A gas fireplace offers so many advantages it’s a wonder everyone doesn’t have one. From their clean and odorless burn to their efficient heat output, gas fireplaces make a great centerpiece in any home. Unfortunately, like any appliance, they can experience problems that, if not addressed, can go beyond an annoying little issue to a dangerous threat to your household.
The Chimney Doctor loves providing our customers with unmatched chimney and fireplace services, while also providing them with all the joys a fireplace offers to a home. Included in our unwavering commitment to our client’s satisfaction is their safety and the safety of their property. That is why we are giving you some tips on what to keep an eye on when it comes to the care of your appliance, some common problems you might experience, and how you can troubleshoot those problems.
Common Problems With Gas Fireplaces
- Soot Accumulation: As you use your gas fireplace, the byproducts of burning can build up on your burners and the glass doors. While gas fireplaces are popular in part because of their ability to burn cleanly, all flames are going to put off a small amount of soot and other chemical byproducts. Over time, you will notice the visible signs of these on the doors and interior components of your fireplace.
- Strange Odors: Another reason some people choose gas fireplaces over their wood-burning counterparts is because of their odorless burn. That said, when dust, dirt, or debris accumulates on the burners of your fireplace it can cause the gas to burn inefficiently. This can then cause unpleasant odors to come from your fireplace. In addition, you may experience unwanted smells from your fireplace because of blocked ventilation passages.
- Pilot Light Issues: Your pilot light is a small continuous flame that ignites the main burner. If it isn’t receiving enough air due to accumulated dust or grime, a faulty thermocouple, or an issue with gas supply, you’ll have issues operating your gas fireplace system.
Why Do I Have Moths in My Fireplace?
Fun fact: Moths are naturally drawn to light sources, which means that the dancing bright fire of a gas fireplace is like, well… a moth to a flame. The dryness and warmth within the fireplace make the environment of your fireplace a perfect place for them to set up a home. Not only that, they love dust and debris that often collect in poorly maintained fireplaces.
This is another reason why regular gas fireplace maintenance is such a must! No one wants pests in their fireplace, and it’s not a good spot for them when all is said and done – or ideal for you, as a homeowner.
Why Gas Fireplace Problems Can Be Dangerous
Many of these common problems, when addressed quickly, are nearly always minor and easy to fix. However, if unnoticed or ignored, they can become dangerous hazards. Here are some of the dangers you should be aware of.
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: When your gas is not fully venting off the burnt gas, you are experiencing what we call incomplete drafting or venting. When this happens, your fireplace can emit an invisible and odorless gas called carbon monoxide. This gas is poisonous and, when allowed to collect in your home, it can cause serious health risks. Last year over 100,000 people were hospitalized because of carbon monoxide poisoning, while over 400 people died from it.
- Gas Leaks: A faulty pilot light, a crack in your gas supply pipes, ignition problems, or a thermocouple malfunction can all lead to gas leaking into your home. Natural or propane gas is extremely flammable, which makes it a hazard when it is leaking out from the places it is supposed to be. A small spark could ignite a natural gas leak causing fire or explosions.
- Fire Hazards: Collected dust, dirt, and debris within a fireplace can ignite causing uncontrolled fire within the fireplace. If left alone, it can cause damage to the internal components of the fireplace, which then puts the rest of the home at risk of fire. Another way this happens is if the heat from the burning gas isn’t allowed to escape due to dirty glass doors.
Preventing Gas Fireplace Issues
✔ Keep It Clean
Many of the most common problems in gas fireplaces come from dirt and debris being able to collect in the fireplace and around the components that make it work. While gas fireplaces are thought of as a clean alternative to wood-burning fireplaces, it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be inspected and cleaned on a yearly basis. Simply servicing and cleaning your gas fireplace can reduce the risk of improper combustion and inefficient burning, which then lowers the risk of carbon monoxide buildup and gas leaks.
Every part of the fireplace should be cleaned on a regular basis. This includes your chimney and ventilation system, your burners and gas logs, the glass doors, the firebox, and even your pilot light assembly. Those pesky moths that have taken up residence in your fireplace will be less inclined to stay if the fireplace is regularly cleaned, as well.
✔ Book Regular Inspections
The truth is, there are some things that a professional is equipped to look for and address that often go unnoticed otherwise. Our techs at the Chimney Doctor are not only great at cleaning up your fireplace, but also at inspecting all of the components that keep your fireplace working.
We make sure everything from your thermocouple to your pilot light assembly are working in their most efficient and safest fashion. We seal openings which keep moths from getting in, and we even make sure that air is flowing properly, so that by-products are directed safely outside where they should be.
Reach Out Online or Call Today
The best way to stay safe is by allowing the professionals to help you do it. The Chimney Doctor takes your safety seriously. Call us today at 970-234-3330 or reach out online to set up an inspection and maintenance schedule, so you can enjoy your fireplace with peace of mind.