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How to Safely Operate a Gas Fireplace

gas fireplace service, columbia county nyGas fireplaces are increasingly popular as a source of home heating in New Windsor and throughout the Hudson Valley, New York, region. They offer the convenience of instant heating with cleaner-burning natural gas or liquid propane, making them easier to clean and maintain. Depending on the gas fireplace model, they are as easy to operate as turning a fireplace key or pressing a button. However, like any heating appliance, it is vital to take the necessary precautions to operate a gas fireplace safely.



Review Your Fireplace Instruction Manual

The owner’s manual that came with your gas fireplace contains several pieces of vital information, such as how to safely operate your gas fireplace, maintenance and care instructions, safety precautions, and troubleshooting tips, among others. Therefore, it is essential to review the entire manual before lighting your fireplace and keep it handy for future reference. If you can’t locate your manual, contact the gas fireplace manufacturer, your local hearth dealer, or Hudson Valley Chimney in the Middletown-Newburgh-Poughkeepsie, NY, region for assistance.

Test Your Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector

While gas fireplaces are built with safety in mind, it is essential to ensure there is a working CO detector on every level of your home in the event harmful fumes are leaking into your living space. Since carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas, a CO detector is the only way to know if there are unsafe levels of this potentially deadly gas in your home. In addition, CO detectors are readily available, inexpensive, and simple to install.

Open the Flue Damper

Also, make sure that the flue damper is open before lighting the fireplace so that the harmful fumes will be expelled from your home. The damper must remain in the open position whenever the fireplace is in use or the pilot light is on to prevent the build-up of unsafe levels of carbon monoxide gas in your living area.

Safely Lighting a Gas Fireplace with a Key

  • First, you may need to remove the glass cover to gain access to the burner.
  • Second, insert your fireplace or hex key into the keyhole near the fireplace, but don’t turn it yet. The key controls the flow of gas into the burner.
  • Third, you will need a long lighter or extra-long matchstick to light the burner. When you’re ready to ignite the burner, turn the fireplace key to start the gas flow (you may hear a hissing sound) and pull the lighter trigger while holding it near the burner. You may need a family member or friend to turn the key if it is out of reach when lighting the burner. The burner should ignite immediately, so be prepared to pull your hand away from the flames immediately. To avoid accidental burns, wear heat-resistant gloves when lighting the burner. Use the fireplace key to adjust the fire.
  • Finally, replace the fireplace cover if it was removed to access the burner.

Operating a Gas Fireplace Using a Control Panel

  • First, locate the bright red ignition button and pilot control knob on the control panel. The control panel may be hidden behind a cover for aesthetics.
  • Second, make sure the pilot control knob is in the OFF position. Ensuring the pilot light has been turned off for at least 5 minutes before lighting the fireplace will ensure residual gas has safely dissipated.
  • Third, Turn the knob to the PILOT position.
  • Fourth, when you’re ready to light the pilot, push in the pilot knob and hold it in place while simultaneously depressing the red ignition button. Keep pressing the igniter button every second until the pilot lights. When the pilot is lit, keep the pilot knob pressed in for about 15 to 30 seconds to ensure the pilot stays on, then release the knob.
  • Fifth, turn the pilot knob to the ON position. The knob may also have low, medium, and high indicator settings to control the flames for the desired heat level.
  • Lastly, close or replace the control panel cover if it was removed.

cleaning gas fireplace and logs, hyde park nyAnnual Gas Fireplace Inspections and Cleaning in Hudson Valley

Although gas fireplaces burn significantly cleaner than their wood-burning counterparts, they have parts that can wear out, and dirt and debris can collect in the unit and interfere with its safe operation. Therefore, annual inspections and cleaning are essential to ensuring the continued safe operation of your gas fireplace. In addition, local ordinances, community regulations or your homeowners’ insrance may require chimney inspections annually to reduce the risk of fire and exposure to harmful fumes. Contact Hudson Valley Chimney to schedule your gas fireplace inspection and cleaning today!

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