Whether you have a gas fireplace, gas stove, or gas log set in your home or are considering investing in one, you may find yourself wondering whether or not they require the same care and attention as wood-burning options. After all, many gas appliances don’t even have chimneys… right? Well, that all depends on what you wind up purchasing, or inheriting when you buy your home. Learn more about some of the different types of gas fireplaces below. Then, rely on The Chimney Doctor for all of your maintenance, repair, and installation needs!
Fireplaces and Stoves vs Gas Log Sets
If you have a ‘gas fireplace’ the first thing you want to determine is whether you have a gas log set (vented or ventless) installed into a masonry or factory built fireplace, whether it is a fireplace cabinet with a set of logs inside. Depending on what you have the inspection and maintenance requirements can vary quite a bit. There are host of options available ranging from 1) log sets only approved for masonry fireplaces, 2) log sets that can only be installed into an approved existing factory built wood burning fireplace, 3) gas inserts lined through an approved masonry or factory built system, 4) ventless gas fireplace cabinets or gas stoves that require no venting whatsoever, or 5) vented (b-vent or direct-vent) gas fireplaces and stoves.
Vented vs Ventless
Many ventless options may not require a chimney to exhaust the byproducts of combustion but some gas log sets still use and may require an existing chimney to dissipate the heat generated by burning. In the case of vented gas logs they require a function, code-compliant, chimney system. Some ventless units can be installed into factory built chimneys and fireplaces however great care should be used whenever installing a gas log set into a factory built fireplace as some still require the chimney be cracked open, or fully open, so they don’t overheat the firebox area of the fireplace and risk baking and igniting combustibles in surrounding walls.
Most gas log sets require that they be installed into a properly maintained and code compliant chimney system. If you are considering installing a gas log set today please give us a call and schedule an inspection to assure that your system meets the minimum requirements for the gas logs you have selected. If those requirements are not met they could be a real fire hazard.
Direct Vent vs. B-Vent Fireplaces and Stoves
Most newer gas appliances will be what is called a direct-vent appliance while older models may be vented using a b-vent. So whats the difference and is one better than the other? A b-vented appliance exhausts to the outside but pulls its combustion air from the inside the home, meaning that it will compete with any other appliances for available combustion air, and that any pressure issues in the home could affect its operation and possibly the safety of your family. A direct-vent model vents directly to the outside and takes its combustion air from the outside as well. This prevents any pressure issues in the home from pulling carbon monoxide into the home and assures the unit operates as designed. If you have a choice a direct vent appliance will always work better and be safer long term than any ventless setup or b-vented option. If you have a choice choose a direct-vent appliance and make sure whoever installs it knows its specific requirements.
Regular Maintenance Is A Must
While many people thing that because they have a gas fireplace this means they don’t need an annual service or inspection however nothing could be further from the truth. Most manufacturers recommend at least an annual service and inspection. During this inspection any dust, debris, wasps, or moths accumulated within the appliance are cleaned out, compressed air is blown through the burn bars, around the cabinet, and through any fans or blowers inside the appliance. If necessary the appliance is touched up and the new embers installed. Additionally, venting issues, plugged burners, insulation blown up against the venting in the attic space, or a whole host of other issues can be identified that are a natural result of time. If not regularly inspected or serviced long-term a gas appliance can put you and your family at risk of carbon monoxide exposure or appliance malfunction, which could result in a structure fire.
So why choose The Chimney Doctor for all of your fireplace-related needs? On top of our many certifications and memberships with organizations like the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the National Fireplace Institute (NFI), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), among others, and we have a passion for helping our customers stay warm and safe at the same time. The many gas appliance options available to your are unique and each has their pros and cons, so explore your options and ask an expert for recommendations, as well. Just remember that, whatever you end up with you want to make sure it is installed properly so that your home and family are protected first and foremost.
Catching problems early through routine maintenance and service is key when it comes to avoiding further damage, keeping your appliance running as efficiently as possible, and assuring the safety of your family. Scheduling your annual service with us is a worthwhile investment that can give you peace of mind. Having an annual service could save you expensive repair work down the line and prevent your appliance from malfunctioning during peak heating season when response times from call to service could exceed 6 weeks.
Call our team at The Chimney Doctor today to schedule a full service of your gas appliance, or consult with us about installing a new appliance. We have the training, experience, and certifications to set you up right. Experience the difference hiring our CSIA and NFI Certified Specialists can make and give us a call today.