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Does My Gas Fireplace Need Maintenance?

Posted on December 20, 2013
by Appleby Systems

Gas fireplaces are attractive, efficient and provide incredible warmth. They are also easy to maintain. This does not mean, however, that they require no care. To keep them running safely and reliably, owners should ensure that these fireplaces are professionally serviced and inspected at least once a year and cleaned at least once a month while they are in operation.

The Importance of Preventative Maintenance

Preventative MaintenanceJust as cars require regular service and oil changes to prevent problems and maintain efficient function, gas fireplaces require periodic cleaning and maintenance. Regular cleaning prevents the buildup of dust, cobwebs and other materials. Professional maintenance ensures appropriate operation and allows for the detection of potential problems before they become costly emergencies.

While well-maintained fireplaces are safe and reliable, dirty or damaged units can be unreliable and can pose serious risks to household residents. Potential hazards include fire and exposure to natural gas or carbon monoxide.

Scheduling Preventive Maintenance

While you can schedule maintenance any time during the year, the best time to schedule preventative maintenance is in the fall before the temperatures drop. Having your unit serviced at this time will ensure it is ready to operate at peak efficiency when the weather turns cold.

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What Preventative Maintenance Entails

Annual Professional Maintenance

A regular preventative maintenance appointment should include a complete inspection of the fireplace as well as a thorough cleaning of the unit. Some common tasks performed during a maintenance visit include the following:

Annual Professional Maintenance

  • Checking and cleaning the sensors, safety controls, power pile and thermocouple
  • Verifying that the unit is operating correctly
  • Inspecting connections
  • Cleaning and inspecting burners
  • Testing for carbon monoxide leaks
  • Ensuring that the unit is venting appropriately
  • Inspecting the door gasket
  • Cleaning and inspecting the fan
  • Cleaning the unit's logs and ensuring that they are placed correctly
  • Removing and cleaning glass

Regular Cleaning

Regular CleaningKeep your unit running efficiently by cleaning it between service appointments. Before cleaning, make sure the unit is switched off and is cool to the touch. Once you determine it is safe to work, wipe the fireplace to remove dust and other buildup. While cleaning, keep an eye out for rust, cracks or other problems that require repair. Also, make sure the fireplace's logs are seated correctly and have no defects.

Once the fireplace is clean, you can follow the instructions in your user manual for lighting the unit if you have not uncovered any problems that require attention. If, however, the logs are damaged or cracked or you have found rust or other concerning issues, have the unit serviced before using it again. Operating a damaged fireplace could endanger your family.

Problems that Need Immediate Attention

While properly installed gas fireplaces are very safe and reliable, occasionally, problems do occur that require prompt professional attention. To ensure your family's safety and comfort, turn off your gas fireplace and have it professionally serviced if you notice any of the following issues:

  • Gas odour
  • Strange or foul smell emanating from the fireplace
  • Soot buildup on logs or glass
  • White film on the glass
  • Ignition delays or lack of ignition
  • Fireplace turning on or off on its own
  • A pilot light that will not stay lit or will not light at all

If you’re experiencing any of these right now, contact us for service.

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