How to Safely Operate a Gas Fireplace
Many homeowners throughout the Wisconsin area enjoy the comfort and convenience of a gas fireplace for affordable home heating. They are easy to clean and maintain and are a safe heating solution for any home, including smaller homes, apartments, and condos. Some units even have a remote control so you can operate the fireplace without leaving the couch. When operated properly, a gas fireplace is as safe to use as any other gas appliance.
Make Sure Your Gas Fireplace Is Installed Properly
If the gas fireplace was installed in your home by a previous owner, it is essential to ensure it was installed correctly and is in compliance with local building codes. Real estate property inspections typically don’t include an in-depth fireplace and chimney inspection by a Certified Chimney Sweep®. They are usually limited to a cursory overview and turning on the appliance if gas was active at the time of inspection. So, be sure to schedule a fireplace and chimney inspection before using the fireplace. An inspection will ensure your gas fireplace and chimney are correctly installed, operating efficiently, and safe to use.
Read the User Manual for Your Fireplace
You will also want to read the user manual to familiarize yourself with its features, operating procedures, maintenance and cleaning requirements, and safety precautions. You may be able to download the usual manual from the manufacturer’s website if you don’t have it handy. If you reside in the tri-state area, give Chimney Specialists Inc. a call, and we’ll be glad to help.
Test Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors
Although your gas fireplace may be equipped with an oxygen sensor, CO detectors are a necessary safety device that will sound an audible alarm in the event harmful carbon monoxide gas is leaking into the living space so you can quickly open windows and vent the room to prevent inhalation of toxic fumes. Also, replace the batteries every six months and regularly test your CO detector.
Operating a Gas Fireplace with a Control Panel
- Open the control panel to gain access to the pilot light. The control panel may be hidden. You may find it behind the fireplace screen.
- Locate the pilot control knob. It will be inscribed with ‘on,’ ‘off,’ and ‘pilot.’ Turn the knob to the “OFF” position. It must remain in the off position for at least five minutes so remaining gas dissipates.
- Open the gas shutoff valve. Your fireplace may have an internal gas shutoff valve as an additional safety feature. If it does, turn it to the ON or OPEN position so it is parallel to the gas line.
- Turn the pilot control knob to the PILOT position. When you’re ready to light the fireplace, push the control knob. While pressing the control knob, press the red ignition button or switch to light the pilot. You may need to press the ignition button several times while holding in the control knob for the pilot to light. Once the pilot is lit, keep the control knob pressed to ensure the pilot light stays on (about 30 seconds). Then, move the pilot control knob to the ON position. Replace the screen if it was removed to access the control panel.
Operating a Fireplace with a Gas Key
- Remove the front cover to gain access to the gas burner inside the fireplace.
- Insert the gas key into the keyhole in the gas control valve, but don’t turn it on yet. Caution: Be sure to have you’re lighter handy before turning on the gas. When you’re ready to light the fireplace, turn the key counterclockwise to start the gas flow. Then, use a long lighter, hold it next to the burner and press the trigger on the lighter to ignite the burner. Be prepared to move away from the fireplace quickly. As a safety precaution, it is recommended to wear heat-resistant gloves to avoid accidental burns when lighting the burner.
- Replace the fireplace cover.
Annual Gas Fireplace and Chimney Inspections
Your gas fireplace will provide years of safe, efficient, and reliable home heating when properly maintained and cleaned. Annual inspections and cleaning ensure any worn or defective parts are replaced, and the appliance, chimney, and vents are not obstructing the venting of harmful fumes. It will prevent premature failures and prolong the lifespan of the fireplace and its components. Your homeowners’ condo association or homeowners’ insurance policy may require annual fireplace maintenance. Chimney Specialists Inc. services gas fireplaces throughout Southwest Wisconsin, Northwest Illinois, and Northeast Iowa.