A woman enjoying her gas fireplace

How To Know When to Replace Your Propane Fireplace Logs?

Propane can do a lot for you! If you have propane gas logs, you know how enjoyable it can be to fire them up and enjoy the warmth and glow on a cold night. Or, you already know how reliable propane fireplace logs are when you lose power, and your main heat supply is cut off.

You likely love the convenience of your propane gas fireplace logs: no chopping and storing firewood, no tinder to add, no struggle to get the flames going, no ashes and sooty residue when you’re all done. It might just take a flick of a switch, and voila! You have instant flames.

But like most anything else, propane logs may need to be replaced sometimes. Why? And how do you know when to replace propane fireplace logs?

We’ll take a closer look at exactly what your propane logs are, how they should best be cared for, and when it may be time to have new propane gas fireplace logs installed.

a comfortable gas fireplace
Photo From: Shutterstock

What are Gas Logs Made From?

If your propane logs are like most, they are constructed of heavy-duty, flame-resistant ceramic fiber. Some are also made of a refractory cement mixture. In some cases, steel bars are inside these logs to keep them from warping, bending, or cracking under the temperature of the fire.

Ceramic logs can vary when it comes to quality, so how long these last will depend on how well the logs are made. High-grade ceramic fiber is best, of course. Some log sets tend to be made from higher quality materials, so do your homework and determine which propane gas logs are most recommended.

Ceramic logs are highly durable and can withstand extreme heat. Cement logs tend to retain color, and the detailed “real logs” look more so than ceramic ones, but either works great and can supply years of joy in front of your fireplace.

Still, there does come a time when these propane gas fireplace logs need to be replaced.

But is there anything you can do to extend the life of your propane logs?

Regular Maintenance

There are many sides to the propane vs electric heat debate, but if you take care of your propane logs, they’ll take care of you. In other words, regular maintenance of your propane fireplace logs can help to keep them going, and also keep your entire fireplace in good working order.

First, dust off your gas logs, especially when the season begins and you haven’t used the fireplace in some time. Not only can dust interfere with the pilot light and make it difficult to get a fire going, but it will also give your propane gas logs an unappealing look. On top of that, lighting up dusty logs can lead to an unpleasant odor!

Wipe the logs with a damp or lint-free cloth. You could use liquid gas log cleaner sold by many fireplace dealers, but do NOT use general household cleaners, as these cleaners often contain chemicals that could result in harmful vapors being released into the air. These cleaners could also damage propane gas fireplace logs.

Ceramic logs can break down over time, so you’ll want to clean up any of this residue before starting up your propane gas fireplace. This type of debris, too, can interfere with the working of your fireplace. A propane gas fireplace has several working components that are sensitive to residue build-up, so be mindful to keep your fireplace clean to ensure proper operation.

It’s recommended to clean the fireplace and logs at least every six months, more frequently if the fireplace sees heavy usage.

If you notice a lot of residue built up before you start your propane gas fireplace up for the season, you may want to replace your propane gas logs at that time, as this could indicate excessive breaking down of the logs.

When to Replace

So, even with regular care of your propane fireplace logs, it can still become necessary for a total replacement. How will you know when such a replacement is inevitable?

One thing that will impact the longevity of your propane gas logs is whether you have a vented or vent-free fireplace. A general rule of thumb when it comes to ceramic propane gas logs is this: a vented log set that has been regularly maintained can last for at least ten years, while a vent-free set with the same regular maintenance will show signs of wear between three and five years if the fireplace is used frequently.

So, if you have a ceramic gas fireplace log set, a vented fireplace, and don’t regularly clean and maintain the logs but use the fireplace sparingly, you might get a full ten years out of your log set. If you use your fireplace three times a week throughout the fall and winter months and do not perform regular maintenance in a vent-free fireplace, chances are you should replace the logs in about three years.

Generally, when you note a change in the appearance of the logs, such as a faded look, you might consider getting new logs at that time. However, such fading does not necessarily mean there is anything wrong with the logs, and this is merely an aesthetic change. 

Some other notable instances that it may be time to swap out your propane gas fireplace logs are:

  • When you purchase a new home with an existing propane fireplace, as you may not know when the last time the logs were replaced
  • If you have owned your propane fireplace for many years and suddenly begin increasing your use of the propane logs
  • Preparing to sell your home: a new propane gas log set can make the fireplace appear new and appealing to potential buyers

Replacing old propane gas logs can also give you peace of mind. If you have any doubts about firing up your existing propane gas fireplace logs because you fear they may not be in good working order, go ahead and get new ones installed. When it comes to any gas appliance, safety comes first, and if you have any reservations about the safety of your gas logs, it’s likely best to go with your gut and get new ones installed.

One way to know for sure if you need to replace your propane gas fireplace logs is to have a propane company like Diversified Energy inspect your fireplace and logs. Trained, professional technicians can spot any issues you may have, often undetectable by the average homeowner, and can recommend propane gas logs replacement if needed. A gas fireplace should be inspected by professionals annually.

Important note: IF you find out that your propane logs need replacing, it’s best not to tackle such a job yourself. Even though propane heat is environmentally friendly, installing gas logs improperly can lead to serious and even dangerous issues. Let professionals like those at Diversified Energy handle the replacement of your propane gas logs. You’re thus ensured that the logs are installed safely, correctly, and to exact manufacturer specifications that will keep you, your family, and your home safe.

Gas up Your Home

Diversified Energy is happy to answer any questions you might have about your propane fireplace and help you keep it working like new. Contact us today for more information.