If you have gas logs that have turned black with soot (see Fig. #1 & #2 below), odds are you did not cover the burner completely with the sand and embers that came with your burner (see Fig. #3 below). This important step during installation is commonly misunderstood by DIY'ers because they think they will get more flames and do not understand why it is necessary. So why is it necessary? The sand and embers slow down and spread out the flow of gas and provide the proper air to fuel mixture. If the sand is not there or does not cover the burner tubes completely, the gas burns too rich and produces soot like you see in the example below. Gas logs that burn liquid propane use vermiculite instead of sand because propane is heavier than natural gas and requires a less dense media to burn properly.
Another cause for sooting is what we call "The Poor Man's Gas Log". This is where someone places some fake logs on their wood burning grate and uses their log lighter as a burner. This is essentially produces the same results as described above.
Bottom Line: make sure you use a proper gas log burner system and cover the burner completely with the sand and embers that come with it.
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