You may have heard that a woodburning fireplace needs to be cleaned every year. A homeowner in Howard County recently asked us if they need to have their gas burning fireplace cleaned. Gas fireplaces are considered much cleaner and safer than their woodburning ancestors, but they can develop issues over time. Many people don’t realize that gas fireplaces also experience buildup and need regular maintenance to work at their best. There are many reasons why gas chimneys must be cleaned every year. Read on to find out more:
Why a Gas Chimney Needs Yearly Cleaning
There are a wide variety of reasons why you should have your gas fireplace cleaned and maintained. Poorly maintained gas fireplaces can be dangerous. In some cases it may be legally required. Depending on where you live, your insurance, city, or county may require regular chimney inspections and cleaning. Skipping this can get you hit with fees or even affect your insurance status.
Ease of cleaning is one of the many reasons to choose gas fireplaces. However, over time some buildup will occur. It’s important that this buildup is safely cleared away on a regular schedule. This typically means once a year, depending on use. A good time to schedule a cleaning is at the end of summer or in the fall before the cold temperatures hit.
Why Chimney Sweeping Matters
What could happen if you don’t get regular cleaning and servicing? Here are three common scenarios:
- Scenario 1: A residue has built up in the chimney, often paired with a cloudy film inside the glass viewing doors.
- What’s the problem? The residue could ignite, starting a chimney fire. This is a potentially extremely dangerous situation that could cause permanent damage to your chimney or home.
- Scenario 2: You see damage to the doors, mortar, or crowns.
- What’s the problem? Chips, cracks, and poor seals could let moisture leak into the system, causing other problems.
- The problems continue: This might also allow toxic fumes to leak out of your gas fireplace and into the air you’re breathing. Carbon monoxide is the big concern here. It’s odorless and can sicken or even kill people.
- Scenario 3: Over the summer, a blockage developed in the chimney. This is often caused by birds building nests.
- What’s the problem? This scenario could trigger a cascade of problems including chimney fires and, through poor air flow, carbon monoxide could infiltrate your home.
When a technician performs a fireplace inspection and cleaning, he or she will start by looking at the exterior and interior of the unit. A major part of the inspection is checking that your chimney is operating correctly. This means looking for signs of both exterior and interior damage as well as making sure that the flue is clear.
If you haven’t used your fireplace in a while, some debris may be blocking the flue. This could include birds making nests, which often happens in the spring and isn’t noticed until temperatures drop in the fall. Another culprit is bad weather that blows debris and leaves inside.
The technician may also talk with you about any concerns or issues you’ve had. Next, he will check to make sure everything is operating correctly. If there’s a problem, it’s addressed. The next step will be a cleaning that removes residue from chimney, vents, and the glass panels.
Some inspections will include other, related services. For example, the technician may check that your carbon monoxide detectors are working correctly. If you want to replace your ceramic fireplace logs or have something else installed there, this is a good time.
A gas fireplace is a great appliance to have in your home, but it’s important to exercise caution when using gas appliances. As important as staying warm is, the last thing you want is to cause damage to your home by starting a fire improperly. To prevent this, keep reading to learn how to safely light a gas fireplace.
The first step to safely light a gas fireplace is removing the decorative cover on the front for easy access. After you’ve done this, you can turn the gas on using the shut-off valve. Once your gas is on, you’ll want to remove the fixed glass assembly as this can cause gas to build up in your fireplace and create a safety hazard. This is primarily a problem when you’re having a hard time lighting your pilot light.
The ignition process depends on what type of gas fireplace you have in your home. Most homeowners will have a red or black push button which simply allows them to ignite the pilot light once the gas is turned on. This is called a piezoelectric spark mechanism. If you don’t have one of these buttons on your gas fireplace, you’ll have to light the pilot light manually.
If you’re going to light your pilot light manually, you’ll want to consult the instructions included on the label on your furnace. These instructions will explain how to safely light your pilot light if you don’t have the means to automatically light it. In any case, you’ll want to turn the “Pilot,” “On” and “Off” switch to off and let your fireplace sit for a few minutes so the gas can dissipate into the air. You can then safely light your pilot light using a lighter designed for this purpose.
Here are some things to note when lighting a gas fireplace:
- If you can’t get it to light manually after multiple tries, chances are there’s a problem that requires some furniture services from a technician.
- Don’t manually light your furnace until you’ve turned the gas off
- Make sure you use a long lighter to keep your hands away from the pilot light
Cleaning and inspection
t’s common knowledge to homeowners that wood-burning fireplaces require regular cleaning and inspections. After all, leftover residue dramatically increases the potential for fire hazards. Many think that having a gas fireplace installed eliminates the need for having their chimneys cleaned every year. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that chimneys of all kinds should be cleaned every year. The truth is that getting your chimney sweep is every bit as important for gas fireplaces. Here you can learn why you should always keep your gas fireplace clean.
Areas like Vienna tends to get really cold during this time of the year, that is why it’s so important to understand how to safely light a gas fireplace. As long as you follow these tips and double check everything before you take any major steps, you’ll have no problem keeping your family safe and cozy all winter long.
if you are thinking about getting a gas fireplace for your home, click here to learn everything you need to know about gas fireplaces.
During a recent chimney repair in Vienna, VA, a homeowner asked, what is a chimney liner? That is one of the most frequent questions that we hear. Chimney liners are one of the least understood, yet most important aspect of any fireplace system. Selection can determine the safety and efficiency of your fireplace and is therefore not to be taken lightly. Likewise, regular maintenance and prompt repairs will keep your chimney running and keep your family safe. Below you will find everything that you need to know about chimney liners.
What is a Chimney Liner? How Does It Work?
The Chimney Safety Institute of America defines a chimney liner as a “conduit installed inside of a chimney, intended to contain the combustion products, direct them to the outside atmosphere, and protect the chimney walls from heat and corrosion.” If chimneys are unlined, heat will move through them quickly, increasing the risk of woodwork or other elements catching on fire. Liners also reduce the exposure of corrosive materials to masonry.
Types of Chimney Liners
What is a chimney liner? That is just one of many questions you should be asking yourself if you are a homeowner. Since chimney liners are as versatile as every other aspect of your fireplace, asking yourself which chimney liner suits me better? It´s completely understandable. Selection will depend largely on your budget and the current state of your chimney. A few common types of liners are highlighted below:
Clay tile liners once dominated chimneys. If your home is more than a few decades old, it probably features a clay liner. Clay holds certain advantages but is mainly prized for its durability. It can hold up to a variety of corrosive materials, and, once installed, is likely to last at least half a century. Unfortunately, while the materials for this type of liner can be relatively affordable, the actual installation process may prove time-consuming and costly. Replacement is even more difficult, especially if the chimney is crooked.
Like clay liners, cast-in-place liners tend to be quite durable and can last several decades. Fireplaces with cast-in-place liners often burn cleaner, thereby producing minimal creosote buildup. Installation may be easier for cast-in-place liners than for their clay counterparts, but the process still requires considerable effort — particularly for chimneys with any bends or curves.
In recent years, metal liners have overtaken clay and cast-in-place models in popularity. Metal liners are by far the most convenient and affordable to install. They’re also quite versatile and can work well in chimneys of numerous shapes and sizes. The downside? Metal liners are typically more prone to corrosion.
Common Chimney Liner Problems
While chimney liners tend to be durable, a variety of issues can strike after decades of use. Liners are especially likely to show wear and tear if they weren’t constructed correctly in the first place.
As mentioned earlier, chimney liners may suffer corrosion or creosote buildup over time due to lack of proper service. Old liners are also prone to cracks near their mortar joints. Mortar joint erosion can be particularly dangerous, as it might lead to the leaking of harmful gases (such as carbon monoxide) inside of the home.
Proper Liner Maintenance
While only repair can effectively address an improperly constructed liner, most of the issues outlined above can be prevented or at least delayed through appropriate liner and chimney maintenance. Annual cleanings are imperative for reducing the risk of harmful buildup. Regular inspections allow homeowners to catch small problems before they become dangerous — and more expensive to fix. Click here to learn about the 6 most common Signs that you need chimney repair.
Regular maintenance is vital for both your chimney liner and your entire fireplace system. The team at All Pro Chimney services can keep your fireplace and chimney in excellent shape. Contact us today to learn more about our maintenance and repair services.
There’s nothing that contributes to the warm, comfortable, homey atmosphere of a house like a fireplace. It serves as both a gathering place for get-togethers of family and friends or as a quiet companion for solitary contemplation. Although the traditional wood burning fireplace is still popular, many people these days are opting for the convenience and low-maintenance of a gas-burning unit. Gas fireplaces are particularly popular in Fairfax,VA. Professional chimney service companies like ours are always ready to install gas fireplaces. There are many types of gas fireplaces on the market, and choosing the right one for your particular situation requires that you learn a little bit about what’s available.
Why Choose A Gas Fireplace?
Aside from the obvious aesthetic reasons for installing a gas fireplace in your home, there are some practical reasons as well. Gas as a fuel is readily available just about anywhere and doesn’t involve chopping and splitting firewood, or purchasing it at often exorbitant prices, and then having to store it in a protected space near your house. Not to mention having to haul it in when it’s cold outside.
Gas fireplaces burn clean, so there’s no danger of creosote buildup which can cause chimney fires. They are also much easier to maintain and clean than their wood-burning cousins.
They can also significantly lower your heating bills, by as much as 40% by some estimates, especially if you currently heat with electricity.
And finally, they’re a good investment that will increase the property value of your home. Consumer surveys have shown that many buyers are willing to pay more for a house that has a fireplace installed. You can find more reasons in our previous article.
Types Of Gas Fireplaces
There are three types of gas fireplaces, the B-vent, the direct vent, and the vent free. Each has their specifications and requirements. It’s vital that before you install any type, you check to see if they are approved under your local building codes. Unless you have the skills required, it’s best to have the unit installed by a professional. Doing otherwise could not only be dangerous but also void your manufacturer’s warranty.
- B-vent – Sometimes called a natural vent fireplace, these require a particular chimney pipe to be installed through the house to the roof. These are used on decorative types of fireplaces, and usually provide a more natural looking flame, but also generate less heat than other types.
- Direct vent – This type uses a chimney pipe made up of two parts, a large pipe with a smaller pipe inside. The larger pipe draws in air for combustion from outdoors and the smaller pipe vents exhaust gases. The unit is enclosed in airtight glass and uses no indoor air for combustion.
- Vent-free – Ventless units provide heat and flames but don’t require any venting of gases, putting off only a small amount of fumes. Since no vent needs to be installed, they are less expensive and can be placed almost anywhere within the home.
Natural Gas Or Propane
These different fuels require that the fireplace is equipped with the proper outlets for their use. If you live in an area with access to natural gas, and especially if your home is already equipped with gas lines, you’ll want to go with that. Natural gas is cleaner burning and provides a more natural looking fire. If however, you live in an area far away from gas lines, you’ll need to have a propane tank installed on your property and have gas lines installed if you have none. Again, you should check the local building codes and see if any permits are required in your area.
Styles Of Gas Fireplaces
Today there are many different styles of gas fireplaces available, from traditional to modern contemporary. A peninsula-style, which is rectangular, can be used as a divider between two rooms. An island-style fireplace sits in the center of the room and can be seen from all sides. A corner fireplace is open on two sides and is an excellent choice for rooms with limited space. Shop around before you buy to find the style that is best for your tastes and needs.
Do you want to learn more about gas fireplaces? Make sure that you read our previous article about the benefits of gas fireplaces.
With so many options available, choosing a fireplace can prove surprisingly difficult. Depending on your situation, you may be currently considering the merits of a free standing stove fireplace. We recently installed a beautiful free-standing fireplace in a home in Columbia, MD. The best part was that the room originally did not have any fireplace or chimney installed. As a professional chimney service company, we find that homeowners love the versatility offered by free standing fireplaces. that are available. Free standing fireplaces have become very popular. Below, we offer insight into this popular option.
What Is a Free Standing Stove?
A free standing stove fireplace is exactly as it sounds: a fireplace that can be installed standing free from the wall. There is no need for a mortar chimney or a brick wall. This is an excellent alternative for homes that are not suited to fireplaces built into the wall.
Free Standing Stove Benefits
From easy installation to extensive style selection, a variety of benefits make free standing fireplaces an excellent option. A few of the top benefits of this unique type of fireplace are outlined below:
Flexibility of Location
Current lack of a fireplace need not impede you in your quest to bring this feature to a specific location in your home. While most fireplaces can only be installed in areas that already have the infrastructure for this feature, free standing fireplaces do not recognize such limitations. Free standing fireplaces can be installed nearly anywhere within a home. This brings a valuable opportunity if you live in a home not suited to a built-in fireplace; your home’s design or style should not prevent you from enjoying the benefits of living with a fireplace.
Exposed Sides For More Heat And Beauty
The full faces and sides of free standing fireplaces are often on display, as they are typically not built into the wall. Depending on the size and style of the fireplace, this provides an amazing opportunity for it to become a visual centerpiece in any room. Additionally, exposed sides can amplify the heat that free standing fireplaces deliver in your home.
Opportunities For Moving
With some fireplaces, it’s only possible to enjoy their benefits if you are in a specific home; as soon as they’re installed, they’re stuck. With free standing fireplaces, however, you never need to say goodbye. If you eventually decide to move to a new home, it may be possible to move your free standing fireplace with you. Likewise, your free standing fireplace could potentially be shifted from one room in your current home to another.
Free standing stoves come in a wide variety of styles and can be configured to use gas, wood or wood pellets. While someunits are purely decorative, many produce considerable heat. The options are limitless. Ultimately, your preferences determine how, exactly, your free standing fireplace will look and what it will accomplish.
The installation process for a free standing fireplace may be far more convenient than alternate options. Factors that influence where and how these fireplaces are installed may include ventilation, type of flooring, and type of hearth or platform. Installation is typically faster than building a brick and motor fireplace. Your fireplace can be up and running fairly quickly.
A free standing stove fireplace could bring considerable beauty and sophistication to your home, while also serving as a valuable source of heat. It’s a wonderfully versatile option that could transform several rooms in your current home or in future residences.