How to Do a Gas Fireplace Inspection
Gas fireplaces are a popular choice for many homeowners, and for a good reason: they are easy to use, very efficient and dramatically reduce your heating costs. While burning wood in a regular fireplace is enticing, save that for your outdoor fire pit and use consistent heat and flexible gas control.
As great as they are, gas fireplaces need maintenance, just like any other appliance in the home. To extend their lifespan and run safely, it’s important to inspect them regularly.
Doing an inspection isn’t that difficult and should be done once or twice a year. If you would rather have a professional take care of it, call a certified gas technician to do it for you. They have the knowledge and experience to ensure your gas fireplaces are up to snuff. Then you can return to enjoying your gas fireplace’s warmth and ambience.
Not sure where to start? Here is how to do a gas fireplace inspection.
Exterior Fireplace Inspection
This is a good place to start so you can see any issues before looking inside. The exterior includes the cover or fire front, the gas lines and the controls.
Look at the entire fireplace to ensure it is properly mounted and that there are no cracks or open gaps in the framework. Now check the cover. This hides and protects the internal components and typically will have a glass viewing area to enjoy the flames. Inspect this for any cracks, chips, dents, and debris in the cover.
Over time, any cracks or scratches in the glass can become unstable. If you are doing your maintenance, you can clean any residue off the glass and frame. Check the gasket on the door to ensure it provides a tight seal.
For the controls, check that they turn easily and operate normally to ensure no loose connections or wear. On the outside, also look for dents or debris to determine if any exterior parts need replacing. Finally, check for heat output. You should be able to notice if there is a difference between when you got the fireplace new and its performance now.
Interior Fireplace Inspection
Now it’s time to move inside the unit. You must take the face off the fireplace to see the mechanism inside. Begin with the firebox. The media is housed here, and the flame burns to produce the heat. Most gas fireplaces have coals, pebbles or other materials, but logs are the most popular because they mimic a real wood fire. These are all made of non-combustible material, as the gas burns.
Check to make sure the media isn’t disintegrated in any way. Sometimes logs or other media can stick to the insert and trap debris. If you notice the colour fading off the logs, you can get them replaced. Clean up any dirt and debris in the firebox as you inspect it with a broom, dustpan, or vacuum.
Check the burner assembly next. This is usually at the base of the unit behind a panel. It includes:
This is located at the top of the burner assembly and is where the flame is produced.
Your ignition starts the flames and includes the pilot and spark to ignite the pilot.
Controls start and adjust the flame to control the heat output and create the spark to start the pilot flame.
You can test the burner assembly by turning off and on the controls and trying different settings to ensure it responds. Turn off the gas and smell if there is any gas leak. A great technique is to brush some water with soap over the gas ignition valve and lines to detect any leaking by seeing bubbles.
If you have a gas fireplace inserted into an old wood fireplace, there will be a chimney for venting. Gas fireplaces themselves don’t need a chimney as they either:
These fireplaces pull air from inside the room and feed it through a regulator to feed the flame. Then the warm air is vented out into the room through an outlet on the top of the fireplace.
With a vented fireplace, the air is drawn in from outside to mix with cool air from the room and circulates inside the firebox to be released by a fan. Then there is a vent that removes exhaust outside of the house. This vent can go straight up through the roof, up an existing chimney or out of a wall.
The venting system should be inspected to ensure no leaks or debris blocking the vent cover outside the house.
Carbon Monoxide Detector
Lastly, you should ensure the house’s carbon monoxide detector is working properly. If you don’t have one in the home, get one to ensure you and your family are safe.