LP gas logs have become very popular within the past decade. With their growth in popularity, consumers are asking may questions about these units and their use. While most individuals living in urban areas where natural gas is available will prefer models designed for this fuel as it is less expensive, rural homeowners will want the propane models.
Vented log sets are designed for fireplace use with the damper in an open position. Unvented sets work with the damper set in either position, but more heat is retained when it is closed. Unvented sets create a clean flame with the primary combustion byproducts of water and carbon dioxide.
Vented log units have been available for much longer than the ventless models. They continue to be most popular today and are available in models to fit almost any fireplace. Some units are only 12 inches in length while others are over five feet long. They can provide a realistic look and are available with fake firewood that mimics the look of birch, oak, hickory and other wood species.
Older models of vented units came with a price. They were the least efficient type of the sets available. They could consume up to 90,000 BTU per hour of propane, costing up to $1.75 per hour to operate. Newer models have been upgraded to use less gas and to provide more radiant heat to the home.
The vent free models have been growing steadily in popularity. Today, their sales volume is near that of the vented models. Modern engineering allows them to create the yellow flames associated with a real wood fire but provide a clean burn. This has made them even more popular.
Since the unit can operate with a closed damper, these sets are rated at an efficiency of greater than 95%. They are more economical than most vented sets and can provide the heat using less than half the gas of the unvented sets operating with a dirty flame. They are still able to provide the desired glowing embers and yellow flames, but are still not as realistic looking as the vented unit.
Use of vent free sets does raise some questions. In states such as California and Massachusetts, unvented gas appliances are not allowed. Individuals with respiratory problems or asthma sometimes find the decrease in oxygen levels and slight odors makes the room uncomfortable. However, all sets are equipped with oxygen sensors that stop operation when oxygen levels drop to a level no longer safe for humans.
Either type of set can be used to replace a wood fire and operated in areas that have burn bans due to atmospheric conditions. Unlike a wood fire, the unit can be extinguished quickly to control temperature. In addition, they can provide alternative heat sources during power outages without the use of electricity.
LP gas logs offer a great option for use in rural areas where natural gas is not available at the home. They are available in various models and styles. Operation of the vent free models provides greatest fuel economy. Improvements of vented models may allow the owner to have realistic flames with more efficiency.
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