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How Long Can You Leave A Gas Fireplace On?

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Let’s face it, when it gets really cold outside, there’s nothing more cozy than a night in front of a gas fireplace. Especially when you’re tired and just want to fall asleep right away!

How many hours can you leave a gas fireplace on? Generally speaking, gas fireplaces that are fully vented and have a sealed glass front can be left on for many hours. But models that are vent-free and have front doors that can be opened should only be left on for a maximum of 2 hours at a time.

When it comes to indoor air quality, you don’t have anything to worry about with a vented gas fireplace. A high temp glass panel separates the burning area of your direct vent gas fireplace from inside your home so that any toxins are expelled outside and not in!

With no worries for making sure toxic gases get out; all you need is electricity and propane or a gas hookup.

Ventless models seem like a nice idea, but they come with some serious risks. They produce small amounts of nitrous dioxide and carbon monoxide that can be deadly in large doses.

According to the CDC’s warning against exposure at any level for up to 500 people per year who die due to accidental poisoning from it–talk about scary!

How can you tell if your gas fireplace is fully vented?

Generally speaking, if the flames extend above the gas logs and it looks pretty much like a regular wood burning fire then it is most likely fully vented.

How can you tell if your gas fireplace is vent-free?

Usually, if the flames are bluish in color and are small, meaning they don’t extend much or at all above the gas logs then your unit is vent-free.
All models are different so we recommend that you have your unit inspected yearly not only to clean it and maintain it but to let you know which type you have.

All models are different so we recommend that you have your unit inspected yearly not only to clean it and maintain it but to let you know which type you have.

This is why some older adults have reported feeling lightheaded or dizzy after using their vent-free gas fireplace for just a few minutes.

While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not specifically track deaths or injuries from exposure to the carbon monoxide gas produced by ventless fireplaces, about 15,000 Americans suffer from exposure to CO annually (all means) and nearly 500 die.

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With proper safety precautions and tips – which we will go over further in this article, homeowners can use their fireplace without fear of injury or damage.

Is It Safe To Leave The Pilot On In A Gas Fireplace?

The pilot light is the small flame that keeps a gas fireplace burning. The main question many people ask themselves is, “is it safe to leave the pilot light on all the time?”

The answer to this question is yes, there is always a chance of something happening even if you follow all the rules. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends keeping an eye out for any signs of trouble such as soot buildup or discoloration from flames licking up near combustibles like curtains, furniture or drapes.

If you notice these things then turn off your pilot light immediately and call for professional help before anything happens!

I personally have a vented gas fireplace and the pilot light is on all the time – mainly because to turn it on and off requires a very tricky maneuver so I simply get my fireplace maintained every year.

How Do You Know If Your Gas Fireplace Is Safe?

If you have an older home, chances are your gas fireplace has been in operation for years. As time goes on and the fireplace is used more often, it can become a safety hazard. So, before you turn it on, you need to make sure that it’s safe.

I strongly recommend that you have your unit inspected every year.

The following points will help you identify if your fireplace needs an inspection or service:

  • If there’s no pilot flame, then the gas may not be burning properly.
  • If there are any cracks in the brick or mortar surrounding your fireplace, this means that heat can escape and cause a fire hazard.
  • If you notice any discoloration of bricks around the area where natural gas enters your home—such as soot marks from leaking gas—it could mean that some of these gases have already escaped into the air in your house.
  • A yearly inspection is recommended to clean the inside, the blower and check the outdoor vent. The inspection will also check your pilot light and any other issues as well.

How To Make A Gas Fireplace Safer

Whether you have a vented or vent-free unit, it’s recommended that you have it checked by a professional yearly to ensure that it is safe.

Here are some tips on how you can make your gas fireplace safer:

  1. Maintain your unit – regular yearly maintenance of your chimney and gas fireplace are imperative to keeping it running smoothly and keeping you safe.
  2. Carbon Monoxide Detectors – it’s also very important to install carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home.
  3. Keep A 3 Foot Distance – keep furniture and anything flammable at least 3 feet away from your gas fireplace.
  4. Keep Children and Flammable Items At A Distance – make sure that you don’t have any curtains or other loose items too close to the fireplace. Aside from a detector, make sure your kids and pets are safe by installing gates or fencing around the fire perimeters so they stay at a good distance away. Even though fire is behind glass, it can still be hot for awhile after turning off because of how thin and fragile glass becomes when heated up!
  5. Have Easy Access To Fire Extinguishers – it’s always a good idea to have very easy access to fire extinguishers or fire extinguishing blankets throughout the home.
  6. For vent-free fireplaces – make sure the damper stays open when the fireplace is running. The closed damperature may force carbon monoxide into your home which can be dangerous for you and other family members in your household.
  7. Open your windows – If you have a vent-free fireplace, it is recommended to open a window or only use the fireplace for no more than 2 hours at time.
  8. In vented gas fireplaces – it is dangerous to operate your fireplace with the glass doors taken off. If you need to clean the glass, make sure that it’s cooled down and turned off before removing them for cleaning. Never remove those panels while the fireplace is in operation!
  9. If You Notice Cracks In The Stone or Brick – do not turn your fireplace on. Instead, contact a professional chimney maintenance company to come check your unit.
  10. Be Alert To Changes – if you notice that the flame in your unit is different or if you smell gas or anything that is different – turn it off immediately and get a professional to come in and check it.

I’ve mentioned it a few times already in this article but I just want to repeat it one more time because of how very important it is.

When it comes to gas fireplaces, there’s one thing that you should never forget: maintenance. Without routine care and cleaning from a trained professional at least once yearly, your fireplace could suffer extensive damage or even be unsafe for family use!

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