Gas Fireplace FAQs

South End Plumbing, Heating, & Air Expert Tips

Gas Fireplace FAQs

Can a gas fireplace burn natural gas and LP gas?

They can operate on one or the other, but not both. You need to ensure the gas fireplace appliance you have is set up for the type of gas fuel you mean to burn. Conversion sets are available which will enable a device to be changed to match the proper gas type.

Can I use an existing chimney as the vent for a gas fireplace?

No, you can’t. A traditional masonry chimney is incompatible with a gas fireplace because of its dimensions are too large. There are inserts which can go with a gas fireplace which can retrofit into an existing fireplace. These inserts have specific venting which can be used inside of an existing chimney. A good technician and business will help you find the right fireplace, insert, parts and installation service to make the process easy.

How do gas fireplaces vent?

Most gas fireplaces are direct vent. DV means there’s a fixed glass front which secures and encloses the gas burner and firebox. All of the air used in the fireplace comes from outside the house through a pipe. A smaller pipe inside the larger pipe gets rid of all flammable gases, maintaining indoor air quality. The vent can be run horizontally through an exterior wall, or vertical through the roof, depending on what works best for you.

Can I add or change gas logs?

Not on a direct vent or B vent version. A gas fireplace is a designed, fixed system that consists of the firebox, heater, logs, airing vent and options which are approved and regulated by AGA or UL. Changing any of the specifications or positioning of the logs might invalidate your maker’s guarantee and warranty. More vital, it could be a safety or health risk inside your house.

Will a gas fireplace work if the power is out?

If your gas fireplace has a pilot light, it does not need electricity to work. Likewise, if the system has a battery back-up system, it will work if you’re without electricity. You will need to have the batteries set up for this function. If you have a fan or a remote alternative, they might not function without power, but the fireplace itself will run and give warmth. If you have a push-button control, you might need to operate the fireplace with the on-off switch in the control area of the fireplace.

What’s a smell mean?

With a gas fireplace which is putting out an odor, you may need to clean the fireplace and vent. Dirt can cause an odor. You should also check for anything placed near, maybe too near, the fireplace. If the smell continues or gets worse, call a technician to check the system.

Can a gas fireplace go in a bedroom?

Yes. A gas fireplace is perfectly safe in a bedroom, office, dining room or other areas of a home. It’s best to contact a professional technician to consult on questions such as size and venting, then handle the installation.

How should you service a gas fireplace and vent?

Although the maintenance with a gas fireplace is very easy, it will need servicing at times depending on how often you use it. You should have a professional check and service the system before the start of the regular heating season.

How do I clean gas logs?

You should never wash the logs. To wipe them off, take them outside, then use a soft brush or vacuum with a soft attachment on them. If you need to put in new logs, they need to be placed exactly as they were initially placed.

How much gas does a pilot light use?

A pilot light in a gas fireplace will use 800-1,500 BTUs of gas per hour. If you check a gas bill, you likely see the cost is measured in 100,000 BTUs. If you take this rate, then you can estimate the cost of using a pilot light and gas fireplace.

What is a burn-in for a new gas fireplace?

On a new gas fireplace, you should follow the steps of a burn-in process. When first using the firplace, there could be oils or scents which will burn off the first time. So, it’s recommended to run the fireplace for three hours. Then let the fireplace cool. It might be recommended to clean some parts of the fireplace at this time. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions about how and with what cleaner or material you should use. For some units, the next step could be to run the fireplace for a long stretch, such as 6-18 hours, and there could be more smells during this burning, but it is nothing to worry about.

Why does a gas fireplace need service?

While gas fireplaces are quite clean, and do not leave ash, cinder or smoke in vents, a chimney or your home, they still need service and maintenance to make sure of safety. Having service done as scheduled also helps the system’s span over the years. Cleaning the fireplace can be DIY, but this is only if you follow the right safety steps for working near gas. It’s fine to leave this to professionals.

When do I need fireplace maintenance?

How often you need professional service of some type depends on how often you use the fireplace. If the fireplace is used very seasonally, especially in this part of the country, you won’t need as much upkeep and maintenance as someone using a fireplace all the time or in climates with longer, tougher winters. Cleaning, checking and servicing a gas fireplace can be on a schedule ranging from every few months up to two years.


At South End Heating and Air we specialize in HVAC and furnace repair, call us for a free consult and free estimate. We’ll evaluate your system and help make recommendations for optimum value. After all, we want to keep you cool all summer long and warm in the winter. Just schedule a visit with one of our technicians to talk about how we can help with your heating needs. Would you like to learn more options our techs can help you with? Give us a call 704-684-5339.

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