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Gas Fire Place Operation and Maintenance?

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  • Dec 14th, 2019 7:14 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 3, 2004
2109 posts
149 upvotes
Calgary

Gas Fire Place Operation and Maintenance?

HI guys,
Might be a silly question. (my previous place doesn't have any fire place)
Just wondering if there is any general guideline I should follow for operation and routine maintenance of the gas fire place ?
It's just a simple one without any thermostat, does have a glass front.
The pilot light is on all the time, and there is a switch underneath where I can turn the fireplace on.
Do i just turn it on and leave it like that when I need it?
I am a bit concerned if the glass front can sustain the high heat emission for a longer duration like couple hours?
Also any routine maintenance you would recommend?
Thanks a lot.
6 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 2, 2012
3645 posts
2595 upvotes
KINGSTON,ON
Definitely not silly questions. Most people just ignore their fireplaces.
Gas fireplaces are fairly low maintenance.

Yes, you can just leave the pilot on, then turn the fireplace on with the switch. Personally, I turn my pilot off in late spring, because they consume gas and add heat to the house in summer. Some people say that running the pilot year around keeps insects from making nests in the vent termination, but I've never experienced that issue. If you do turn off the fireplace, you will need to relight it when you want to use it. Lighting instructions are usually inside the compartment where the gas valve is located (often a flip down panel on the bottom of the fireplace).
They are all basically the same though. If you haven't turned the actual gas supply valve off (there's no real need to do this, just turn the fireplace valve marked "On" "Pilot" and "Off" to the "Pilot" position), push the dial in and hold it in, then push the red ignition BBQ style lighter button. The pilot flame should light. Keep pressing the fireplace valve in for about 60 seconds, then release. If the pilot stays lit, turn the valve to "On". If it doesn't, repeat.

Don't worry about the glass. It's special high heat glass and is not affected by extended running of the fireplace.

You may find that the inside of the glass becomes cloudy over time. This is caused by mineral deposits from impurities in the gas. It can be cleaned off with *surprise* fireplace glass cleaner! Available in the fireplace section at Canadian Tire. Cleaning it is easy, but getting it apart can be a PITA depending on the FP design, but if you are remotely handy with a screwdriver, it is doable.

While you have the glass out, carefully vacuum out the inside of the firebox. Be extra careful around the logs if you have them, as they are fragile and just about impossible to replace it you break them. If you break them your flame will be affected and look like poop.

In the Fall, have a look at your vent cap on the outside of your house. Make sure the steel screens are in place and no animals have pulled them off and made nests in the cap or ducting. Blockage can lead to irregular flame, the flame going out, or at worst carbon monoxide poisoning. (Make sure your CO detectors are working! It's the law in Ontario to have them; not sure about libertarian Alberta.)
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 3, 2004
2109 posts
149 upvotes
Calgary
thanks for your detailed reply.
I guess it's time to get the fireplace glass cleaner.
Also I did purchase an additional CO/Smoke detector and placed it on top of the fireplace, just in case.
Just hope we could get some decent priced connected (zwave) ones that I can check on smartthings app.

Again, kudos to taking the time to reply.
Deal Addict
May 2, 2006
1235 posts
171 upvotes
On the topic of gas fireplaces. I have a zero clearance one, however the wood mantle and surrounding trim gets super hot when the fireplace has been on for 30 + minutes. Pretty sure the temperature to ignite wood is extremely high, but still it makes me kinda worry since i don't want any wood combusting if i leave the fireplace on for a few hours. Any thoughts on whether there should be any concern?
Deal Addict
Aug 30, 2011
3459 posts
1219 upvotes
Ottawa
MrFrugal has covered it well. I'd add that I clean the glass (both sides) only once a year, when the pilot light is off. It's a bit of a nuisance to remove the glass, I always have trouble getting the screws back in!

Also, if you have kids, teach them that the glass is hot, even when no fire is on. The heat from just the pilot light is why I also turn ours off for the summer. Seems wasteful to air condition a heated space. Every few years, I pay for a service call to have a full check up done.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 2, 2012
3645 posts
2595 upvotes
KINGSTON,ON
Corinthein wrote: On the topic of gas fireplaces. I have a zero clearance one, however the wood mantle and surrounding trim gets super hot when the fireplace has been on for 30 + minutes. Pretty sure the temperature to ignite wood is extremely high, but still it makes me kinda worry since i don't want any wood combusting if i leave the fireplace on for a few hours. Any thoughts on whether there should be any concern?
Tough to tell whether the mantle has the correct clearances. Zero clearance means back and sides usually.
The manufacturer would have provided specific clearances for any decorative mantle. The higher the mantle is above the fireplace, the greater the overhang allowed. You probably don't have those specs, but you may be able to get that info from the manufacturer if they are still around.
You can always buy a Mastercraft thermal gun to get a reading (people are lousy thermometer)
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
9663 posts
5047 upvotes
Paris
Corinthein wrote: On the topic of gas fireplaces. I have a zero clearance one, however the wood mantle and surrounding trim gets super hot when the fireplace has been on for 30 + minutes. Pretty sure the temperature to ignite wood is extremely high, but still it makes me kinda worry since i don't want any wood combusting if i leave the fireplace on for a few hours. Any thoughts on whether there should be any concern?
Fahrenheit 451. I doubt it’s getting that hot.

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