Gas fireplaces are energy efficient due to their 75% rating, which means that 75% of the fuel is transformed into usable heat for your home. Natural gas fireplaces are very convenient, cost less than electric fireplaces, and have real flames and more heat. If there is a power outage, many models will continue to operate, making them useful in our cold climate.
Does the Gas Fireplace Need Maintenance?
Yes, this is how you can keep your fireplace working at its best. First, be sure to read the manufacturer’s guidance for your model’s safe operation and maintenance. Generally, natural gas fireplaces are built to produce yellow flames to simulate a wood fire. The blue and yellow color of the flame means clean. Still, if you notice black soot on the flame, your fireplace produces carbon and should be checked by a qualified technician.
If your model has a pilot light, make sure it is on to prevent gas from escaping. While natural gas itself is odorless, a harmless chemical is added that smells like rotten eggs. If you smell it or assume a leak, call 911 or find the 24-hour emergency gas line in your area.
How to Clean a Gas Fireplace Glass?
Subsequent maintenance includes cleaning after a regular operation; the glass may become cloudy. The cleaning and precautionary process include: Make sure the glass is cold, and then use an approved non-ammonia fireplace glass cleaner, use a non-abrasive cloth to avoid damage, damaged or scratched glass can break when heated.
When the fireplace is in full action, avoid touching the glass at all. Additional maintenance includes ensuring that the exterior fireplace ventilation is kept clean and free from obstructions. The safety points consist mainly of the heat that a lit continuously pilot light can heat the fireplace glass. So children should be kept at a safe distance at all times, and to save energy when not in use, you should turn the pilot light off. If you are considering converting a wood-burning fireplace, you can install a natural gas insert in the existing cavity. Provided an approved vent liner is also installed in the fireplace.
Wood Burning Fireplace Alternative
Do you enjoy the heat and beauty but are not as interested in the maintenance and mess that comes with a real wood fire? If so, you’re probably considering adding a gas log set as an alternative.
How to Choose a Gas Log Set
Here’s what you should consider when choosing a gas log set. The first decision you will have to make is whether you want a gas log set with ventilation or without. It would be best to consider a vented gas log in a regular fireplace designed to burn wood and have a fireplace engine system. Unvented gas logs can be used in a traditional fireplace or in a prefabricated unvented box that does not have a chimney.
Some vented gas logs will produce up to 25,000 BTUs of heat, but most will hardly emit any heat. If you are interested in a large flame but don’t care much about receiving the heat from the gas log set, then a good option may be a ventilated gas log set for you. On the other hand, if you expect to receive heat from your new log set, you probably want to consider an unvented model or a vented gas log set. That will be rated to emit a lot of heat, which most will not be.
Therefore, if you are still interested in a vented gas log set, you will want to use a vented gas log set in conjunction with a gas log heater. The gas log heater will produce up to 25,000 BTUs of heat circulated through the grate, and then the vent will push that heat back into your home. Once you have decided between a set of unvented or vented gas logs, there are still a couple more things to consider. Believe it or not, the price should not be your first consideration. Remember that a low price usually means that something is missing or the quality is low.
It would also help you consider how realistic other detailed logs look, including a charred appearance and wood grain. Another factor to consider is flame size; while the flame size can vary depending on each house’s gas pressure, many gas log sets have a small flame due to poor burner design. So, make sure to check the burner and consider upgrading the burner if the flame’s size matters to you. Otherwise, you may be disappointed and be left with a small or false-looking flame.
Choosing the Right Gas Log Valve
The choice and the gas valve may be the most difficult considerations, but they should not be overlooked. Gas valves come in three variations: manual on/off, manual safety pilot, and millivolt safety pilot.
Manual On/Off Valve
A manual valve will not be allowed on propane log sets and will instead come with a manual safety pilot.
Manual Safety Valve
Now let’s talk about manual pilot safety valves; these will be similar to those seen on an oven or water heater as far as this type of gas valve is concerned. Initially, you will turn the valve on in the pilot position, push it in, and hold a match in the pilot opening. They usually have a permanent pilot flame that burns as long as you have the valve in the pilot or in position. Turning the valve to the on position turns on the gas register lights and has some flame settings. The pilot light can be turned off entirely in the summer months to save fuel as well.
Millivolt Valve: Remote Control Your Gas Log
The option of the millivolt safety pilot valve and its operation will be similar to that of a manual safety pilot valve, except that the valve can be connected to optional devices to turn the gas on and off. They can be installed to an on/off switch, a wall thermostat, or even operated with the handheld remote control. Your remote controls will vary with the less expensive versions that only have on/off functions. The more costly remote controls can help control the flame’s height and even have a built-in thermostat. This remote control would lower or turn off the set gas register when the temperature you preset is reached.
To recap: A natural gas fireplace is an economical and safe way to keep your home warm and beautiful. It’s just one of many natural gas appliances that make your life better. And taking good care of your gas fireplace will help extend its life.