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Recognizing the Signs: When to Service Your Gas or Wood Burning Fireplace

Your fireplace, whether gas or wood burning, is more than just a source of warmth; it can be the heart of home comfort and ambiance. But, don’t forget that it is an appliance, and like any other appliance found in many Kansas City homes, it requires regular maintenance to ensure safety, efficiency and longevity.

Neglecting fireplace maintenance can lead to problems, including health risks and decreased functionality, or worse. It’s important to know the key signs that indicate it is time to contact the fireplace experts at Complete Home Concepts to have your gas or wood burning fireplace cleaned and serviced.

See what’s involved with our fireplace service and repair appointments.

What are the signs your wood burning fireplace needs service and/or cleaned?

1. You notice visible soot or creosote buildup.

One of the most apparent signs that your wood burning fireplace needs cleaning is the accumulation of soot or creosote. Creosote is a dark, oily substance that can build up inside the chimney due to incomplete combustion of wood. It is highly flammable and can pose a significant fire hazard if not removed.

2. You see unusual smoke patterns from your fireplace.

If you notice smoke entering your room instead of going up the chimney, it could be a sign of blockage or buildup in the chimney. Meaning, blockage isn’t allowing smoke to rise up through the chimney. This not only reduces the efficiency of your fireplace, but also poses a health risk due to increased indoor air pollution.

3. You smell odd odors coming from your fireplace.

A persistent bad odor emanating from the fireplace when it’s not in use is a clear indicator that it needs cleaning. This smell often results from a buildup of creosote, soot or even animal nests that can clog the chimney.

4. You find it more difficult to start or keep a fire going.

A fireplace that’s hard to light or struggles to keep a fire going can signal airflow problems caused by creosote or soot buildup in the chimney. Remember, fire needs oxygen in order to burn.

What are the signs your gas fireplace needs serviced and/or cleaned?

1. Your nose detects an odd smell.

While gas fireplaces generally don’t produce smoke or soot, an unusual odor can indicate a problem. If you detect a rotten egg smell, it could be a sign of a gas leak, which requires immediate attention. Gas doesn’t have a smell per se, so Mercaptan, also known as methanethiol is added to natural gas. Since natural gas is colorless and odorless, makes it easier to detect. Leave your house and call your gas company immediately if you smell something similar to rotten eggs. They’ll send someone out 24/7 to help.

2. You notice a delayed ignition or weak flame.

A delay in ignition or a weak, uneven flame in your gas fireplace can indicate issues with the gas supply or burner. Regular servicing ensures that these components are functioning correctly and safely.

3. You see a buildup of soot.

Though far less common in gas fireplaces than wood burning ones, soot buildup can occur and is often indicative of incomplete combustion. This can be a result of clogged burners or incorrect gas pressure.

4. You’re having pilot light issues.

Frequent pilot light outages or a pilot light that won’t stay lit is a sign that your gas fireplace needs servicing. This could be due to a faulty thermocouple or thermopile, or a clogged pilot tube.

The Three Signs That Apply to Gas and Wood Burning Fireplaces

1. It’s been over a year since you had your fireplace cleaned and serviced.

Regardless of the type, all fireplaces should undergo annual maintenance checks. This ensures they are in good working condition and safe to use.

2. You notice damage, inside or outside.

Any signs of damage, such as cracks in your fireplace glass doors, deteriorating chimney bricks, a damaged chimney cap or anything else that indicates wear or damage, warrant a professional inspection and fireplace service from a certified expert.

3. You’re hearing strange noises.

Unusual noises coming from your fireplace, like cracking or popping in gas fireplaces, or loud drafts in wood-burning fireplaces, can indicate issues that need professional attention.

Certified Fireplace Service is Essential for Safety

Regular maintenance of your fireplace is crucial for safe and efficient operation. Whether you have a wood burning or a gas fireplace, keeping an eye, ear or nose out for these signs can help you determine when it’s time for a professional cleaning or service. At minimum, your fireplace should be inspected once a year.

Complete Home Concepts in Kansas City offers expert fireplace maintenance services to ensure your cozy fireside evenings are both enjoyable and safe. Bottom line, timely servicing not only extends the life of your fireplace but also protects your home and loved ones.

Schedule your fireplace service or inspection today. Complete Home Concepts’ technicians are licensed, insured and experienced in fireplace service and repair. They have been with us for years and train our new technicians for months.