If you are looking to put a natural gas fireplace in your home there are a few things to consider. A natural gas fireplace is a great choice for most people because it is convenient and efficient. It provides a real fireplace without the inconvenience of cutting wood and cleaning up ashes. To keep the fireplace running efficiently you will need to periodically clean the logs, embers, and glass door but this is basically all the maintenance required. A natural gas fireplace can be vented or vent free. Both are safe as long as you follow some basic safety tips.
1. Be Aware of Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is the biggest safety issue that you need to be aware of because it can be deadly. Installing and keeping carbon monoxide detectors working is the number one way to stay safe. A vent-free fireplace always comes with an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) that will shut down if it detects too much carbon monoxide. A vented fireplace vents the fumes out of the house through a chimney or through special pipes that can be installed to vent the air.
2. Keep Anything Combustible Away
Natural gas fireplaces produce a lot of heat so you must be very careful to keep all combustibles away from the unit. This is especially true with a vent free fireplace because they are made to have an almost complete combustion which lowers the carbon monoxide level. A safety screen is recommended to avoid an accident with small children or pets. You should keep all items 2 feet away from the fireplace.
3. Do Yearly Checks
Yearly maintenance checks are needed to make sure the unit is running properly and safely. You should have this done each year before lighting the fireplace for the first time before winter sets in. A chimney sweep is also necessary to make sure the chimney is clean if you are using a vented natural gas fireplace.
4. Keep it Clean
Always keep the fan and air circulation passages clean. Also make sure all the vents are unobstructed and able to work properly. You can refer to the owners manual on cleaning the fan and air circulation passages.
5. Understand Health Risks
There are some health issues that also need to be considered. Natural gas fireplaces have been linked to respiratory problems for people who suffer from asthma or other respiratory issues. If someone in your household suffers from respiratory issues you might want to consider another option. Studies have also shown at infants have a higher chance of developing asthma in homes that run natural gas.