Offering so many benefits, gas fireplaces and gas logs are a convenient, energy-efficient, and clean burning way of heating your home. You do not have to go outside in the cold to gather fuel, there are no worries of combustible creosote deposits, you do not have to clean up ashes and their residue, and you can easily control the flame by pressing a button. However, you still need to practice regular maintenance of gas-fueled fireplace appliances. At Old Hat Chimney Service, our technicians are experts on installing and servicing gas fireplaces. Old Hat Chimney Service can also convert your old wood-burning fireplace into a gas one by installing gas logs. With our years of experience, we know the best ways to maintain gas fireplaces and gas logs, and we would like to share with you some basic tips.
Schedule an Annual Professional Inspection of Your Gas Fireplace Appliance.
Although one of the benefits of a gas-fueled fireplace is little maintenance is needed, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends you have your appliance serviced annually to check for problems. An annual chimney sweeping and inspection is also recommended to ensure your safety.
Know Whether Your Gas Logs Are Vented or Vent-Free.
The easiest way to tell the difference is to look at the flame. If it is a realistic wood-burning fire with a yellow flame, your gas logs are vented. If the flame is small and shaded blue, you have vent-free gas logs. You can also check to see if the logs are connected to a U-shaped burner (vent-free) or are loose (vented). Vent-free logs are also required by federal law to be equipped with an oxygen depletion sensor.
Be Aware of How to Light Your Gas Fireplace Appliance.
Firstly, you will need to turn on the gas flow, and you can do this from the outside at the source by opening the gas line and from the inside by finding the fireplace valve and turning it on. Once you have gas flowing, you can then light the pilot. Locate the fireplace controls and the control knob. Turn the control knob to “Pilot.” Press down on the knob continually as you press the ignition button one time every second. Once the pilot is lit, you can stop pressing the ignition button, but keep holding down the control knob for 30 more seconds and then gradually disengage.
Carefully Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions in Your Appliance’s Manual.
Important information is located inside the owner’s manual for your gas-fueled fireplace appliance, so be sure to take the time to read through the manual completely. You will find specific instructions on how to light the pilot as well as a maintenance checklist in the manual. What if you have lost the owner’s manual? What if you have never had the manual because you moved into the house after the appliance was installed? You can easily find the owner’s manual for your appliance online. Just type in the manufacturer’s name and the model of the appliance into your favorite search engine to locate the online version of the manual.
Have questions about maintaining a gas fireplace or gas logs? Contact Old Hat Chimney Service to ask our expert staff anything you would like to know.
Did you realize that you can optimize your fireplace just by burning the right wood? Using local seasoned firewood burns cleaner and more efficiently. Seasoned firewood is wood that has been dried properly over a period of at least six months. Burning freshly-cut wet wood can create problems such as large creosote buildups and smoke and odor issues. Buying local firewood is equally important because moving firewood can cause infestations of tree-killing insects and diseases that could destroy forests, property values, and cost large amounts of money to control. At Old Hat Chimney Service, we are often asked how to choose the best firewood. We thought it would be helpful to you to share with you some tips on buying local seasoned firewood.
Follow State Advisories and Laws and Buy Local Firewood
According to Don’t Move Firewood, a website dedicated to the importance of using local firewood, the Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia State Parks, and Georgia Department of Natural Resources advise that campers and travelers within Georgia should buy and use locally harvested firewood to prevent the spread of tree-killing insects within the state. Out of state visitors should leave their own firewood at home. DeKalb and Fulton Counties have even stricter laws against moving firewood out of these counties to prevent the further spread of the emerald ash boxer, a federally quarantined pest.
Seasoned Firewood Is Crucial for Effective and Efficient Burning.
All firewood contains moisture; however, seasoned firewood has been dried out to have a 20-26% moisture content as compared to freshly-cut wood that has a moisture content of up to 45%. When you try to burn wet firewood, the heat produced by combustion has to dry out the wood before it can burn, and this wastes a lot of energy. This means less heat for your home and a large production of acidic water in the form of creosote deposited in your chimney. Seasoned wood, on the other hand, is easier to start, gives out more heat, and burns cleaner.
Always Check to See if the Wood Is Properly Seasoned.
A few things you can do to be sure your firewood you are buying is dry enough to burn include looking at the end grain for cracks, although this is not the best indicator. Look at the color of the wood as dried wood tends to turn gray or yellow. Bang two pieces of wood together; dry wood should make a hollow sound. Finally, dry wood weighs less than wet wood.
Stack and Store Your Firewood Properly to Keep It Dry.
Stack the wood off the ground to keep it from getting wet and growing mold. The wood should be stacked in crisscrossed layers to form a pillar at each end of your wood pile. The ideal storage place is a wood shed with a floor and a roof but no sides. This allows the warm winds to flow through while the wood is protected from rain and snow.
According to the Farmer’s Almanac weather predictions, we are in store for another extremely cold winter, and it is strongly recommended that you start preparing now for the upcoming frigid temperatures. One thing that should be on the very top of your preparations list should be scheduling important maintenance tasks to get your chimney ready for winter. At Old Hat Chimney Service, we are now entering our busiest time of the year, and if you wait too long to schedule your annual chimney sweeping and inspection, it could be a few weeks until we will be able to take care of your chimney. We would like to tell you why it is essential to have your chimney cleaned and inspected before you use your chimney regularly this winter. We would also like to share with you some things you can do to be sure your fireplace is safe and functioning properly.
Wood-Burning Fireplaces and Stoves
The most important reason you need to have your wood-burning chimney professionally cleaned before the high usage season of an extremely cold winter is to have the creosote buildups removed from the interior walls of your chimney. One of the main causes of chimney fires, creosote is highly flammable. The CSIA-certified chimney sweeps at Old Hat Chimney Service will be sure your chimney is free from creosote deposits and safe to use. We will also inspect the damper to make sure it opens and closes correctly and perform any necessary repairs to its parts, including the gasket seal. This prevents excess air from leaking into the firebox which creates an over fire condition that can permanently damage your appliance. We will also clean the blower, if your appliance has one, to clear away the dust and hair that has built up over time.
Old Hat Chimney Service will also inspect the exterior of your chimney to look for deteriorated bricks and mortar that will need to be repaired to prevent water leaks that will lead to even more damaged and spalled masonry work. We also will check out the condition of your chimney flue liner and repair any cracks or gaps. If the liner is damaged beyond repair, we can even replace it. A damaged flue liner can lead to chimney fires and leaks of toxic gases like carbon monoxide into your house. Speaking of carbon monoxide, you should also check the batteries in all of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms to be sure they are working.
Gas-Fueled Fireplaces and Stoves
According to the National Association of Realtors’ home improvement website, HouseLogic, not only should you have your gas-fueled chimney cleaned and inspected, but you should also have the appliance itself inspected by a CSIA-certified technician. To be sure they are working correctly, the airways of both the pilot and the main burner should be cleaned and checked. Since there is no filtering system to keep dust and hair off its blades, your blower should also be cleaned. An accumulation of dust can disrupt the balance of the blower, which will cause the bearings to wear out prematurely. Dust also prevents the motor from cooling, which can eventually cause the motor to burn out and stop working.
As you would if you have wood-burning fireplaces and stoves, you should check the batteries in every smoke and carbon monoxide alarm. Additionally, check the batteries in any remote controls that operate the appliance as well as the receiver.
If you have not scheduled your annual chimney sweeping and inspection yet, contact Old Hat Chimney Service as soon as possible. We want to get your fireplace and chimney ready for this extremely cold winter.
When you own a house, the list of home maintenance tasks can seem never-ending. While most homeowners attempt to keep on top of everything, some areas do get neglected, and, unfortunately, the chimney commonly falls within those ignored areas. However, to be safe from the possibility of a devastating chimney fire, a deadly carbon monoxide leak, or another chimney-related hazard, you should never neglect any chimney maintenance duties. In our years of working on chimneys, our chimney technicians at Old Hat Chimney Service have seen the damage done by failure to keep up with maintaining a chimney properly. We always stress to our customers the importance of chimney maintenance, and we would like to share with you some tips from Popular Mechanics on the maintenance tasks you should do to ensure chimney safety as well as to prolong the life of your chimney.
You Can Trust Old Hat Chimney Service to Take Care of Your Most Important Chimney Maintenance Issue.
The most essential chimney maintenance responsibility you have is to call Old Hat Chimney Service once a year to schedule your annual chimney sweeping and inspection. Our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps will clean your chimney to get rid of all the hazardous creosote deposits that have accumulated on the interior walls of your chimney. Creosote is highly flammable and is one of the main causes of chimney fires, so make sure your chimney is free from built-up creosote before the temperatures drop and fireplace season arrives. We will also inspect your chimneys to look for any essential repairs that need to be taken care of before winter comes. Cracks in the bricks and mortar, along with cracks, gaps, and other damage to your chimney cap, crown, or liner, can be signs of water leaks that should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent more deterioration. Damage to your chimney liner can be hazardous as carbon monoxide, smoke, and other harmful byproducts of combustion can leak into your home through cracks and gaps in the liner.
While an Annual Chimney Cleaning and Inspection Is the Most Essential Chimney Maintenance Task, There Are Other Important Chimney Safety Maintenance Tips to Follow.
As recommended by Popular Mechanics, these fireplace and chimney safety tips include:
Be sure the area around your fireplace is clear of anything flammable. You may love the look of a decorated hearth during the holidays; however, the risk of a fire is not worth it.
If your fireplace is not equipped with glass doors, place wire mesh screening in front of the fire to prevent sparks from flying out and creating a fire hazard.
Choose the best firewood to burn. The most important quality of good firewood is that it has been sufficiently dried, or seasoned. Freshly-cut wood is too wet to burn clean and creates more hazardous creosote deposits.
During the holiday season, do not be tempted to burn your Christmas tree in your fireplace. Also, do not place wrapping paper, boxes, or other trash in the fireplace to burn.
Refrain from trying to stuff your fireplace with wood. Burning too much wood at once can damage your firebox. Burn wood on a grate placed near the back of your fireplace.
If you have not scheduled your annual chimney sweeping and inspection, contact Old Hat Chimney Service today to make an appointment. We love helping you take care of important chimney maintenance tasks.
Now, in early fall, is a great time to stock up on firewood that you will need for the season. However, it is important for heating efficiency and for the health of your fireplace and chimney that you know how to look for a choose the right firewood.
I just had Old Hat Chimney service come out and clean and service our fireplace. I've always been hesitant to have it cleaned because I thought it would be messy and I hate waiting on people to come to my house. The service was the exact opposite, they were on time, efficient and very neat! There was no mess at all! I was very pleased with the service and now I have peace of mind as well! We were so impressed, we are even going to have them replace some rotten wood on our chimney and ensure the outside is as in good of shape as the inside!
~ Holly Pavliscsak