Maintenance Needed for Gas Fireplaces
A lot of homeowners wonder about the best way to maintain a gas-burning fireplace. Everyone knows that wood fireplaces need a fair amount of cleaning and maintenance, but what about gas appliances, which burn a much cleaner fuel?
The simple answer is: gas fireplaces should be inspected once a year, but the maintenance won’t be as involved as taking care of a wood-burning appliance.
Issues with gas fireplaces and inserts
Soot buildup: Soot accumulates in gas fireplace systems just like with wood systems, only to a lesser degree. Soot is corrosive, and when left alone, it can damage a fireplace’s vent pipe and other interior surfaces.
Dust: Over time, dust builds up and can block gas vents and other components, leading to inefficient (and possibly dangerous) fires and general system malfunction.
Inefficient burns: Whether caused by dust or some other reason, when gas (natural and propane) doesn’t burn fully, dangerous toxins such as carbon monoxide can leave the fireplace and enter your room.
Gas leaks: Gas lines need to be checked periodically to ensure they’re fitted correctly and aren’t damaged. You don’t want gas – even a small amount – drifting into your home.
Critters: Birds, squirrels and other small animals often get inside fireplace vent systems and build nests. Some of the animals die inside the system. Both scenarios can cause combustion gases to draft sluggishly and cause a back up.
Tree debris: Another drafting problem can be caused by leaves, twigs and other tree debris getting into your gas fireplace vent system.
Components: Various components such as glass fireplace doors, pilot lights, gaskets and blowers work together to keep gas fireplaces running safely. Damage to these components could cause dangerous operating conditions over time.
Improper installation: A faulty installation of your gas fireplace could lead to the above-mentioned problems and many others.
Maintaining a gas fireplace
If you’ve recently had a new gas-burning fireplace or insert installed, there are two things you can do to ensure that it works safely and efficiently:
1. Familiarize yourself with the language in your owner’s manual so you can operate the system correctly
2. Schedule professional fireplace inspections, maintenance and cleaning once a year
If you’ve just moved into a home with a gas fireplace, it’s a good idea to have it inspected soon. Don’t rely on a home inspector’s evaluation; rather, let a licensed fireplace and chimney professional look at it.
Finally, if your gas fireplace and vent system has been or may have been damaged by lightning strikes, earthquakes, water leaks, powerful winds or any other events, it’s a smart idea to have it inspected before using it again. Often, you won’t be able to see problems with the appliance that a trained inspector will spot quickly.
By scheduling regular maintenance of your gas fireplace, you will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your appliance and its venting system are being well cared for and working in a safe, efficient manner.
Above & Beyond Chimney Service of Dedham, MA, provides licensed gas fireplace inspections and maintenance services throughout Massachusetts’ South Shore region. We’re here to help all year long. Speak with a fireplace expert today at (781) 383-0415.