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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do I really need to service my gas fireplace?
  2. What kind of service is recommended?
  3. Can I service my own Gas Fireplace?
  4. Are Gas Fireplace technicians certified?
  5. What are the different kinds of gas fireplaces?
  6. Are there different kinds of gas logs?
  7. What is a sand pan burner?
  8. Should the wall above my Fireplace get hot?
  9. Why does the glass on my Gas Fireplace get black?
  10. Why does the glass have a white film on it?
  11. Must the damper be open when I use my gas logs?
  12. Can I buy different logs for my Gas Fireplace?
  13. Are there remote controls for Gas Fireplaces?
  14. Why is there rust on the inside of my Gas Fireplace?
  15. I have a gas log lighter. Do I have a Gas Fireplace?
  16. Do I have to have a chimney if I want a Gas Fireplace?

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  1.  Do I Really Need to Service My Gas Fireplace?

YES!  Every major gas fireplace manufacturer recommends an annual inspection and cleaning.  Dust, dirt, and spiders can all infect and clog up the orifices and burner ports of your gas fireplace causing the unit to burn inefficiently or, worse yet, not at all.  Loose or dirty wire connections also affect the operation of the unit.  Gaskets wear out and can allow poisonous carbon monoxide to be dispersed into your home.  An annual inspection, cleaning and adjustment of your gas fireplace is recommended to correct and prevent these problems.

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2.  What Kind of Service is Recommended?

For most true gas fireplaces, The Gas Fireplace Service Company recommends its 20-Point Inspection & Winterization--a comprehensive series of inspections, cleanings and adjustments.    The type of servicing that your Gas Fireplace needs really depends on the type of Gas Fireplace you have.

What do we do in our 20-Point Inspection & Winterization?

First off, everything on the inside of the combustion chamber is removed.  The pilot and the burner orifices are inspected and cleaned.  The entire fireplace box is vacuumed.  The burners and logs are cleaned.  The burner venturi is inspected and reset to factory specifications, if necessary.  And all safety switches are checked to make sure they are working properly.  All of the parts are then reinstalled in the firebox and the glowing embers are replenished.

The glass door or lens is then cleaned and reinstalled.  All of the wires are disconnected from the gas valve and the entire control compartment is vacuumed clean.  The gas valve and the junction box are then tested to make sure they are working properly before the wires are reconnected.  If applicable, the pilot light is then lit and tested for proper electrical output.  The burner is then lit and the entire system is monitored to confirm that everything is working correctly together. 

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3.  Can I Service My Own Gas Fireplace?
 

There are several things that you can do yourself.

Once a month, clean your unit's glass on both sides with a glass cleaner.  Failing to do so will result in your glass becoming "cloudy."  If left unchecked (and uncleaned), the glass can become permanently etched with this "cloudiness."

While you're cleaning the glass, check the gasket that is on the glass door or on the exterior around the firebox.  Any gasket that is either cracked or missing pieces should be replaced immediately.

Then check all of the wing nuts, bolts, etc. (whatever is being used to keep your glass door in place) to make sure that the glass door is fitting securely.  If the glass door is not secured tightly or if the gasket is cracked and missing pieces, carbon monoxide can escape into your home. 

Then, visually check out unit's outside vent.  Make sure there are no leaves or nests in the vent and replace the vent kit if it is torn or damaged in any way.


 

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  4.  Are Gas Fireplace Technicians Certified?

Gas Fireplace Technicians should be certified by at least one of the major gas fireplace manufacturers.  To make sure your gas fireplace technician is qualified, ask to see his or her "certification."  This ensures "factory-training."

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  5.  What Are The Different Kinds of Gas Fireplaces?

There are four (4) major categories of Gas Fireplaces--Direct Vent, B-Vent, Vent-less, and Log Sets.

Within each one of these groups, there are several different types of fireplaces.  Click here for more information on types.

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  6.  Are There Different Kinds of Gas Logs?

There are basically two (2) different types of log sets--vented and unvented.  Click here for more information on types.

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  7.  What is a Sand Pan Burner?

A Sand Pan Burner is a vented set of gas logs.  It is generally considered to be the most realistic and most aesthetically pleasing type of log set and is typically installed into an existing masonry fireplace. 

These log sets utilize a metal pan and sand to disperse the gas and create "dancing flames."  And when in use, the damper needs to be completely open.

This type of log set creates an abundance of carbon (that is, "black stuff") on the logs and inside the firebox which actually enhances the look of the fire.  But the carbon buildup really should be removed at least one a year. Click here for more information on types.

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  8.  Should The Wall Above My Gas Fireplace Get Hot?

If you have a Direct-Vent Gas Fireplace or a Vent-less Gas Fireplace, the area above the fireplace will, indeed, get very hot.

In fact, if your gas fireplace is categorized as a "decorative gas appliance,"  the wall above your fireplace could reach temperatures of 117 degrees Fahrenheit higher than your room temperature.

If you have a "heater-rated" Vent-less or Unvented Gas Fireplace, the wall above your fireplace could reach temperatures of 90 degrees Fahrenheit higher than your room temperature.

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  9.  Why Does The Glass On My Gas Fireplace Get Black?

Similar to a candle, your unit's flames aren't exactly "clean."  The result is a carbon buildup on the glass and on the ceramic logs.  Some buildup is to be expected and it can be removed by cleaning the logs and glass.  Click here to learn more about servicing your Gas Fireplace yourself.

An excessive amount of buildup on the glass or on the logs, however, can be an indication of problem. 

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  10.  Why Does The Glass Have A White Film On It?

There are three (3) reasons why your unit's glass may have a white film on it.

(1) During the first eight (8) hours of use for a new Gas Fireplace (also called the initial "burn-in" period), the burning off of the oils and paints used in the manufacturing and curing process often leave a film on the glass.

(2) The film is a by-product of burning natural and liquid propane (L.P.) gas.

(3) The burning of dust and dirt that's been brought in with the combustion air can also leave a film on the glass.

Normally, this film can be easily cleaned off.  Click here to learn more about servicing your Gas Fireplace yourself.

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  11.  Must the Damper Be Left Open When I Use My Gas Logs?

It depends on exactly what kind of Gas Logs you have.

If you have a Sand Pan Burner, then "yes" you must leave the damper open since this type of gas logs must be vented.

If you have a set of vent-less logs, then "no" you do not have to leave your damper open.

Click here for more information on types.

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  12.  Can I Buy Different Logs For My Gas Fireplace?

Unfortunately, No.  The logs and burner in your Fireplace were specifically designed and tested to work as a "unit."  Changing anything inside your combustion chamber could result in damage to your unit and there is a risk of the Fireplace not working at all.

On the other hand, if you have Gas Logs, then you may be able to buy replacement logs or a whole new set.

 

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  13.  Are There Remote Controls for Gas Fireplaces?

It depends on what type of Gas Fireplace you have.

If you have a "millivolt system", then "yes" you can hook up a hand-held remote control to your unit.  If you have a "one-stage valve system", then "no."

If you cannot determine what type of "system" you have from reading your owner's manual, try contacting the manufacturer directly.

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  14.  Why Is There Rust On The Inside of My Gas Fireplace?

One of the largest by-products of gas combustion is water vapor.  And  although most of the water vapor evaporates or is exhausted out of your unit, some of it remains within your gas fireplace and, in turn, causes rust.

There is some maintenance that you can do yourself if you've discovered rust.  You can sand off all of the rust and then prime and paint the area with a "heat-resistant" paint.

If left unchecked, your gas fireplace could actually rust through leaving it unsafe to use (since carbon monoxide and other fumes would escape into your home.) 

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  15.  I Have a Log Lighter.  Do I Have a Gas Fireplace?

No.  A Log Lighter is merely a means by which a homeowner with a masonry fireplace can start a traditional wood fire without having to use newspaper or kindling.  While there is gas going through the pipe and being lit at then end of the log lighter, you really just have a traditional masonry fireplace (with a log lighter.)

You can, however, have your masonry fireplace converted to a gas fireplace (i.e. Sand Pan Burner) fairly easily.

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  16.  Do I Have to Have a Chimney if I Want a Gas Fireplace?

Not necessarily.

Direct Vent Gas Fireplaces eliminate the need for a conventional chimney.  These fireplaces vent directly through a wall or out the roof.  They do not affect the indoor air quality and they do not use your house oxygen for combustion.  They use a double-wall venting system (also called a thermal siphon system) for bringing in air for combustion and exhausting the fumes.

A B-Vent Gas Fireplace must be vented vertically through either a chimney or out the roof.  These fireplaces use both outside air and your indoor air for combustion and, subsequently, are not as efficient as Direct Vent Fireplaces.

Unvented Gas Logs utilize new burner technology and a high burn temperature to keep the carbon monoxide levels down to an acceptable level.  These use indoor air for combustion, do not need a chimney, do not exhaust anything to the outside and keep all of the heat in your home.

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