Carbon Monoxide: How to Maintain Your Gas Fireplace


If you have a gas fireplace in your home safe
operation is important. In particular, you need to consider the risk of carbon monoxide,
or CO as it’s also known. CO is a dangerous and deadly gas produced when burying fossil
fuels, like natural gas or propane. It has no smell, no taste and no color. If you remove
the glass in your fire place to clean it and then don’t reseal it properly, CO can seep
into your home. The consequences can be serious. The easiest way to minimize the risk of accidental
CO poisoning is to have your gas fireplace or any of your gas appliances checked once
a year by a licensed gas contractor. In fact, any maintenance to your gas fireplace should
be done by either a licensed gas contractor or a qualified technician. You can find one
by looking under heating contractors in your phone book. If you must remove the glass from
your fireplace, whether to clean it or for any other reason, make certain you follow
these important safety precautions. First, before removing the glass, turn off the gas
supply to the fireplace. Remember, it’s never safe to operate a gas fireplace without the
glass panel properly in place. Next, while the glass is still in place inspect
the gasket if you can. On some models of fireplaces you may not be able to do this. The gasket
is the soft material that provides the seal between the glass and the fireplace itself.
Take care to not how the gasket looks when it’s properly installed. Then, carefully remove
the glass by following the instructions in your owners manual. Clean the glass as required.
Be sure to use a cleaner that’s approved for fireplace glass panels. Using an improper
cleaner could cause the glass to explode. Before reinstalling the glass check the condition
of the gasket. It’s imperative that the gasket is in perfect condition, meaning one continuous
piece of material with no gaps, no frays, loops or missing pieces. Be careful,
gaskets can be damaged when the glass is removed. If this happens, a manufacturer’s replacement
must be reinstalled by a licensed gas contractor or a qualified technician. If you find the
gasket in good condition, replace the glass flowing the instructions in your owners manual,
insuring that the gasket is properly sealed. After you have reinstalled the glass, turn
on the gas supply to your fireplace and carefully light it. Let it burn for five minutes to
allow any dust particles or other contaminates to burn off, then smell and look. Any unusual
odors could mean you have products of combustion and possible carbon monoxide leaking into
your home. Another indication of a leak is if you see wicks of moisture forming on the
outside of your fireplace. If you suspect a CO leak, turn off the gas supply, ventilate
the area with fresh air and call a licensed gas contractor immediately.
Another good idea is to install carbon monoxide detectors near where you and others in your
home sleep. When buying a CO detector look for the seal of a recognized testing agency,
such as the Canadian Standards Association or the Underwriters Laboratories of Canada.
These are a few simple, but effective ways to keep your home and family safe from the
threat of CO poisoning year round. A safety message from SaskPower Gas Inspections.

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