A gas fireplace is always an excellent addition to any living space as it is comfortable, convenient, and isn’t as messy compared to a conventional wood-burning unit. However, most homeowners rarely think of maintaining, inspecting, or cleaning their gas fireplace until they notice that something is wrong or if the unit malfunctions. Whether you take some time to check your unit out or schedule an appointment with a certified technician, maintaining your gas fireplace ultimately saves you time and money.
Neglected gas fireplaces could develop a number of costly and potentially dangerous problems. In this post, we point out common gas fireplace problems, maintenance tips, and how you can clean your unit.
The aesthetic appeal and convenience of gas fireplaces are hard to beat. While gas fireplaces require little maintenance, you may encounter some of these problems every once in a while.
If your unit’s pilot light is working, but the burner is not igniting but you do not smell any gas:
Check whether the thermostat is turned on and that the room temperature is lower than the thermostat’s setting.
This could also be a result of a closed gas valve. Most modern gas fireplaces are made in such a way that the handle of an open gas valve is in line with the unit’s piping. If they are not aligned, the gas valve is closed.
The lack of ignition or if your burner is sluggish, this may be as a result of a faulty or malfunctioned thermopile which works in the same way as a car engine’s spark plug. The thermopile may be incapable of producing the ignition spark due to loose or damaged wiring.
In older units, the problem may be as a result of an incorrectly placed or a failed thermocouple. This is a metal rod between the gas valve and the pilot flame.
While it is not unusual for your unit to produce some noise while it’s working, you should be alarmed by:-
This is usually a source of panic for most homeowners. However, you should not get alarmed if the smell is not similar to that of sulfur. Some of the most common causes of strange odors or smells from your unit include:
If you suspect that the gas is leaking or if you smell burning wires, shut off the unit, vent the house, and contact a professional immediately.
A strong draft could blow the power light out. This can be prevented by securing the vent cap firmly and following the manufacturer’s instructions to relight. Replace or repair the vent cap if it is broken. If the power light still refuses to turn on, the thermopile or its wiring could be damaged, in which case you should contact a technician.
Your unit’s glass door may develop a cloudy haze due to continued use. You can easily remedy this using a cleaner made specifically for the glass door.
Soot buildup is usually an airflow problem. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to decrease the gas flow and increase oxygen flow. You may notice a change in the flame to a bluish tint, but it effectively takes care of the soot problem.
As a homeowner, you will want to maximize your unit’s service life as well as ensure its safe use. You can only achieve this through regular inspection, cleaning, and maintenance.
Ideally, a gas fireplace system should be inspected annually for general wear and tear and performance every year by yourself or a licensed technician. During the inspection, all internal components, including the gas lines, gas logs, firebox, vents, and so on, are checked. The unit’s exterior is also inspected to ensure that the framework holds up well. The glass door is checked for signs of cracking or chipping.
A technician is better placed to identify and potential problems. By engaging a professional chimney company, you can have your unit inspected and cleaned at the same time. A qualified technician will also check to see whether your carbon monoxide detectors are in good working condition.
While it is obvious that a wood-burning fireplace needs regular cleaning due to soot and creosote buildup, this is not the case with gas fireplaces due to the absence of smoke. However, one of the biggest gas fireplace maintenance issues is cleaning it.
Not all gas fireplaces are the same as some are yellow-flamed, while others have a blue flame. Some are vented, while others are not. Whichever gas fireplace you own, keeping it clean ensures that it runs optimally and maintains its aesthetic appeal.
Follow the steps below when cleaning your gas fireplace:
Ensure that the pilot light and gas valve is turned off before proceeding with the cleaning. The fireplace should also be cool to room temperature. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations when cleaning your unit.
All gas-fueled appliances, including water heaters, burners, and gas fireplaces do not produce visible soot as other fuels do. However, they still deposit corrosive substances on your chimney. Lack of regular gas fireplace and chimney inspection could lead to costly repairs and in the worst-case scenario, fire hazards. Due to the potentially dangerous nature of gas-powered systems, we recommend contacting a professional if you are unsure of how to proceed with the unit’s inspection, cleaning, and maintenance.