Whether it’s gas or wood, fireplaces, stoves and inserts have always been popular among homeowners. But perhaps you don’t use the one in your home because you are concerned about its safety. Maybe you’re not sure about operating or maintaining your appliance. Maybe you don’t know who to call for questions. Or could it be that it’s more convenient for you to just crank up the thermostat if you’re chilly? Let’s talk about fireplace safety.
Regardless of the fuel being used, a fireplace, stove or insert can cause serious problems if it is not installed, operated and maintained correctly. The majority of tragic stories we hear about from our customers at Fireplace & Bar-B-Q Center can be directly linked to an improper installation, poor operating practices or a lack of necessary fireplace maintenance.
Gas fireplaces should be installed by a professionally trained and certified technician. There is a great deal of skill and knowledge that goes into extending, pressure testing and connecting a gas line. Analyzing a venting profile, using a manometer, replacing a gas valve or adjusting the air/fuel mix are jobs best left to a professional.
You might be asking: “So how do I know if my fireplace was installed appropriately?” A good question and one that the technicians at Fireplace & Bar-B-Q Center can assess and answer for you. Our expertise includes looking for subtle signs of overheating, warped or damaged chimneys, charred wood, etc. We are familiar with and know the requirements set forth by the National Fireplace Institute (NFI). Ignoring this could threaten your home and family. We are a resource that can help you enjoy a safe fire in your living room and will help you sleep better at night!
If your fireplace has an owner’s manual, read it. If you don’t have a copy of it, get one. Most manufacturers will archive old manuals and have them available online or through a dealer. If it’s a wood burning fireplace, there will be information regarding air control, how to start a fire and suggestions for proper burning techniques, ash removal, door and gasket maintenance and chimney cleaning. It’s worth spending an occasional 5 or 10 minutes of your time to insure proper operation and maintenance.
The same advice goes for a gas fireplace. Read the owner’s manual. The majority of gas fireplaces are set up on a remote control or wall switch. Operation of a gas appliance is usually just turning the unit on and off. Yes, there are adjustable gas valves that vary the heat output, timers that automatically shut off equipment, lighting effects that enhance the flame presentation, but this is all explained in detail in your owner’s manual. Keep it handy and periodically refer to it in order to get the best from your fireplace. Recognize what’s normal for your fireplace, so when a fan needs attention or flame pattern has changed, you’ll notice something is amiss and we’re just a phone call away.
If you are interested in assessing the safety of your current fireplace, or maybe buying a new, more efficient one, just stop by and see us at 103rd and Metcalf in Overland Park. We love to talk about our business and our industry with our customers!