Chimney Care Company's Blog
Does your gas fireplace remain unlit and unused because you’re unsure of its safety? Or did you purchase a new home with a gas fireplace, but you’re afraid to use it because you don’t know when it was last serviced? If you’re unsure about the functioning of your gas fireplace, have it inspected by a professional, and you’ll be enjoying your fireplace in no time.
Signs your gas fireplace is due for an inspection
It’s undeniable that gas fireplaces require less maintenance that their wood-burning counterparts, but they do still require an annual cleaning and inspection. Gas fires release corrosive water vapor that can degrade your chimney, and ceramic logs can break down and clog vents, vents and fans need to be cleaned, and the chimney should be inspected for any leaks. If you’re moving into a new home and don’t know when the last time the gas fireplace was serviced, or if you are overdue for your annual cleaning and inspection, you should call a CSIA-certified chimney sweep before burning any fires.
Even if you’ve kept up your regular inspections and maintenance on your gas fireplace, there are some signs that your fireplace may require service immediately. Those include:
- Soot buildup on any part of your fireplace or chimney
- A bad or odd odor coming from your fireplace
- Discoloration or etching on the glass front of the fireplace
- Slow ignition or no ignition
- Sudden or delayed turnoff
- Unusually dark orange flames.
What to expect from a gas fireplace inspection
When you call in an expert to inspect your gas fireplace, they will look for any cracks in and usually clean the glass. As ceramic logs can sometimes degrade, your inspector will look for and remove any debris from those logs, particularly debris that is blocking the vents. Your inspector will make sure your fireplace is venting properly, that all valves and seals are properly functioning, that all blowers and fans are functioning, and make sure that there are no damaged or worn-out components. Your inspector also will look for condensation, proper clearances, and any cracks in the firebox or chimney. The pilot will be lit to make sure that it is functioning properly, and your technician will inspect the flames to make sure they are burning as they should.
Don’t delay your gas fireplace inspection
If you’re wary of your gas fireplace, don’t delay your inspection! An improperly functioning gas fireplace can put your home and family in danger of a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. The certified technicians from the Chimney Care Company can clean and inspect your fireplace to make sure it’s running safely and efficiently. We’ll have you enjoying your gas fireplace in no time!
You likely selected your pellet stove for its ease of use: You get to enjoy the glowing flames and added warmth of a fire without having to stack and haul wood, add logs to the fire throughout the day, or have to clean large quantities of ash from a fireplace. Nonetheless, your pellet stove does require some regular maintenance to keep running as safely and efficiently as possible.
Weekly pellet stove maintenance
Each week, you will need to perform some simple tasks, taking about 15 minutes of your time, to keep your pellet stove running as it was built to. First, you will need to empty the ash drawer. You will also need to inspect your stove for the presence of “clinkers,” hard deposits that form when ash melts. Clinkers can keep the fire in your burn pot from getting the oxygen it needs to burn optimally. Any clinkers will need to be removed; this can be done with a special ash rake created just for this purpose. Examine the inside of your stove for any soot buildup, and remove soot with a wire brush. You will need to clean the heat exchanger, as outlined in your owner’s manual. Check your flame to make sure that it’s burning bright yellow or white. A darker, orange flame can indicate that it’s time to call a service professional. Clean the glass so you can continue to enjoy your stove’s flame and be able to spot any potential problems.
Pellet stove maintenance tips
One of the best things you can do to keep your pellet stove running efficiently, cleanly, and safely is to burn the right fuel. Make sure you are burning quality pellets that are made from hardwood; softwood pellets create more soot as they burn, leading to cleaning and maintenance problems for your stove. Also, make sure you allow the auger tube and hopper to empty completely on a regular basis to prevent sawdust and pellet debris from building up in and blocking the feeding system. At the end of the season, empty the hopper completely, as pellets can attract moisture and lead to rust in your stove.
Regular, professional pellet stove cleaning
As with any fireplace or heating stove, you will need to have your pellet stove and chimney cleaned and inspected once a year to make sure that there is no dangerous debris built up in the system and that there hasn’t been any damage to the stove or chimney that could pose a hazard. Your technician will inspect the stove’s vents, wiring, auger, motor, switches, seals, and other important components. Your technician also will clean and lubricate the stoves motors and fans, something that is difficult for you to do on your own.
You likely selected your pellet stove for its ability to heat your home efficiently and safely. With your regular maintenance and professional annual cleaning, your pellet stove can continue to be an asset to your home for years to come.
It is important to know the right kind of firewood to burn in your fireplace to get the hottest, most efficient fire, but also to ensure you are keeping your chimney healthy. Wood with high moisture content that is not dried properly or well seasoned can cause build up of glazed creosote that is dangerous to your chimney and difficult to remove.
For any questions on firewood or to have your chimney inspected for creosote buildup, contact us at Chimney Care Company today.
Pellet stoves are a great alternative if you’re looking for a low-maintenance, eco-friendly source of warmth for your home. This affordable option not only saves you money on your electricity bill, it also is as customizable as the rest of your home with a variety of styles to fit your décor. If your pellet stove is not performing normally or producing smoke, make sure it is disconnected from the power source and cool before inspecting it.
The fuel that feeds into your stove is made up of compressed bits of sawdust and bark that produce little to no smoke and are a renewable resource. If the pellets are producing soot or smoke when burned, it is likely that the pellets being used aren’t of a high quality, which means there is a higher likelihood of them producing deposits of creosote that can keep your stove from functioning properly. Invest in a better quality pellet, and see how much longer they burn for. Chances are, you’ll see better results.
If the stove won’t start at all, even when plugged in to the power outlet, check the fuse to make sure it has been damaged. Once your stove is up and running, keep an eye out for these telltale signs. If you’re using high-quality pellets and smoke is still coming out of the stove, the burn pot could be at fault. Clean it of waste and debris and try again. The same solution goes for the auger that feeds the pellets into the burn pot. Clear the augur of pellets and try again. If the motor is at fault, give us a call. We will clean it of debris and lubricate the moving parts so that it can function properly. Most of the time, it is either the pellets or the deposits created by the pellets that cause a problem.
Sometimes, air leaks develop in the seal of the door. If you are not feeling appropriate amounts of heat from the stove, this could be the culprit. The air inlet cap, which provides oxygen to full the fire, can also become blocked, so clean this on a regular basis as well. Proper ventilation is key to a successful pellet stove fire, so make sure the vent and exhaust pipe are clean.
Pellet stoves are high-tech and easy to use. Keep all the parts and pieces clear of debris and buildup, provide plenty of fuel, and you’ll have a beautiful fire in no time. Give us a call here at Chimney Care Company. We install pellet stoves in a variety of styles and sizes, depending on your budget and the ambiance you want to achieve. We also provide maintenance to make sure everything is working smoothly. Call us today: 513-248-9600!
Gas logs have so many benefits that it is hard to know where to start. Installation is simple, and their presence easily adds ambiance to a room. It takes mere seconds to start a fire, and requires much less maintenance than a conventional wood fireplace. The benefits of having gas logs in your fireplace is obvious, but many don’t know all the various options that are available for those looking to change or upgrade from their current situation.
Vented Gas Logs:
When selecting a gas log set, consider where they will be located. Do you have a fireplace that you want to upgrade or do you want a fire that doesn’t require ventilation? This will be the main factor in determining if you need vented or vent-free gas logs. Vented gas logs act like a wood fire, just without the ash, the smoke, and the hassle. It still emits some fumes, so a fireplace that has a functioning, well-maintained chimney attached is a must. Just like a wood-burning fire, the damper of the chimney must remain open while the gas fire is on.
Vent-Free Gas Logs:
When you want to add a heat source and instant coziness to a room, a set of vent-free gas logs in an approved vent-free firebox that channels the heat directly into the room, but still protects you and your home. It doesn’t require a chimney, but keep in mind that gas lines will still need to be run into the firebox.
Technology has spoiled us in the last few years, providing us with a variety of options for the logs and the firebox itself. Depending on the decor and feel of the room, the clay, cement, or ceramic logs can be made to resemble a variety of different woods, and can even be shaped to look like both split and whole logs, complete with knots and bark. You also have the option to choose the type and height of flame that is produced, as well as the pattern in which it burns. The flames can be produced by a manual or electronic ignition, and lit with a match or even a remote control. To even further add options, glowing embers can be activated and gravel or sand can be added underneath to complete the look. Gas logs have none of the fuss of building an actual fire, but all of the little details that add to the ambiance.
Gas logs can easily take the place of a wood-burning fireplace with their ease of use and convenience, but it is still important to keep your chimney and fireplace swept and inspected. You may be warm and cozy inside, but your chimney is still out in the elements. Give us a call today to schedule your appointment for a sweeping and to look into your options for changing to a gas log set before the winter months hit us.