While gas fireplaces are often advertised as “maintenance-free” appliances, the truth is somewhat different. Gas-fired appliances break down often. Unlike wood burning fireplaces, which typically slowly stop working or mostly work when there’s a problem. When gas fireplaces have an issue, they won’t work at all. So, what are the top 10 most common problems or issues with gas fireplaces and gas logs?
#1 Lack of maintenance, cleaning, and inspections
While the type of maintenance required by gas-fired appliances is different from the maintenance required by wood burning fireplaces, both types require annual inspections, routine cleanings, and service. By scheduling annual inspections and cleanings with an experienced and certified chimney sweep, you’ll be able to proactively prevent issues and breakdowns that are common with gas logs and gas fireplaces.
If you’re like most people, you opted for gas because of its convenience. Make sure your fireplace stays convenient and ready for use by making annual service a priority.
#2 Fear of gas
One of the problems with gas logs and gas fireplaces is when they stop working, homeowners typically have no idea what to do. Most have a natural and understandable fear of a gas-fired appliance, because of the dangers that gas poses. While you may feel comfortable troubleshooting and trying different things to resolve an issue with a wood burning fireplace, with a gas fireplace, you may just have to wait for a chimney professional.
#3 The smell of burning gas
The smell of burning gas can cause sensitivity, headaches, and other issues in some people. This can especially be the case with vent-free gas logs. These types of logs don’t have a chimney or vent to remove the fumes produced by the fire, so the smell is typically stronger. We take out more vent-free gas logs than any other appliance. In fact, we take them out of houses weekly.
The best gas fireplace to have is a direct-vent fireplace, because it lets fumes out while also brings fresh air in a separate vent. If you’re concerned about smell, opt for direct-vent or a vented option.
#4 Burner failure from pet hair and dander
A lot of people have pets, and Swiffer™ wouldn’t be such a successful product if our animals didn’t shed constantly. If you think about it, when your gas fireplace is on, it sucks air up into the chimney, bringing any hair that’s in the air in with it. Animal dander, hair, and other debris can get into the burner and cause it to fail, especially if the gas logs aren’t cleaned routinely. Additionally, if the hair burns, this can especially be bad for people with allergies.
#5 Dead batteries
A lot of homeowners don’t realize that there are actually two sets of batteries that need to be changed out in your gas logs or gas fireplace. There are batteries in the remote control and the batteries in the receiver, which are behind or beside the gas logs. If your gas fireplace stops working, try changing both sets of batteries to resolve the problem.
#6 Raw gas/gas leak
With gas fireplaces and gas logs, there’s the possibility of a gas leak either inside the fireplace or where the gas comes through the wall. If you smell raw gas, you should always call the gas company first and let them know you have an emergency. They’ll come to shut off the gas, then we can make repairs to the gas line. However, if you installed the gas fireplace yourself and keep smelling gas, we can most likely fix that issue too.
#7 Cloudy/white glass
The glass front on your gas fireplace should be clear to give you a beautiful view of the fire. But over time, hard minerals can dry on the glass as a white cloudy substance. If that has happened to your fireplace, all you need to do is to give us a call. We’ll clean the glass with a specialized cleaner so you can enjoy your fire again.
#8 The gas has not been turned on
If it’s the first fire of the year and you can’t get your gas fireplace to work, check that the gas has been turned on. You may have turned it off at the end of the previous burn season and simply forgotten to turn it back on.
#9 There’s air in the gas line
If your fireplace has remained unused for some time or it’s the beginning of the burn season, you may have air in the gas line that can make it seem like your fireplace or logs are broken. Sometimes, the pilot button or knob simply needs to be held down to allow that air to get out so that gas can make its way to the unit. This is known as bleeding the line.
#10 Carbon monoxide
If something fails on your gas log set or gas fireplace, it can begin spewing carbon monoxide, which can be incredibly dangerous. Older logs are more likely to do that, as are logs with a blockage, but it’s something to be aware of no matter how old or new your gas-fired appliance is.
If you keep up with maintenance, your chimney sweep will check CO output. However, you should also have a carbon monoxide alarm near your fireplace and every floor of your home. We recommend getting a CO alarm with a digital readout and putting it as close to the gas unit as possible. We recommend an alarm with a digital readout because if your alarm goes off, you’ll want to know how much you’ve been exposed to and how bad the problem is.
Wood burning fireplaces put off carbon monoxide too, but it’s not as dangerous because the carbon monoxide is in the smoke. If your room starts to fill with smoke, you know there’s a problem and you are likely exposed to this dangerous gas. But with a gas fireplace, there’s no smoke. So if you don’t have a CO alarm in place, you won’t know if you have a problem or not.
Have any questions about gas fireplaces or gas log sets? Experiencing problems with your gas-fired appliance? Call Ashbusters today and let our friendly and knowledgeable team take care of it for you!