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How Long Do Fake Fireplace Logs Last?

Fake fireplace logs can last anywhere from 3-10 years. Vented gas fireplace logs typically last the longest, up to 10 years, while ventless fireplace logs normally last 3-5 years. However, the duration of the logs depends on build quality, material, and how often they’re used.

How long your fake fireplace logs will last depends on several factors. Ideally, if you have vented gas logs, you can expect them to last for more than 10 years. Ventless gas logs, on the other hand, have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years.

Gas logs hold superiority over traditional wood logs. So, if you choose that option, the logs will last for years. Obviously, how long they last all comes down to the quality and how well they are maintained. The lifespan is also affected by how often you use your gas logs.

Ideally, the material your fake fireplace logs are made out of will also affect the lifespan considerably. Most modern gas logs are made of ceramic, so they are bound to last long. On the other hand, cement logs will last for 2 to 3 years, depending on how often they are used. 

Do Gas Fireplace Logs Need to Be Replaced?

Gas fireplace logs, depending on use, will wear out after some time and need replacing. While this will not be the same as when you are using traditional wood logs, you will still need to purchase replacement logs at some point. 

Gas logs offer all the benefits of real wood minus all the hassle. Like everything else, how long your gas logs serve you will depend on the usage frequency, and most importantly, how well you maintain them. The good news is that when that time comes, you only need to swap out the logs rather than replacing the whole fireplace setup.

Is It Normal for Fake Logs to Turn Black?

Fake fireplace logs turning black is normal. After some time, gas logs, especially the vented ones, will get soot and turn black. Conversely, ventless gas logs turning black due to soot is a clear indication there is something wrong. 

Gas fireplace and gas logs make it easy for you to enjoy the warmth and feel of a traditional wood-burning fireplace without the mess and the constant replacement of the logs. Gas fireplace logs are designed to produce a yellow flame when they burn, which minimizes the formation of soot. Catching the problem early on ensures that the build-up doesn’t become as much of a major issue. So what causes this built-up soot in the first place? 

Reasons Why Fake Fireplace Logs Turn Black

Incorrect Positioning of the Gas Logs

The most common cause of soot build-up in a fireplace is when the ceramic gas logs have moved out of their proper positioning. When gas logs shift from the normal positioning, it ends up interfering with the path of the flame, which causes soot to form on both the logs and the fireplace logs. 

Clogged Burner Portals

Gas fireplaces usually have a number of burner portals where the flames come out. The portals are designed to allow only a small amount of gas to flow up. The diameters on these gas portals are usually small, making them prone to clogging after some time.

Dust, dirt, broken ceramic logs, and even insects are the main culprits when gas portals become clogged. If the clogging becomes too much, soot forms because of incomplete combustion, and the burner portals become too clogged that they don’t produce flames at all. Either way, having a professional inspect the gas portals from time to time will help minimize the formation of soot. 

Improper Air to Fuel Mixture

Soot usually forms from carbon that was not combusted. Under normal circumstances, natural gas will burn perfectly, producing zero soot. When combustion does not occur properly, the result is soot buildup.

The major concern when it comes to efficient gas log combustion lies in the air to fuel ratio. For gas to release all the combustion energy, it needs to mix with the right amount of air. If the air that enters the combustion chamber is not enough, then all the gas doesn’t combust, which leads to soot. 

Old Burner Sets

Over time your gas burner sets rust or wear out, which affects gas emission in terms of volume and the way it is emitted. This flame pattern usually causes “dirty” burning, which causes soot to form on the logs and the doors of the fireplace. What causes the change in the flame pattern?

If your gas logs are broken or have cracked, it interferes with the flame path as well as the combustion. If the chimney and the exhaust vent get blocked, they also cause a change in the combustion pattern. 

How Long Do Fake Logs Last? (And When Should You Replace Them?)

How long fake logs last depend on a few factors with the main ones being how often you use the fireplace and the material of the gas logs. When it comes to knowing when to replace your fake logs, there isn’t a set period. 

Ideally, the higher the quality of fake logs and the less you use them, the more time you have before you need to replace them. Most modern gas logs are made of ceramic. Ceramic can withstand very high temperatures without changing in appearance. In contrast, gas logs made out of cement tend to fade over time. Depending on how often you use them, you can expect to replace them after 2 to 3 years. 

Essentially, the type of gas logs determines how long they will last. For instance, well-maintained ceramic gas logs that are vented should last for more than 10 years. Ventless gas logs made of the same material have a shorter lifespan of 3 to 5 years.

Overall, if your gas logs start fading in appearance, it’s a clear indication that they are approaching the end of their life cycle, and you’ll need to think about replacing them. Another way to tell if your gas logs need replacing is to look out for general wear and tear. If the logs are also crumbling, cracking, or beginning to fall apart, then they need to be replaced. 

What Makes Fake Fireplace Logs?

Fake fireplace logs are usually made of ceramic fibers, refractory cement, or refractory ceramic. Each of the materials is designed to look like traditional wood logs. They are also able to withstand the high temperatures produced by gas fireplaces.  

Manufacturers of fake logs usually use actual wood molds to come up with a realistic look. The good thing about fake logs is that they offer the convenience and the benefits of using real wood without all the mess. The material of your fake logs will determine their lifecycle. Usually, fake logs will last for years before needing replacement (usually 2 to more than 10 years), with ceramic logs lasting the longest. 

How Do You Clean Fake Fireplace Logs?

  1. Try and locate the dial you use to ignite the fireplace and turn it off to restrict gas flow. 
  2. Allow the logs to cool for about an hour
  3. Once the logs have cooled, remove them and place them on old newspapers. Before you do that though, unless you have a user manual, you need to take a picture of how the logs were placed to avoid incorrect positioning when you are done cleaning.
  4. Inspect the logs for any damage or blockage. If there is any, call a professional to either have them replaced or repaired. 
  5. Scrub the logs with a gentle scrub brush to remove the soot. Ideally, you can also use a vacuum cleaner. 
  6. Wipe the logs with a dry rag to remove the soot that may remain. If you are to use a cleaner at this stage, ensure that it is manufacturer-approved.
  7. Some logs could use a little water when cleaning, therefore dip a cloth in lukewarm water, wring out the excess, and then wipe the logs to remove any soot that may have remained.
  8. Once done cleaning the logs, vacuum the fireplace, the pilot line, and the main burner to remove any soot that may have accumulated. When done, place the logs in their exact positioning, and your fireplace and logs are as good as new.  

Need More Help?

You can always ask us here at Fireplace Tips, but you should know the other resources available to you! Here are the resources we recommend.

  • Chimney Safety Institute of North America (CSIA): The CSIA is your BEST resource for fireplace and chimney safety at home. They’re a non-profit governed by a volunteer board of directors dedicated to the education, training, and certification of chimney and industry related professionals.
  • Self-Sufficiency and Off-Grid: If you’re like me and passionate about off-grid and self-sufficiency, see my number 1 resource—Abundance Plus. Check out their Frugal Homesteading Course on growing 90% of your own food. Get 7-days free and 10% off with the code: TYLER10