Hey trishlanca. Welcome to our new Community!
Vented gas log sets add the realism of a real wood burning fire without the work.
These Fire logs do vary in design by manufacturer. It really is important that you have the owner’s manual for your fire set. The manual gives specifics on options for log placement, details on where to place sand/vermiculite, glowing embers and why. It also contains proper lighting instructions for safe use.
Some units have a 1 piece “coal bed” instead of sand that fits into the base pan. Since you mention sand and vermiculite I assume that this is not like yours. In this case your log set should have a pan that is to be filled with either silica sand for use with natural gas fuel or vermiculite for propane gas. Do not place these materials over the burners, but with the burner off and the grate removed, fill the pan completely with the proper material. Do not place any sand over the burners, ignitor or pilot assembly. Normally, glowing ember material (like rock wool) would be spread lightly and evenly over the entire surface of the sand/vermiculite. Keep the embers away from the pilot assembly though, as it may overheat and shut down.
May you enjoy many happy snuggles,
I want to convert my wood burning fireplace over to a vent-free gas log. I intend to do it myself. Gas is available right outside, but my fireplace is all native stone. I'd also like to install a keyed gas shut-off inside, similar to what I've seen with gas fire starters. What do I need to install the log and the shut off? What do I need to drill through aproximately 1 foot of native stone to get into the fireplace? Or is it acceptable to just run a flex line around to it? Seems to me this would look bad.
Also, my fireplace, being native stone, conducts a lot of cold into the house when we don't use it. I wonder if it would be OK to leave my damper open & cap off the top of the flue to let the full length of the fireplace heat up. I even considered leaving a VERY small vent hole, just enough to let the smell & water vapor associated with these vent free units to escape to the outside. Am I way off base on this?
When it comes to do it yourself projects, there is almost nothing I won’t do. Messing around with gas, however is one I leave for the experts. I would recommend working backwards on this project starting inside the fireplace and working my way out. Not having a picture, I don’t know exactly what I am working with. The Home Depot does carry the gas shut off valves with the fireplace keys. It is going to take a large drill with a large masonry bit to break through that native stone. Call your local store and see if they have a tool rental, if so then I would probably rent a hammerdrill and bit for this project.
Vent free is a great way to go, with gas prices so high anymore, it allows the heat to come into the house and not up the chimney. I would be interested to know the manufacturer of these gas logs so I could get us in contact with them. You are right on track with this because even vent-free gas logs it is recommended to crack your damper, and make sure the logs are arranged properly, as to not produce any smoke.
Stop by the store and talk to my plumber and let them get you everything that you need. Thank you for the question and welcome to the community.