Can you use FireBalls in place of fake logs in your direct vent fireplace?

The FireBalls should work, in theory. If they are added in place of the logs, and you keep adequate airflow through the FireBalls and you pay attention not to rest them on the igniter, it should work. There are many different styles of direct vent fireplaces on the market so you would want to remove and observe the log placement to see if it would be easy enough to replace the logs in your fireplace with FireBalls. If you choose to use the FireBalls, you may want to get a set or pack that has spheres and half spheres so you can use the half spheres on the bottom to create stability.

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Direct Vent Fireplaces and FireGlass

I am often asked if glass can be used in place of logs in direct vent fireplaces.

Glass could be used if the burner system was designed for it. Unfortunately, direct vent fireplaces do not have burner systems designed to work properly with the glass.

1 – When glass it put over the top of a burner system that incorporates an ignition system, the igniter will no longer work.

2 – Sealed direct vent fireplaces (ones that have glass panels that remain in place when the fire is burning) have intake air venting, usually in the floor of the fire box. When glass is placed over these vents, the fire box is starved of oxygen and the flame will burn very rich and sooty.

Until fireplace manufacturers create models that are specifically designed to use the glass, you are stuck with products that are similar to logs, such as FireStones, FireBalls or FireShapes.

Update – Fireplace manufacturers have started making direct vent, and even ventless fireplaces that are designed to work with the glass. However, they are quite expensive as they are still a newer product on the market.


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Custom propane fire pit

i am planning on turning an outdoor area that was formerly used for plants into a fire pit.  the area is 1ft by 6ft, is about 4 feet high, and most closely resembles the picture in the “creative / unique” section entitled “Long, narrow fire pit.  i am a weekend do it yourself-er, but since i am attempting a do it myself with items that could blow up, i need some advice.  i understand that some of the questions might be rudimentary.

1 – is there a kit for a long narrow install, most of the ones i have seen are circular

2 – if no kit is available, what kind of piping / hose needs to extend from the propane tank to the pit (flex line, aluminum, sealed plumbing pipe, etc…)?

3 – i saw mention of a “pan” that needs to be installed underneath the pipe in the pit to catch propane that might leak, is there more information available on this

4 – what type of regulator do you recommend for the propane tank

5 – what type of thermocouple do you recommend, and where is this installed

6 – does the inside of the pit need to be treated with anything?  i saw mention of the aquatic glassell, but i am not sure i understand if this is necessary for what i am trying to do.

i can send pictures if someone could explain to me how to attach them.  i am sure once the dialog begins, i will have more questions.  any info you could provide is appreciated.


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Discussion on Listings and Ratings and Approvals

We often get asked if our products have AGA, CSA or UL listings.

Our products do not require any certification from the AGA, CSA or UL as our products are considered a stand-alone product by these agencies. We are told that we would need a certification if sand or lava rock would also need a certification. The agencies are franchise operations and they are privately owned and are not a government agency. These agencies are hired for mass production testing. AGA, CSA and or UL do not certify custom “one of a kind” projects. Custom burners need no certification as this only applies to production equipment. A certification costs about $15,000.00 and was developed for mass production to assure quality.

Any parts used in our custom assemblies, that would normally need AGA or UL, do in fact have these approvals. Parts with function need, and should have, some sort of approval as they are the components that have the potential to make a custom product unsafe. Non-functional items such as lava rock, Aquatic Glassel glass, sand, sheets of glass, steel, etc., do not need approval, as these items are only materials and not items that perform a function.

Carl Herkes

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FireBalls, FireShapes and FireStones

FireBalls – Fire Balls – Cannon Balls for the fireplace, some call them, are really gaining in popularity.  And they are not just for indoor use.  I sell just as many for outdoor fireplaces or fire pits.  There are some amazing projects going on out there, like 8 ft. long fire pits with rows of FireBalls in them.

FireBalls are not the only hot item.  FireStones are just as hot.  Fire pits are also one of the main uses of the FireStones.  With the different sizes and colors available, you can tailor the look to match your surroundings.

FireShapes, FireStones and FireBalls can also be used to directly replace your gas fire logs.  That’s right.  You can use your current burner and grate and in no time you have a whole different look in your fireplace.  This is particularly good news for those of you that own ventless or direct vent fireplaces and have not been able to install the glass.

Check them out in the shopping cart area!

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Propane Burners for Aquatic Glassel

Since custom propane burners are now available for use with Aquatic Glassel, I thought I would give a brief low-down on what type of fireplace you need to have and what to expect if you want to install this burner system.


  1. You must have a fully vented fireplace (with a wood-burning rating)
  2. Your fireplace must have Propane gas plumbed into it
  3. If your fireplace has doors, you must be able to leave them open while burning your fireplace

Installation Steps:

  1. Measure the front width, rear width and front-to-back dimensions of your fireplace floor.  Send these measurements to us along with a digital picture of the inside of the fire box, clearly showing where the gas line enters the fire box.
  2. After we receive your information, we will determine what size burner will fit inside your fireplace.  We will let you know what burner system to purchase.
  3. You purchase the recommended burner and wait up to 6 weeks before the burner ships
  4. Around the time the burner ships (or before) you pick out and order the base glass for your fireplace.  You can use the same fireplace dimensions to use in our online calculator to determine how many pounds of glass to purchase.
  5. You locate finely crushed (pea-size) lava rock to have on hand.  You may need up to 30 lbs (give or take) of the lava rock.
  6. Your burner arrives.  You use our downloadable Propane Burner Installation Manual to guide you through your installation.

That should give you a good idea of the procedure.  You are always free to contact us with questions.

UPDATE:  November 8, 2013

We now offer a propane fireplace burner section in our e-store.  You can add various decorative topping materials to the pan, such as FireBalls, FireStones or FireGlass.  When using FireGlass in the pan, you would not use the “pan filler material” that comes with the pan burner.


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101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life

On a side note, I recently co-authored a book that is going to print in a couple weeks.  It should be an interesting read.  I am not sure how many (and which) distributors will carry it at this time.  I’ll keep you posted as I find out.  This is the front cover.

 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life


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A Catalog is Coming

We are in process of creating a 40-50 page catalog and hope to be done in a couple months.  This will be a great way for people to order that are not too fond of using the Internet.  There will be a fax sheet for those that want to fax in orders.  Orders may still be called in as they are right now.

I will write a new post when the catalog is available.

Carl Herkes

Update: I’m sorry to report that the catalog project is at a stand-still. There have been too many pressing things getting in the way of it. I will post another update when completion of the catalog is within sight.

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Glass Toppers, Ice or Drops

Because the flames burn above the bed of glass, the glass stays free of soot.  When objects get touched by the yellow part of the flame, soot can deposit.  Keeping that in mind, the sizes of some of our glass products are starting to become pretty chunky (like 1 inch in diameter).  So to help avoid any traces of soot on your glass toppers, push them into the bed of glass to help “seat” them so they don’t stick up quite as high.  This is good practice if you are using the larger glass products.


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Managing SPAM


Because of my public email addresses, I am showered with close to 300 spam emails each day.  I started looking for a solution by browsing the web, and came across a wonderful plugin for Microsoft Outlook.  It is called SpamBayes.  It is easy to install and the results are immediate and keep getting better.  After only one day, only occasionally does a SPAM email get through to my inbox.  If they do, you click on a button to label it spam and the tool keeps getting smarter.  Best of all, it’s free.  You can go take a look at it here.


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