I've recently added new white built-ins surrounding my fireplace with a flat screen tv mounted above the mantel. Now, I'm terrified of using my traditional wood burning fireplace for an actual fire because I'm worried about soot and smoke damage to my white mantel and built ins.
I was in home depot for light bulbs the other day and saw these cool looking logs that burn gas to a real flame without the full surround of a traditional gas insert. They were called vented gas fireplace logs. I've read about water residue damage and monoxide nightmares from the vent- free version so I won't do that. I have a working flu/damper so the vented version should not be an issue. I do really like the idea of not having to install a whole chunky insert and instead keep the exposed brick visible in the sides and back of my fireplace.
Anyone with one of these doodads that that can share experience or pictures? What is the general opinion of these systems? I'm looking for a real fire look/ambiance with a much cleaner burn that can be controlled via knob or remote. Any heat provided is a bonus. When we used to burn real wood fires, I think we actually lost heat in the long-run having to keep the damper open for hours after the fire so any heat gain is a plus but I'm certainly not relying on this as a heat source.
Here is an example of the type of log insert I'm considering: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000E86B9W/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=U TF8&psc=1&smid=A2RD94HAYE44NQ