Spending a crisp, fall evening spent in front of a roaring fire is one of life’s great pleasures. And nothing can ruin it faster than a mechanical mishap. Here to keep that from happening is Tom Parks of COASTROAD Hearth & Patio in Shallotte, North Carolina. Parks, certified by the National Fireplace Institute and a self-described “fireplace nerd,” gives us a walk-through of what to triple-check before starting up your fireplace for the holiday season.
Give your fireplace a checkup using his tips below, or schedule a service call with a certified fireplace technician. If you think something may not be right with your fireplace, have a professional technician come in to look at it — it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Essentials: If there’s glass on front of your fireplace, you’ll probably have to clean it at least once a year. Parks suggests cleaning with a water-and-vinegar combination or a specialized fireplace cleaning solution (avoid cleaners containing ammonia). If the glass is collecting soot, your fireplace should be adjusted to burn more cleanly.
“All unvented gas fireplaces and gas logs built in the last two decades have had an Oxygen Depletion Sensor pilot,” says Parks. “This should be cleaned every year to keep the system from becoming more sensitive and causing annoying shutdowns.” A can of compressed air can be used to clean out the pilot orifice (the opening where the gas comes out). If your system is 5 or more years old, you may need to call a specialist.