As the weather gets colder, we start looking forward to cozying up inside with our loved ones.
While piling onto the couch under some blankets suffices, in chillier weather, it helps to have heat from something like a fireplace. Not only does it warm up the room, but it also provides an amazing atmosphere that’ll make you never want to leave.
But because you’re dealing with fire, you need to make sure you’re doing things right, especially with gas fireplaces. Otherwise, you can be putting your household in danger.
Read on for 7 tips on how to use gas fireplaces so you can have peace of mind.
1. Don’t Use Wood
You might think that gas and wood fireplaces are one and the same, and that you can add some wood to help the fireplace stay lit. However, this is a bad idea.
If you add wood to a gas fireplace, it might seem like it’s burning fine. However, this results in an excess amount of harmful gases released. This is bad for your family to breathe in.
Not to mention, after the wood’s done burning, it’ll leave behind thick ash. This can be difficult to clean in a gas fireplace.
Instead, you’ll want to get fireplace gas logs, which are usually made out of refractory ceramic, ceramic fibers, or refractory cement. They look just like real wood logs and can withstand high temperatures in gas fireplaces.
2. Choose the Right Types of Gas Logs
Gas logs aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. You’ll need to pick the right ones for your particular gas fireplace.
The 2 main types are ventless and vented. If you’re venting outside your house, you’ll need vented gas logs, where their gases will be drawn outside through a flue, which you’ll find in already-existing wood fireplaces.
Ventless gas logs are more versatile, as you don’t need a flue; the only thing you need is a firebox. You can even use them in a wood fireplace and just leave the damper closed.
Also, as mentioned earlier, there are refractory ceramic, ceramic fiber, and refractory cement logs. The first has a high heat rating and can last longer. Ceramic fiber is lightweight and very affordable, but can have an unpleasant odor, and refractory cement is the most realistic-looking but isn’t as heat-resistant.
Depending on the type of gas log you get and how often you use your fireplace, you’ll need to replace them every 2 to 5 years or so. You’ll know you need new logs when they start cracking or crumbling.
3. Keep the Pilot Light Uncovered
When you put in your gas logs, take care not to cover up the pilot light, which can be easily done.
To find the pilot light, look for a small protruding metal tube. It has a flame when you turn on your gas fireplace, as it’s what creates the fire you’re using.
If you don’t keep the pilot light uncovered, this can be dangerous. This can cause a buildup of gas, and when you ignite the fireplace, it can explode.
4. Check the Safety Screen
As of January 1, 2015, all glass-fronted gas fireplaces and stoves with glass surface temperatures that exceed 172 F are manufactured with a protective barrier (safety screen). This is to protect people from being burned when touching the glass.
If your gas fireplace is manufactured before this date, then have it retrofitted with a safety screen if it doesn’t already have one.
Whenever the fireplace is operating, check that the safety screen is properly attached. Discourage family members from touching the glass, even with the protective barrier. This will instill good fire safety habits.
5. Have Good Clearance Around Your Fireplace
Just like with a wood fireplace, you’ll need a clearance zone around your gas fireplace. This can reduce the chances of injury and fire.
Generally, you’ll want to stay at least 3 feet away from the front of your gas fireplace. You should also this space clear of objects, especially flammable ones; this includes throw rugs.
It’s also a good idea to keep your electronics far away. While they probably won’t catch fire, they might get damaged by the high heat.
6. Never Leave Your Fireplace Unattended
It only takes a second for your toddler or puppy to touch the hot glass or for your belongings to set fire. So never walk away from your fireplace if there’s no one else to watch over it, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
In addition, you should avoid sleeping with the fireplace on if it’s in your bedroom. While you’re snoring away, you may not notice potential problems that can put you in danger.
7. Get Yearly Inspections
It’s important to get regular gas fireplace service. Not only will you correct any safety issues, but you’ll also prolong the life of your fireplace. Plus, it’ll run more efficiently if small issues are fixed before they grow larger.
You should also routinely test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Ideally, you should have them on all levels of your house.
Use Gas Fireplaces Safely
Gas fireplaces are wonderful to have in a home; they literally light the place up and provide hours of warmth.
By taking the right steps, you can enjoy your fireplace without putting your family at risk of fire or other associated hazards. So remember to avoid using wood, choose the right gas logs, keep the pilot light uncovered, have good clearance, never leave your fireplace unattended, and get yearly inspections. These tips will keep you safe and sound!
If you need a new gas fireplace, then get in touch with us today for a professional installation. We’ve been helping customers like you for over 100 years!