Gas Fireplaces Need Annual Inspections
If you have a gas fireplace, you probably have an appreciation for the convenience that these environmentally friendly appliances provide. Modern-day ceramic logs are very authentic-looking and can hardly be compared with attempts at realistic logs from decades past. Instead of the hassles of buying, chopping, stacking, drying, and hauling in firewood for burning and the maintenance of creosote and ash, all that is needed to enjoy the warmth of a beautiful gas fireplace is to turn it on. Gas fireplaces are low-maintenance appliances, but they are not no-maintenance fireplaces. It is important for a gas fireplace to have an annual inspection, for the sake of safety and performance of the appliance, according to the National Fireplace Institute (NFI).
Gas fireplace systems involve heat, flames, and venting, which is why the help of a professional is important. The potential problems associated with gas fireplaces differ greatly from wood-burning fireplaces, but they are still important safety issues.
There are three venting options for gas fireplaces, those being:
- A natural vent, such as a factory-built metal chimney or an existing masonry chimney fitted with a flue or liner of the appropriate size.
- A direct vent, which draws outdoor air in for combustion and then expels it through a venting system that either goes up through the roof or directly out through the nearest wall of the home.
- Vent-free gas fireplaces use a technology which makes it possible to forgo venting. The technology basically burns up combustion gases, and venting is unnecessary.
If a gas log venting system becomes obstructed, the result can be that toxic fumes such as carbon monoxide enter the home. Carbon monoxide is known as the “Silent Killer” because it is odorless and tasteless. Without a carbon monoxide detector, occupants of your home may not get any warning about the deadly fumes in time to escape with their lives.
There are several potential causes of venting obstructions. In chimneys without chimney caps, animals and debris can get inside the flue. Birds can build nests in the chimney, making it potentially very dangerous to use your gas fireplace. During annual inspections, the venting system is checked by a professional who knows how to recognize existing problems, even those that are not immediately apparent with the naked eye.
There are many things that can go wrong with a gas fireplace, all of which an experienced chimney professional will be familiar with. The following are just a few examples of components of a gas fireplace which may need to be repaired or replaced because they are malfunctioning:
- The thermocouple and thermopile need to be periodically cleaned or they can fail to function properly.
- The lighting and ignition of the gas fireplace should operate smoothly and extend to all ports; if that isn’t happening, repair is needed.
- Burner tops can begin to corrode or ports can become plugged.
- The burners should be checked to ensure that they are free from cobwebs, debris, pet hair, and dust.
- The gasket seal and glass assembly should be inspected. If, for example, there is a scratch on the glass, it could end up shattering and causing injury.
There are other potential threats and malfunctions that can be detected and resolved with an annual inspection of your gas fireplace. Contact our chimney professionals today to ensure safe use and proper operation of your gas fireplace.