Everybody loves a cozy fire, and the comforting warmth offered by a clean-burning gas fireplace is a welcome centerpiece in any home. Whether enjoying company around the fire or just relaxing with a good book, a warm, clean, and efficient fireplace turns cold autumn and winter nights into an event to look forward to.
Unfortunately, gas fireplaces are not free from necessary cleaning and maintenance – nor are they free from potential malfunctions and problems. Fortunately, the team at Ashbusters Milwaukee is here to educate you on the dangers of these problems, as well as how to spot them early and what you can do to get them fixed before they become dangerous.
Dangers of a Malfunctioning Gas Fireplace
Most malfunctions within a gas fireplace system are low risk and rarely dangerous. However, if you fail to notice a defect within the system, what starts as a little problem can grow to be a danger to your family and your home.
- Gas Leaks: One of the most common dangers of a malfunctioning gas fireplace comes in the form of leaking gas. When there is a leak in the gas line, natural or propane gas can slowly mix with the oxygen in your home and create the beginnings of an explosion waiting to happen. Before you know it, your home can become a bomb that will explode with the slightest spark. It is vital to notice gas leaks and stop them before they become a life threatening hazard.
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Carbon monoxide is an invisible and odorless gas that replaces breathable oxygen within the home. It can come from insufficient ventilation within the gas fireplace system or from gas that isn’t fully combusted. Over 100,000 people in the United States last year were hospitalized because of carbon monoxide, while over 400 people died because of it. Some symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headaches, dysphoria, and nausea – and many mimic flu symptoms.
- Uncontrolled Fire: Because gas fireplaces are built to contain fire, intruders like foreign debris can ignite and cause fire outside of the fireplace. Clogs in the ventilation system put your home at increased risk of fire.
Common Gas Fireplace Problems & Their Solutions
Fortunately the dangers listed above are rare and easily avoided with simple annual fireplace maintenance and care. Here are common problems you might face with your gas fireplace – and some solutions to solve them.
✔ Faulty Ignition
A gas fireplace works by pushing gas out, igniting it, and burning it fully in a well-ventilated fireplace. That said, there are a few factors that are needed to ignite the gas, and if any of them are faulty then getting your gas to burn is a problem.
Some things to check on if you are having problems igniting your gas fireplace are:
- Ignition Switch: Depending on how your ignition switch works, it may need a new battery or need to be replaced altogether. If it isn’t working, then your ignition process won’t work.
- Clogged Pilot Light: Your pilot light will need air to breathe and remain lit. Make sure it isn’t obstructed and is able to breathe.
- Low Gas Pressure: There could be low pressure in your gas supply line, which means there isn’t enough gas to ignite. If this is the case, you will need a professional to troubleshoot for you.
Regular maintenance by our professionals at Ashbusters Milwaukee will make sure the process of ignition happens when you expect them to. It’s better to head off these problems before they start, rather than waiting until the problem exists. This is why scheduling regular maintenance with Ashbusters can keep your gas fireplace in working order for the long haul.
✔ Inconsistent Flames
Another common problem in a gas fireplace is inconsistent flames. When the height and flickering of flames are inconsistent, or if you see weak combustion or outright extinguishments, this signals potential gas line blockages, pressure imbalances, or compromised thermocouples.
The first thing you need to check is that your vents and/or chimney are free and clear of blockages. Proper airflow is needed to maintain proper combustion within the fireplace.
✔ Soot Buildup
One of the reasons many people prefer gas fireplaces is because they burn cleanly and require less clean up than their woodburning counterparts. If your gas fireplace is building up soot deposits, it means that something is not burning cleanly the way it’s supposed to. This can be because of an imbalance in air-to-gas ratios, poor ventilation, dirty burners, or loose debris that’s made its way into the fireplace.
Look to make sure your vents are clear and your burners and fireplace are clean and free of debris. If they aren’t, give us a call right away.
✔ Unpleasant Smells
Debris-clogged chimneys can cause unpleasant odors that range from mildewy odors to smells of charring and smoke. Again, it’s vital that your ventilation system remains free of clogs and debris buildup. If the smell is like that of a rotten egg, it could mean that there is a gas leak within the system. If this is the case make sure your gas line is turned off and get professional help immediately.
Our Chimney Techs Are Here to Help
The professionals at Ashbusters Milwaukee have the training and equipment necessary to spot problems and fix them before they become a danger to your property and your loved ones. The best way to make sure you have peace of mind as you enjoy your fireplace this year is by making sure that our professionals have visited to help you clean, maintain, and repair any faulty parts of your system.
Call us today at (414) 626-9280 or reach out online now.