Safety Tips For Operating Your Gas Heater
We fear fire almost as much as we revere it. We love the ability to cook, stay warm, and have romantic sessions in front of the hearth, but we also have a healthy awareness of its potentially destructive force. And – of course – all these emotions are embodied in the sexy fireman trope, the big burly man that can contain the flames while simultaneously representing their raw power. And all dressed in yellow too!
Pop culture aside, gas fires are considered the best option by many home owners. They’re fuel efficient, easy to light, low maintenance, clean burning, good for the environment, and versatile. Gas heaters are often fronted by a glass viewing pane, which prevents any ashes or sparks from spreading to the rest of the room, reducing fire hazards. They also have flue systems to avoid gas leaks and harmful emissions.
Try It On For Size
While gas fumes are kept under control by your flue, gas heaters do give off some scent, and this can be risky in a small room, so make sure the size you select is a good fit. Your supplier can advise you. It also helps to have the room well ventilated so that any gas that does slip out can easily dissipate. At the same time, you don’t want a gas heater that’s too small, since it will use up a lot of unnecessary fuel trying to heat up your massive space.
The flue pipes are arguably the most important part of your gas fireplace, so have them inspected every few months. It can be easy to overlook them, because they’re not like chimneys that need sweeping. You won’t notice any soot accumulation, and by the time you feel the effect of blocked flues, the damage will be done. Blockage will keep the fumes within the room and can cause respiratory issues, as well as fire damage if something sparks.
Location Location Location
Avoid gas heaters for the bedroom, because you’ll be asleep a long time and may not notice any leaks until it’s too late. At the same time, as much as your gas fire may have protective glass over it, keep it far from obviously flammable items like hanging draperies, curtains, bookshelves, or cat litter (especially if you use sawdust or wood shavings for your cats). It’s a good idea to mount in-builts high on the wall, away from kids and pets.
Also, if your heater has been out of use for a while, it will need a thorough clean. Daily maintenance is easy – just wipe the glass and handles. But if you haven’t used it for a month or more, bring out the soap and water. Use a soft brush and clean the filters, fans, and burners. Dry every item with a piece of cloth to ensure there are no liquid droplets that can mingle with the gas. If you notice your gas fireplace overheating, it may be a gunk blockage, so shut it off, cool it, and clean it.
Storage Matters Too
If your gas heater is portable, don’t leave it out in the open when it’s not in use, especially if you have pets and toddlers that could tip it over. Always store it in an upright position, preferably in a lockable shelf or room. It helps if you can find a model that has anti-tipping measures installed. Also, it can be tempting to use the top of your heater as a mantel, but this is never a good idea. Those items could easily become a fire hazard.
This may seem obvious, but keep accelerants away from your gas heater. That includes matches and lighters. Your reflex is to store all related items together, but it’s the quickest way to start a fire. Also, if your heater is an older model, it will need more attention and maintenance, so if you’re not ready to replace it yet, keep a close eye on it, noting strange sights, sounds, or smells and troubleshooting immediately.