Fireplace Media - Is It Important?

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From logs and lava rock to fire glass and mineral wool, there are a plethora of additives to make your gas fireplace look unique. But when it comes to the costly replacement of these parts, we are often asked the following questions:  What exactly is media made of? Is it important? Do I have to have it in my fireplace? We’ll cover a few of the well-known media types below.



Logs -

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What are they made of? Decorative logs for gas fireplaces are typically made of ceramic, fiberglass, refractory cement, or a similar material. These materials are able to absorb high amounts of heat without being damaged.

Do I need them? This is by far the most common question we hear. The logs and the burner are designed to work together. Without the logs in the fireplace the burner will not have proper flame placement and will not burn correctly.   By ensuring proper flame placement and retaining more heat in the firebox, the logs help to provide warmth and comfort for your home. Not to mention, they just look nice.

Are they important? In short, yes, they are. The logs in your fireplace are not just an aesthetic. They are very important to the safety and functionality of your fireplace.

Can I use generic logs? Logs are designed specifically for each unit, and their arrangement is made to support the unit’s efficiency so using generic logs or logs for different models in your fireplace will not work. Should you alter the position of the logs in your unit, you could interfere with the flow of gas from the burner which could lead to incomplete combustion and the production of carbon monoxide (CO). Incorrect log placement can also lead to an increase in sooting, and too much soot decreases efficiency and shortens the lifespan of your fireplace.



Lava Rock -

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What are they made of? Just like it says in their name, lava rocks are made from actual lava. Most lava rocks sold for fireplaces and fire pits are made from vesicular basalts which form when air bubbles get trapped inside lava as it cools and expands.

Do I need them? The main reason lava rocks are used in your fireplace is to complete the look of a natural log fire in your unit. They are generally not necessary to the function of your fireplace, but they do add to the ambiance and make it look better.

Can I use generic rocks? Finding the right size and amount may be tricky, but since this particular item is only for aesthetics, you may be able to use a generic replacement.



Fire Glass -

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What is it made of? Fire glass is made of small bits of tempered glass that is put through a special treatment so that it doesn’t explode when it comes into contact with hot flames.

Do I need it? Fire glass is both aesthetic and functional. Whether you need it or not depends on the setup of your fireplace. Fire glass is a popular alternative to logs but can only be used with burners that support the use of it.

Can I use generic glass? Finding the right size and amount may be tricky, but since this particular item is mostly for aesthetics, you may be able to use a generic replacement.

Can I replace my logs with fire glass? Usually, the answer to this question is no. The burner of your unit must support this type of media. If it does not, your fireplace will not function efficiently, and it may lead to other safety issues such as carbon monoxide (CO) production and/or sooting. Check your owner’s manual for compatibility information.



Mineral Wool or Glowing Embers -

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What is it made of? Mineral wool or glowing embers are made from molten glass, stone or slag (industrial waste), that is spun into a fibrous structure. This material creates the luminescent glow similar to hot embers and comes in many colors including green, tan, gray, reddish-brown, and more.

Do I need it? The main reason it is used in your fireplace is to complete the look of a natural log fire in your unit. It is generally not necessary to the function of your fireplace, but it does provide the flicker of a real fire and enhances the look of your unit.

Can I use generic mineral wool? Since this particular item is only for aesthetics, you may be able to use a generic replacement.