We’re officially in the heat of the season and with each passing day, lighting the first fire in your gas fireplace is looking more and more appealing. But before you put your fireplace to good use, there are several critical safety tips to take into consideration.
1. Check That Your Chimney is Ready for Action.
Your chimney plays an important role in the ventilation process needed to safely operate a fireplace. After periods of non-use, it’s key that you look for debris within your chimney that may possibly be blocking the air flow. If there is debris, it should be removed prior to starting your fire.
In addition, you should always inspect the cleanliness of your chimney. Even when there’s no soot, there still might be substances that can pose health risks. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends looking for the following signs of ventilation problems that must be taken care of prior to using your fireplace.
- Blistered paint
- Ceiling stains on area surround chimney
- Damp patches on the wall
- Stains on the outside of masonry chimneys
- Eroded mortar joints
- Crumbling bricks
2. Pay Close Attention to Carbon Monoxide.
Regardless of your log set or whether you’re burning kerosene, propane, or natural gas, you’re releasing carbon monoxide into the air.
Because Carbon Monoxide is both colorless and odorless, the National Fire Protection Association recommends installing CO detectors in any home with gas being burned as a fuel in order to effectively monitor the levels.
Install CO detectors according the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure you place them at the correct height on the walls, as well as one outside of each sleeping area on every level of your home. Test the detectors at a bare minimum of once a month, as well as before you light your first fire of the season.
3. It’s Finally Time to Light the Fire!
Once the following steps are taken to check whether your fireplace is safe to use, it’s time to light your fire. For nearly a decade, units have been switching over to electronic ignition that makes preparing your fireplace as easy as pressing a button. However, prior to this change most units featured pilot lights, which require a more manual process to starting a fire after it’s been unused for a period of time.
For instructions regarding your specific unit, you should reference the instructions located underneath your fireplace or on the attached tag – which every gas direct vent unit should have. You may also consult your Owner’s Manual or, if you’re having trouble locating these items, give us a call and our qualified staff would be happy to assist you.
Fireplace Stone & Patio highly recommends fireplace maintenance at least once annually. Give our showroom a call to schedule an appointment!
** This article contains information provided by LaDonna Hadley’s article “Relighting the Fire: Safety Tips for Your Old Gas Fireplace,” as well as from the Chimney Safety Institute of America and the National Fire Protection Association. **