People worldwide enjoy using their fireplaces, especially curling up near them on a cold winter night. However, sometimes electric or gas fireplaces can emit foul odors, which is a smelly inconvenience and dangerous.
An electric fireplace smells like gas for several reasons. It could be due to an electrical overload, burning wires, an overloaded socket, or even the normal dust burning off. If you own a gas fireplace and you smell gas or rotten eggs, that could mean a possible leak in your gas line, and you should shut your fireplace off immediately and call an expert.
Throughout the rest of this article, I will detail all the reasons why both new and existing electric and gas fireplaces emit bad odors. Whether the cause is an electrical problem, normal wear and tear, or it’s something more serious like a leak in the gas line, smelling gas coming from your fireplace is something you should never ignore.
Why Does My Electric Fireplace Emit a Bad Odor?
Electric fireplaces can emit bad smells for any number of reasons. However, the first factor in determining your foul odor’s source is whether your fireplace has already been in use or if it is newly installed.
New Electric Fireplaces
If your electric fireplace has just been newly installed, there are a few reasons why it could be emitting a bad smell. When turned on for the first time, it’s very common to smell a metallic or chemical like scent; according to Foster Fuels, this is due to the chemicals or adhesives used to install the fireplace burning off. The other most common reason that new electric fireplaces smell is from a layer of dust or dander that can settle on the fireplace or in the components.
Existing Electric Fireplaces
Have you already had your fireplace for a while and have started to notice a bad smell or gas-like odor coming from it? If so, according to Thomas Hair, there are several reasons this could be occurring:
- Dust and dander are burning, but if the smell doesn’t go away, have your fireplace cleaned.
- Filthy Chimney: There is residue on your electrical insert, and your vent needs cleaning.
- Electrical Overload: NEVER use an extension cord!
- Too many wires are plugged in the socket, which could blow a fuse.
- The wires or components inside are too hot, and the insulation around the wires is burning off, creating a plastic or chemical smell.
Here is a YouTube video from Foster Fuels on some reasons your fireplace smells bad:
Why Does My Gas Fireplace Smell Bad?
Gas Fireplaces can also emit bad odors; however, depending on the smell, it could be a common issue that can be easily fixed or cause concern. Like with the electric fireplaces, the source of the bad smell can be from different causes depending on whether the fireplace was newly installed or used for a while.
New Gas Fireplaces
If you have just bought a new gas fireplace and had it installed, there are a few different reasons it could be smelling bad. UGIEnergy suggests burning your logs for about 3-4 hours to burn off any factory chemicals, adhesive, or paint smell that occurs due to the logs being new. You should then let the logs cool off completely before the next time you use the fireplace. You could also be smelling bad odors due to some other reasons:
- Any new furniture in your house that could be outgassing.
- Any new decorative items close to your fireplace that could be getting too hot and letting off odors.
- Pet dander or dust that could have gotten inside during installation.
Existing Gas Fireplaces
If your fireplace has been in use for a long time and has a bad smell, it could be due to the simple reason of everyday dust burning off. This is normal and should go away on its own. If the dusty smell persists, you should call an expert for an inspection. However, if your gas fireplace is emitting a gas smell similar to rotten eggs or sulfur, you could potentially have a gas leak. This can be very dangerous and should not be ignored.
What Should I Do if I Smell Rotten Eggs/Gas?
Natural gas and propane are odorless. Gas companies add in a rotten egg or sulfur odor so that if there is a gas leak, it has a noticeable smell. If you smell gas, it could mean that your tank is almost empty or you have a gas leak. Shipley Energy has a step by step list of the actions you should take if you smell gas and think you have a possible gas leak:
- Turn off the gas at the source.
- Do not make any flames or sparks.
- Open any windows and then leave the house.
- Contact authorities to report the leak and have your system checked.
- Don’t return until it’s safe and the leak has been repaired.
What Can I Do to Help Prevent Bad Smells in My Fireplace?
If your electric or gas fireplace is giving off a bad smell, there are a few steps you can take and products you can use to help with this issue. Of course, the first recommendation is to regularly have your fireplace inspected and serviced if necessary. This will help greatly with preventative maintenance. If a bad smell persists, don’t worry. There are ways to get around it.
Cleaning Your Fireplace
Though you should leave any major cleaning or vent cleaning to the professionals, there are several good products you can use to clean the glass on the front of your fireplace or fireplace insert. Several fireplace cleaners and glass cleaners choose from; however, Amazon recommends UCI Imperial Gas Fireplace Cleaner. It will help seal and protect your glass and remove any debris buildup from using your fireplace.
Monitoring Air Quality and Air Purifiers
If you are very concerned about the quality of the air in your house because of your gas or electric fireplace, don’t despair, there are plenty of options to make sure your air stays clean. The best selling air quality monitor on Amazon is called the BIAOLING Air Quality Monitor, and it has easy to see numbers, a crystal LCD, and will tell you if your air is unsafe.
If the bad smell coming from your electric or gas fireplace persists, and there is nothing mechanically wrong with your fireplace, one thing to consider would be purchasing an air purifier to help scrub all those bad smells out of the air in your house. Amazon has several different options that will fit your budget. I found a cheaper version and a more expensive version:
- The less expensive version is the PARTU Hepa Air Purifier. It has a three-stage filtration system, a lock system to prevent kids or pets from changing the settings, and a fragrance sponge for your favorite scented oil!
- The slightly more expensive product is the Vremi Hepa Air Purifier. It’s also got a three-stage filtration system, but it’s more suited for large rooms, with an activated carbon filter that will last about 180 days. It also has an air quality sensor on it that will let you know the air quality level in your house.
If your fireplace smells like gas, it isn’t caused for immediate panic. If your fireplace is new, the smell is most likely just the chemicals and dust from installation burning off. If the smell persists, you should call an expert to inspect your fireplace. If you have an existing fireplace and you smell burning, check to make sure that there isn’t an electrical overload. However, if you smell gas/rotten eggs, turn your fireplace off immediately and call an expert to make sure you don’t have a gas leak, which can be extremely dangerous. If you follow these guidelines and make sure to have annual inspections, cleanings, and service calls, you should be able to safely enjoy your fireplace for years to come!