Safety, Efficiency and Ventilation Tips for Your Gas Fireplace
When purchasing a gas fireplace, you will have to decide how it will be vented. This is very important as the vent removes combustion gasses from the fireplace to the outdoors.
The best option for both energy efficiency and safety is to have a direct-vent installed. This type of vent brings outdoor combustion air into the firebox through a pipe. The combustion product is exhausted to the outdoors through another pipe. There are two benefits to a direct-vent fireplace:
- It is safer because the firebox is sealed.
- This type of vent is more energy efficient because no room air is required for combustion. Therefore, no room air that has already been heated can escape.
Natural Draft Venting. A natural draft vent uses a vertical chimney that takes combustion products out of the fireplace by drawing them up a chimney flue. This type of fireplace must have a draft hood installed, which isolates the burner from the outside pressure fluctuation by using air from the room.
Power Venting. This type of venting is not commonly used. It requires and electric fan to complete the venting process. Power venting allows you to install a gas fireplace in a room where a conventional flue is impossible to use. No draft hood is required for a power vent and it can improve the efficiency of your fireplace. Very little room air is used with a power vent.
Vent Free. Never install a vent free fireplace. These type of fireplaces offer no venting whatsoever. This allows combustion and carbon monoxide to escape into your home, which is very dangerous. Avoid these like the plague.
- When you're not using your fireplace on a regular basis, shut off the pilot light.
- Keep the glass on the front of your fireplace clean so maximum heat can be transferred to your home.
- When you run your fireplace, turn the main heating system down.
- Turn the thermostat on your fireplace down as much as possible while keeping it high enough to keep the room comfortable.
- If you're moving into a newly constructed home, clean the area around the fireplace thoroughly before turning it on. Contaminants and dirt can damage the burner, fan and motor.
- Have your fireplace serviced on a regular basis - at least once a year. This is best done just before the heating season begins.
- Before you turn on your newly installed fireplace, read the manufacturer's instruction manual carefully. If you have questions, contact a heating contractor or contact the manufacturer directly.
- Never modify your fireplace or the mantle before checking with a heating contractor.
- Always wait for at least five minutes before lighting a pilot light that has gone out.
- Allow the glass front of your fireplace to cool completely before cleaning it with a damp cloth.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector in the room where your fireplace is located.
- If you notice unusual flames, odors or the smell of natural or propane gas, contact a heating contractor or your local gas company.
- Always keep your fireplace fan clean.
- Always keep air vents clear of debris, ice and snow.