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Looking for advice on gas logs and fireplace

I'm looking for a bit of advice on gas logs, etc. Currently, I have a wood burning fireplace with a gas starter (natural gas). So, I have a "key" in the floor next to the fireplace that I can turn on, and then I use a lighter to get a flame from the gas pipe in the fireplace. Which then burns the wood. I have only used it once since I bought this house 4 years ago (my first house!). I am interested in maybe using it more, but it seems like most homes that use a wood burning fireplace have that burnt smell that I do not want. Also, I live in Charlotte, NC and our weather isn't that bad in the winter.

So, I am interested in turning it into a fireplace with gas logs, and then, I really only anticipate using it for emergencies (say if we have a bad ice storm, lose power, etc.) or once in a while because, hey, who doesn't love a fire?

So, I went to the fireplace store where I thought I could get a little advice and was unsuccessful. The person I spoke with told me that even though I said I burn wood, that the age of my house (built 1989ish) tells him I probably have a pre-fab firebox that couldn't handle the heat?! (I went home to take photos to bring back so I could get a better opinion, and I could link to them if it would help)

I thought some people on the message boards here might have practical experience that I could draw on. My questions are:

With today's gas logs, it seems most have remote controls-- would I still be able to use the key in the floor to turn on the gas, so I am not paying for the pilot light every month, and so I could turn it on with no electricity?

Do gas logs actually provide enough heat to heat a room in case of a power outage?

Typically, do you still use the vent and flue in the chimney and therefore get a draft?

Thanks in advance for any experiences, suggestions, etc. as you can probably tell, I am a total novice.

Re: Looking for advice on gas logs and fireplace

I have a vent-less gas log set. The flue is sealed. It has a thermostatically controlled temperature setting , and you can turn it completely off including pilot light if you want. It's rated at 100,000 BTU (the same as our furnace). No remote control. I live in the country and we sometimes loose electricity for many days during and ice storm and it uses no electricity.

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