If you would enjoy the ambiance that your outdoor fireplace provides, but are tired of the maintenance a wood fireplace needs and would prefer to burn a cleaner energy source, then you should consider converting your wood fireplace to a gas log fireplace. This conversion is simple and affordable.
However, don’t think that all gas log fireplaces are alike, because you have many design options to choose from during the conversion process. Learn about three outdoor gas log fireplace design elements and what options you should consider for each.
1. Gas Valve Type
The gas valve you choose for your gas fireplace determines how you must light your fireplace in the future. The three gas valve types on the market today include:
• Manual valves. When your fireplace is equipped with this valve type, you must light a match and hold it near the gas valve as you open it. Once your fireplace is lit, you can then adjust the flame level as desired.
• Manual safety pilot valves. This valve type is equipped with a pilot light that stays lit at all times, similar to the pilot light on other gas-powered home appliances. When you would like to light your fireplace, you simply turn the valve and then continue turning it to adjust flame level.
•Millivolt safety pilot valves. These valves are similar to manual safety pilot valves, although they are typically controlled with a remote control or wall switch for added convenience.
While manual valves are very affordable, most homeowners prefer the convenience and added safety of valves equipped with pilot lights.
2. Burner Unit Style
Every gas log fireplace needs a burner. This burner is connected to your gas line and sits inside of your firebox where it directs gas into and around your gas logs.
Be sure to choose a burner designed for outdoor use. These burners are typically made from weather-resistant materials that will not rust when exposed to rain and outdoor humidity. In addition, choose a size that does not exceed the width and depth of your firebox; ideally, you should leave two to six inches of clearance between the edges of your burner unit and the sides of your firebox.
Finally, choose a burner style that complements the appearance of your gas logs, since these burners are available in a wide range of colors and designs.
3. Log Type
The focal point of your gas log fireplace will be your chosen gas logs. Gas log sets are available in several designs and materials, and both vented and ventless logs are available.
Vented gas logs produce larger flames, yet burn up to twice as much gas as ventless gas logs do during fireplace operation. However, much of the heat they produce enters the chimney and dissipates into the air above the fireplace.
Ventless, or vent-free logs, are not capable of producing the flames that vented logs can. However, these logs are much more fuel-efficient and a better option if you desire maximum fireplace heat production.
Vented logs can be used in vented fireplaces only. However, ventless logs can be installed in both ventless and vented fireplaces. You should be sure to keep the fireplace damper shut when using ventless logs in a vented fireplace so that the heat doesn’t dissipate up the chimney.
Both ventless and vented logs can be made from cement; ceramic; or refractory ceramic, which is a mixture of both materials. Cement logs resemble traditional wood logs more than other log types, but are prone to fading and cracking over time, so they need to be replaced every two to three years.
Ceramic logs are less prone to fading and cracking, so they need less frequent replacement. However, ceramic logs can produce a slight odor.
Refractory ceramic logs are more durable than logs made from ceramic or cement alone, and they also absorb and release more heat than other gas log options.
If you would like to convert your outdoor wood fireplace to a cleaner-burning gas log fireplace, then keep these three design options in mind as you make the change. Contact the fireplace experts at Alpine Fireplaces for expert gas log outdoor fireplace conversion today.