Maintaining A Vent-Free Fireplace or Gas Log and Burner System
1. Your vent-free gas fireplace must be cleaned and serviced a minimum of once per year. Prior to the burning season, and additional cleaning in the middle of the season is recommended if the appliance is used heavily or it is located in an area of heavy traffic, dust, dirt, or pet hair. Failure to do so may result in unwanted odors, wall discoloration and malfunctions. Regular maintenance and cleaning is the key to years of trouble-free enjoyment of your new vent-free gas-heating appliance.
2. An existing Firebox or masonry fireplace and damper area must be cleaned thoroughly prior to use,
especially if your vent-free gas log is installed in a previously used wood- burning fireplace. Failure to do so may result in unwanted odors and wall discoloration.
3. All vent-free gas fireplace products have a "break-in" process to cure the logs and burn off any oils or residues that were left over from the manufacturing process. The "break-in" process consists of burning the unit at its highest setting for 5 to 6 consecutive hours. During this "break-in" procedure you may notice some light smoke and a strong smell similar to burning paper. Your home smoke/fire detector may activate during the first hour or two. If your vent-free gas log is installed in a wood-burning fireplace you may want to open the fireplace damper during this "break-in" procedure. If your fireplace can’t be vented, you may want to open some doors or windows during this procedure. There WILL be odors, this is normal.
4. All vent-free gas fireplace products are equipped with a safety pilot and oxygen depletion system. The safety pilot is designed to stop the flow of gas if the pilot flame extinguishes. The Oxygen Depletion System, or O.D.S., is designed to shut the unit down if the oxygen level drops below about 18.5%. This is well in advance of a level dangerous to people, however, homes with any fuel burning appliances should have a carbon monoxide alarm installed. For proper placement of a carbon monoxide alarm, refer to the alarm manufacturers instructions.
5. Your vent-free gas fireplace is not intended to be a primary heating source. Vent-free gas fireplace products are designed as a convenient, attractive, supplemental heat source. Use your vent-free fireplace only to warm the area in which it is located. If you desire ambiance rather than heat this is only possible when the unit is installed in a fireplace with a functional damper and working chimney flue. Never burn your gas fireplace products unattended or when nobody is home.
6. Moisture is a by-product of every type of combustion. Your vent–free gas fireplace may raise the humidity level in the home when burning. Because humidity levels are usually lower in the winter months, this added humidity is usually welcomed. Over use or using a vent–free unit as primary heat can cause an increased moisture level. Generally this increased moisture level is more apt to bring out an existing mildew or mold problem then create a new one.
7. After the “break-in” process is completed, the odor should gradually diminish with the first 10 to 20 hours of use. There are a few environmental, maintenance and installation circumstances that can cause additional odors and possibly wall discoloration.
- Frequent burning of candles or oil lamps (can also cause dark spots on walls and ceilings
- Burning incense
- Painting or staining anywhere in the home
- Pet odors and pet dander
- Hairspray, aerosols, and cleaning products (can
also cause a white powder like residue on fireplace
front and logs)
- Cigarette, cigar or pipe smoke (can also cause a
brownish discoloration on walls and ceiling)
- Air fresheners and potpourri
- Fans or drafty conditions that disturb the normal
flame pattern (can also cause sooting on the logs,
fireplace, walls and ceiling)
- Renovations or construction within the house (anything that creates airborne particulates)
- Objects placed in or near the flames (can also
cause sooting on the logs, fireplace, walls and
- Dirty or improperly cleaned damper/ flue/ or
fireplace (can also cause sooting on the logs,
fireplace, walls and ceiling)
- Logs improperly positioned on the burner assembly
(can also cause sooting on the logs, fireplace, walls
- Dirty air inlets or pilot assembly (can also cause
sooting on the logs, fireplace, walls and ceiling)
- Low input gas pressure resulting in poor combustion
Your vent-free gas fireplace will provide many years of warmth, ambiance, and enjoyment if properly maintained and used as intended. Be sure to follow all manufacturer listed installation and maintenance instructions.
Cleaning Vent Free pilot assembly
If the pilot on your vent-free gas product is clogged with dust, dirt, lint, or pet hair, the unit will not work properly. To clean the pilot, it is recommend that compressed air not greater than 30 PSI. A local hardware store or home center should carry compressed air in a can. Follow these procedures as well as the instructions on the can of compressed air. If you do not follow these directions, you could damage the pilot. The pilot should be cleaned as part of regularly scheduled annual maintenance routine.
1. Shut off the unit, including the pilot. Allow unit to cool for at least thirty minutes. Do not perform any maintenance or cleaning on a unit that is not sufficiently cooled.
2. Following the instructions on the can of compressed air position the tube on the can of compressed air.
3. Locate the pilot assembly on your unit. If you have a wall heater you will need to remove the front
cover. If you have a gas log set in fireplace, you may want to carefully remote the logs.
4. A small pilot air inlet hole is located approximately 2” from where the pilot flame comes out of the pilot assembly. Some models have a metal “saddle” or metal strip over the inlet hole on the body of the pilot. You will need to VERY CAREFULLY lift the saddle or metal strip from the pilot tube just enough to position
the tube on the cam of compressed air under it (see diagrams below).
5. Point the tube toward the area where the flame comes out of the pilot and give a couple of quick shots of
CAUTION: Always blow the air in the direction of the gas flow to move dust, dirt and lint out of the pilot tube. Blowing air into the gas line will damage the orifice in the pilot assembly and will clog the gas line.
6. Replace logs (where appropriate) according to the owner’s manual.
7. Replace front cover (where appropriate) according to the owner’s manual.
Cleaning the pilot is intended to removes any dust, dirt, lint, or pet hair that may clog the air-mixing chamber during the months of non-use of the heater.
For more information on the care and maintenance of your vent-free gas appliance refer to your Owner’s Manual.
Examples of Pilot Light Assemblies