Wood-burning fireplaces and stoves add warmth and a cozy feel to a room, but they require you to haul in wood and clean out the ashes. Many people prefer the lower maintenance of a gas-burning fireplace that uses either solid ceramic or ceramic fiber logs. However, ceramic fiber logs present some disadvantages such as requiring ventilation, producing less heat and costing more than other heating options.
Ceramic fiber logs are only designed for vented gas fireplaces. A fireplace needs a chimney, and the flue must always remain open. Some building codes require you to set the damper permanently to the open position or remove it entirely. If you close the flue, the room could fill with colorless, odorless carbon monoxide.
Ceramic fiber logs produce less heat than solid ceramic logs because you must use them in a vented fireplace or stove with the flue open. About 85 to 90 percent of the heat goes up the chimney. A wood-burning vented fireplace will usually generate more heat. If the local building code requires you to keep the damper permanently open, you may need to install glass doors on the fireplace to reduce the heat escaping from your home.
A fireplace using ceramic fiber logs will consume more gas than a ventless fireplace that uses solid ceramic logs. A 24-inch fireplace with ceramic fiber logs will use 80,000 British thermal units (BTU) versus 38,000 for a ventless fireplace using solid ceramic logs.
While gas-burning fireplaces look fairly realistic, they do not produce the distinctive crackling sound of a real fire nor the smoky scent. Avoid the favorite pastime of roasting marshmallows in gas fireplaces, as the marshmallows may drip or fall into the ceramic fiber logs.