How to Use a Gas Fireplace Safely

A gas fireplace provides the warmth and ambience of a fire without having to deal with the burning of wood. Gas burns much cleaner and is much more efficient, simple, and convenient. Producing heat, there are risks with any type of fireplace you may put in your home. With the winter cold starting to kick in, chances are you’ll be using your gas fireplace a lot more often throughout the coming months.

If this is a new gas fireplace you’ve just installed, ensure it’s been done correctly. You may want to contact a certified fireplace professional to ensure it’s inspected and serviced for safety if it’s an older gas fireplace.

Let’s learn how to use a gas fireplace safely.

Yearly Inspection for a Fireplace

It’s best to have a yearly inspection for gas fireplaces. It will be a nice tune-up if needed and will provide peace of mind knowing that all components can operate safely. Inspections can detect small issues before they grow into significant and costly repairs. An inspection typically will include cleaning the glass front and inspecting the vents.

Your gas fireplace may have a safety screen. This screen prevents accidental burns from people or pets bumping into the gas front. If you do not have a safety screen, you might want to retrofit your fireplace with one. Ensure the safety screen is securely in place. It’s a smart way to avoid the risks of touching the glass, which is an easier mistake than most people realize.

Use the Correct Fuel

You cannot put just any type of fuel into a gas fireplace. Your gas fireplace will come with instructions on what works with it. Stick to the recommended fuels. The wrong choice can be dangerous and lead to components of your breaking down.

Keep Children and Pets Away

Young children and pets don’t know about the dangers of a fireplace. Try to keep them away. You don’t want them accidentally touching the hot surface or knocking something into the fireplace. Ensure the fireplace is never unattended for this reason.

Don’t Leave the Fireplace On

Never leave the fireplace on if you’re not in the room to supervise. When leaving the room or house, turn off the gas and close the flue before leaving. An adult should always be monitoring what’s going on in a room with a gas fireplace just in case something happens that requires quick thinking.

Open the Flue for Your Gas Fireplace

A gas fireplace burns gas for heat. The flue is what carries the exhaust gases away from the fireplace. Ensure it’s open to allow the smoke and carbon monoxide to disperse and escape. A failure to have the flue open, if your gas fireplace is indeed built with a flue, is a buildup of dangerous carbon monoxide in the house.

No Flammable Materials Nearby

Always keep flammable materials away from a fireplace. Ensure blankets aren’t closed. Curtains, furniture, and rugs should be kept away as well. The recommended distance is a minimum of 3 feet away. If something highly flammable catches the light, that could turn into a full-blown fire quickly.

Arrange Your Layout

Make sure seating is placed at a safe distance from the fire. If there are children, you may want to go so far as to use tape to make a line across the floor that children aren’t permitted to cross while the gas fireplace is on.

Be Careful with Electronics

Electronics too close to a fireplace can be damaged. Many like to mount a flat screen above their fireplace or keep a stereo nearby. Be very careful with this proximity. Too close to the flames could mean permanent damage.

Have a Carbon Monoxide Detector

While gas fireplaces produce far, far less carbon monoxide than traditional wood-burning fireplaces, you still won’t know how much carbon monoxide is building up if it is. Carbon monoxide is odourless. You can’t smell it or see it. A carbon monoxide detector will be the only way you definitively know if there’s more than there should be in the air.

Follow the Safety Protocols

If your gas fireplace has a remote, keep the remote somewhere out of reach and safe. You don’t want the fireplace to accidentally turn on or, if you have children, for someone to play with it. Alternatively, if you do not have a remote but have a switch or button for the fireplace at child height, installing a switch plate cover will prevent a child from tampering with it.

If the manufacturer has outlined any specific care instructions, follow them. A gas fireplace is easy to maintain and use properly. So long as it is, you shouldn’t have any trouble with gas fireplace safety. You will also find troubleshooting guidance for common gas fireplace issues in your manufacturer’s instructions.