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Gas Fireplace Maintenance Guide

Introduction

Fireplaces are usually the centerpiece in your home.

Fall and winter would lose their charm if you didn’t have your fireplace to warm you up after spending time out in the cold.

And you probably bought a gas fireplace because it’s supposedly low maintenance, right?

Well, that’s partly true.

Even though it’s easier to maintain, you still want to make sure your gas fireplace is working safely. Otherwise, you risk house fires, corroded gas lines, or even carbon monoxide poisoning.

Today’s post is all about how to keep you and your family safe with regular maintenance for your gas fireplace.

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Table of Contents

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Why do gas fireplaces need annual maintenance?

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How Much Maintenance Does Your Gas Fireplace Need?

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What Happens During an Inspection?

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How to Hire a Chimney Company

Why Do Gas Fireplaces Need Annual Maintenance?

Gas fireplaces need an annual inspection, at least, simply to make sure it’s working like it’s supposed to.

This is very important. And many people overlook this step.

Since the gas fireplaces burn clean and are very easy to take care of (relative to wood-burning fireplaces), some people assume this translates to mean your gas fireplace doesn’t need any cleaning or inspections.

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Annual inspection

While it’s true that gas fireplaces are relatively cleaner and easier to take care of, any appliance can become a nuisance if neglected.

Cleaning and inspecting your fireplace and chimney will put your mind at ease when you choose to start up the appliance when it gets cold.

Your fireplace works hard to keep you and your family warm.

If you don’t inspect and clean your chimney, you can expect that you’ll have some sort of build-up — could be dust, soot, or some other type of debris.

Improper airflow can cause even more buildup of soot, which will stick to the walls of your flue. Soot and creosote are highly flammable and not restricted to wood-burning fireplaces.

Creosote and soot build up in your gas fireplace can also cause a chimney fire.

Improper airflow can also cause carbon monoxide poisoning. As the gas lines are clogged, gas could leak out in other places, aside from where it’s supposed to exit.

This means that you could have gas leaks in your home.

Debris In Your Home

Debris likes to hang out in your vents, flue, and all around the chimney.

Debris needs to be removed, since, as I mentioned earlier, it can restrict airflow. You’ll find the following types of debris:

Deteriorating Logs:

Ceramic log inserts eventually deteriorate with use. Little pieces will break off and cling to the sides of the insert.

Dirty Glass Doors or Frames:

Chipped or scratched glass can become a hazard over time.

Believe it or not, this can mess with the heat output of your fireplace. And I’m certain that you don’t want that.

Residue:

The inside and outside of your gas fireplace need to be cleaned.

After all those fires, it’s bound to get dirty at some point, right?

You’ll need to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for instructions and approved products for cleaning.

How Much Maintenance Does Your Gas Fireplace Need?

Keeping your gas fireplace cleaning and maintained is just as important as maintaining anything else in your home.

And knowing what needs to be checked, cleaned, and inspected will help you prolong the lifespan of your gas fireplace.

I already mentioned that you need to have an annual inspection so I won’t touch on that in this section. But you’ll still need to keep your fireplace clean.

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No Daily Upkeep Needed

Wood fireplaces require a lot of maintenance. But many people don’t want to part with their wood stove.

While there are a lot of people that still love their wood fireplace, the trend is moving very quickly in the direction of gas fireplaces.

Rightfully so, too.

There’s no ash left behind. No soot. Less debris. This means less day-to-day clean up.

You get the fireplace, but you don’t have to worry about bending over and scooping up the ashes, getting your hands blackened and dirty.

Keep It Clean

What’s cool about gas fireplaces is that you can keep it clean yourself.

If you have a vented gas log set, a professional chimney sweep can clean your flue. But the actual appliance is something you can do yourself.

NOTE: Before you attempt to clean your gas fireplace, be sure to read the manual. Also, make sure you turn off the gas because you don’t want to accidentally ignite anything in the process!

Periodically check the logs and rocks for any signs of breakage, wear or tear, and replace them right away.

Also, make sure your fireplace is not warm. You’ll want to wait several hours after your last use before you start cleaning.

What Happens During an Inspection? 

So you decided to make sure your chimney and fireplace are working as they should. And you chose to hire a chimney company to come take a look.

I’m proud of you. This is a good first step.

In this section I’ll tell you a little about what you can expect. Please note that chimney company processes may vary from company-to-company. But this is a general guideline that you can expect.

Chimney Inspection

What You Can Expect

During an inspection, your technician will take a look at the exterior of your chimney.

This includes making sure the glass isn’t chipped, cracked, or dirty. It’ll also include checking if the framework is holding up as it should.

Your technician will also take a look at the interior gas ignition underneath the log structure. The purpose is to make sure it is lighting perfectly.

At Patriot Chimney, we also always make sure your log set isn’t deteriorating.

We may need to take the face of the unit off to inspect the valves and connections underneath your fireplace or insert.

A big part of the inspection is to also make sure your fireplace’s heat output is correct. We’ll celan any residue that has started to block any ports or vents.

We’ll make sure you have properly working carbon monoxide detectors and make sure you are aware of any repairs your gas fireplace may need.

Quick Tips for Hiring a Chimney Company

I know, it’s a lot to consider. 

But that doesn’t mean that it has to be a stressful task. You can easily reach out to your local chimney company and have a done-for-you solution in no time!

But navigating through all of the chimney companies in your city can be a chore all on its own. And it makes sense, too. 

Hiring anyone to come into your home to fix something like your chimney shouldn’t be a task you take lightly. So I created a list that you can use to make sure you make the right decision when you need someone to help you in your home.

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How to Hire, What to Look For

When you’re hiring a chimney company, you should always ask the following questions before allowing them to come into your home:

  1. Can the company provide references? 
  2. Does the company carry a valid business liability insurance policy? 
  3. Does the company ensure that a certified chimney technician will be on the job? 

If they guarantee all three of those, then you are in a good spot. The technicians don’t necessarily need to be certified by the CSIA, but I do recommend putting in a bit more due diligence before accepting a certification that’s not by the CSIA. 

This is because certifications are a tricky thing, especially in an unlicensed industry like ours. Any company can craft a list of job-related questions and sell them as an exam and certify those who pass. 

 

Certifications

I recommend you take a few extra minutes in your research before making your hiring decision to learn more about the certification the company has. Here are a few tips to make sure the certification is reputable:

  • Is the word “certified” just part of the business name or is it an earned designation?
  • Is the certifying body a for-profit business or non-profit?
  • Does the certification need to be maintained and renewed through continuing education as the industry evolves, or is it well enough to be certified through a one-time exam?
  • Is the certifying body well-established or are they relatively new to the scene? New doesn’t mean “bad” but you should make sure the requirements for certification are more or at least equally stringent as those of more established certifications
  • Is the mission statement of the certifying body focused on educating and protecting homeowners or is it more focused on making it easier to earn a certification?
  • Does holding the certification require following a code of ethics?

If you can answer all of these questions, then I think it will be safe to allow the company in your home to work on your chimney.

Please note that If you are hiring a chimney company to install a cap for you, most of the time, they will need to buy the cap themselves. This is primarily for liability and insurance purposes. 

Besides, it’s probably cheaper for them to buy a cap at the dealer discount than for you to buy one at retail cost.

It doesn’t matter if you are in Roanoke, Lynchburg, Blacksburg, or some other city anywhere in the USA — if you have any questions about the safety of hiring a chimney company, please don’t hesitate to email me at mitchell@patriotchimney.net or call me at 540-225-2626. I’m happy to help!

Final Thoughts

Patriot Chimney has a few CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps that you can trust with your home and family. During your service, you can expect your technician to inspect your chimney with a video camera so we can give a full top-to-bottom, inside out inspection. 

We’re licensed, insured, certified, and guarantee you’ll be happy with your service.

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