Gas fireplace maintenance tips

The obvious advantage of a gas fireplace is that you simply have to turn it on to enjoy the ambiance of a cozy fire. They are an effective way to zone heat a portion of your home when you don’t want to turn the thermostat up to heat the whole house. Gas fireplaces burn cleaner than their solid fuel cousins and don't produce smoke pollution and other byproducts. There’s no sweeping up ashes and loading the unit with firewood, so mess is nonexistent.

Now that the cooler weather is arriving, it’s time to get your gas fireplace ready for the heating season. There are a few proactive steps that you can do on your own, but most likely you should engage a professional for your annual service. Gas fireplaces should have their burners; ignition and ventilation systems checked each year. Your local professional will ensure that the unit is offering its potential heating efficiency and inspect it for safe operation.

The most important source of safety and maintenance information about your gas fireplace is your owner’s manual. Usually the manual clearly indicates what you can do to maintain the unit and points out guidelines for safe operation.

Here are some tips on things you can do to maintain and ensure safe operation of the appliance:

  • Visually inspect the unit before each burning season.
  • Any maintenance that you undertake should be done when the unit is cool and energy sources are shut off.
  • Keep combustibles well away from your gas fireplace, they get very, very hot
  • Never wipe the viewing glass on your fireplace with a moist or damp cloth when the unit is hot - it may crack and can be dangerous
  • If your unit has an indoor circulation fan, make sure that passageways are clean and clear.
  • External venting should be clear of vegetation and storage
  • Unusual odours can be signals that repairs may be required. If you smell natural gas or have other concerns, contact your service provider immediately
  • Properly adjusted gas burners should produce blue flames with yellowish tips
  • The viewing glass should be clear
  • Check to see if soot has formed on the logs
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector near your fireplace (unless you have a sealed direct-vent unit).

For more tips on your gas fireplace click here.

Hugh Cairns welcomes your questions, comments and suggestions. Contact him through www.subject2homeinspections.com or interiorinfrared.com.

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About the Author

When you need advice or guidance with DIY home improvement and repairs, Hugh Cairns can help you with the answers.

Home improvements can be rewarding, turn your home into a nicer more comfortable place to live, and increase its value.

Whether you are renovating your kitchen, converting a loft, giving a room a lick of paint or making improvements to your home’s energy efficiency, this column is here to guide you with useful information and key things to remember.

Do you have a renovation question or concern? Please feel free to send Hugh your questions. Contact him through www.subject2homeinspections.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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