The manufacturer that made your gas fireplace likely provided some kind of owner’s manual or operator’s guide, either on paper or online. That manual will tell you what you need to know about the safe operation of the unit. Here are some key principles you should keep in mind.
Gas fireplaces should burn gas, nothing else
Just because there’s a flame in the firebox doesn’t mean you can throw all kinds of stuff in there to build a fire. Only gas should burn in a gas fireplace. That means no wood, furniture, magazines, newspapers, plastics, metals or anything else. These other materials could release dangerous toxic gases and cause major problems for your fireplace/venting system.
Have a working carbon monoxide monitor in place
Carbon monoxide monitors are designed to alert you to the presence of this deadly gas in your air. It’s widely understood that carbon monoxide is potentially fatal to humans and animals when inhaled. You need a monitor, because you can’t smell or see carbon monoxide. Follow the directions in installing and maintaining the monitor.
Teach children about fireplace safety
If you have children, they need to understand that the fireplace is not a play area. For older kids, you can set a five-foot radius around the appliance that’s off limits. Younger children and pets need to be watched. Never leave young children alone in the room when a fire is burning.
Schedule annual gas fireplace inspections
While gas fireplaces require minimal maintenance, they do require a yearly safety inspection by a licensed, experienced technician. Your inspector will check the gas lines, the burner, the pilot light and other components. If damage or malfunction is spotted, you can get it fixed before it becomes a serious problem.
If you smell gas
Don’t rely only on your carbon monoxide monitor to detect a gas leak. Your nose is also a good monitor. If you smell gas in the vicinity of the fireplace:
- If the fireplace is running, shut if off if safe to do so
- Open several windows
- If shutting off the unit doesn’t stop the gas odor, call 911 and leave the house
- If shutting off does stop it, don’t use the fireplace again until it’s been inspected
Don’t place candles or other flames near the fireplace
Any flame close to your fireplace could cause an explosion should your fireplace begin leaking gas. Find other places for candles, lanterns, kerosene lamps and even incense.
Get to know your owner’s manual
When a chimney professional installs your gas fireplace, they will give you the manufacturer’s fireplace manual. Several common “problems” you may be experiencing can easily be solved by you instead of paying a fireplace technician. (But never hesitate to call a professional if there’s something you can’t fix or prevent.) If you don’t have an owner’s manual, you probably can find one online. If not, contact the manufacturer to acquire this document.
Keep your gas fireplace safe and working at its best
Fluesbrothers Chimney & Fireplace of Kansas City, KS, is here to help you with all your gas fireplace needs. We provide licensed fireplace inspection, vent system cleaning, fireplace repair, replacement of damaged components and more. When in doubt, check it out with an expert. Call us today at (913) 236-7141.