As the colder months approached, it meant that people started to dust off the good ol’ fireplace. A crackling fire on a cold winter day or night is a go-to for many as it is an easy and efficient avenue to warm up a room. However, when something sits dormant for long periods, there’s no telling what can happen to build up.
Here are 5 signs to keep in mind that you need fireplace repairs this winter season.
Excess Soot Build Up
While soot is a sign of a healthy wood-burning fireplace, when it comes to gas fireplaces a buildup of soot is not a good sign. It’s common to see a little soot on the glass panel or near where the flames come out but if you notice the soot building up more and more over time, it could indicate a problem. In simple terms, soot buildup usually indicates an imbalance in the flow of gas and oxygen. Try decreasing the flow of gas and see if there is a decrease in soot buildup. While each fireplace has its own owner’s setup and manual, this can most typically be done by adjusting the control dial for the gas valve. These dials are usually located behind a shutter or panel at the bottom of the fireplace.
If you’re not able to locate this, or it does not resolve the issue, seek professional attention immediately.
Rotten Egg Smell
Due to their nature, gas fireplaces are more convenient than their traditional counterpart, wood fireplaces – this means that gas fireplaces are designed and built with safety in mind. While you may smell a slight hint of gas when initially igniting the fireplace, you shouldn’t smell gas in excess once the fireplace is lit or turned off.
A hissing sound is one of the first indications that there is a gas leak. While the most obvious sign of a leak, is if anything starts to smell like rotten eggs – that means danger. Immediately turn off the fireplace, open windows and doors to help circulate the air, and if possible, leave your home for a few hours while the gas disperses. Make sure to report the emergency by calling Fortis BC at 1-800-663-9911 when you’re outside and safe.
Do not attempt to fix the issue on your own, reach out to professional help to get this issue sorted.
Pilot Light Issues
A pilot light is a crucial component of a fireplace; it’s a small flame that keeps alight constantly to serve as an ignition source for the gas burner. Typically, pilot light issues indicate that the thermocouple is damaged or malfunctioning. If your pilot light isn’t lighting or is having trouble staying lit, then that’s an indication that your fireplace needs some maintenance.
Turning On and Off
One of the most frustrating but common signs that a gas fireplace needs repair is when it turns off by itself right after you’ve turned it on. Multiple culprits can be blamed for this scenario, such as the millivolt generator being worn out, dirt and carbon built up in the vicinity of the pilot light, or jamming issues with the burner. Regardless of the malfunction, you’ll need a professional to evaluate the case.
Wear and Tear
While a gas fireplace can be designed to pull the aesthetic of a room together, it is still considered to be a mechanical unit like your furnace or A/C, and therefore needs regular maintenance. Wear and tear on components is normal, especially when the fireplace bounces between periods of high-frequency use and long periods of dormancy.
Regular maintenance can include cleaning the thermocouple and thermopile, as well as regularly cleaning the ceramic logs and placing them properly to allow the fire to work efficiently. The amount of maintenance depends on the frequency of use. Ideally, you should be cleaning your fireplace once a month, and having it fully serviced once per year.
If you are experiencing one or more of these common signs that your fireplace needs repair, contact us today – we’ve even got you covered in an emergency!
With the experience of over 7500 heating and/or cooling units installed, we are the professionals for your fireplace needs.