What You Need to Know About Gas Fireplaces - Are They Safe?
Sitting around the fireplace on a cold night while staring into the dancing flames is one the most relaxing things you can do. Gas fireplaces are becoming increasingly popular over wood fireplaces for many reasons. With a wood fireplace, you have to buy wood, worry about storing wood, clean up ashes, and have your chimney cleaned every year. What’s great about a gas fireplace is the fact that you can just push a button and the fire is started. They are also much easier to maintain, clean, and install (if you do not have one). Are gas fireplaces safe? The short answer to this question is, yes, but you need to be aware of the correct precautions.
What Safety Precautions Need to Be Taken with a Gas Fireplace?
Anytime you are dealing with natural gas in your home, you need to have carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and tasteless gas that can be deadly at certain levels. Detectors in your home will alarm you if there are unsafe levels in the air. Homeowners with gas appliances also have carbon monoxide detectors throughout their homes.
Luckily it is standard for gas fireplaces to have many safety characteristics to ensure that there is never a problem with carbon monoxide. Gas fireplaces also function in a way so that gas is not released outside of the fireplace. Listed below are some features.
- Gas fireplaces are supposed to burn 100% of the fuel that is being fed. There should not be any fumes released into the home.
- It is standard to have a “safety light” built into your fireplace. If any gas is being released into the home, a “clamp down” is triggered to stop all gas from being fed into the fire.
- Venting a gas fireplace can either be done through a chimney or vented to the side of your house.
- Always refer to the owner's manual for more detailed information.
Tips for Maintaining your Gas Fireplace
Maintaining a gas fireplace is much easier than a wood fireplace. It is suggested that you have a professional inspect and clean your gas log set once a year, but you should actively be maintaining it as well. Here are some things that a professional will do and what you should be doing every few months.
- Clean the gas logs and rearrange them so they look their best.
- Make sure the fan and circulation passages are clean.
- Check the vents to makes sure there are no obstructions. If there are obstructions, clear the problem immediately.
- Check the batteries in the carbon monoxide detectors and change the batteries if they are low.
- Keep the glass clean.
Additional Tips from the Professionals
There are a few small things to keep in mind while owning a gas fireplace.
- Burning a gas fireplace for an extended period of time can deplete the oxygen levels with a house. If you are burning for more than an hour without any vents, you should crack open a few windows to resupply some oxygen.
- To avoid a house fire, keep flammable objects like furniture or curtains at least 3 feet away from the fireplace.
- Always watch your kids around the fireplace and do not let them touch the glass or anything else that may heat up to an unsafe temperature.
- If the glass on your fireplace is broken or cracked, do not use your fireplace until it is replaced.
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