Does Your Gas Fireplace Require Maintenance?
Many homes have a gas fireplace, but homeowners generally don’t think about servicing them until something goes wrong. Unfortunately, this usually occurs at the most inopportune time. Whether you take a few moments to check out some of the more obvious things yourself or schedule an appointment with a certified fireplace service technician, both can save you time and money down the road.
GAS FIREPLACE SERVICING GUIDELINES
The initial and foremost guideline of any gas fireplace system is to have it inspected every year. With professional chimney companies, you can usually have your annual chimney cleaning and gas inspection scheduled at the same time. Matter of fact, your whole system should be inspected annually, top to bottom. A fire burning inside your home is important to keep safe and well maintained.
GUIDELINES FOR DIFFERENT TYPES OF GAS SYSTEMS
You may or may not know that there are different types of gas fireplaces. As such, the guidelines for servicing each different type are somewhat different. If a model has a standing pilot—one in which the pilot light stays on all the time—then the most important regular service item is the pilot assembly. Some units have a pilot light that’s only on when the unit is in use, whereas others use electronic ignition to light the burner directly without a pilot system at all; these won’t need servicing quite as often.
For the last few decades, all vent free gas fireplaces and gas log sets have been manufactured with an oxygen depletion sensor to monitor for safe operation of the appliance, which should be cleaned every year to prevent it from becoming more sensitive and potentially causing nuisance shutdowns. If you’re particularly handy—someone who can change the oil or spark plugs in their car without breaking something—you should be able to handle this task; however, if you’re the slightest bit apprehensive about handling anything dealing with gas, it’s best to leave this to a trained professional. Better safe than sorry!
The goal is really just to clear out the accumulation of sediment in the pilot opening. A can of compressed air—ones used for keyboard cleaning will do the trick—may be used with the included straw to direct air toward the opening to clean it out. If you opt to do this yourself, remember to make sure the pilot is OFF before beginning. If the pilot assembly is at least five years old or if you live close to salt water, this method likely won’t be as effective as it once was, leaving you needing to seek professional assistance!
DESIGNED WITH CLEANER BURNING IN MIND
Ventless logs are designed to burn very cleanly; as such, if there are any black, sooty deposits on your logs, stop using them immediately and make sure your logs and burner are set up correctly. If you aren’t absolutely sure that everything is correct, please stop using your fireplace until you can have it look at by a professional technician. Other fireplaces and gas logs need cleaning as well, but perhaps not as often, depending on how frequently they’re used. Vented gas logs should be cleaned regularly if there’s any sooty buildup; there are commercially- available sprays on the market to help with this task.
Direct vent gas fireplaces have fixed glass panels that will likely need annual cleaning to stay clear. If the glass is collecting a black residue (soot), the fireplace should be adjusted to remedy this issue. If the glass has a gray or white film, however, there is no need to worry because this is completely normal, as there are chemical compounds in the gas itself that produce the residue. The use glass cleaners containing ammonia is a huge no-no. Water and a soft cloth will usually suffice as long as you make this is part of your regular cleaning routine; adding a little vinegar to the water may save you a little elbow grease. Tougher deposits may require special fireplace glass cleaner to ensure that the job is done properly. Don’t forget to dry your glass completely and check for streaks and fingerprints before re-installing the glass!
Here at Chimney Saver Solutions, your family’s sense of security and safety is important to us. All repair needs are unique, and properly solving gas fireplace problems requires assessment by an experienced chimney technician. If you’re having issues with your gas fireplace, give us a call, as our skilled technicians are trained to install, maintain and repair all kinds of gas fireplaces. We can bring your appliance back to optimum function again, and get you and your family back to enjoying it, rather than worrying about it.