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A gas fireplace is a unique asset to any home, especially those in colder climates. However, it can be frustrating when the flames are not as strong and warm as they should be.
A gas fireplace can omit weaker flames as a result of residue build-up or gas line connectivity problems. These problems can lead to burner blockages or insufficient gas, leading to the fireplace, which creates smaller flames.
The rest of this article will help to answer this question in greater detail by providing information on other relevant topics, such as how gas fireplaces work, the specific causes of small flames and how to detect them, and how to fix this problem.
How Does a Gas Fireplace Work?
The invention of the gas fireplace was a crucial turning point when it comes to heating homes. Gas fireplaces are a highly efficient form of heat because they do not use the air in the home to generate heat, do not require a wood supply, and generate enough heat to eliminate the need for another heating source.
In order to work, gas fireplaces are connected to a gas line, which, when combined with an air source, creates flames that can be controlled from a remote control. These fireplaces also use artificial logs that resemble wood logs to create an authentic experience.
While gas fireplaces generally work the same way, there are multiple kinds of gas fireplaces to choose from.
Ventless Gas Fireplaces
A ventless gas fireplace is still fueled by gas, uses artificial logs, and generates sufficient heat to heat a room. However, ventless gas fireplaces do not use vents to bring in air for combustion or get rid of polluted air.
Instead, ventless fireplaces use oxygen from the air in the room to generate heat and then recycle the air back out into the room through holes in the top and bottom of the fireplace.
While these gas fireplaces are a practical option for homes without chimneys or spaces to install vents, it is recommended that the home’s air quality be closely monitored to follow oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.
Vented Gas Fireplaces
Vented gas fireplaces are very common, and an energy-efficient means to heat a home. Similar to ventless gas fireplaces, these also do not use a chimney and use artificial logs, creating a sustainable heating source and authentic ambiance.
As opposed to ventless gas fireplaces, those with vents bring air in from outside the home to generate heat and dispose of waste back through the vent. Therefore, no air is used from inside the home to operate the fireplace.
What Are the Common Causes of Small Flames?
There are a few potential problems that could cause a gas fireplace to have small flames. It is important to identify the cause in order to determine the remedy.
Low Gas Pressure
Since gas fireplaces require gas in order to operate, if the gas line that the fireplace is connected to is not providing enough gas, the flames created in the fireplace will not be as big.
This can occur due to a weak pipe connection, an obstruction in the pipe, or another issue related to the gas hookup.
For vented fireplaces, if there is any obstruction to the vent that is connected to the outside, the fireplace will not be supplied with enough air to create adequate combustion, resulting in smaller flames.
Obstructions can result from objects getting lodged inside the vent, damage to the vent, or anything blocking the vent on the outside, such as snow.
Needs to Be Cleaned
Even though gas fireplaces do not produce as much debris as wood-burning fireplaces, the residue can build-up over time, which can block the mechanisms used to generate heat. Additionally, similar to any other household appliance, dust and lint can get lodged inside the fireplace, which can lead to further blockage.
Identifying the Cause
In order to identify the cause, it is recommended to investigate the various components of the fireplace system and check for any damage or blockages. This includes checking the logs, the gas pressure valve, and the vent (if applicable). If the fireplace has not been cleaned in a while, cleaning the logs may help.
Important tip: any time that the inside of the fireplace system is opened, be sure to shut off the gas valve as a safety measure.
How to Fix These Problems
Luckily, there are ways to fix any issues with a gas fireplace that may be resulting in small flames.
For gas connection or pressure problems, contacting the gas company can be helpful to ensure that everything related to the fireplace’s fuel source is operating appropriately. Problems with gas pressure or connection are common if there are other appliances fueled by gas within the home.
If a vent is blocked, ensure that the opening to the outside of the vent is clear. Also, check to make sure that the vent opening leading to the logs inside the fireplace is set up and working correctly. If this piece is blocked or damaged, the air from the outside may not be flowing into the fireplace sufficiently.
Finally, cleaning the fireplace itself never hurts. How to clean a gas fireplace to ensure optimal operation will be explained in the next section.
How to Clean a Gas Fireplace
As previously mentioned, even though gas fireplaces that use artificial logs do not generate nearly as much residue as wood-burning fireplaces, particles can still build up over time.
Gas fireplaces can be cleaned adequately at home with a few basic supplies. Tools such as warm washcloths and any kind of duster can be used to clean a gas fireplace.
Before cleaning, turn off the gas valve (the gas pilot light should go off) and make sure that the logs are cooled. Then, take apart the fireplace, including the logs and the burner. Most gas fireplaces can be easily assembled and dismantled, but ensure that instructions of how to properly do this are handy, just in case.
Tools such as a duster or cloth can be used to get rid of any dust or lint that has built-up on or around these parts. If needed, a vacuum can be used to clean around the area of the logs inside. If the fireplace has glass, the glass can be wiped down with warm water or another glass cleaner.
Once the individual parts have been cleaned, put the fireplace back together and turn the gas valve back on. The pilot light should reactivate. In order to prevent operation issues in the future, a gas fireplace can be cleaned as often as once per month for optimal results.
Even though it can be frustrating, fixing problems that may be causing a small flame in a gas fireplace is possible. By checking for gas connection problems, blockages in any air vents, and giving it a deep-clean, the fireplace should return to proper working order and leave the room warm and comfortable once again.