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Old 12-03-2010, 04:39 PM
 
1,414 posts, read 2,218,551 times
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Default Are gas logs warm without a blower?

I have heard that fireplace fires don't necessarily warm up a room because of the cold air that's let in via the flue. I haven't used my fireplace in several years because it's wood burning and dirty.

I have a regular fireplace with external venting, and now want to get gas logs. I will have to get a gas line run. I don't want to go to the added expense of installing a blower.

Would it be worth it? I want to really warm up the downstairs without the central heat. Any thoughts or advice? Are the logs more costly to run than a higher thermostat setting? I just hate the dry air generated by the central system. Plus the ambiance of a fire is so nice...

If I do this, it will be my Christmas present to myself
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Old 12-03-2010, 04:43 PM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
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To me, gas logs are the equivalent of taping a picture of a fire in a fireplace to your wall.. Stay with wood, it is so much better of an experience.

Without the blower, the theory is the glass gets hot and radiates into the room. With the blower, warmer air is blown into the room. Still neither does it for me. Nothing is even close to a real fire, crackling, the smell, I hate gas logs.
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Old 12-03-2010, 04:56 PM
 
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Wood burns dirty. And then you have to plan for the fire to die down before bedtime, so you lose the warmth of a full force fire. With gas, you just flick a switch and it's on or off. That's what I like about it. What I don't know is what the down sides are when you don't have a blower and also expense wise with the cost of gas.
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Old 12-03-2010, 05:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles View Post
To me, gas logs are the equivalent of taping a picture of a fire in a fireplace to your wall.. Stay with wood, it is so much better of an experience.

Without the blower, the theory is the glass gets hot and radiates into the room. With the blower, warmer air is blown into the room. Still neither does it for me. Nothing is even close to a real fire, crackling, the smell, I hate gas logs.
They are a little warmer than that but they will in no way heat a room. If the OP is looking for a real room warmer consider a Heatilator gas or wood fireplace or a gas/coal/wood stove.

Basically OP, you have to decide if you want to look at the pretty flames or if you want to generate heat. If it is the latter then gas logs alone will not do the job.
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Old 12-03-2010, 05:15 PM
 
Location: Inman Park (Atlanta, GA)
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I have gas logs without a blower. It will not warm a whole room but the convenience is great! I can certainly feel the heat 4 - 5 feet away.

The installer installed a double gas line. In other words, there is a line in the front and it bends around to the back. The flames look realistic like wood burning and there is a material that glows like cinders.
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
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Depends. Unvented gas logs are 100% efficient with no heat loss to the outside or anywhere else, but have issues with indoor air pollution and usually don't look like real fire. Vented gas logs, obviously, lose heat to the vent. If your gas logs are installed beneath an open chimney flue, then you'll probably have overall net heat loss. Vented gas logs installed inside a firebox with a glass front are better, but really need a fan to push warm around the firebox and into the room - otherwise all you get is just a little bit of radiant heat thru the glass.
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Old 12-03-2010, 07:39 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
961 posts, read 2,624,150 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles View Post
To me, gas logs are the equivalent of taping a picture of a fire in a fireplace to your wall.. Stay with wood, it is so much better of an experience.

Without the blower, the theory is the glass gets hot and radiates into the room. With the blower, warmer air is blown into the room. Still neither does it for me. Nothing is even close to a real fire, crackling, the smell, I hate gas logs.
The OP already discussed why s/he did not want to burn wood.

I don't understand the whole negativity of some people concerning gas fireplaces.

Last year I bought a new house. I opted for the gas fireplace ... one of those heatilator type fireplaces. My office mate went on and on about how her fireplace was a "real" fireplace ... brick mantle with wood burning fireplaces.

I think in the last year, she used her fireplace 1 time... the year before that she used it 3 times. I on the other hand use my gas fireplace 3 -4 times per week. I use it in lieu of using the furnace to heat the whole house when we spend most of our time in the kitchen/family room.

As the OP said, turn a switch it is on, and when you turn it off, it is off. Believe me, I thoroughly enjoy looking at the flames of my gas fireplace with the ceramic logs inserts. Even though the flame is more uniformed... it is still FIRE that is consuming oxygen so the flame dances and moves. It part of the lure of watching the fire.
True, real wood is fun to burn. I love outdoor campfires. But if I had to choose between a fire in a "rea"l fireplace once or twice a year or a cozy little fire in gas fireplace whenever I please... I think I would choose the one that gives me more bang for my buck.

And I know that the mess of wood burning fireplace and the upkeep of woodburning fireplaces will deter me from using as often as I do.
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Old 12-03-2010, 07:58 PM
 
Location: Apple Valley Calif
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The only way to get heat from your fireplace is to put in a fireplace insert. The fireplaces builders install are for looks only and heat at about 5-10% efficiency.
We removed the guts from our "For looks only" builder installed fireplace, and put in a high efficiency natural gas insert. It operated at 85% efficiency
The one we purchased is rated to heat 2000 sq foot home. They come in wood burning, pellet burning, or NG. We chose NG for cleanliness and ease of operation.
It has a remote, and when I get up in the morning, I push one button and the fire starts, heats the room up to the set temperature and shuts down until the room temp drops below the set temp. The blowers come on automatically once the FP heats up, and continue to run until the unit cools off. No ashes to shovel, no wood to carry, just one button..!
We rarely need to run the expensive forced air heaters now, it's cheaper to run, and much more comfortable heat.
There initial cost installed was in the $5K range, but it made all the difference in the world. I'd do it again in a minute...
You will NEVER get any measurable heat from a builder installed FP.
Fireplace Inserts | Gas Inserts, Wood Burning Inserts, Pellet Inserts (http://www.fireplacesnow.com/fireplaceinserts.htm - broken link)
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Old 12-03-2010, 08:15 PM
 
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Ok, just to be clear what we are talking about, are you talking about putting gas logs into your existing fireplace and NOT adding an insert. If you are doing that, yes, you will get heat from them like you would a wood burning fireplace (and the associated heat loss up the chimney). I have several friends that have done this in older homes and they actually look pretty real-without the noise and sparks.

If you are going to add an insert with glass covering the opening, etc., no, you will not get much heat (except right around the fireplace) without a blower.

We have a gas fireplace with a blower and I LOVE it. I do like the smell of a real wood fire but NOT the mess. In our first house we had a real wood fireplace. Hubby went to clean out the place where you dump the ashes and counted at least 20 years of ashes-you could could the ashes like you would rings on a tree but the unburned Christmas wrapping paper .
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Old 12-03-2010, 08:17 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
961 posts, read 2,624,150 times
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You know, Donn, when I was in the process of building my home we had this very discussion about builder's fireplaces. And you said the same thing back then. I was pretty bummed because I thought my idea of using the fp to spot heat that part of the house was not going to be feasible.

I have a heatilator. The model was rated to heat something like 800 sq feet. It heats my family room, kitchen nook and the kitchen very nicely. Now, about the efficiency.... it is very inefficient. I am not saving a lot if any money running the fireplace as much as I do.

But it is nice to use when the house is cool and I want to warm up. To me, it seems more economical to run the fireplace for 20 to 30 minutes to heat up the family room (and not increase heat in the unoccupied 2nd story or basement), than to turn up the thermostat and heat up the entire house 2 - 3 degrees.

It is my plan to replace my insert with one that is more efficient... along with my plans for poured concrete patio, whole house generator, finished basement, extensive landscaping.... etc etc. So much to do, so little money.
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