You’ve heard again and again that gas fireplaces add to the beauty and value of a home. You’ve probably also heard that they are efficient and a cost-effective heat source. But what you may not have heard about is the safety precautions to take with gas fireplaces.
Gas fireplace injuries can happen. The glass reaches temperatures of at least 500°F. Children, especially, are at risk of third degree burns when the glass is touched. Such burns are painful and take time to heal. Many leave lasting scars. There is also risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
But gas fireplaces don’t have to be a cause for such alarm. When properly used and maintained, injuries are rare. There are also simple things you can do to ensure the safety of those who gather around your unit.
Here are five simple ways to ensure safety with your gas fireplace:
- Ensure those around the running unit know of the dangers and safety rules. The dancing flames are very appealing and many young children attempt to get closer to enjoy the view. One of the best ways to reduce the risk of injury associated with your unit is to educate those in your home. Besides teaching them to keep a good distance from the gas fireplace they should also be taught how to turn the unit on and off, to keep flammable items away, and what to do if they get burned. Also warn them that the unit, glass, and surrounding area will remain hot even after the unit is turned off. If younger children live in the home or visit often, it is important to review the rules.
- Purchase and use a secure safety screen. A safety screen works as a barrier to keep people, especially children, from touching the scorching glass. Because screens are in close proximity to the glass, they can also retain heat and children should be taught to not touch the safety screen. No alterations to safety screens should be permitted. Also, never move the barrier away from the unit. This reduces the chance that it may be forgotten and not replaced to its proper location.
- Install carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas. Because it is odorless it is hard to identify without the use of a detector. It is rare for gas fireplaces to emit carbon monoxide in the home, but it is important to have them installed. Many professionals recommend installing carbon monoxide detectors on each level of the home. To ensure detectors are working properly, change the batteries every six months. Smoke detectors should also be installed near gas appliances such as your stove or fireplace and throughout your home.
- Keep flammable items at least three feet from the firebox. Combustibles and flammable items such as decorations, lamps, couches, chairs, pillows, blankets, and curtains should all be kept at least three feet away from your unit, especially while it is in use. This will reduce the risk of fire in the home and damage to your belongings.
- Make and keep annual inspection appointments. Annual safety inspections performed by a licensed and certified contractor will help to guarantee your unit will run efficiently and function safely. A typical inspection usually includes:
- Inspection and cleaning of the fan
- Cleaning of the glass
- Cleaning and adjustments to the logs
- Inspection of firebox and vents
- A thorough check for condensation
- Monitoring of efficiency
- Inspection of igniter, settings, and switches
Gas fireplaces are an efficient and cost-effective way to heat your home. Keeping in mind the dangers of such a unit will ensure safety and will better help you enjoy the many benefits of your gas fireplace.