The Cozy Flame's Blog

Operating and Troubleshooting Your Gas Fireplace

Many homeowners are choosing gas fireplaces because of the safety, convenience, and low-cost of using gas. They are efficient, are great for zone heating, and are low-maintenance. However, low maintenance doesn’t mean NO maintenance and many consumers experience problems with their gas fireplaces because routine services are neglected. It may be a minor problem that is causing an issue with your gas fire or it may be a major one. Here are our tips to operate and troubleshoot your gas fireplace properly so that you can rest assured it is safe while in use.

gas flame

The Benefits of Gas Fires

Whether you live in a condo or a 5 bedroom historic colonial, a gas fireplace can add value and style to your home. Many homeowners choose gas as a source of zone heating, to save money on the central heating bill, and to even bypass an old masonry fireplace and chimney. Gas fireplaces may take the form of log sets, inserts, stoves, and factory-made fireplaces. Whether they are a closed unit, vented, or vent-free, they all work the same way. Gas is piped into your home by a local gas company, and this gas fuels the burners that are hidden in your gas logs. The gases produced by your gas fireplace rise up a chimney or move into your home (if your gas fireplace is designed to be vent-free). Gas is the cleanest-burning fuel and offers many benefits besides being great for the environment.

  • Gas is eco-friendly. It produces fewer greenhouse emissions and particulate pollution. This means less harm to the environment.
  • Gas burns cleaner, leaving less soot in the flue than wood fires and producing none of the creosote that organic materials create. This means less maintenance.
  • Gas fits anywhere. You can choose a gas fireplace unit to fit in any space, big or small. The hospitality industry is even moving toward gas for in-room heat and lower utility costs.
  • Gas is convenient with automatic ignition and even remote control in many models. Your fire can be crackling with just the press of a button or turn of a knob. Experience precise temperature control and immediate shut-off as well.
  • Gas is as realistic as ever. Even vent-free units that were once boring blue flames have come to life in recent years with realistic, dancing flames and detailed and moveable ceramic logs.

Drawbacks to Gas

The same things that are often a drawback to gas fires are also the problems that many homeowners experience, not realizing that there may be an easy fix.
Too much moisture in the home
Your wallpaper may be curling, paint buckling, and wood warping. These are all signs of too much moisture in the house. Condensation is a common problem when gas is burned in the hearth because water vapor is a byproduct of a gas fire. The condensation may rise up the chimney, or it may move into the house if you have a vent-free log set.
Quick fix: vent your vent-free fireplace either by a damper or cracking a window. You can also avoid water damage by using a dehumidifier while the fire burns.
Incomplete combustion
Due to the high efficiency of a gas fire, nearly all the heat produced is used for heating the home, leaving very little to rise up the flue, creating a draft. When a draft is not moving through the flue, there is not enough oxygen to sustain the fire, dropping efficiency and creating a carbon monoxide risk.
Quick fix: have the system maintained regularly by a professional for optimum efficiency. Crack a window in another part of the house to allow the fire to draw oxygen from the home and help create a draft.

When to Call a Professional

You cannot always troubleshoot or fix your gas fireplace problems. It is important to contact a fire expert as soon as you notice a problem with your fireplace that isn’t easily resolved. If your carbon monoxide detector is going off despite venting your fire, it’s time to call a professional. You must not risk carbon monoxide exposure. You may not notice symptoms right away, but carbon monoxide poisoning can often be slow or go unnoticed because symptoms are similar to the common cold and seasonal flu.

Your ventilation problem may be due to improper installation. The flue may be the wrong size, the conversion from wood to gas may have been done without a conversion kit and by a professional. There are a million reasons why your gas fire is burning inefficiently or unsafely. Your chimney and fireplace professional knows exactly what to look for and will focus diagnostics on the likely culprit.

Routine Maintenance

It is important to schedule routine services for your gas fireplace even when there is not a problem. Gas services and chimney sweeps and inspections make the safest and most efficient fire systems. These routine services also maintain your manufacturer’s warranty and may be required by your homeowner’s insurance.

Call 203-283-4459 and ask about scheduling a gas service with our sister company Total Chimney Care.

Are you looking to invest in a gas fireplace? We can help. The Cozy Flame carries the best models from the industry’s top brands, including Regency and Hargrove.

Don’t Let Winter Pass You by Without a Hearth

It’s halfway through winter, and there is still plenty of cold weather until spring. You can save money on heating costs for these last few weeks by adding a hearth to your home. Not only will it save you money, but it will add to your property value and transform your room into your dream space.

The Value of a Hearth

Homeowners love fireplaces. Adding a beautiful hearth is a great way to bring up the value of a property for refinancing or selling. It will also enhance your experience of your own home! Relax in the evenings next to a crackling fireplace, and benefit month after month, and year after year.
Save Money—Utilize a fireplace for zone heating and save money on utilities. Lower your thermostat and heat the most-used rooms with a hearth, then watch the electricity bills drop.
Save the Environment—Adding a gas fireplace appliance will burn cleanly and is generally better for the environment than other methods of heating. You can be environmentally-conscious and still enjoy a new hearth.

Your Dream Hearth is Possible

You can choose a new hearth that matches your personality, lifestyle, home décor, and budget. When you start your hearth search with an expert, you can find a product that’s best for you, and have it installed before winter is over!
Fireplaces—Gas fireplaces are a great addition to any home and any room. You can have a gas fireplace in every room of your house, or select rooms, as long as you have access to natural gas. Gas fireplaces are the cleanest-burning fireplaces on the market, and many can be installed anywhere, no matter the amount of space. Vent-free gas log sets don’t even need to be ventilated. They are rated for indoor use and safety, and are an affordable addition to any hearth.
Direct Vent Fireplaces and Stoves—Direct vent appliances are a closed unit that vents through a wall or ceiling. They are safe, affordable, highly efficient, and are available as wood-burning or gas-burning. If you have readily available firewood, a wood-burning direct vent fireplace would be a great option. No need to construct an expensive chimney, no need to remodel the home. Similarly, stoves are freestanding and can be installed anywhere as long as a ventilation system is installed.

Hire a Professional for the Job

You should start your hearth search with a professional. The Cozy Flame sells fireplaces, direct vent fireplaces, wood burning stoves, gas stoves, direct vent stoves, vent free stoves, pellet stoves, electric stoves, wood burning inserts, gas inserts, direct vent gas inserts, gas logs, and a variety of doors, mantels, and fireplace accessories. Our Comfort Consultants are available at our show room at 116-Q Research Drive in Milford, Connecticut. We can get you started on this journey. When it’s time for installation, choose none other than our licensed, insured, and certified sister company, Total Chimney Care. We’ll help you take care of the decision-making, and they’ll take care of the installation!
Call The Cozy Flame at 203-283-4459 today.

By Steve Sobczak | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Choosing a Fireplace Fuel Type

Despite the climbing temperatures, now is the time to think about your winter fireplace. Today’s market is rife with options. What fuel type you choose can determine how much you spend, what type of appliance you can choose from, and how accessible the fuel will be year-to-year.

Wood-Burning Appliances

Probably the most traditional fuel type is wood. It offers many benefits, but can also be the least efficient and the messiest. Traditional wood fireplaces can lose up to 75 percent of their heat, which is why wood inserts and stoves have become popular in recent years. Wood is a renewable resource, and cheap if you gather the wood from your own property. Stoves and inserts are more efficient than open fireplaces. This which means your wood lasts longer and burns hotter, with fewer byproducts. As long as you burn properly-seasoned wood, your wood-burning appliance will work safely and efficiently with adequate maintenance.

At The Cozy Flame, we offer catalytic and non-catalytic wood stoves, each with their price range, purpose, and style. When you choose any of our Regency wood stoves, you get a beautiful product, professional installation, fewer emissions, and a comprehensive Limited Lifetime Warranty!

Pellet-Burning Appliances

With all the beauty of a real wood fire, and all the convenience and efficiency of a gas or electric appliance, the pellet stove lands in the middle. Pellet stoves are eco-friendly because of their high-efficiency and the manner in which the pellets are manufactured. They are made from wood waste and sold, so this type of fuel must be bought and stored, though it is affordable. Pellet stoves and inserts burn cleanly, though, resulting in less particulate pollution, less creosote and soot buildup, and less wear and tear on the chimney system. They also offer convenient features like a built-in hopper that feeds the fire for a consistent temperature even while you’re asleep or out of the house.

You can browse our Regency pellet stoves and inserts online or stop by our showroom at 116 Research Drive, Suite Q, in Milford, Connecticut.

Gas Appliances

Gas burning fireplaces are the most efficient. They burn cleaner than any other fuel, offer the most convenience, and are available for nearly any type of installation. Gas products raise efficiency by up to 90 percent. Homeowners also prefer gas appliances because of the ease of use–convenient on/off switches, temperature controls, and no clean-up. A gas fireplace can be accomplished with a gas stove, insert, or log set. Depending on your preference, your gas appliance can look exactly like a real wood fire. You can choose an insert to be retrofitted into your existing fireplace, utilize the fireplace by installing a log set or bypass the fireplace and chimney completely by choosing a stove or direct insert.

Are you still on the fence about what fuel type to use this winter? Let a fireplace expert help you decide. We always have a professional on staff at our showroom during business hours, but you can also speak with an expert from the comfort of your home by calling 203-283-4459.

By Steve Sobczak | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Leave a Comment

How to Properly Operate a Gas Log Set

How to Properly Operate a Gas Log Set - Milford CT - The Cozy FlameWhether you’re switching fuel sources or installing an entirely new fireplace, operating a gas log set can seem more intimidating than simply lighting a wood fire. Once you learn how to properly operate your gas log set, however, the convenience and ease of use far outweigh the use of wood.

Why choose gas logs

Gas logs are one of the most popular choices for gas fireplaces because they most realistically mimic the look and feel of wood burning fires. In gas log fireplace, a gas burner is covered by a man-made “log”; logs are molded out of materials such as clay, concrete, or ceramics and can be made to mimic different types of wood such as oak, birch, and hickory.

Most modern gas logs are designed to burn “dirty” using incomplete combustion. Doing this helps to create a more realistic looking flame; unlike the blue flames sometimes created by other gas fireplaces, gas logs create a more realistic looking yellow flame that can pop, crackle, and “dance” similar to a wood burning fire.

Operating your gas log set

Because each gas log set is different, it is important to read your specific unit’s manual. However, below are some considerations for properly operating a gas log set.

  • Pilot light: Pilot lights can be run in two modes: standing or intermittent. Standing pilot mode keeps the pilot light constantly on and is recommended to help keep the chimney warm during the winter. Intermittent pilot mode means the pilot light is only turned on when the fireplace is in use and is best for the summer months or in homes where the fireplace is infrequently used.
  • Power outages: The ability to operate without power depends on the model. Some gas logs may lose power to the blower, but because the pilot light remains lit heat will still be produced. Others, however, may have enough stored power in the remote control systems to operate normally.
  • Remote controls: Most modern gas log sets are operated by remote controls. These controls allow you to control flame height, temperature, the blower, as well as create a heating schedule similar to a programmable thermostat.

Special considerations with gas logs

While gas logs are a convenient and easy to use heat source, there are several special considerations that should be taken into account when using [] a gas log fireplace.

  • Paper, cardboard, and other materials should never be burned in a gas fireplace. The chimneys and venting systems used by gas fireplaces are not designed to carry ash or debris from burning paper products. Likewise, the ash or soot accumulation created by burning outside materials in the gas fireplace can damage the gas log.
  • The exterior glass and metal surfaces of the fireplace may become extremely hot when in use. Because of this, care should be taken to keep small children or pets away from the fireplace in order to prevent burns. Curtains, furniture, and other décor should also be kept a minimum of three feet from the fireplace to prevent accidental fires.
  • Close the glass front completely when the gas logs are lit. Not only does this improve the efficiency of the gas logs, but it also helps prevents accidental burns and fires from contact with an open flame.
  • Evacuate the house and call your gas provider immediately if you smell gas close to the fireplace, especially low to the floor as gas sinks.

When used correctly, gas log sets can provide safe, efficient, and reliable heat. To learn more about how a gas log set can benefit you and your family, contact The Cozy Flame today!

How to Care for Your Gas Fireplace

Gas fireplaces and inserts have grown in popularity in recent years due to their ease of use and maintenance. These heating appliances offer a number of benefits over traditional wood burning fireplaces. First, fires can be started with the simple flip of a switch, as opposed to the work needed to start and maintain a wood fire. Likewise, with gas fireplaces there is no need to chop, haul, season, and store firewood, saving both time and money. Finally, there is no need to sweep and remove ashes from a gas fireplace.

A few simple steps can help to ensure the longevity of your gas fireplace.

A few simple steps can help to ensure the longevity of your gas fireplace.

While there is no day to day cleanup of ashes with gas fireplaces, they still do require annual maintenance to continue performing at optimum levels. By completing these simple maintenance tasks and having an annual inspection, your gas fireplace will last for many years to come.

Cleaning

The exterior glass and metal finish of a gas fireplace can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth. Homeowners should avoid using any abrasive or chemical cleaners, however, as these can damage the finish. This cleaning can be easily completed as needed.

The interior of your gas fireplace should also be carefully cleaned one to two times each year. Before cleaning, the gas valve should always be completely turned off. The burner and control compartment can be kept clean merely by brushing and vacuuming them. Because they are fragile, a soft, clean paintbrush should be used to prevent accidental damage. As with the exterior of the fireplace, abrasive chemicals should never be used, and the fireplace should never be cleaned while it is still hot.

Glass and log replacement

While gas fireplace components are made to last, they can sometimes become damaged. This can be the result of long term wear and tear or accidental breakage. The main concern when replacing either the glass or log of a gas fireplace is to make sure that the new parts are certified to be used with your particular unit. Likewise, improper positioning of a gas log can result in poor performance and an excessive buildup of carbon.

Working with a professional fireplace company may be the best way to ensure that the new parts are both licensed for use with your unit and installed correctly.

Vent maintenance

While the venting system of your fireplace will be checked during an annual inspection, homeowners should check their vents one to two additional times each year. This is especially important to do if the fireplace has not been used for a long period of time. The exterior vent should be free from signs of damage or obstruction, and should not have any rust signs or holes. If any damage is present, discontinue use and contact a fireplace company immediately.

Professional inspection

Just like a wood burning fireplace, a gas fireplace should be inspected and cleaned by a professional chimney sweep each year. Doing this ensures that your appliance remains in excellent condition, has not been damaged, and can be used safely for another year.

If you have any questions about caring for your gas fireplace or need to schedule an annual inspection, contact The Cozy Flame today!

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The Cozy Flame | 116 Research Dr. Suite Q, Milford, Connecticut 06460