Company Blog

Why do Gas Logs and Appliances Need Annual Check-Ups?

Most folks won’t argue that wood-burning fireplaces need regular inspections and sweepings. The presence of creosote buildup exponentially increases the potential for chimney fires and other hazards. However, many folks think that having gas logs eliminates the need for having any kind of annual service. It is quite common that there isn’t any kind of appliance check until the unit causes a problem. This is not the case, as they also need regular maintenance.

Gas Fireplaces and Their Chimneys Need Attention

A properly operating gas log appliance has less potential for sooty buildup than a wood burning appliance. However, with the passage of time, as dust or/or animal dander builds up in the working parts, the appliance can become less and less efficient. With lowered efficiency, there is potential for sooting and even failure.

The following are some examples of complications that can arise from not having regular check-ups:

  • Deterioration of ceramic components
  • Leaky valves
  • Faulty thermopiles/thermocouples
  • Glass doors may need cleaning, repair, or replacement
  • Birds, squirrels or other critters may take up residence in an uncovered chimney
  • Cracked crowns, eroded mortar joints, and porous bricks may allow moisture to chronically enter the chimney and cause damage

It’s true that it is relatively easy to see when wood burning appliances require cleaning, as there can be plenty of debris visible. With gas fireplaces, the need for service may not be as immediately obvious. However, that doesn’t mean the need doesn’t exist. The necessity for service may not become apparent until your gas fireplace has problems. Proactively opting for regular inspection/service is a great way to avoid interruption of use.

What To Expect with a Gas Fireplace Inspection/Service?

When our well trained technician arrives to check out and clean your gas fireplace, you can expect a thorough inspection of every aspect of the appliance and the chimney. The following are a few of the most critical elements of a gas fireplace inspection:

  • We examine the fireplace/chimney structure to determine if it is in appropriate working condition. For example, is it in compliance with appliance manufacturer’s specifications for installation? This is determined via a courtesy fireplace/chimney inspection.
  • We check the appliance ignition system to determine if it lights correctly.
  • Some portion of the face of the unit may be taken apart to provide access to interior parts. We check the pilot, connections, thermopile/thermocouple, and other various mechanical parts.
  • We clean dust and debris from the unit. In addition, we refresh the medium around gas log burner if it is dirty beyond practicality of further use.
  • A condition report noting any remaining problems that may require attention will be provided along with recommendations for resolution of issues and prices for those resolutions, if desired.

Keep Your Home Hearth Fires Burning Brightly

You value the comfort, beauty, and enjoyment your gas fireplace provides for your family. Timely care and attention can keep your fireplace in good working order for years and years. Professional chimney sweeps like the ones at Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps | Bless Your Hearth strive to keep every aspect your home hearth fire always in tip-top condition. We can help determine overall condition, need for maintenance, issues with functionality, and even project long-term issues before they become costly problems. Regular inspections/maintenance can insure there is no interruption in your family’s enjoyment of your fireplace.

Got Gas?!

Got Gas?!Got Gas! - Laurens SC - Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps

You have a “gas fireplace”……..but do you really?

What’s the difference between

  • A gas starter (log-lighter),
  • Gas logs,
  • A gas fireplace insert,
  • And a true gas fireplace?  

And why do you need to know?

Gas starter (log-lighter)

Log Lighters are designed to burn gas in order to start a real wood fire without using kindling.  They are not designed to emulate the look of a real wood fire and should not be used with artificial logs.  You can find log lighters in both masonry and prefabricated manufactured fireplaces.  If one has been installed in a prefab fireplace it is not recommended to remove it as it will be difficult to find a service technician willing to seal the hole left by its removal.  We have never found a manufacture who will sign off (in writing) on an approved repair procedure once a hole, to facilitate a gas line, has been punched in a prefab fireplace.

Gas LogsGot Gas! - Laurens South Carolina - Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps

Technically it’s a gas burner in a fireplace (either masonry or manufactured), made to resemble real logs.  These can have either manual or electronic ignition systems.  You can find gas log systems in either masonry or prefabricated manufactured fireplaces.  If gas logs have been installed in a prefab fireplace it is not recommended to try to return the appliance to wood burning as it will be difficult to find a service technician willing to seal the hole left by the removal of the gas logs.  Again, we have never found a manufacture who will sign off (in writing) on an approved repair procedure once a hole, to facilitate a gas line, has been punched in a prefab fireplace.  These units can be vented or vent free and some units can be operated either way (dual-listed)

Gas fireplace insert

This appliance is a gas stove that is installed (inserted) into an open fireplace that was originally designed to burn wood.  It is most often installed in a masonry structure, but sometimes can be found installed into a manufactured chimney.  If installed in a manufactured chimney, approval from the manufacturer of the fireplace must be obtained.  These units can be either vented or vent free.

(Dedicated) Gas fireplace

This is a manufactured appliance similar to a prefab wood burning fireplace in that it is a complete system (firebox and chimney) with pieces and parts that are specifically designed to go together in a specific way.  The fuel is gas instead of wood and replacement parts are manufacturer specific.  No mixing and matching is allowed.  These units can be direct vent, b-vent or vent free.

Why is it important to know what you have?

Knowing what you have will

  • let you know what your options are if you plan some kind of change (i.e. gas to wood; new gas logs; different gas fireplace).
  • let you know how to find out what kind of service you need and how often that service should be done.
  • let you know what to tell folks about what is there if you decide to sell your home.

More homeowner information about the use of gas appliances in your home is available from Chimney Safety Institute of America.  

Blue Sky Chimneys Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth has technicians trained to service any of these installations.  We can help you identify just what you have and keep it in ship shape condition providing hours and hours of enjoyment for you and your family.