gas log alternative hearth for vented and ventless fireplaces
If you own or have ever considered adding a fireplace to a home, you probably have considered a gas log solution. A natural wood burning fireplace can be alot of work. Sure, they smell great but it is difficult to control the heat and fuel -- fire wood -- is not always abundant. The gas log fireplace option includes pushing a button. Push a button and the flames are perfect every time. Control with a wall switch, a remote, thermostat or a simple push button in the fireplace but any way you do it — gas logs look awesome and they are safe and easy to operate!
The conflict for designers and builders has always been ventless or vented. Vented gas logs have always looked much more realistic but require all the same components of a wood burning fireplace — cutting a hole in the wall or the roof is never fun. What do we do with the second floor? The average price of a good quality vented gas log set doesn’t begin to pay for the process of making it real inside the home. The necessary safety features that allow ventless gas logs to be conveniently installed and safe have also hindered the effect of the flame. Until now.
If you have shopped gas log fireplaces, you already know the idea is great. Beautiful hand painted ceramic gas logs that ignite to a perfect flame every time need no defending. If the home is built with a vented hearth and gas lines, vented gas logs are an easy sell: a beautiful accent with the convenience of a button. Vented gas logs require a chimney and flue and all the same construction as a wood burning fireplace — plus a gas line.
gas log fireplace alternatives
For a homeowner without a gas line or a wood-burning fireplace already in place, the decision to add a fireplace is much more serious and ventless fireplaces become a very attractive alternative. Installing a ventless gas log fireplace is simple –a log set purchased today can be enjoyed this evening in a home without a fireplace.
Ventless gas logs are also very safe. Most people harbor a healthy respect for their gas grill and a ventless fireplace is much easier to use, much safer and the igniters are more reliable than your gas grill. Indoor safety features are effective and mostly invisible. Ventless gas fireplace burners come with oxygen depletion sensors, flame sensors and thermocouples that detect heat from the pilot and stop the gas flow if the pilot is no longer burning strongly. BTU’s are also limited to ensure all the gas is burnt and no residue lingers.
These safety features have contributed to the packaged and often unrealistic look of ventless gas logs. Logs must be stacked in a static position to limit contact with the gas flame. When gas flames contact solid objects, carbon is produced. Carbon is not good so the logs are designed to stack realistically while avoiding the flames. The lower BTU rating and static ceramic logs often combine to create a mere hint or a packaged look rather than a variable flame focal point in the home.
New technologies and better quality logs have recently combined to create a beautiful accent and a great looking fireplace but no one is ever fooled by the effect of gas logs. We still love the affect of the flame, the decorative hearth combined with the function of a gas heater and we love the convenience and simplicity of an on/off switch.
While there are customers who desire the convenience of gas while seeking the realistic look of a wood burning fireplace, more and more designers are recognizing the value of enjoying a fire-effect while pointing out the obvious unreality of traditional expectations. The effect of alternative fireplaces that are real fires without the traditional wood log aesthetic adds a contemporary look, even a post-modern smirk but has hitherto been outside the realm of ventless gas logs. Only recently have alternative gas log contemorary fireplace design options become available for ventless fireplaces.
Ventless gas log alternatives have leapt to the fore. Crushed colored glass fireplaces, geometric shapes, brightly colored logs, fire balls and fire rocks in a variety of colors are now available for ventless fireplaces! Gas log burners with a ribbon flame running along the firebox are becoming available more frequently with the addition of ethanol. The safety features and limited BTU technology that seemed to be impediments have become strengths as new progressive designs usurp the feigned realism of the traditional fireplace. The un-realistic limitation has become the goal for a multitude of colorful designs much more interesting than ceramic wood logs.
New ventless burners – with all the safety features – throw flames through the crushed glass or shapes to create the illusion of burning coupled with vibrant colors hitherto unknown in the world of fireplaces. Creatively combining fire glass with ceramic shapes or logs adds a variety of design as multitudinous as the individual homeowners. Valve options have grown to include multi-functional remotes, thermostats and timers. Accessories have developed alongside providing stainless steel works of art and clean ceramic lines and flat surfaces for the contemporary home.
The next time you are designing the social space and you are brilliant enough to recognize the value of a fireplace, look at alternative ventless gas logs for their distinctive colors and bold statement. Without building a chimney, creating a thousand pages of local code regulations and – most importantly – without sacrificing quality for convenience the fireplace can be more than an encrustation of the larger design and is capable of stopping the eye to become the focal point of the home.