To have a safe house is a blessing. However, to have a safe home that is both warm and cozy is even more blissful.
How wonderful life seems when it is cold outside, but we are cuddled up near a fireplace, enjoying a hot cup of coffee. It all sounds idyllic.
But what happens when our gas fireplace stops working, bringing cold air of despair and disruption to our life?
We become distressed when we are puzzled about why our gas log fireplace is not working as it should. Clueless, helpless, and cold, questions begin to arise in our minds like black smog from a clogged chimney.
The most common questions of concern are:
Is there a fireplace repair service near me?
If there is, will they be available at such an odd hour of the night for a chimney inspection?
What if the problem is nothing major, and all that is needed is a thorough fireplace cleaning or a minor repair?
Let us explore why your gas log fireplace is not working effectively. Can you successfully perform a fireplace cleaning yourself, or is it better to call a fireplace repair service?
Self-Inspection and Prevention
It is essential to consistently check the condition of your fireplace and its associated chimney. Regular chimney inspections increase fireplace longevity by almost 50%.
Here is a list of what you should inspect to determine if a fireplace cleaning is enough or you will need a fireplace repair:
- Do a visual inspection of your chimney every two weeks to detect any early signs of decay or crumble.
- Move your hand lightly over the masonry and feel for any cracks that have appeared. If cracks are barely felt, they are okay. However, if they are bulging and cause a rattle, you should consult a fireplace repair service.
- After moving your hand over the bricks, if you find any white stains, it could indicate a chimney leak.
- Search for any cracks, dents, or tilts in the gas pipes.
Despite taking these precautions, it is still possible that your gas fireplace is not getting enough gas. The result will be reduced efficiency. In such a situation, one should call OHA and let the experts handle the heat and the smoke!
Types Of Gas Log Fireplace
Knowing the type of fireplace that you have is essential, as you will be able to pinpoint what could be wrong with your fireplace and what needs to be done. The list includes a fireplace inspection, a fireplace repair, or even a complete overhaul followed by a gas fireplace installation.
There are three types of gas fireplace applications:
- Direct Vent
There are also several options for the gas fireplace burner types regarding the controls on these types of Vented/Non-Vented products.
1) Vent Free
It’s in the name! Vent-free gas fireplaces do not require a vent to release waste (byproduct) gases outside. They work great in larger spaces. However, in smaller areas, they will require a fresh air intake. A gas fireplace installation without a vent is fast, easy to install, and cheaper. Most interestingly, it saves you a lot of space.
2) Direct Vent
A direct vent requires a vent that can draw in oxygen and release fumes like carbon dioxide outside.
The upside of getting a direct vent is its ability to generate more heat. It requires less gas and emits fewer fumes within the house.
Generally, gas log fireplaces are better as they increase energy efficiency. They require infrequent fireplace repair and can be fitted with smart technology, such as controlling the fireplace with a remote or a button.
Vented gas fireplaces do require a vent to release waste (byproduct) gases outside. Vented gas fireplaces are flexible and work great for large or small spaces with either a masonry chimney or prefab insert application. A vented gas fireplace installation with an existing vent is also fast, easy to install, and cheaper.
Familiarizing Yourself With Chimney Components
There are other components of your fireplace that are small in size but grand in their importance. Thus, familiarizing yourself with such parts, and getting them repaired is also a duty one should follow religiously:
Chimney cap – within a chimney cap, one must look at the mesh’s condition and replace it if torn. Secondly, the chimney cap has to be tightly sealed.
Chimney crowns – these crowns are vulnerable and susceptible to cracks and decay. Thus, it is essential to check these.
Flashing – It is the sealant that seals the gap between the roof and the chimney; it should not be rusted, and if it has formed rust, it needs repair.
Fireplace damper – often ignored, the fireplace damper influences your gas fireplace’s overall working efficiency. If it is opening and closing without many and any loud squeaks, it is good to go
Gas Fireplace Smoke Chamber & Repair
Consumers may be aware of the impact of a thorough fireplace repair; however, most people remain unaware of the value of a smoke chamber. Most fireplace owners were in the dark about the role a smoke chamber plays.
Smoke chambers are located above the damper and at the bottom of the flue. Its primary function is to guide the flow of smoke and fumes up the flue releasing them from the chimney.
It is professionally advised that gas fireplace and chimney homeowners regularly consult their fireplace service and ask them specifically to inspect the smoke chamber.
When Not To Get A New Fireplace
Many people inadvertently go with a complete gas fireplace installation or replacement, neither of which is essential.
Let us review a few issues that are bound to arise but do not warrant replacing the entire gas fireplace.
If the smoke from the gas fireplace is backing up in the house, it is a matter of concern. However, this is a minor repair.
It is also possible to have pungent and nasty odors erupting from the gas fireplace. Again, the same modus operandi: do not panic and do not replace the entire fireplace. A minor repair and it will be good as new.
While leaks could be potentially dangerous and a matter of grave concern, they are still minor issues that can be fixed within a couple of hours by a professional.
When to Get An Immediate Gas Fireplace Repair or Replacement
Some issues do not warrant immediate action. However, some problems require immediate attention from a professional.
- Crumbling bricks and mortar reflect the need for a complete reconstruction or a new gas fireplace installation.
- Water leakages are as deadly for your chimney as water is to fire. Water leakages mean there is a structural fault in the gas fireplace that needs immediate care.
- Leaning Tower of Pisa might make for an attractive tourist destination; however, your leaning chimney will lead to tourists and guests fleeing away! If you notice the chimney leaning or a few bricks are getting pushed out and over, it is a call for help.
There is often a thin line between getting your gas log fireplace fixed and getting a new gas log fireplace. To make an informed decision and not fall for upselling, we recommend a consultation with OHA.
How Does A Professional Gas Fireplace Repair Work
Professionals begin with a structural inspection covering issues such as unstable structures like bad chimney base or footing, leaning chimney, or water infiltration.
An important aspect is to inspect and ensure that toxic fumes are making their way out safely. There should be no adverse effects of acid on the structural components of the gas log fireplace.
Most fireplaces are a hybrid version. That is, they utilize gas as the primary fuel – in addition to wood or pellet.
When wood or pellets are burnt, creosote, a flammable byproduct, is produced. It is sticky and hard and forms on the chimney walls.
Professional cleaners clean this build up because it is the leading factor in causing most chimney fires in the United States of America.
Obstructions are cleared. Dead animals cause obstructions, and sometimes animals who are alive but have found a warm nesting space in the burrow of your chimney. Obstacles lead to the narrowing of the vent for exhausting gases.
Gas fireplaces have replaced the traditional wood only fireplaces. While gas log fireplaces are ideal for most houses, their annual checks are necessary to ensure their longevity and safety.
A fireplace repair service is a blessing many people often ignore. If you wish to stay warm when the temperatures drop, get a fireplace inspection done regularly, and invest in proper maintenance.