|Maintenance and Repair Frequently Asked Questions
What is a gas insert?
Gas inserts are fireplaces that burn natural gas or propane and fit into an existing wood burning fireplace thereby turning it into a gas burning fireplace.
What kind of Maintenance do they require?
Gas inserts require the glass to be cleaned at least one time per year. Fans that are in inserts vary on the frequency of cleaning according to the amount of use they receive and whether or not there are any pets that shed hair. The pilot assemblies should also be cleaned annually as well as the interior of the firebox. If there is a remote control used on the fireplace, the batteries in the sending unit and possibly the receiver need to be replaced also.
How often should they be serviced?
Newer gas inserts that are used regularly should be serviced annually. Older units can frequently go every other year except for the glass which needs to be cleaned every year.
Typically venting on gas inserts don't require maintenance, but occasional issues such as debris, webbing or insect nests require us to at least inspect the vents to make sure they are clear of obstructions.
Modern gas appliances are built with pilot safety controls and typically do not present safety issues. Most safety issues are related to combustible materials being too close to the unit or of poor installation practices. Both of these issues can easily be identified through inspection by a qualified technician.
Gas Freestanding Stoves
Gas freestanding stoves are constructed in the same manner as gas inserts except that they have been constructed to be sitting out in the room and are visible from most angles. They offer more flexibility in selecting locations within the home and can heat large areas. Gas stoves require the same maintenance as gas inserts and should be on an annual or bi-annual service plan.
Wood Burning Stoves
Wood burning stoves come in three basic construction types.
The first type is an insert which is designed to be placed in an existing wood burning fireplace opening and usually has a face plate or surround covering the entire opening around the unit to give it a finished appearance.
The second type is the freestanding stove which is designed to be in the room and viewed from many angles. These stoves come in contemporary, classic and modern styles and all will heat a home efficiently and comfortably.
The third type is a zero clearance wood burning fireplace that looks similar to an insert but usually has a larger heating capacity as well as features not available with inserts.
Wood burning appliances are hotter than gas or pellet appliances. Therefore, proximity to combustible materials is of great concern. Assuming the stove has been installed correctly, then keeping combustibles at a safe distance is required. Keeping children safely away from hot surfaces is also a concern along with proper operation. In general, wood burning appliances have more safety issues involved with them which makes them more dangerous to have. A thorough inspection and cleaning of the unit and adherence to clear operating procedures minimizes risks significantly.
Wood burning appliances of all types require daily, weekly and annual maintenance. The foremost concern is the the condition of the venting system and conditions can vary according to the type of installation and the types of wood consumed as well as the manner of operation. The venting and stove operation should be checked and or serviced annually to keep the unit working throughout the heating season.
Pellet stoves are a cross between wood burning stoves and a mechanical device. Pellet stoves are easier to operate than wood stoves and provide uniform heating for homes. Since the y are wood burning devices they do require regular cleaning to keep them operating. They require removal of accumulated ash every couple of days; filling of the hopper regularly; and a mandatory annual servicing. The are louder than wood burning stoves while operating due to the three motors which make them work and sometimes the sound can create a conflict if the unit is in close proximity to a television or stereo system.
Pellet stoves a very safe to operate. They do not achieve the same high temperatures as wood burning stoves and are generally safe to be around. Since there are fewer requirements to operate these stoves and the temperatures are lower, the chances of injuries are greatly reduced.
Gas logs are the least expensive way to have a fire in a wood burning fireplace without burning wood. Gas logs are not an efficient way to heat your home but they are easy to operate and do not need to be tended to while in operation. They retain their looks and can last for many years even with regular use.
Gas logs are very safe to operate. Since there is no real wood burning, there are no sparks or hot embers to cause any fire hazards.