Natural Gas or Propane Fireplaces

Did you Know?

Natural gas is odourless. Energy providers add scent to it that allows you to smell the gas leak right away. Always be aware for the smell of gas. And, if your nose is blocked or your sense of smell is limited, make sure you know the physical warning signs for gas leaks: dizziness, fatigue, nausea, headaches and irregular breathing.

Generally speaking, gas fireplaces operate in a manner that is similar to natural gas furnaces: each requires homeowners to exercise caution and operational awareness. Most natural gas fireplaces pull combustion air from the outside through an intake or inlet vent. These vents should never be obstructed. It is important to note that unlike wood burning fireplaces, conventional gas fireplaces have their own air intake and exhaust paths, so there is no damper to open and close. Fireplaces and other open flame appliances should never be left unattended when in operation. Ensure you familiarize yourself with the operating manual for your particular fireplace before use.

Curing New Fireplaces

IMPORTANT

If you smell a gas in your home:

  • Do not turn on any electric switches (i.e., lights)
  • Do exit your home immediately – leave the door open behind you
  • Once off the premises, do use a cell phone or a neighbourʼs landline to call your local natural gas supplier (i.e., SaskPower) so they can come fix the leak.
  • Do not go back in the home until your natural gas supplier says it is safe to do so.

Materials found on the outer surfaces of a new wood or gas fireplace, such as paint, sealants, lubricating oils and gasket adhesives, can produce odours and small amounts of carbon monoxide the first few times the fireplace is used. The process of burning off this material in a new fireplace is called “curing” or “burning in”

Curing Basics

  • The fireplace should be burned for periods of no less than 5 to 6 hours at a time with a high flame;
  • It may take as much as 24 hours of burning time before the fireplace is completely cured;
  • If your home has a carbon monoxide detector, it may detect the carbon monoxide while this material is being burnt off. The carbon monoxide detector may sound an alarm;
  • If the fireplace system is equipped with a fan, do not run it during the curing period. The fan cools the surfaces and slows (or stops) the curing process;
  • Make sure your home is well ventilated during the curing period.

General Maintenance

Your natural gas or propane fireplace is equipped with a thermopile – an electronic device that converts thermal energy into electrical energy within the fireplace. It is common for thermopile sensors to fail after several years, causing the fireplace to spontaneously shut down and extinguish the pilot light. If this problem persists you will most likely require a new sensor. You may wish to call a professional service technician to repair the thermopile sensor. However, the repair can be completed if you have the required “know-how” because it does not require tampering with the natural gas line.