Is it Necessary to Have Gas Fireplaces Professionally Serviced?
We can start by answering that question with: It’s definitely necessary to have a gas fireplace serviced. As to whether or not you hire a professional will depend on your ability to perform certain cleaning and inspection tasks and the standards you set for the cleanliness and serviceability of your appliance.
Most of the time, when we think of fireplace or chimney cleaning, we’re thinking of units that burn wood and create a lot more mess than gas fireplaces. Gas burns much cleaner than wood, so the amount of residue that gas-burning units produce is significantly less. But this doesn’t mean gas fireplaces are completely maintenance-free.
What homeowners can do for their gas fireplace
Professional gas fireplace service calls normally focus more on inspection and the replacement of damaged parts than actual cleaning. Homeowners can use a soapy detergent and brush to clean what little buildup may occur inside the firebox, and glass cleaner used regularly will keep glass door looking spiffy and reflective.
It’s a little trickier to inspect and clean the vent pipe or chimney (assuming your gas unit is vented). Over time, debris begins to build up inside the vents or flue. This can lead to an air-flow restriction which might cause combustion toxins to back up into the home. Excess debris also can cause unwanted odors.
As a homeowner, you’ll know if you’ve got a bad debris smell coming from the fireplace, but you won’t know if carbon monoxide is seeping into the home without a CO detector. Even then, the average person is not equipped to get into the fireplace system and solve the problem.
With gas log sets, most homeowners can spot extensive deterioration, which is inevitable over time. But you really want to look into replacing these logs before the damage becomes severe. A trained service technician will be able to determine when this is necessary.
Components of a professional inspection
Now we move on to the tasks average homeowners cannot and should not attempt. The work of an inspector is to make sure all the components of a gas fireplace system are working correctly and safely, and their training and experience allows them to do exactly that.
Exterior inspection. The technician will closely examine all exterior surfaces of the fireplace and vent system, checking for chipped glass doors and any compromises within the framework.
Gas ignition. During inspections, professionals check out the interior gas ignition located beneath the logs and ensure that it is lighting properly. They will also evaluate the condition of the logs.
Correct heat output. In some cases, a technician will remove the fireplace’s facing to look at the valves and connections to make sure they’re producing the correct heat output. This task may include cleaning residue from the ports and vents.
CO detectors. A fireplace service professional will always want to confirm that homes with both gas and wood fireplaces have working carbon monoxide detectors placed in the correct locations.
Repair recommendations. In cases of very old gas fireplaces, certain repairs might be necessary for continued safe operation. Your technician will go over them with you.
If it’s time for a comprehensive cleaning and safety inspection of your gas fireplace, call Wisconsin’s hearth experts, Burlington Fireplace & Solar at (262) 763-3522.