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Choosing the Right Gas Log Set for Your Fireplace :  7 Questions to Help You Decide!

Choosing the Right Gas Log Set for Your Fireplace : 7 Questions to Help You Decide!


Where you are installing gas logs will determine the type of gas log set you can have.

Are you converting a wood-burning fireplace to gas?
A wood-burning fireplace is either:

  • A masonry fireplace - typically built from brick or stone 

  • A prefabricated/ zero clearance firebox - a metal box with imitation brick or porcelain liners. At first glance, you may think you're looking at a natural masonry fireplace. But, if you take a peek inside these fireboxes, you will most likely see a “knockout hole” on either side. This hole is a gas line access hole and is used to bring the gas line into the fireplace. If you are installing logs in a prefabricated or zero-clearance fireplace, check the owner’s manual to ensure you are installing gas logs that are compatible with the fireplace. If unsure, contact the manufacturer of the firebox. You will need your model information. You can typically find this stamped near the opening of the fireplace, or at the top behind the mesh screen (if you have one).
brick or stone masonry fireplace


Are you adding a set of gas logs to a vent free firebox? 

  • A vent free firebox is a metal box designed for vent free gas logs only

  • If you have a vent free firebox, you CANNOT install a set of vented gas logs. 

PRO TIP: If you are converting a fireplace that was used to burn real wood, consider having your chimney swept and inspected before installing a set a gas logs. 

PRO TIP: If your existing fireplace came with a set of gas logs, check to be sure you are able to change the logs. Some can and some cannot. When in doubt, contact the fireplace manufacturer and learn your options. 

For your safety, it is important to only install gas logs that work in your space. Failure to do so, could lead to catastrophic results. 


You have two choices. Natural gas and propane. This answer may seem simple, but it's a step we like to include. 

  • Convert to natural gas logs if you have natural gas coming into your home. 
  • Convert to propane gas logs if you have propane coming into your home. Some homes do not have gas. In these cases, homeowners typically install a propane tank and select propane gas logs. 


Vented gas logs are the choice when your goal is ambience.

They offer flames that flicker and dance on and around the logs, setting the mood for whatever you want to get into! Only install them inside of fireplaces that can fully vent to the outside.


Real Fyre Charred Oak Stack Vented Gas Logs


(Image Shown: Real Fyre Charred Oak Stack Vented Gas Logs


Vent-free (also called ventless and unvented) gas logs are an awesome source of supplemental heat.


Empire Birch Burncrete Refractory Log Set


(Image Shown: Empire Birch Burncrete Refractory Log Set with Vent-Free Slope Glaze Burner
The flames will burn lower than on a vented set. Because the flames do not touch the logs, they tend to look less realistic than vented gas logs. But for people who are looking for heat, the tradeoff is worth it because the heat they produce is incredible.
Vent-free gas logs are a great way to go if:
  • you have a fireplace that will not accept a vented set
  • you are heating the coldest room in the home
  • you want to burn it for hours in a day.
PRO TIP: They do like a little fresh air intake, so it's a good idea to crack a window and bring a little oxygen into the room. 

(Note: Where you live and the type of fireplace you are converting, may make the choice for you.)

For instance, if you have no venting options, then your only option would be vent free gas logs.

If you live in a state that does not allow vent free gas logs, then vented would be your only option. 

See Also: Choosing Between Vented and Vent Free Gas Logs


You have two basic valve options.

  • A valve that allows you to turn the unit off and your pilot remains lit.
  • A valve that turns your pilot completely off when you turn off the unit. 

People also ask if one is better than the other. The answer is not really. It's about preference.

  • If you are okay with leaving your pilot burning, then a valve with a standing pilot would be the way to go. The heat from the pilot will help reduce the instances of spider syndrome. Spider syndrome occurs when the units are turned off and spiders (or dust mites, stinkbugs, etc) crawl inside the jets and clog them, blocking the flow of gas and generating a service call.
  • If you have a fear of gas or concerns about children or animals getting inside of the fireplace, then you may want to go with a valve without a standing pilot. When you turn off the unit, the pilot light will go out. These units are usually the most expensive and generate more service calls. However, more and more manufacturers are trending toward this type if valve system.


Controls can be so confusing! Not to mention, remote controls will come with higher price tag. I can't tell you how many times customers will express shock when they see the price of the logs jump after selecting a remote control system. It's not just the remote in your hand that you're paying for. It's the entire valve and controls system that allows you to use a remote control.

Your primary choices are:

  • manual
  • on/off remote control
  • a remote control that allows you to adjust the height of the flame
  • a remote control that allows you to set the temperature.

When deciding, ask yourself these questions. 

  • Am I okay getting on my hands and knees every time I want to turn my gas logs on or off?
  • Do I want to use a remote control to turn it on and off?
  • Do I want a remote control that adjusts the height of my flames up and down?
  • Do I want the option of setting the temperature for my vent free gas logs?
  • If I don't purchase a remote now, do I want a unit that is upgradeable to a remote control in the future?

Manual Burner - cannot upgrade to a remote. You will operate your gas log set at the unit only. 

Millivolt Valve for Vented Gas Logs - You can attach two types of remote controls.

  • One that turns the unit on and off.
  • Or one that turns the unit on and off and adjusts the height of the flame up and down. 

Millivolt Valve for Vent Free Gas Logs - You can attach three types of remote controls.

  • One that turns the unit on and off.
  • One that turns the unit on and off and adjusts the height of the flame.
  • One that turns the unit on and off and allows you to set the temperature. 

Electronic Valve/ Intermittent Pilot Ignition for Vented Gas Logs - You can attach one type of remote control. One that turns the unit on and off. 


Your gas logs need room on all sides to allow proper air flow and to keep the gas valve from overheating. You will need need four measurements from the inside of your fireplace: the front width, the back width, the depth, and the opening height. To assist you, we created this helpful reference guide: How Do I Measure My Fireplace.


When shopping, you want to select a gas log set that is appropriate in design for your fireplace. For most fireplaces, this is going to be a single-sided fireplace, which has one opening in the front. 

Other fireplaces have openings on two or three sides. These are called see-thru, see-through, or multi-sided fireplaces, and are typically placed in the middle of two rooms. For instance, you may have a fireplace that has an opening that faces your dining room and the other side has an opening that faces your living room. When shopping, select see-through gas logs that are designed for multiple openings, such as here


(Image Shown: Real Fyre Split Oak Designer Plush See-Thru Vented Gas Logs

Check with your local building codes to ensure the logs you install meet your building requirements. If unsure, contact your city or municipality building department.

Still have questions? We’re here to help! We want you to enjoy your purchase. Reach out to an American Gas Works gas log expert via our online Chat, email us at or call us at 866.757.5344 to help you with your purchasing decisions!

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