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What to Know Before Firing up Your Gas Fireplace

When you’re getting ready to fire up your gas fireplace or insert for another season, there are a few things you need to know to make the upcoming months safe and enjoyable.

Give it a good cleaning

Gas fireplaces and gas inserts perform best when they’re clean. Fortunately, cleaning gas appliances is a lot easier than cleaning wood-burning units.

Clean up gas logsCleaning a gas fireplace/insert involve these basic tasks:

  • Vacuum out accumulated dust (be careful not to vacuum up ceramic wool “embers,” if your appliance has them).
  • Wash the gas logs, rocks and/or beads with mild detergent and rinse well. This can be done at the sink.
  • Clean the blower by first unplugging it then brushing and vacuuming up any dust. This will prevent a dust storm when you crank up the unit again.
  • Use a mild detergent and sponge to wipe down the interior of the firebox.

Check the pilot light

Pilot lights rarely suffer damage, but they’re a critical part of gas fireplace operation, so before running your unit, make sure the light works and that none of the wires are loose, frayed or exposed. If there are issues with the wiring, it’s best to have a professional fireplace technician take a look.

Inspect and clean the glass fireplace doors

If glass doors on your fireplace are hazy, a good window cleaner should solve the problem. While you’re at it, check that the doors’ seals are in good shape and airtight. If the glass panes are loose or broken, have them replaced. Glass fireplace doors add an aesthetic quality to your appliance, and they also help to contain dangerous gasses such as carbon monoxide. Make sure your doors are in perfect working order.

Clean the vent

Gas Fireplace and Chimney InspectionIf your gas fireplace is a vented model, it’s a good idea to inspect the vent before using the unit again when cold weather arrives. Gas vent systems don’t fill up with creosote the way wood-burning appliance vents do, but you may discover that debris, animal nests and other obstructions have gotten into the system during the off-season. Depending on the extent of the obstruction, either clean it out or hire a chimney and stove technician to do the job.

Arrange for a fireplace inspection

Finally, the best way to ensure safe operation of your gas fireplace or insert during the burn season is to schedule a fall inspection by a CSIA-certified technician. Inspections normally include a thorough assessment of all gas line connections, the pilot light, the ventilation system, fireplace doors and other components.

Best practices for safety

Any household appliance that produces fire potentially can be dangerous. When you’re using your gas fireplace, make sure someone is nearby at all times. Never leave your house with the appliance operating.

Also, make sure young children understand that fireplaces are not play toys. Many children are injured each year by getting too close to hot fireplace doors or the flames themselves.

Hudson Valley Chimney of Poughkeepsie, NY, is here to help get your gas or wood fireplace in great shape for winter. Our primary goal is safety for you and your family. If it’s time for chimney or vent cleaning, fireplace inspection or appliance repair, we’re ready to go to work. Call us today at (845) 471-1071.

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