Why Gas Fireplaces Must Be Cleaned & Inspected Every Year

It’s common knowledge to homeowners in the Washington DC Metro Area 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 al all kinds should be cleaned every year.  The truth is that getting your chimney swept is every bit as important for gas fireplaces. Read on to learn how gas fireplace cleaning and inspection is so essential:

Gas fireplaces can create visible buildup and debris

Although there is less potential for noticeable buildup with a gas fireplace than a sooty wood-burning appliance, it’s still bound to happen over time. The following are just a few examples of damage that you or your chimney sweep technician can observe:
  • Deteriorating ceramic logs. Pieces may break off and clog vents.
  • Cracked crowns and damaged mortar joints. These allow moisture to enter the chimney and break off flue tiles.
  • Residue may appear on the fireplace’s glass doors
  • Glass doors can become chipped or scratched, and may require replacement
  • Birds may build nests in your chimney, thereby harming ventilation

Gas Fireplaces Can Leave Corrosive Deposits

It’s easy to see when wood stoves and other appliances require cleaning. These fireplaces create ample soot, which is instantly visible upon inspection.  With gas fireplaces, the need for cleaning may not be as immediately obvious.  That doesn’t mean the need doesn’t exist, however. Natural gas and propane tend to deposit toxic — but invisible — substances. These can cause significant problems for your chimney and pose a safety and health risk.  The need for action may not become evident until your gas fireplace is damaged.  When discovered late, gas fireplace repairs are much more costly.

Make sure that your gas fireplace is functioning properly

Professional chimney sweeps like ours always check to make sure that every aspect of your chimney is working correctly.  They can determine how efficiently and safely your fireplace is functioning.  They can also inform of whether a need for repairs exists now or might be needed farther in the future. With time, valves can slowly develop leaks. Unfortunately, leaks are not very obvious.  As a result, these problems may not be examined as quickly as warranted.  The same applies to the thermopile and thermocouple, which may show wear over time. During an inspection, your technician can determine the extent of the damage and alert you to a possible solution.

What Happens During a Gas Fireplace Cleaning Inspection?

When your local technician arrives to clean your gas fireplace, you can expect a thorough inspection of every aspect of the appliance. The following are a few of the most critical elements of a gas fireplace inspection:
  • The expert inspects the fireplace’s exterior, observing for chips and cracks in or debris on the glass doors, and the quality of the general fireplace framework.
  • A close look at the interior ignition will determine whether the fireplace lights correctly.
  • The face of the unit may be removed to inspect valves beneath the fireplace or insert.
  • A thorough cleaning process may ensue, to guarantee the removal of all residue from vents.
  • A quick check for your carbon monoxide detectors will determine whether they are correctly in place and functional.
  • Your technician will end the inspection by alerting you to any problems that require attention, and how urgent those issues may be.
You love the comfort and beauty your gas fireplace provides, along with its incredible efficiency.  A little care and attention can keep your fireplace in working order in for decades to come. If you have yet to schedule your annual inspection, now is the time to get started.

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