1st time homeowner with gas log question

I've recently bought my first house and the fireplace has gas logs in it. I don't really know anything about them but have doing some reading and I think I probably have the vented type since the logs are loose and can be repositioned.
I notice in the bottom of the grate, underneath the logs there is a material there that looks like insulation or something similar. Is this normal? I'm guessing that this glows and gives an ember effect but I'm not sure and I have no frame of reference to fall back on. I don't see this material in any of the pictures of gas logs that I've seen online. I see the sand looking stuff on the bottom of the firebox, but not this insulation looking stuff that I have.
Also, do I have to light these off or do all gas log systems have a pilot light? Are these something that need regular professional maintenance?
Thanks in advance for any insight for new homeowner.
Elliott
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Sounds like your seller either did not keep appliance instructions / manuals or give them to you.
As to the gas logs, please don't fuss with them until you have first identified the manufacturer and gone to its web site to see if you can get a manual instructions. Almost everybody these days has a PDF file on line of every manual for their products.
A bright flash light and a lot of close inspection of the unit will probably yield a manufacturer name and a model number stamped or cast some where into the logs set.

I recommend that you get a 4 inch 3 ring binder and a bunch of heavy duty plastic sheet protectors from an Office Depot type place. The sheet protectrs are three hole punched, and fit into the binders.
Once you get the manual / instructions from the manufacturer, put the into a sheet protector in the binder and keep forever, or until you sell the place. Deliver the binder to the whoever buys from you. They will bless you.
Then go to the web site of the manufacturer of every appliance (stove, microwave, refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, electric coffee pot, hot water heater, furnace, AC or heat pummp, thermostat, etc.) you have, get to your appliance's model number, and download the manual / instrctions if you don't already have it. Store the manuals / instructions in the binder.
I have binders for all household appliances; all electronics (TVs, stereo components, VCRs, DVDs; phones); outdoor yard equipment (really good at this time of year for looking up the lawnmower spark plug number and the oil gas ratio mixture on the weed wacker); all shop tools; computers and computer components) and 1 or 2 others I can't remember right now. Raelly a big help t have the stuff in binders, protected in plastc, on a book shelf in the wokshop.
- - Jim McLaughlin
Reply address is deliberately munged. If you really need to reply directly, try: jimdotmclaughlinatcomcastdotcom
And you know it is a dotnet not a dotcom address.

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I would look around for instructions. Lighting the pilot light is a bit confusing the first time, even with instructions. You don't want to blow up your new house and it is possible if you don't know what you are doing. The glass wool is to make glowing embers and gets replaced every few years.
"Jim McLaughlin" <jim.mclaughlin> wrote in message

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Art wrote:

Basic instruction is usually on a metal plate and left underneath the FP hang on a chain. That insulation looking material is one making the amber flame(to imitate log burning) Without it all you see will be blue gas burning flame.
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Hi Elliott,
Congratulations on the purchase of your new home! If this log set is installed in a masonry chimney with a flue then, yes, most certainly it is vented. Here in Canada, our code requires all log sets to be outside vented and any existing damper to be removed. They do operate on a standing pilot (at least, I'm not aware of any that use electronic ignition) and the material you describe as looking like insulation does, in fact, glow as it heats up.
Most gas appliances don't require much in the way of maintenance but it would be a good idea, nonetheless, to have it checked out by a qualified gas technician, just to make sure everything is working properly. And, if you don't have a CO2 detector in your home, now would be a good time to buy one, if just for your peace of mind.
Now the bad news... these log sets use 60,000 to 100,000 BTUs, even more, so they're not exactly cheap to operate. Keep in mind they're also not intended to heat your room; rather, they're designed to heat your entire neighbourhood. :-)
Now the **really** bad news.... conditioned air is literally being sucked out of your home 24 hours day, 365 days of the year. You're losing a tremendous amount of conditioned air up your chimney because we're not just talking about a "loose fitting" damper.... we're talking NO damper! If you're not exactly married to the idea of a gas log set -- and, admittedly, they really are very beautiful -- I would highly recommend you replace it with a gas insert. This would save you a considerable amount of money and provide you with a proper heat source in the event of an emergency (e.g., furnace breakdown or extended power outage).
Hope this has been helpful.
Cheers, Paul
On 15 Apr 2006 18:56:24 -0700, " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

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Wow...that was fast! Thanks to everyone for the quick and very detailed responses. This definitely looks like a retrofit situation since the fireplace has a standard damper and everything on it. I'll poke around in there tomorrow and see if I can't find a mfg name and model number and take the advice of searching for a pdf online. I've already had to do this for the sprinkler system and thank goodness I found it. I would have never figured out how to program that thing.
Living in Texas, fireplaces are more for show than anything else since it just doesn't get very cold for very long down here. Heat output is not too much of a concern. We just want it to look nice and make us feel cozy while sipping on coffee and reading a book.
Everyone's comments were extremely helpful and have given me some direction to move in.
Thanks again everyone!
Elliott
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On 15 Apr 2006 20:44:33 -0700, " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

Mine is like that. If you don't open the damper, the CO alarm goes off quickly.

I'm in Texas, and really needed the gas logs one December when it was freezing and the electricity went off (central heat wouldn't work) for 2 days. That's how I found out I had gas logs in this house.

--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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On Sun, 16 Apr 2006 02:40:39 GMT, Paul M. Eldridge

That's CO (no 2). My gas logs are installed in an old fireplace and do set off the CO detector if the damper isn't opened.

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Mark Lloyd
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Hi Mark,
Yes, you are, of course, correct and, indeed, that was the sound of me wacking the side of my head.
I'm rather surprised your code doesn't require the removal of the damper (that is stipulated here in Canada). I guess the assumption is the homeowner has enough sense to open the damper himself (true for most of us but perhaps a leap of faith for others). Is there an oxygen sensor on these logs?
Cheers, Paul
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On Sun, 16 Apr 2006 15:04:53 GMT, Paul M. Eldridge

Unlikely. There seems to be no electrical connection of any kind, just gas.

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Mark Lloyd
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You might want to call your gas company and ask them inspect and adjust your gas appliances. They'll also show you how to light them. I believe many utilities will do this for free.
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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Well, I took the whole shebang apart today. No mfg name on it anywhere. Nor do I see any provision for a pilot light. The gas comes into the fire place, it goes in the tray where all the sand and gravel is and makes a couple of s-bends. I end up with two rows of pipe on the front that have holes in them for the gas to come out (burners). I have to assume that I'm just supposed to turn on the gas and light the thing with a fireplace match in front of one of the gas outlet holes on one of the burners. <shrug>
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Wow.
Before I lit that off, I get either the local gas utility or a gas furnace service person to come in and look at it and show you how to light it off.
If I was a gambling fellow (I'm not), I might shut off the valve at the unit (it does have a valve, right ?) and disassemble the unit frm the valve. Then I'd use a lot of high pressure air from my cmpressor to blow out any crap and stuff which might have collected in the unit. Spiders are notorious for building ness in gas lines in barbeques, etc, and what you have sunds a lot like the functional equivalent of a barbeque.
Remember taht threadig in gas fitting turns the opposite of water fttings.
But rather than do that myself, I'd get a servivce person in to clean it out and test it.
I like gas heat, I like gas srtoves, and I like propane barbques. but I don't fuss with gas appliances. I hire folks who both know more than me and who have liability insurance. -- Jim McLaughlin
Reply address is deliberately munged. If you really need to reply directly, try: jimdotmclaughlinatcomcastdotcom
And you know it is a dotnet not a dotcom address.

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Thanks Jim, that sounds like good advice that I plan to take. I'm not one for messing around with gas or high voltage.
Jim McLaughlin wrote:

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On 16 Apr 2006 19:41:19 -0700, " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

At that point, I'm reminded of my central heat, which is gas with electric ignition. That thing looks like it uses high voltage (there's a wire that looks a lot like the spark plug wires in a car).

--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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This is just a side note on the topic of dampers and gas logs, but if you have no damper or if you are not allowed to have one (Canadian law on gas logs) you can replace it with an inflatable type damper like a Chimney Balloon. www.chimneyballoon.us That way if you start a fire without taking out the balloon, it just melts and falls out. You can reuse a chimney balloon normally, but if you start a fire under it you gotta get a new balloon.
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Very interesting product and not unreasonably priced. The only other practical solution to this type of heat loss is a set of tight fitting glass doors and that will run you several hundreds of dollars and potentially detract from the overall appearance of the fireplace. I would prefer something like this simply because it's hidden from view.
Cheers, Paul
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