You would expect all logs to smell the same when they’re burning in the fireplace because wood is just wood, right? Well, that’s not always the case.
While many fire logs offer a nice scent, there are also those that give off an overpowering, smoky, and harmful smell. Some of the nice smelling and healthy firelog options include: gas logs, scented artificial logs, and natural firelogs made of birch, cherry, oak, or hickory wood.
Are All Firelog Scents Made Equal?
Firewood logs can release a pungent smell if they haven’t been dried properly, have spores or mold, and some types of wood naturally smell musty.
A well-known type of wood you should most certainly avoid using in your fireplace is the red oak. From the moment it’s cut, it smells like manure and urine, and I doubt that’s the type of smell you’re going for.
Another factor that affects the smell is the quality of the wood. If the log still contains moisture, it’s more likely to not smell as nice and will produce a lot of smoke.
There is a wide range of firelogs, gas and artificial, and just like firewood, they all contain and release different smells.
Some have a very chemical-like or choking smell, and this is usually because they do not contain any fragrance and other smells exactly like your real firewood logs. It all depends on which firelog product you’ve purchased and what the instructions relay.
Is the Fireplace Log Smell Bad for You?
When you burn real firewood logs in your fireplace, the smoke produced is most likely to contain toxic air pollutants in the form of gases and fine particles. The smoke may smell great but it’s definitely not good for you.
These fine particles are microscopic and can get into the eyes. If you breathe them in, they will go straight into your respiratory system and this may lead to several illnesses such as bronchitis.
If you are an individual suffering from asthma, an excess amount of smoke can trigger an asthma attack, and others are at the risk of getting a stroke, heart attack, etc.
Everyone is affected by wood smoke but children, older people, and people with lung issues are at greater risk. As much as the scent might be important to you, the smoke should be too.
If burning genuine wood is something you wish to do, it is paramount you ensure the levels of smoke within the house are monitored.
There are a few precautionary measures you can take to ensure these levels are low.
A great place to start is by only making sure you burn dry logs that have been stored for a minimum of six months.
Also, having a professional chimney sweep come by every year to inspect and clean your chimney is a great idea. They are capable of identifying gaps and cracks, and removing harmful creosote buildup.
Other precautions you can take are ensuring the room is well ventilated, not burning plastic with the wood, and instead, using small pieces of dry wood and paper.
Wood smoke is not only unsafe for people but also the environment, especially if little is done to reduce the emissions. On a great note, this isn’t the only option if you’re aiming for logs that have a nice smell or no smell at all.
Gas logs and artificially scented logs are a great choice as they are not only eco-friendly but also produce fewer emissions as compared to wood logs.
Are Artificial Fire Logs Better than Wood?
Manufacturers claim that artificial firelogs produce around 80% less fine particles and up to 70% less carbon monoxide. A downside to these logs is that they don’t produce as much heat as you would expect from a wood fire, and the instructions usually indicate that you should only burn one log at a time.
The artificial logs are made from natural vegetable waxes, sawdust, and cellulose, which are essentially recycled materials. Thus, the logs are considered to be more environmentally friendly as compared to the regular firewood.
Firelogs can be purchased from the store and popped right into the fireplace unlike the hassle of having to get wood cut and storing it away long enough for it to be safe to burn. They also last up to 3 hours while burning steadily and leave you with little to clean up when they’ve burnt out.
It is also essential to ensure the fireplace is well ventilated to let any draft out of the chimney.
Scented Artificial Firelogs
Firelogs resemble big candles because of their uniquely-shaped contour on the top. Rather than burning real firewood, using scented artificial firelogs is a great alternative as these logs produce realistic-looking flame and a pleasant smell.
The artificial firelogs can also come with scented pellets or will contain the fragrance themselves. As the logs burn, the pellets release the fragrance retained in them. If you listen closely, you might hear a popping sound as well.
Though most firelogs might have a chemical smell to them, there are also quite a big number of scented ones you can buy.
KFC is known to have their own scented fire log that literally smells like the KFC’s herbs and spices fried chicken. Made of recycled waxed cardboard, the KFC fire log is only released in December each year just for the Christmas season, and can be purchased at Walmart.
Other manufacturers also have scented firelogs that smell just like the various wood logs.
Pine Mountain Java-Log is a type of eco-friendly firelog that’s made from recycled coffee grounds. It’ll give you a wonderful aromatic coffee experience if you accidentally tear the wrapper around the log. The flames are also more brilliant and bright from the coffee grounds.
Another product from Pine Mountain is the Yankee Candle Fresh Balsam Fir & Cedar firelog, which will fill your room with the fresh scent of real hardwood.
These are a set of ceramic logs you can place in your fireplace. It is essential to ensure the fireplace has a fully functional chimney when setting these up.
As the name indicates, these logs aren’t actually made of real wood but still give off the same aesthetic feel a normal fireplace with wood will. They also come in a vent-free or vented option with gas burners.
The vented ones have a more realistic look to them as they produce larger yellow flames but these logs must be burnt with the damper open because they produce exhaust while burning, which is similar to real wood fire.
On the other hand, vent-free gas logs can be burnt with the damper open because they produce nearly no smoke as the gas is burnt cleanly.
The great thing about the vent-free gas logs is that they produce substantially more heat as compared to the vented gas logs. They also consume less gas and have fewer pollutants.
Let’s dive into the prime concern, the smell. Gas logs do have a lot of perks but the scent you are most likely to have around the house is a slight gas smell. If the logs are properly set up chances are you might not smell the gas at all, which is great.
Although it isn’t the same as burning wood in your fireplace, one way to bring in a wood fire scent in the room is by burning a hickory, pine, or cedar-scented candle next to the logs.
Even though gas logs are a safer option, it is still important to have a CO monitor by the gas logs and be watching for any sudden sooting from the fireplace.
These firelog options mentioned above are the most reliable options if you’re looking for nice smelling or odorless logs, and ones that are not harmful to you and your fireplace.
There is the possibility of still being able to burn nice smelling firewood logs in your home and avoid having an excessive harmful level of smoke.
Sometimes you might want to enjoy the natural smell of these logs, and there are a few types of wood you could purchase to achieve the desired aroma for your home. I have listed a couple of them below.
Birch Firewood Logs
Birch trees are medium-sized trees that come in a range of colors, from grey and black to yellow and silver. These trees have a very sweet but subtle smell that can easily fill your room.
It is a soft wood but that shouldn’t deter you from burning it in your fireplace. Birch wood will burn relatively faster than most types of hard wood, but the pro is that it’s perfect for kindling as it lights up with ease.
Cherry Firewood Logs
Similar to the birch logs, cherry firewood has a mesmerizing, fruity, sweet smell that is long-lasting. Its powerful fragrance can even last up to a couple of weeks from the first use.
It’s the type of wood that will have your guests asking about it, and it’s also the perfect scent to have around the Christmas holidays.
Hickory Firewood Logs
The incense released from hickory wood is not as sweet like the cherry firewood, but has a more classic scent to it. There are various types of hickory to choose from which produce a similar fragrance when burnt.
Describing the smell is quite difficult if you’ve never smelt it for yourself but to briefly break it down, it has a tantalizing, sweet, savory, and smoky fragrance to it that’s not completely overbearing.
Oak Firewood Logs
If the smell of hickory firewood is too strong for you, a great substitute to try are oak firewood logs. Their enticing fragrance is more subtle and less sweet as compared to the smell of hickory logs. The oak firelogs guarantee a bit of delicious earthy and smoky scent.
Besides being the perfect alternative, oak is also an easy to light type of hardwood, and it burns hot while producing a mild yet attractive fragrance.
On a Final Note,
Highlighted in this article are not only nice smelling options for fire logs to burn in the fireplace, but also environmentally friendly and healthy options. The smell and aroma lurking in your home definitely matters. It’s important to have a fire in your house that has an inviting fragrance and not a repelling musky scent.
It’s more than just having a nice smelling home but aromatic types of firewood and logs can lower your stress levels especially if they are infused with the right fragrances.
Our sense of smell brings us back to old memories, and what’s a better and simpler way to create festive memories with our family and friends than burning a few logs around the house.