What to Know Before Firing Up Your Gas Fireplace
The holiday season is in full swing. This is the perfect time to light up your gas fireplace! Sitting beside a glowing hearth is a relaxing way to end a long day spent rushing around in Connecticut’s chilly weather. When friends or family come over, they’ll be happy to gather around the fireplace to chat or play games. Before you ignite your fireplace this season, there are a few steps you should take to ensure it is safe.
Gas fireplaces and gas fireplace inserts require less maintenance than wood-burning fireplaces, but they still need to be maintained annually.
Making the effort to service and inspect your gas appliances is a smart preventative measure. It reduces the risk of aggravated allergies and carbon monoxide poisoning. Follow these 5 simple steps to prepare your gas appliance for another winter:
Dust off the fireplace and blower.
You might think that lighting up the fireplace is the best way to clean it out, but it isn’t. Igniting a dusty fireplace can produce an unpleasant odor. If the blower is dusty, it can create a cloud of dust. Along with being unpleasant, igniting a dusty fireplace can aggravate allergies or trigger an asthma attack.
Use a rag and fireplace safe cleaner to dust off the ceramic log, rocks or glass beads inside the fireplace. Then use a stiff-bristle brush to dust off the blower’s fan. Use a vacuum to clean up the dust. If you choose to vacuum out the fireplace, make sure that your vacuum doesn’t suck up any fire glass beads, or false embers made of ceramic wool. (When the fireplace isn’t in use, the false embers may look like pieces of gray fuzz.)
Clean the glass doors.
Fireplace doors play an important role in protecting your home by stopping carbon monoxide and sparks from escaping. That’s why they should be able to close tightly. The glass on the doors shouldn’t have any flaws. A flaw in the glass, like a scratch, can weaken it and make it unable to safely endure the high heat of the fire.
Use a soft cloth and fireplace safe glass cleaner to clean off the glass fireplace doors. Make sure that you do not use a glass cleaner with ammonia in it. Ammonia glass cleaners, like Windex, are too harsh for fireplace doors.
While you are cleaning the glass doors, check for any abrasions or cracks. Also, test the doors to ensure they close tightly. If you discover that your fireplace doors are damaged or misaligned, they should be replaced or repaired before you ignite the fireplace.
Test your carbon monoxide detector.
Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas that’s released when fuel burns. Since it is tasteless and odorless, the only way to know if carbon monoxide is leaking into your home is with a detector. Since gas fireplaces produce this deadly gas, you should have a carbon monoxide detector located near your fireplace.
Check that it is working and that the batteries don’t need changed, before you start using your gas fireplace again.
Check the pilot light.
If the pilot light for your fireplace is out, it can be a serious safety risk. When you turn your fireplace on, instead of igniting a fire, natural gas will leak out into your home. Unknowingly lighting a cigarette or candle in the room could cause a serious house fire.
Follow the instructions in your user manual to check that the pilot light for your fireplace is lit. If it is out, contact a professional to re-ignite it.
Schedule a gas appliance inspection.
Gas fireplaces, gas inserts, and gas stoves are complex systems. Many things can go wrong from minor gas leaks to damaged or broken parts. One faulty component could make your gas appliance unsafe to use.
Scheduling an inspection with a professional technician is the best way to ensure that your gas fireplace is safe to use. They will be able to fix the problem on the spot unless a special part is needed.
Following these five steps should give you peace of mind when you light up your gas fireplace. If you need a trustworthy fireplace technician in Central Connecticut, contact Northeastern Chimney! We are the only CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps and fireplace technicians in West Hartford Connecticut.