad side, it's not efficient. I mean not at all. If you have burned wood in your fireplace before expecting similar results. Nice and cozy in front of the fireplace or maybe the whole room depending on the design of the existing fireplace. But as soon as you walk down the hall, you start to freeze. You find yourself drawing large amounts of heat out of the house and sending it up the chimney. The heat you feel in the room is radiant heat, ie its warming objects, not air.

Let's answer these burning questions:

1. What is the purpose of aerated logs?

If you simply want a decorative addition to your living room, a vented gas fireplace would be a great choice. But if you're looking for decent heat distribution, pass it on.

2. How often is it used?

You can run a vented gas fireplace all day long without worrying about anything other than gas usage.

3. Do you currently have a fireplace installed?

If you are planning to remodel your wood stove, this style is a great choice. If not, the installation may require more work than expected.

4. How safe are aerated logs?

This type of gas fireplace is relatively safe if:

  • Your chimney system is checked annually
  • How often will it be used and how many hours a day will it be on?
  • Your gas run and installation has been performed by licensed professionals
  • You open the damper (the vent that controls the flow of air in the chimney)

5. What is your budget?

If you already have a fireplace and it's in good condition, upgrading to a vented gas fireplace can be as cost-effective as possible depending on how you light it up each time.

  • You could either turn a valve and light it with a match, which is the cheapest option
  • You could also use a remote control and push button, which usually results in a 25-50% price increase.
  • Your gas run and installation has been performed by licensed professionals
  • You open the damper (the vent that controls the flow of air in the chimney)

Pro tip: If your home uses propane heat, the fireplace must have a pilot ignition.

Ventless (Ventless)

Ventless gas fireplaces have been around for over 50 years. Since then they have evolved for the better.

What does "vent-free" even mean?

Essentially, it means there is no chimney. If you choose a ventless fireplace and your home has a chimney, your installer can seal it. If you don't have a chimney at all, this style is very inexpensive.

Ventless gas fireplaces operate at 99% efficiency, so heat is cheap.

But where do the fumes go?

Well, as the name suggests, no ventilation is required as the fumes are 'safe'. When used as intended, the device emits less than 3 parts per million (ppm) of carbon monoxide (CO). Up to 10 ppm is generally considered “safe”.

However, this number usually depends on which government agency you ask. However, there are always situations where this is not the case. For example, if the unit is not properly installed and has annual maintenance, when a log is moved and causes pressure changes (which is unlikely), complications can arise. For this reason, however, it is important that your installers are properly licensed.

Okay, what do I do if there is a problem?

When the device produces dangerous levels of CO, it is designed to shut down. At Bassemier's we require our customers to purchase a carbon monoxide alarm when they decide to install a ventless gas fireplace, just in case.

Disadvantages– If a ventless gas fireplace is not working properly, it can also produce soot that damages the home.

  • The fire is decent but not as good as vented.

So back to the burning questions:

1. What is the purpose of ventless logs?

If you ever need heat (and backup heat) during a power outage, this fireplace is a perfect choice.

2. How often is it used?

This is where it gets a little tricky. Most manufacturers do not recommend operating a ventless gas fireplace for more than a few hours a day.

Usually that's not a big problem as you'll be getting hot in 20 minutes and you're probably ready to turn it off.

We recommend installing a thermostat remote control.

Notable issues:

  • If you don't use it weekly, dust will settle and it will stink when you light it.
  • In autumn it is not uncommon for smoke detectors to go off the first time they are lit
  • You won't be able to enjoy this fireplace at large family gatherings because it produces so much heat.

3. Do you currently have a fireplace installed?

This is a good choice if you don't already have a fireplace installed.

4. How safe are logs without a deduction?

When it comes to gas fireplaces, ventless fireplaces technically pose the highest risk. However, with proper maintenance and precautions, these are still relatively safe.

5. What is my budget?

Similar to the vented gas fireplace, the ventless variant is very budget-friendly.

Pro Tip – It all depends on the nose! Find a friend who has a ventless fireplace and try "sniffing" around. When the fireplace is running normally, it produces an odor that some people can't smell and others can't stand. However, if you have a chimney, you can open it and vent the heat during the party to curb the strange smell. People either love or hate these fireplaces. So it would be wise to get some opinions from the others who live with you.

Direct Vent Fireplace: Saving the best for last.

Having a direct vent chimney means having your cake and eating it too. They're pretty, they're efficient, and here's the icing on the cake: they're the safest type of fireplace. If you don't have an existing fireplace, it can be a bit harder on the budget, but it still is in almost every case.

Why are fireplaces with a direct outlet so special?

It's all about closed combustion. Sealed combustion is "fancy talk" for "there's glass in front of the fire and pipes that move all the air".

Let's break it down even further:

A pipe gets outside air to burn and an exhaust pipe sends the fumes (and all that other bad stuff) out! But no worry. In most installations, you can't even see the plumbing. The only effect it has on the house is to warm it.

Are there any other "pros"?

Of course. It has the highest turn down ratio of any gas fireplace. Essentially, this means there is a “low” setting. On a low setting, the fire stays nice and delivers just the amount of heat you want. When the gas fireplace uses Green Smart, the fire can automatically grow and shrink depending on heating needs.

Let's go through the burning questions again:

1. What is the purpose?

Heat, emergency heat, decoration and efficiency! YES, YES, YES and YES.

2. How often is it used?

It does not matter! You can put it on a thermostat set at 70 and let it do its own thing! Turn it on once a year for Christmas, that's fine too.

3. Do you currently have a fireplace installed?

If you have or don't have a fireplace, this is an option for you.

4. How safe are direct draft fireplaces?

This is without question the safest type of gas fireplace.

5. What is your budget?

While direct vent fireplaces are usually a bit more expensive, you won't regret spending the extra money on something this amazing.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what type of gas fireplace is right for your home, but if you need help, you are more than welcome to do socontact us.

At Bassemier we live by this motto: "We'd rather sell you nothing than the wrong thing."


Why is my gas fireplace not burning properly? ›

A clogged or faulty burner can cause performance issues resulting in a low gas flame. In addition, carbon build-up, gas residue, and debris can inhibit the burner's ability to function correctly, leading to premature failure. If cleaning the burner doesn't solve the problem, it may need to be replaced.

Is it OK to run gas fireplace all day? ›

You can run a vented gas fireplace all day with little concern for anything other than gas usage.

Can I burn Duraflame logs in a gas fireplace? ›

Firelogs & Fireplaces. Can duraflame firelogs be burned in all types of fireplaces? Duraflame firelogs are Underwriter Laboratories (UL) Classified for use in zero-clearance manufactured metal fireplaces and are suitable for use in all types of traditional open-hearth wood-burning fireplaces.

Why is my pilot light on my gas fireplace but no flames? ›

If gas is coming out of the pilot, but it still won't light, the spark igniter could be the problem. Alleyne says to look for and clear out any debris between the igniter and thermocouple. 4. The pilot lighting, but not staying lit, indicates that the thermocouple is worn out, Worthen says.

What is the life expectancy of a gas fireplace? ›

How Long Can a Gas Fireplace Last? Generally speaking, you can get a good ten to fifteen years of use before you need to replace your gas fireplace.

Is it OK to leave the pilot light on in a gas fireplace? ›

The answer is yes in almost all cases. A gas fireplace pilot light produces a flame from a small trickle of gas and does almost nothing else. This small flame is not enough to pose a threat, and the trickle of gas is immediately burned up, so it doesn't hurt anything either.

What maintenance does a gas fireplace need? ›

The initial and foremost guideline of any gas fireplace system is to have it inspected every year. With professional chimney companies, you can usually have your annual chimney cleaning and gas inspection scheduled at the same time. Matter of fact, your whole system should be inspected annually, top to bottom.

How much does it cost to run a gas fireplace for one hour? ›

That means it will cost about $0.49 per hour to run your fireplace. If you run your fireplace for 8 hours a night, it will cost $4.41 a day. That can cost you $132 a month to run if you use the fireplace for 8 hours a day every single day.

Can you rinse off gas fireplace logs? ›

Cleaning Gas Logs

Use a damp rag or lint-free cloth to wipe off the soot, carbon, and dust from the logs, at least once per year. Be careful to avoid scratching the logs, or they will no longer be useable. Liquid gas log cleaners are also available at your local fireplace dealer and may make it easier to clean.

What goes under logs in gas fireplace? ›

Artificial burning embers are designed to be placed underneath the burner in your gas fireplace. They do a wonderful job imitating the look of the real wood fireplace. There are several types of glowing embers. Rock wool is the most common type.

Can you burn gas logs all night? ›

It's not safe to leave it on. Why Isn't It Safe? The biggest reason is that gas fireplaces can release deadly carbon monoxide gas, which is odourless and can go unnoticed until a person dies from carbon monoxide poisoning. It is best to not leave your fireplace on for more than three hours at a time.

What color should a gas fireplace pilot light be? ›

The color of the pilot light should be blue because that means that only natural gas—without any other condensates—is reaching the pilot light through the gas main. The principal chemical compound found in natural gas is methane, and methane burns blue.

Why won t my pilot light stay lit when I release the knob? ›

If you're able to light the pilot light, but it goes out when you release the control knob, the thermocouple probably needs replacing. The thermocouple is a safety device that shuts off gas flow if it senses the pilot light is out, but when damaged it loses its regulatory ability.

Does a gas fireplace take oxygen out of a room? ›

Burning gas can deplete the oxygen in your home you should crack open a window to replace the oxygen in your room. Keep your fireplace damper open to allow carbon monoxide to escape.

Which is better vented or ventless gas fireplace? ›

Ventless fireplaces are more energy efficient than vented fireplaces because no heat escapes up the flue, so you'll save money on gas utility bills. A vented gas fireplace uses more gas to create the same level of warmth because some of its heat escapes through the flue.

What color should the flame be on a ventless gas fireplace? ›

A healthy gas flame will burn steadily with a yellow or orange. If the flame is not yellow or orange it may be a sign that your gas fireplace needs adjusting or cleaning, which should be done by a qualified technician, such as those we have at Kozy Heat.

Do gas fireplaces need to be cleaned every year? ›

While gas fireplaces don't produce creosote, they do still need annual cleaning. Both propane and natural gas are clean burning gas fuels, so they don't produce the same byproducts as wood, but they can still produce buildup that needs to be cleaned away.

How much does a gas fireplace increase your bill? ›

A Gas fireplace might cost anywhere from $556 - $1,112* per year when being used for supplemental heating with natural gas. A Freestanding Gas Stove might cost anywhere from $1,016 - $2,031* per year when being used as a zone heaters with natural gas.

How often should you replace the logs in a gas fireplace? ›

Q: How long do gas logs last? A: In the average home, a well-maintained vented log set with ceramic logs will last 10 or more years. A well-maintained vent-free log set with ceramic logs can also last a long time, but, if heavily used, will begin to wear in 3-5 years.

Should I turn off the pilot light on my gas fireplace in the summer? ›

A little heat is produced when your pilot light is on so turning it off in summer can help reduce the heat inside your home. The less heat there is, the less you have to use your air conditioner needs to cool down the house. You can get savings and conserve energy if you turn off your pilot light.

How much does it cost to run the pilot light on a gas fireplace? ›

Monthly costs of running a pilot light range from $4.49/month (natural gas) to $11.34/month (propane). Pilot lights that run on propane are about 2 times more expensive to run than pilot lights running on natural gas (that's because natural gas is cheaper per produced BTU – British Thermal Unit).

Should you turn off gas fireplace when not in use? ›

We recommend that you turn off your gas fireplace pilot light seasonally. Turning off your gas fireplace's pilot light can save a substantial amount of energy and money. It is important to remember that not all gas fireplaces have “standing” pilot light, or, a pilot light that is “always on”.

Do you have to clean the chimney of a gas fireplace? ›

Even if you opt to clean the fireplace yourself, it's still a requirement to have an inspection—yearly, at the very least. Inspections of a gas fireplace don't take long to conduct and won't break the bank. Your chimney should be cleaned annually, as well, to clear away any debris and nesting materials from animals.

Can I clean my gas fireplace myself? ›

Bust the Dust: Dust your natural gas fireplace logs from top-to-bottom using a paintbrush or soft-bristled toothbrush. Next, wipe down the glass cover with a dry cloth and an alcohol-based fireplace cleaner (one that is not ammonia-based) for a spotless shine.

Do you have to clean the glass on a gas fireplace? ›

Regular cleaning of the glass will ensure that you're always aware of how your gas fireplace is performing. It will also keep things running beautifully for many long years. Old and new fireplaces can sometimes get a white-grey build up on the glass.

Is it cheaper to run a gas fireplace than a furnace? ›

Zone Heating with Gas Fireplaces

Operating a furnace for one hour at 75,000 -100,000 Btu cost a homeowner $1.12 - $1.49 based on last month's national average natural gas rate. By comparison, a natural gas fireplace running at 30,000 Btu per hour cost only 45 cents.

Is it cheaper to turn up the heat or to use a gas fireplace? ›

Usually it is more fuel efficient to have the fireplace on because it doesn't lose any heat traveling through ductwork, but that also means the heat is localized and won't warm the entirety of a large house. So if everyone is cozied up in one room it is often better to have the fireplace on.

Does installing a gas fireplace increase home value? ›

According to the National Association of Real Estate Appraisers, adding a fireplace to home can increase the resale value of the home by as much as 6-12 percent.

Can you use Windex on a gas fireplace? ›

DO NOT USE WINDEX or other glass cleaners – gas fireplace glass is special and so it needs a special cleaner. Stop by and pick up some Gas Fireplace Glass Cleaner (try saying that one five times fast). It's a cream-based cleaner that will help lift that white film without scratching or doing damage to the glass.

How often do gas logs need to be cleaned? ›

It is important to clean a gas fireplace monthly even when it is not being used heavily. This will prevent dust and dirt from harming the system and allows you to inspect for damage – potentially catching something that could, later down the road, become an issue.

Do you need to replace the sand in a gas fireplace? ›

Sand can last two to three years before it needs to be replaced or added again, depending on the usage and maintenance of your gas burner system.

What is ghosting in a gas fireplace? ›

Ghosting Flame: lack of combustion air. Wispy, transparent blue flames that lift off the burner and float through the firebox looking for oxygen. Fireplace will only run for a short time before it shuts itself down. Typically due to poor draft or flue gas recirculation.

How do you prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in a gas fireplace? ›

Having your gas fireplace inspected annually is the best protection against carbon monoxide poisoning. Regularly checking blowers, glass doors, pilot lights, and carbon monoxide detectors is also recommended.

What is the black stuff in my gas fireplace? ›

The most common causes of soot buildup in a gas fireplace are ceramic fire-logs that have been moved out of their proper position and burner ports that are clogged. If your firelogs have moved, then this can interfere with the path of the flames that work to ensure the clean burning of the gas.

Do you need to open a window when using a gas fireplace? ›

Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) build-up.

An open window can help to vent the gas, and this is especially important in newer homes that were likely built with airtight construction techniques.

Can gas fireplaces cause sinus problems? ›

Many people have reported physical symptoms from using unvented fireplaces in their homes, such as headaches, eye irritation, chest congestion and coughing spells. Ventless fireplaces may also aggravate existing respiratory issues, such as asthma, bronchitis, or allergies.

Can gas fireplaces start fires? ›

Yes, gas fireplaces can cause house fires. Gas fireplaces use a different venting system than wood-burning fireplaces. Wood fireplaces burn much higher temperatures than gas fireplaces, reaching 2,000 degrees. This high temperature can ignite combustible materials nearby.

Should gas fireplace flames be blue or orange? ›

Blue Flame Means Safe Burning

It is worth periodically inspecting any gas-burning device to check the color of its flame and make sure that it burns blue. This may not be the case for fireplaces, which are often treated with orange or yellow flames to have a more realistic look. There you have it!

Does yellow flame mean carbon monoxide? ›

A yellow flame indicates improper adjustment and a possibility of excessive carbon monoxide. Do not use the oven as a source of heat.

Why is the glass on my gas fireplace hot? ›

A direct vent gas fireplace or fireplace insert has a sealed piece of tempered or ceramic glass on the face of the fireplace. As a result of normal operation of these fireplace products, the glass front will become very hot. It is not unusual for the glass to reach sustained temperatures of over 475° Fahrenheit.

How do you fix a gas fireplace that won't stay lit? ›

When Should You Call a Professional? Problems with a gas fireplace continuing to go out are often the result of sensors that are faulty or dirty. In many cases, cleaning the pilot light, oxypilot, thermopile, or thermocouple can resolve the issue. It is often the case that these crucial parts do need to be replaced.

How do you clean a thermocouple on a gas fireplace? ›

To quickly clean your thermopile, turn off the gas supply. With the help of a stainless steel brush and fine-grit sandpaper, you can scrub off as much piled up soot as possible.

Should the pilot light be touching the thermocouple? ›

The pilot flame should touch the thermocouple at a specific level. If the flame is blue and weak, and barely reaches the thermocouple, it needs to be stronger. If it extends well above the thermocouple, it's too strong.

Can you manually light a pilot light on a gas fireplace? ›

Some gas fireplaces come with electronic ignition wall switches, which are easy to use. Just turn the On button, and the pilot should startup; if not, you will have to light the pilot manually.

How long do you hold the pilot light on a gas fireplace? ›

Push the igniter button once every second until it lights. Depending on how long it's been since the gas fireplace was last used, ignition may take multiple attempts. After the pilot lights, keep the pilot button held down about 15 to 30 seconds to warm up the thermocouple and ensure that the flame stays lit.

Can a gas fireplace get clogged? ›

Your gas fireplace or stove can get clogged by dust and other debris. The gas logs break down over time, and can crumble into pieces that block fireplace or stove vents. A water-damaged chimney will crumble and can send debris tumbling into your fireplace or stove.

Which gas fireplace produces the most heat? ›

Ventless gas fireplaces emit the highest amount of heat with 100% efficiency and are eco-friendly. They have the look and feel of a traditional fireplace, but don't require a chimney.

How much does it cost to run a gas fireplace for 8 hours? ›

Here's an example to help illustrate this, with a fireplace with a Btu rating of 30,000: (30,000 x 1.63) / 100,000 = 0.49. That means it will cost about $0.49 per hour to run your fireplace. If you run your fireplace for 8 hours a night, it will cost $4.41 a day.

What color should flames be in gas fireplace? ›

A healthy gas flame will burn steadily with a yellow or orange. If the flame is not yellow or orange it may be a sign that your gas fireplace needs adjusting or cleaning, which should be done by a qualified technician, such as those we have at Kozy Heat.

How often should a gas fireplace be cleaned? ›

Even though gas fireplaces do not burn wood or make smoke, cleaning a gas fireplace monthly is essential, even when it is not being used. Regular cleaning will prevent dust and dirt from harming mechanisms and allow you to inspect the system for damage.

Should damper be open or closed with gas logs? ›

One caution, though: Fireplaces with installed gas logs are required to have the damper open at all times. That's either because a pilot light is constantly burning under the logs or because the homeowner might forget to open the damper when he or she turns on the fire.

How do I increase the airflow in my fireplace? ›

How to Increase Draft in Your Chimney
  1. Start with a Hot, Fast Fire. Starting a cold wood stove with a hot, fast fire will get the draft going the quickest. ...
  2. Burn Extremely Low Moisture Wood. ...
  3. Improve Airflow Around the Fire. ...
  4. Warm the Chimney Flue. ...
  5. Provide Enough Air to Replace the Air That is Lost.
Mar 31, 2021

Do natural gas fireplace chimneys need to be cleaned? ›

While gas chimneys often don't need as much cleaning as their wood counterparts, it doesn't mean they don't need any cleaning at all. They are just as vulnerable to other chimney problems and it strongly behooves you to have them cleaned and inspected every year.

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