by Mike Van Buren
When I think about gas fireplace safety, four key issues come to mind that can help improve the efficiency and safety of your system.
1. Inspection: this is number one for a reason. Having your gas product serviced by a professional every year before the heating season begins is the most important thing you can do as the owner of a gas hearth product. This should preferably be done by someone who is certified to the requirements of your jurisdiction’s local authority and by someone who is NFI certified. There are a number of things different from gas hearth products and hot water heaters and boilers that make this important. Your technician should not only make sure the unit is running correctly but also add new embers and clean the glass on the fireplace.
2. Cleaning: keep the interior of the glass on your fireplace clean. Once the white film on the glass builds up it is difficult to clean off and sometimes impossible. If the white build up gets too bad, this could lead to the need of replacing the glass, which can be very costly, because gas hearth products use either tempered glass or ceramic glass.
3. Childproofing: if you have children or children visiting, be aware that the glass on your hearth product gets very hot. The standards have changed recently, and all fireplaces must be supplied with screens moving forward. If you have a unit without a screen, contact your local chimney sweep or hearth shop. They may be able to supply you with the screen made specifically for your unit. If one does not exist, a fireplace spark screen is a good alternative
4. Decoration: remember that your fireplace is an aesthetic part of your house all year round. If you have an older gas fireplace and want to change the look (say get rid of the brass louver over and under the glass), fireplace door manufacturers are now providing new fronts that can install over your existing fireplace. These units simply go on with magnets. Contact your local CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep or hearth dealer for more information about this flexible, affordable option.
Editors Note: One in our series of annual professional development and certification programs to benefit industry and consumers, we host at Chimney Safety Institute of America headquarters our Installing and Troubleshooting Gas Hearth Appliances course. Today’s guest blogger, Mike Van Buren, is a lead instructor for the class.
Guest blogger Mike Van Buren, P.E., has been creating unique hearth products for nearly two decades. In 2000, he founded Blazing Design, Inc. to bring custom fireplaces and fire features to residences and businesses worldwide.