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Essential Gas Fireplace Safety Tips

Living room with built in fireplace

Gas fireplaces provide homes with a beautiful ambiance, and the comfort of their warmth is simply unmatched in the dead of winter. With the flip of a switch, gas fireplaces give off instant radiant heat, making them unbelievably convenient.  

That said, the surface and area around these appliances can get very hot. Therefore, it’s important you and your family take safety precautions when using them. In this article, we share with you our top 5 safety tips for operating and maintaining a gas fireplace.  

1. Keep a Carbon Monoxide Alarm Nearby  

In addition to having smoke detectors on every floor, you should also place carbon monoxide detectors near all fuel-burning appliances. This includes your furnace, gas range, and natural gas fireplace.  

Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced in small quantities in all hydrocarbon combustion reactions (the fire you see). Sometimes though, due to equipment failures, fuel impurities, and other unplanned events, higher levels of CO may be produced. This highly poisonous gas can result in brain damage or death if inhaled. Therefore, it’s pivotal that you keep carbon monoxide detectors near your gas fireplace just in case it malfunctions.  

2. Keep the Area Clear   

A gas fireplace insert will have a clearance zone of typically 6 inches. That means nothing should be placed within that area of the firebox. Beyond that, you should also keep flammable materials, such as furniture, drapery, and wooden or paper décor at least 3 feet away from the unit. This ensures objects don’t get too hot—or worse—catch fire 

3. Install a Safety Screen  

Most gas fireplaces are enclosed in tempered glass. This glass can serve as a protective barrier from the flames, but it also gets extremely hot. Therefore, installing or even placing a removable safety screen can keep pets and young children from brushing against the hot glass.  

In addition, an outdoor gas fireplace likely won’t come with glass installed, so having a screen or barrier around your outdoor unit is also a smart idea. 

4. Carefully Clean Your Fireplace  

Keeping your fireplace clean doesn’t just have aesthetic benefits; it can also prolong its life and ensure it operates safely. Carefully wiping down the glass, dusting vents and other surfaces, and cleaning certain components can ensure dirt and debris don’t impair its functioning.  

Make sure to first consult your user manual to ensure safe and proper cleaning.  

5. Hire Professionals to Service Your Fireplace  

All major heating appliances should be serviced annually by a professional. Typically, companies that provide gas fireplace installation services also offer gas fireplace repair and maintenance services. So, it may be best to get someone who knows your unit to do its yearly servicing.  

If you’re still unsure who to call, you can rest assured knowing there’s a ClimateCare near you that’s always eager to help! ClimateCare provides gas fireplace inspections, gas fireplace maintenance, and various HVAC services to homeowners in Southern Ontario. Reach out to your local ClimateCare to learn more today! 

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