Signs Your Gas Fireplace Needs Repair

December 21, 2018

Gas fireplaces are one of the most cost-effective ways to heat the rooms you use most in your house. Although they need far less maintenance than wood-burning ones, wear and tear will still take its toll. Parts wear out, soot builds up, and ventilation chutes get clogged. Annual checkups are expected, but what happens if something goes wrong between checkups? If you start to notice darkened glass, strange-looking flames, or have issues with the pilot light or ceramic logs, call a professional. Many repairs can be easily solved by professional heating services. Know these signs that your gas fireplace needs repair, and who to call when it does.

The Glass is Discoloured

Part of the charm of a gas fireplace is seeing the flames. While it’s cold and snowing outside, you and your family can stay warm by the glow of the fire. However, that idyllic scene can be ruined if the glass becomes discoloured. Soot can build up on the glass for many reasons: the logs might be positioned too close to the glass; or the air to fuel ratio in your fireplace could be incorrectly balanced. Clogged ports also cause soot buildup, and can be quite dangerous if left unresolved.

If you notice blackness or fogging on your fireplace glass, call a professional. They’ll clean away the soot, ensure the ports are clear, and make sure the fuel balance is correct. Why do it yourself when a professional can do it better?

There’s a Strange Odour Coming From the Fireplace

Have you ever noticed an egg-like smell coming from your fireplace, perhaps a few minutes after turning it off. While it’s normal for a brand-new gas fireplace to smell after the first few uses, it should not smell like eggs. Your gas fireplace uses natural gas, carbon, and hydrogen materials to create fire. As natural gas is completely odourless, methyl mercaptan, a derivative of sulphur which smells unmistakingly like eggs, is intentionally added to alert you to a gas leak.

If the natural gas isn’t completely burned off by the fire and continues to leak, you’re left with an unfortunate smell coming from the fireplace. This can be very dangerous for you and your family. If you do smell the odor of methyl mercaptan, open the windows and chimney damper immediately. Then call a professional.

Gas leaks are a serious, potentially life-threatening, problem. A professional fireplace technician can resolve this serious problem, and allow you to enjoy your fireplace with full peace of mind.

The Pilot Light Keeps Turning Off

Your gas fireplace depends on the pilot light to emit the perfect amount of gas for combustion. So, if your pilot light keeps turning off on its own, you’ll lose the fire and the heat.

Usually, this means there’s a problem with the thermocouple. The thermocouple covers the pilot light when you turn it off to ensure gas doesn’t leak into the house. When the fireplace is turned on, the thermocouple allows a small stream of natural gas comes out. Your thermocouple could be broken, not covering the pilot light efficiently, or be covered in soot. All three possibilities require a professional fireplace technician to come in and assess the fireplace.

The Ventilation is Blocked

Some gas fireplaces have a chimney; some do not. Ventless fireplaces have such low-levels of emissions that a chimney is not required. However, if you have a vented gas fireplace, a metal chute transmits the emissions up through the chimney and outside your house. When this ventilation chute gets blocked, corrosive substances in the gas can eat away at the walls of your chimney, leading to expensive repairs.

Most vent blockages are debris, or nests from birds and rodents. Carcasses of dead animals can become lodged in your chimney, causing a foul odour. It’s important to ensure the ventilation of your vented gas fireplace is in working order to prevent harmful or foul-smelling gases from entering your home.

The Logs Keep Falling Over

The way the ceramic logs in your ventless fireplace are arranged is strategic; it directs the flow of gas to create complete combustion. If they’re set up incorrectly, they may actually create incomplete combustion and release carbon monoxide (CO) into your home. It is imperative that you do not reposition the logs yourself. You need a professional who understands the flow of gas and knows how to place them safely.

If your ceramic logs are getting darker, soot may be building up on them. This means that your logs aren’t positioned properly, and likely aren’t working as effectively as they should. Soot decreases the heat output from your fireplace, which is a major concern in the cold winter months. If your logs are soot-covered or keep falling over, don’t try to remedy the problem yourself. Keep your gas fireplace turned off until a professional can come address the problem.

It’s Time for Your Annual Checkupr

Just like the other equipment in your home, your gas fireplace needs annual maintenance. Even if you don’t notice any of the tell-tale signs above, a professional should regularly examine your fireplace’s mechanics. They will check the ventilation, ports, and pilot light. They will check that your flue is functioning correctly; if it doesn’t seal properly, you could be losing heat and money. They will assess your logs and their positioning, as well as the heat output of your fireplace.

One of the most important parts of your annual checkup is the cleaning. Gas fireplaces need professional cleaning once a year to ensure soot doesn’t build up on any of the parts. Soot can hinder the proper function of the fireplace, as well as decrease its attractiveness. You want your fireplace to be a gorgeous focal point of the room. Ensure the glass, logs, and back wall are cleaned professionally to enjoy this aesthetic.

Align Heating is the most reliable heating and cooling company in the Mississauga, Oakville, and Vaughn areas. Available 24 hours a day and seven days a week, no fireplace or furnace concern is too small. We provide gas fireplace and furnace repair, as well as professional cleaning services. Our contractors are experienced and ready to ensure your home stays warm this winter. To inquire about our services or book an appointment, send us a message or give us a call: (647) 217- 9601.