Our Company Blog

Gas Fireplace Maintenance

Gas fireplaces are workhorses when it comes to heating your home. They’ll run year after year with little to no maintenance. However, just because it turns on without additional care, gas fireplaces need regular maintenance. In fact, just like a wood-burning fireplace, your gas fireplace should be cleaned and inspected at least once per year to keep it looking good and running safely and efficiently.

Why Your Gas Fireplace Needs an Annual Cleaning

Gas Fireplace Maintenance - San Fransisco CA - London Chimney ServiceImagine a chilly night in your home. You go to ignite a fire to provide some cozy winter ambiance and a little extra heat. Only problem – your gas fireplace just won’t light. Or it lights, and your home is filled with an unpleasant smell. More often than not, dirty gas fireplaces cause these problems. Here are some common problems that can occur when gas fireplaces aren’t cleaned:

• Foggy or smudged glass. Glass doors on a fireplace door are often the first to show signs that your gas fireplace needs to be cleaned. The soot and grime that builds up on your glass fireplace doors detract from the overall look of your fireplace. It also poses a hazard. The soot and dirt can hide nicks and cracks in the glass that could compromise the function and safety of your gas fireplace.

• A buildup of debris. Your gas fireplace might be a closed system, but it is still susceptible to a buildup of debris. Dust can get into the unit and clog vents, sensors and pilot lights. The ceramic logs in the fireplace can also degrade over time, shedding debris that can interfere with the working components of the fireplace. In fact, when your gas fireplace suddenly won’t light, a dirty interior is often to blame.

• Soot. Soot also can buildup within the fireplace, making it look dingy. Along with a buildup of dust and debris, it can cause an unpleasant odor when you light your fireplace. The soot that builds up within the fireplace and the chimney also can cause more serious problems. Soot is corrosive and, left unchecked, it can degrade the interior of your gas fireplace and chimney.

Why Your Gas Fireplace Needs an Annual Inspection

An annual inspection for your gas fireplace is just as important as an annual cleaning. A gas fireplace includes many working components, as well as gaskets, seals and sensors. During your annual inspection, your technician will check all components of your gas fireplace to make sure that your gas fireplace is working optimally and burning safely, so your family isn’t at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning or a fire from your gas fireplace.

Who to Call For an Annual Cleaning and Inspection

Don’t wait any longer to clean or inspect your gas fireplace! Call London Chimney Services to schedule your appointment today! Our certified fireplace technicians will clean and inspect your gas fireplace unit to restore its beauty and ensure that it’s safe for continued use!

By Mark Rizzo on February 13th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

How does a damper work?

Nearly every homeowner with a fireplace has had the experience: You light a fire, and smoke floods into your living space. You forgot to open the chimney damper! The experience might have you wondering: How does a chimney damper work? Chimney dampers are charged with preventing warm air from exiting your home and stopping cold drafts from outside when the fireplace isn’t in use. Exactly how your damper works depends on what type of chimney damper you have. How Does a Damper Work - San Francisco CA - London Chimney Service

Throat dampers

Throat chimney dampers are the most common types of chimney dampers. Throat dampers are located just above the firebox, at the bottom of your chimney’s smoke chamber. Throat dampers feature a metal rim and a metal flap. A knob, lever or cable serves to operate the damper. When the fireplace isn’t in use, the metal flap is closed against the metal rim to form a seal to block air exchange between your home and the cold air outside. When you’re ready to light a fire, the damper flap is opened, it twists or lifts out of the way to allow smoke and chimney gases to travel up and out of your chimney rather than flooding back into your home.

Most chimneys are installed with throat dampers. The primary problem with this basic chimney technology is that the metal on metal doesn’t form a perfect seal to block air exchange. Over time, due to enduring the extreme heat from your fireplace and potential moisture intrusion from the outside, the metal that makes up the damper will warp. When this happens, the damper fails to form a sufficient seal and air can enter and escape your home through the chimney. A damaged damper also can become stuck opened or closed, rendering it useless.

Top-sealing dampers

Top-sealing chimney dampers are a popular upgrade to traditional throat dampers. Top-sealing dampers are often installed when a throat damper fails because it’s impractical to replace a damper within the chimney throat. They also are installed to increase home efficiency because of the tight barrier they form between the inside and outside of your home.

As the name implies, top-sealing dampers sit atop, rather than within, your chimney. Top-sealing dampers feature a gasket that allows the closed damper to form a complete seal. There are two primary types of top-sealing dampers. With one type, the damper fits on a hinged cage that folds tightly to close the damper and raises to open the damper. The other type features a simple flap that opens and closes. Both types of top-sealing dampers are controlled from within your fireplace like a traditional throat damper; a cable connects the firebox lever with the damper atop the chimney.

If you have questions about your chimney damper, or if your chimney damper seems to be failing you, call London Chimney Services! Our chimney experts can inspect your existing damper and repair or replace it, as needed.

By Mark Rizzo on January 30th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment