Year after year, sales of gas log fireplaces continue to increase. Homeowners love that they are easy to use, efficient, and have significantly lower maintenance costs than wood burning heating appliances. However, despite the relatively small amount of upkeep gas logs require, they can be damaged or deteriorate over time.
While gas create a clean burning and efficient heat, it can be dangerous if not used correctly. One of the most common problems with gas logs occur when homeowners continue to use them if they are damaged. If this happens, call Lords Chimney; we fix gas logs!
Gas log maintenance
Just like any other heating appliance, gas logs need regular upkeep and maintenance in order to keep working their best. Both the interior and exterior of the fireplace should be cleaned at least twice per year; doing this removes any dust or soot that may accumulate an impact gas log performance. When cleaning the inside of the gas log, use a clean, dry cloth or soft bristled paint brush. Care should be taken not to bump, move, or shift the gas log components as even movements as small as a few millimeters can impact performance.
In addition, the fireplace’s glass or metal exterior can be cleaned as often as needed to removes dust, handprints, or smudges. However, homeowners should try to use specialized cleaners as often as possible, even for the fireplace’s exterior; some commercial cleaners do not react well with the ambient heat from the fireplace.
For all gas log fireplaces, the user’s manual is one of the most invaluable resources a homeowner has. The manual will often have specific information on cleaning, operating, and maintaining your specific fireplace unit. If you think something is wrong with your gas log or have noticed a change in performance, your user’s manual may be able to provide you with troubleshooting questions or tips in order to help you identify the problem,
When do I need a chimney sweep?
While gas logs have much easier maintenance than other heating appliances, many homeowners are still surprised to learn that they still need to have their chimney swept each year! Gas logs can still suffer from the buildup of creosote – especially if they are not regularly swept; likewise, some high efficiency units are at higher risk for water condensation or incomplete combustion.
If at any time you begin to experience usage problems with your gas log, it is important to call a chimney sweep as soon as possible. Things like smoke production, an oddly colored flame, a strong gassy or smoky odor, or staining on your chimney’s exterior are all signs that your gas log may be experiencing a serious problem. If you experience these or any other unusual chimney symptoms, stop using your gas log immediately and call a chimney sweep.
With regular maintenance, your gas log can last for years to come. However, even regular maintenance doesn’t guarantee you won’t have a problem that needs professional attention. When you need your gas log fixed, contact Lords Chimney to have the job done right!
Gas fireplaces continue to grow in popularity due to their energy savings, ease of use, and low maintenance. Gas logs are particularly popular due to their ability to recreate the look and feel of a wood burning fire at the push of a button. While there is significantly less work with a gas fireplace compared to a wood burning one, gas fireplaces still need regular cleaning and upkeep.
Although gas logs do not have ashes or soot to remove after each use, they should be regularly cleaned to maintain efficiency and safety. Cleaning a gas log is an easy process, but special care should be taken to ensure that no fireplace parts or pieces are damaged.
Cleaning your gas log
The interior and exterior portions of your gas log fireplace should be cleaned at least twice a year to prevent an excessive buildup of soot or dust. However, only cleaners that are specially designed for gas fireplaces should be used. Other chemical or homemade cleaning agents may have abrasive qualities on the gas, metal, or ceramic parts of the fireplace. In addition, the chemicals in non-fireplace cleaners may react when the fireplace is relit for use. A specialized cleaner can be purchased at many fireplace retailers.
The exterior glass and metal can be wiped down as often as needed using a clean, damp cloth or other specialized cleaner. The burners, control compartments, and ceramic logs can be gently cleaned with a dry cloth or soft bristled paintbrush. A vacuum may also be used, but can should be taken not to shift or move the gas log or its components.
Before attempting to clean your gas logs, make sure that the gas valve has been completely shut off. Likewise, none of the fireplace components should be warm to the touch from recent use, as the heat may react negatively with the cleaners.
Referencing the manufacturer’s manual is another way to ensure that you are safely and correctly cleaning your fireplace logs and other components. The manual should give detailed instructions on how to safely clean the fireplace with minimal risks.
If you believe you have damaged any of the components of your gas log fireplace during cleaning, contact a professional before using the fireplace again. Even shifting a gas log a few inches can impact both performance and safety.
Do I need a chimney sweep?
Many homeowners are surprised to find that they still need their chimney swept after installing a gas log. Gas appliances still produce small amounts of creosote, which can coat the inside of the flue. In addition, high efficiency modern gas fireplaces are also at risk for incomplete combustion and water condensation.
An improperly sized chimney or flue cannot create sufficient drafting for a gas fireplace, leading to incomplete combustion. When this occurs, gasses such as carbon monoxide may linger in the fireplace. Likewise, accumulating water condensation can be corrosive to the flue lining.
Having a regular chimney cleaning and inspection can help protect your family against any emerging chimney or fireplace issues, as well as ensure that your gas fireplace is still running safely and efficiently. If you have questions about how to clean your gas fireplace or need to schedule a chimney inspection, contact Lord’s Chimney today!
Direct vent gas fireplaces have grown in popularity in recent years. With more realistic looking flames, a multitude of style options, and incredible ease of use, gas fireplaces allow families to enjoy the ambiance and warmth of a fire without the hassle and work associated with wood.
While gas fireplaces are more convenient and easy to use, they still have safety risks associated with them. A primary concern with gas fireplaces – especially in families with young children or pets – is the risk of burns associated with the hot glass fronts of the fireplace units.
New fireplace safety standards
Beginning on January 1, 2015, all newly manufactured gas fireplaces and stoves with glass fronts will be required to include an installed protective barrier. This will apply to all appliances that have a glass surface temperature of 172 degrees or higher when in use.
“While gas fireplaces, stoves and inserts are a great asset to any home, the glass can become very hot during operation and stay hot long afterwards, creating a potential burn hazard,” said Hearth, Patio, and Barbeque Association president Jack Goldman. “In the past several years, there have been reports of burns involving young children and others who may not been aware of the potential risk of touching the hot glass on gas fireplaces, inserts and stoves. While we believe these incidents are few, even one is too many. We believe the new safety standard will provide greater protection to young children and others with special needs.”
This new standard was originally approved in 2012 by the American National Standards Institute. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission worked with the fireplace and hearth industry to implement the standard in an effort to protect families from accidental burns. The standard will apply to all units manufactured after January 1, 2015. Retailers may continue to sell units manufactured before this date that do not meet the new safety standards.
Safety tips for families
If you have an existing gas appliance, there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and your family from accidental burns. These common sense safety tips can help keep everyone in your home safe.
- Don’t leave children or pets unattended in front of a fireplace that is in use or has been turned off
- Teach children about fireplace safety and to never touch the glass of the fireplace
- Keep the remote control of the fireplace out of reach to prevent it from being accidentally turned on
- Install a switch lock to prevent children from turning on any gas appliances
Additional safety products
There are a number of safety products available to homeowners who already own gas appliances. Protective barriers or screens are the easiest and most common safety precaution. Safety screens come in a variety of styles and can be attached directly to the front of the fireplace or left as freestanding screens. Likewise, baby gates or barriers can be used to keep children and pets away from the fireplace when it is in use.
When installing aftermarket screens directly to the front of your hearth, please be aware that they may change the functionality of your fireplace. Check with a fireplace professional before installing something directly to the fireplace.
If you have questions about making your gas appliance safer, contact Lord’s Chimney today. Our expert staff is highly trained and ready to make sure you can enjoy your gas fireplace while keeping your family safe.