Fire Logs vs Wood | Comparing Manufactured Logs vs Real Wood

As heat costs continue to rise across the USA, many Americans are looking for new options to heat their homes.

For many Americans, cordwood has long been their primary or secondary heat sources. While cordwood heat is as old as our country, there might be another option these homeowners would appreciate.

While 100% of Wood FireLogs are not new, most Americans are still unaware of them. When you ask most Americans about ‘fireplace logs’ they think of the waxed logs that are used to create an “atmosphere”. These waxed logs have been marketed very successfully, but they are not intended to provide heat.

Fake” Gas Fire Logs vs Wood

Gas log fireplaces are safer, cleaner and more energy efficient than traditional wood-burning fireplaces. With the push of a button you can turn your fireplace on – or off. No more wood to chop, messy soot to clean up, or worries about a chimney fire. If fact, with a vent-free natural gas fireplace you don’t even need a chimney!

Gas fireplaces replicate the look and feel of wood fireplaces. These fireplaces are easy to operate, as they are activated by a wall switch or remote control. Gas fireplaces have health benefits over their wood-burning counterparts, as well. Wood stored inside a home can lead to the growth of mold spores—gas fireplaces completely eliminate this significant health risk. Gas fireplaces also produce cleaner flames, leading to less air pollution.

Today’s gas fireplaces have the look of traditional fireplaces. Fireplaces are available in a wide variety of styles, including traditional masonry and more contemporary looks.

Most gas fireplaces are also equipped with a real or faux wood mantle. These come in cherry, oak, pine, white, and a host of other colors. Some come with a surrounding frame in which tiles can be placed. The tile does not have to be grouted or permanently affixed, so it can be easily changed if your décor changes.

Gas fireplaces are available as inserts or as free-standing units. Prices range from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

They can be portable units that can be moved from room to room, or they can be large units that must be installed.

They can be purely decorative or they can provide heat. As you can see, there are many options available in today’s gas fireplace market. No matter what your budget is, no matter what your style is—if you desire a gas fireplace, there is probably one available that will suit your needs.

Get ready to enjoy the warmth and comfort without the mess, hassle or dangers of a wood-burning fireplace. Here’s the information about gas fireplaces you need to get started:

Gas Fireplace Inserts

fireplace logs

The gas fireplace insert is the solution for old wood-burning fireplaces. We all know that classic wood-burning fireplaces loose a lot of heat while they are working and also draw heated air out of your house when they are not working. So, we can say they are not too economical.

Apart from that, wood-burning fireplaces are time consuming. It requires a lot of your time with: chopping wood, making the fire, cleaning the chimney, etc. And also if we take into account the mess a wood-burning fireplace makes, we can say it is not too advantageous to have a chimney in your home.

Nowadays, we have a solution: the gas fireplace insert. It is easy to install, works with propane or natural gas and can be positioned into the location of your actual chimney.

These gas fired fireplaces are designed so they don’t loose any heat and they don’t make mess. It is only possible that a ventless gas fireplace to eliminate some odors in the house while it is working, but this can happen only after many hours of use.

So, you may want to think of buying a vented gas fireplace. This decision should be taken after getting more information on gas fireplace inserts either from the Internet or from a store near your location.

A gas fireplace insert working with natural gas is like a genuine wood-burning fireplace; even the logs on fire look like the real ones with detailed authentic colors and bark texture including knots and ax marks. When started, the fire looks like a natural one.

And you can get all this without any trouble, by just pressing a button. To shut off your gas fireplace you just click the same button and you will not have to wait it to cool down.

These are some of the advantages of a gas fireplace but before deciding and going shopping for one, you should look for more information on gas fireplace inserts that will help you better choose the right solution for your house.

Featured Fireplace Insert

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Choosing between a vented and a Ventless Gas Fireplace

There are two types of gas fireplace: vented gas fireplace and ventless gas fireplace. The vented gas log set is the one that needs a chimney to tire out the toxic carbon monoxide they eliminate when burning the natural gas.

Vented Gas Fireplaces

Vented gas fireplaces have the advantage of not eliminating odors into a room because they get their necessary combustion air from the outside and then eliminate the carbon monoxide back outside. The disadvantage is that a great percent of the heat they produce is eliminated along with the exhausts.

Ventless or Vent Free Gas Fireplaces

Ventless gas fireplaces are not vented to pipes or chimneys, so the burned gases are not removed from the home. This means that any gas by-products—such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide—are put into circulation in the air. It is then breathed by you and your family. Vent free gas fireplaces also produce excess water vapor, which can lead to the production of mold, mildew, and dust mites. All of these things cause poor quality air and increased health risks.

A ventless gas fireplace is also called a vent free fireplace because it has no outside ventilation. The ventless gas fireplace insert is different from a vented fireplace because it can eliminate odors into a room.

That is because the air that is eliminated contains odors is drawn back into the product, burned again and then eliminated into the room. This is a disadvantage of the ventless gas log insert, but it also has an advantage: all the heat produced by the device is kept inside the room.

A ventless gas fireplace can be very easily installed or you can buy a portable one that can be placed anywhere in the room. All they need is to be connected to the available gas line. They don’t need electricity to work which is also an advantage because when the power will be off you’ll still be able to warm up the room.

However, vent free gas fireplaces are illegal in many states. Even in states where they are allowed, builders must follow very specific codes about their placement. For example, they must provide an exhaust system for removing the hazardous by-products.

On the other hand, vent free units often come equipped with carbon monoxide detectors and oxygen sensors. Both of these features are designed to shut off the system if conditions reach an unsafe point.

If you do decide to use one of these models, experts say you should not use the fireplace for more than 4 hours a day. They also advise that increased levels of carbon monoxide can cause dizziness, headache, fatigue, and nausea.

Though ventless gas fireplaces are financially affordable, they just might not be worth the cost to your family’s health. Only you can decide, but make sure you get all of the facts.

How we make them:

The 100% wood FireLogs we produce contain no waxes, no binders, in fact, no additives of any kind. At Bear Mountain Forest Products, our FireLogs are made from clean Douglas fir, Cedar and White Fir sawdust.

The sawdust is compressed under extreme pressure to form our FireLogs that weight 7# each. The extreme pressure ‘melts’ the resin in the wood and acts as a natural adhesive to keep the log from falling apart.

The #1 difference between FireLogs and cordwood, more heat:

The primary difference between FireLogs and cordwood is the moisture content of the wood. Fresh cut cordwood will contain up to 50% moisture.

Even after several years of drying, most cordwood will still contain 20% or more moisture. When you burn cordwood, much of the energy is used to boil off the water in the wood. You can see the results of by looking at the smoke. Heavy smoke signifies inefficient burning due to high moisture. The smoke contains steam, as well as pollutants that adversely affect air quality.

In the case of Bear Mountain FireLogs, we remove most of the moisture before making them into FireLogs. By running the clean sawdust through huge dryers, we reduce the moisture content to around 6%. Consequently, when you heat your home with FireLogs, the fire is much more efficient, with virtually no smoke being produced. One FireLog can produce nearly 70,000 BTU’s of heat.

As a general comparison, one pallet of Bear Mountain FireLogs (240 each) has an equivalent heating value to 1 ½ cords of good quality cordwood.

What other benefits do they offer?:

There are numerous benefits that may or may not apply to each woodstove heater.

  • Ease of Use: There is no need to cut, split or haul FireLogs.
  • Cleanliness: No more dirt in the house, spider or insects in the wood.
  • Easy to store: One pallet of FireLogs will take up approximately half the space of an equivalent heating quantity of cordwood.
  • Clean Burning: Since most of the water has been removed from the wood, your fire will burn with virtually no smoke. In most areas of the country (check to be sure in your area) you can still burn FireLogs in an EPA certified woodstove on “no burn” days.
  • Long burn times: In a good tight stove, one FireLog can burn for 8-10 hours. Due to the density of these logs, you can get many hours of heat from just a single log.

Are there disadvantages to FireLogs?

As with all good things, there are trade-offs. Some of the tradeoffs are:

  • No outdoor storage: Since these FireLogs are so dry, they will tend to swell and deteriorate if moisture is allowed to contact the FireLogs. As such, they need to be kept dry and covered.
  • They are harder to start: Due to the high density of the FireLogs, it will take more than a few pieces of newspaper to start one. Ideally, a small kindling fire should be made before adding the first FireLog.
  • Availability limitations: These type FireLogs are not being manufacturer in all areas of the country. If there is no local supplier, freight costs may make them too expensive.

Is the market growing for Fire Logs?:

As more people have learned of the benefits of these type Fire Logs, sales have been rising dramatically. This is especially true where cordwood has become difficult to find or very expensive. With the EPA air quality restrictions becoming more widespread, we would expect that clean burning options like 100% Wood FireLogs will continue to grow rapidly.

In conclusion, it is never easy to change a habit that has been in place for decades. For many decades Americans have been heating with cordwood, and many will continue.

For the customer that wants to save some money, heat more cleanly or is tired to splitting and stacking, these 100% Wood FireLogs offer some nice benefits. If nothing else, let them know that alternatives do exist and let them make the choice!

Warm Regards,

Jay Green
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