Gas fireplaces are surely less primitive and cleaner than the traditional wood fireplace, but that doesn't mean that they don't require maintenance for proper and efficient function. So do gas fireplaces need to be serviced at all, and if so, how often? We've done the research to give you an answer.
Gas fireplaces should receive professional servicing. This should be done once per year, preferably in the summer in between cold seasons.
So now you know how often and when to provide your gas fireplace with servicing, but you may be wondering why this is necessary. Furthermore, you may need to know what other maintenance is needed for this appliance to work efficiently. Keep reading to learn more.
What Maintenance Is Required For A Gas Fireplace?
Maintaining a gas fireplace involves both professional appointments and tasks performed by the homeowner. We'll go into more detail here.
Why Does A Gas Fireplace Need Servicing?
Gas fireplaces burn much cleaner than their wood and pellet-burning counterparts. Most are turned on and off just with the flip of a switch or the push of a button. So, naturally, you may wonder why servicing is necessary.
As clean as gas fireplaces are, they still produce and accumulate dust, soot, and other debris. Dust will build up within the inner workings of the fireplace, and soot will collect in the chimney.
This will definitely interfere with the efficiency of your fireplace over time and could eventually lead to the overall failure of the appliance.
Beyond this, gas fireplaces are created with a more involved design than others. This includes an inlet and outlet, combustion chamber, pilot light, and blowers. Every part of the design must be functional for the gas fireplace to light, provide heat, and vent properly.
While a homeowner can attempt to service all of the aspects of a gas fireplace, it may not be practical, especially if they have no former knowledge or training when it comes to fireplaces. It's best to seek the expertise of a certified fireplace professional.
When you schedule a professional servicing, there are several tasks that you should expect to be performed. We'll describe them.
First, your gas fireplace will undergo a meticulous cleaning. This not only involves the appliance itself but also the chimney. They should see that the chimney, blowers, and gas logs are cleaned.
These are the areas that happen to see the most soot buildup. The glass doors will also be cleaned by the technician for a fresh look.
Second, the professional will inspect the fireplace system. Again, this includes the chimney. The valves, gaskets, pilot, and blowers should be tested. The technician will also ensure that the entire system is not showing signs of deterioration and is properly venting.
While the annual servicing is decidedly the most important part of gas fireplace maintenance, there are a few things you can do as the owner and user of this appliance to ensure its longevity and function.
One of these is to clean the fireplace. This is especially true of older gas inserts. A new gas fireplace can very likely last a year between cleanings without sacrificing comfort or cleanliness, but as these appliances age, they begin to burn dirtier. So, the user will see soot build up more quickly.
Cleaning the fireplace is rather easy, especially if you do so periodically and do not allow a mess to be accumulated. Using a handheld vacuum, you can clean the dirt out of the gas insert.
Once that has been done, you can use an appropriate cleaning agent to wipe down the screen and glass panels.
The user can also periodically clean or replace the logs in the fireplace. These logs are ceramic and can either come as vented or ventless.
If you notice that they are collecting dust or soot, you can take them out and wash them with soot remover. However, if you notice that they have begun to disintegrate, you should remove and replace them.
How Often Should You Replace The Logs In A Gas Fireplace?
This depends on the type of gas fireplace logs. Vented logs, which are the least expensive, should be replaced every 3-5 years. Ventless logs, the most expensive, should be replaced every 10 years.
Of course, this is only if the logs and gas fireplace have been properly cleaned and maintained. If you notice that your gas fireplace is becoming very dirty, you should check to see that this is not being caused by the breakdown of the logs. If it is, they should be replaced as soon as possible.
How Much Does It Cost To Maintain A Gas Fireplace?
You should expect the annual servicing of a gas fireplace to cost you between $100-$200. Of course, this will depend on where you reside. If anything is found to be in urgent need of repair or replacement, the cost could be a bit higher.
Gas Fireplace Function
Now that we've thoroughly discussed maintenance, let's talk more about what to expect from a well-functioning gas fireplace.
How Long Do Gas Fireplaces Last?
Gas fireplaces last around 15 to 20 years on average. However, this is not always the case. Some gas fireplaces need to be replaced before 10 years are up, and others last beyond 20 years. So what are the factors that go into this appliance's longevity? We'll go over the most important ones.
The first of these is the gas fireplace's installation. Proper installation prevents leaks in the system. Leaks and improper ventilation are major contributors to a gas fireplace wearing down.
The second of these is maintenance. It goes without saying that an owner providing proper maintenance will prevent issues or catch them before they have begun to cause degradation to the fireplace's structure.
The third is the type of gas logs. Gas logs that are vented and created from ceramic will cost more on the front end, but since they contribute to the cleanliness of the fireplace, they will contribute to a long lifespan of the appliance.
Signs Your Gas Fireplace Should Be Replaced
You may have suspicions that your gas fireplace is nearing the end of its lifespan. Here are a few tried and true signs that it's time to search for a replacement.
If your fireplace is constantly in need of repairs and professional maintenance, it is probably time to shop for a new unit.
Of course, you should have a professional make sure it's not a certain aspect of the appliance that is tripping up the system, especially if it's a newer fireplace. However, if you've done that, it may just be that the system as a whole is dated.
If your fireplace is experiencing continuous issues with the pilot light, this may be due to degrading thermocouples. This is a sign that your fireplace must be replaced in the near future.
If your fireplace is emitting a continuous smell of sulfur even after it has been assessed by a professional, this may indicate the need for a replacement. This smell tells you that there is a gas leak present.
In some cases, this is easily resolved, such as if the leak is on a hose or pipe. In others, it's easier and more cost effective to find a replacement, especially if the leak is found on the firebox or is unable to be found at all.
If your fireplace has a continuous buildup of soot, this may indicate that parts of the system have begun to degrade and that it is not venting properly. This may also mean that you should begin looking for a new unit.
Do Gas Fireplaces Use A Lot Of Gas?
Gas fireplaces are generally very energy efficient and budget friendly. On average, a new gas fireplace uses 30,000-40,000 BTUs per hour. 100,000 BTUs equal 1 "therm," and a therm of natural gas averages $1.60. So, to run a gas fireplace for an hour, the cost would be approximately $0.48-$0.64.
Knowing when and how to provide servicing and maintenance to your gas fireplace is essential to its efficiency and long lifespan. These appliances should be serviced yearly by a certified fireplace professional. It should also receive general maintenance by the user, especially if the unit is older.
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