A Comprehensive Guide to Gas Fireplace Maintenance

A Comprehensive Guide to Gas Fireplace Maintenance

Gas fireplaces provide warmth, comfort, and ambiance to homes, making them a popular choice among homeowners. To ensure your gas fireplace continues to operate efficiently and safely, regular maintenance is essential. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps required to keep your gas fireplace in top-notch condition.

1. Safety First

Before you begin any maintenance, ensure your gas fireplace is turned off and cool, and the gas supply is shut off at the main valve. Safety should always be your top priority.

2. Cleaning the Exterior

Start by cleaning the exterior of your gas fireplace. Dust and debris can accumulate on the surface, affecting its appearance. Use a soft cloth or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove dirt and dust. For stubborn stains, use a mild, non-abrasive cleaner.

3. Inspect the Glass Front

The glass front of your gas fireplace can become cloudy or develop deposits over time. To clean it, follow these steps:

  • Ensure the fireplace is cool.
  • Remove the glass front according to your manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Clean the glass with a gas fireplace glass cleaner, ceramic cooktop cleaner, or a mixture of vinegar and water.
  • Dry the glass thoroughly before reinstalling it.

4. Check the Burner and Ignition System

The burner and ignition system are crucial components of your gas fireplace. Here’s how to inspect and maintain them:

  • Remove the logs or artificial embers to access the burner.
  • Clean the burner and pilot assembly using a soft brush or compressed air to remove dust and debris.
  • Inspect the ignition system for signs of wear or damage. Contact a professional technician to have worn-out components replaced.

5. Examine the Venting System

A well-maintained venting system is essential for the safe operation of your gas fireplace. Check for obstructions or debris in the vent pipe, and make sure it’s properly sealed. If fireplace is direct vented through the wall, inspect the outside sidewall terminal and ensure it’s clear of debris or overgrown shrubbery.

6. Clean the Firebox and Logs

The interior of your gas fireplace can accumulate soot and debris over time. Here’s how to clean it:

  • Turn off the gas supply and allow the fireplace to cool completely.
  • Remove the logs or artificial embers.
  • Use a soft brush or vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove soot and debris from the firebox.
  • Clean the logs or embers with a soft brush or a damp cloth.

7. Inspect the Gas Lines and Connections

Visually inspect the gas lines and connections for any signs of damage or leaks. If you suspect a leak or find damaged components, contact a professional technician immediately.

8. Replace Batteries

If your gas fireplace has a battery-operated remote control or ignition system, replace the batteries with quality alkaline batteries annually. This ensures that your fireplace functions smoothly.

9. Annual Professional Inspection

While regular maintenance is crucial, it’s also essential to have a professional technician inspect your gas fireplace annually. They can identify and address potential issues that may not be visible during routine maintenance.

By following the steps outlined in this guide and scheduling an annual professional inspection, you can enjoy the warmth and comfort of your gas fireplace for years to come. Remember that safety should always be your top priority, and if you’re ever unsure about any aspect of maintenance, consult a qualified technician. Find a service company specializing in fireplaces near you at www.members.hpbacanada.org/find-a-member.

How to Properly Clean Your Barbecue

How to Properly Clean Your Barbecue

Generally, people clean their barbecue every season. Cleaning your grill is critical because you cook your food on it and, more importantly, it can catch fire if it’s not properly cared for. A fire can start at the bottom of the unit, where the grease collects, and the resulting intense heat can be problematic. Additionally, marinades, spices, salt and/or grease can slowly start to eat away at the stainless steel or metal of the unit. Maintenance is therefore necessary, especially if you are unsure of the quality of the stainless steel.

The first thing you should do when you’re about to clean your barbecue is to move your appliance onto grass or rocks. You don’t want to damage your patio, your flagstone or your favorite slab of concrete, because grill cleaning products are quite powerful. Set yourself up somewhere with no direct sunlight, especially if your BBQ has a baked coating or stainless steel parts, because some products can stain; if it’s sunny where you set up, make sure to leave the product on for less time.

If your barbecue has a propane tank, remove it. Completely “close” the tank, pull it out and unscrew the regulator. Then, to make sure you are working safely, burn off the remaining gas in your barbecue. If you see a flame emerge, let it “burn” until it goes out completely. Watch the flame carefully because if it’s uneven or of a different color (blue on one side and yellow on the other, for example), you may need to unclog or replace the burners.

Next, remove the grates, heat deflectors and grease pan (after quickly cleaning them) from your barbecue to access the bottom of your unit. Fill half a large bucket with hot water and soak your grates, deflectors and pan. When the water starts to turn brown, empty out the bucket and fill it with clean hot water. Pour about half a bottle of grill degreaser into the water and let the product do its job for about 4 to 5 minutes. If necessary, scrub the parts in the water to help the product work even better. When the time is up, be sure to rinse everything thoroughly.

Grill degreasers are very effective. Grease stains on your barbecue’s surfaces will disappear and your unit will look brand new. Be careful not to inhale the product or get it on your skin; it’s important to use gloves when handling it.

While the grates, heat deflectors and grease pan are soaking, use a grate scraper to thoroughly scrape off all the chunks and grease stuck to your barbecue’s fire box and burners, scraping your grates and heat deflectors first. Dirt on the surface should dissolve in a matter of seconds. When it comes to cleaning the fire box, Max recommends working with plastic or composite tools.

To really get your burners clean, use an angled grid cleaning brush to remove any small bits (whether fat or carbon) which have built up and clogged the holes. This type of brush also does a great job of cleaning the sides of the burners and the channels, which carry gas from one burner to another. If you’d like to unclog each hole in your burners, use a port hole cleaner, which is designed for this purpose.

If your burners are still clogged at this point, remove them from your barbecue and clean them with a venturi brush, which reaches deep inside your tube burners (or venturi tubes), either if your burners are staggered or set in a straight line.

Once your barbecue is clean, spray it with a grill cleaner or degreaser. Brown/orange liquid may drip from the barbecue, which is normal as it is removing grease from the unit’s surface. If your barbecue changes color a little after applying degreaser, don’t worry. That’s normal too.

Max recommends using degreaser on all parts of the barbecue – the burners, heat deflectors, grates, shelves, tank, handles, knobs, the cart and on the inside of the lid – but feels you can spare your regulator. Allow the product to work slowly for 4 to 5 minutes, then rinse everything well afterwards – you can even use a pressure hose, or scrub with a brush while rinsing – until you no longer see any little bubbles in the water.

Once everything is well rinsed, put on your sunglasses and use a barbecue polish or shine restorer to wipe down all the parts/surfaces of your unit. Blemishes, fingerprints and anything unattractive will disappear, and your barbecue will look like it came straight from the store!

After cleaning your grill, if you suspect that one or more of its parts is defective or causing problems, do not hesitate to contact your local specialty retailer.

Find a specialty retailer near you at www.hpbacanada.org/retail-service-providers.

Happy cleaning and happy grilling!

Max Lavoie
House of BBQ Experts

HPBAC Announces Mike McNeice as Director of Public Affairs

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada (HPBAC) is pleased to announce that Mike McNeice has joined our association as Director of Public Affairs. McNeice officially began work on Thursday, April 13, 2023. “Mike is a welcome addition to our team.” said Laura Litchfield, President. “He brings a wealth of experience from the organizations he’s worked with in the past that will be of great benefit to our association.”

McNeice has spent over ten years in public affairs in a variety of roles. Most recently, he worked with the Ontario Real Estate Association as their Senior Manager of Government Relations and Advocacy. He has extensive experience in stakeholder relations and strategy development.

“I’m excited to be part of this great organization,” said McNeice. “I look forward to building strategic partnerships and continuing to build on HPBAC’s incredible work, which has already contributed so much to the advancement of this industry.”

Mike can be reached at mike@hpbacanada.org.

 

Contact:

Meghan O’Reilly
Public Affairs Manager
Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada
647-701-9174
meghan@hpbacanada.org

What’s the Best Grill for You?

What’s the Best Grill for You?

May is National Barbecue month in Canada, the perfect time for grillers to visit their local specialty retailer to stock up on accessories and patio supplies, and to check out the latest in new grills.

While many of us grill all year long, it can become our primary way of cooking during the warmer months. Whether you’re replacing an old grill or looking to try something new, making the right choice will give you years of enjoyment in your backyard and at the table.

With many types of grills in all forms, sizes, and prices adorning a retailer’s showroom floor, which is the right one for you? Here’s a quick guide.

  1. Gas: For people who want convenience. Just like your kitchen stove, it can be ready to cook in 10 minutes, and it’s easy to regulate cooking temps.
  2. Charcoal: For those who love being hands-on with the nuances of outdoor grilling. Some say charcoal provides the best flavour experience. Good for low and slow cooking AND high heat searing.
  3. Pellet: For people who want the most flavour. Wood pellet grills are among the most energy efficient and burn clean. With pellets coming in hickory, mesquite, and oak varieties, you, your friends, and your family can enjoy a truly flavourful cooking experience.
  4. Electric: For people who love simplicity. Electric grills are designed to produce constant heat and operate without an open flame. Ideal for apartment or condo dwellers since they don’t require charcoal or propane.
  5. Kamado: For people who love cooking of all styles and seasons. Kamado Grills’ excellent insulation is ideal for both grilling and smoking. They can use wood and charcoal and are ideal for roasting and baking.

Happy grilling!

 

Click here to find a specialty retailer near you.

Comox Valley Residents Support Wood Burning

Comox Valley Residents Support Wood Burning

Survey Reveals that Residents Want Alternatives to Bylaws Restricting Wood Stoves

(COURTENAY) – Residents of the Comox Valley recently responded to a survey (conducted by Leger) regarding opinions towards wood burning. 300 local respondents aged 18 and older participated in the telephone survey, which took place from September 23 to 29, 2022.

Results reveal a clear mismatch between the Comox Valley Regional District’s (CVRD) current policy direction and local public opinion. Among residents, there is strong agreement (92%) that people should be able to upgrade their old inefficient heating systems with a newer, cleaner burning system of their choice. Furthermore, 79% agreed that this choice should be left up to residents, not local government.

Residents also indicated how bylaws restricting wood stove installation will influence their vote during the upcoming election. Generally, residents are more likely to oppose these bylaws (31%) than support them (20%), and after learning about the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada’s (HPBAC) Three Pillar Plan for addressing regional air quality, over half (56%) of residents said they were likely to vote for a municipal candidate who supports the HPBAC solution.

As an alternative solution to addressing air quality in the Comox Valley, HPBAC presented the Three Pillar Plan to local government in 2021. The plan proposes a comprehensive public education program on better burning practices, along with a targeted wood stove exchange program, and a dry and seasoned wood lot to make proper fuel more accessible. Collectively, these activities will translate into cleaner burning and improved air quality throughout the community.

“This reaffirms what the community wants,” said Jeff Loder, Director of Public Affairs for HPBAC. “When you compare these findings with the current discourse around wood burning, public opinion just doesn’t line up with what we’ve seen from the CVRD.”

The survey showed that just over one-quarter of Comox Valley residents use wood burning for at least some of their home heating. When asked about the practicality of electric heating, only 30% of residents believe it’s feasible for everyone in the region to switch to 100% electric heating.

“Residents of the Valley rely on their wood stoves, and these results support that,” said Jamie Payne, Owner & Operator of Norse Heating in Comox. “We face frequent power outages and other available heating options are often too expensive, so it’s not hard to understand why wood stoves are a necessity for so many people.”

Results also showed that public awareness of bylaws limiting the installation of wood stoves has increased over the last year. “The results illustrate that public consultation was insufficient, and the people are looking for a better way forward” said Tomi Wittwer, Owner & Operator of Comox Fireplace and Patio.

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada is the national not-for-profit industry association that represents businesses which produce, sell, or service appliances and accessories in the hearth and barbecue industries in Canada.

For more information on HPBAC’s Three Pillar Plan, visit: www.saveourwoodstoves.ca/wpcontent/uploads/2022/08/New-TPP-Presentation.pdf 

To learn more about the Comox Valley bylaws that restrict the installation of wood stoves, visit: www.saveourwoodstoves.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/HPBA_11536_Bylaw_Info_Sheet.pdf

Open Letter to BC’s Premier

Dear Premier,

Imagine the following scenario.

You are a hardworking resident of BC, earning your livelihood by manufacturing, distributing, and selling fireplaces and woodstoves. You are one of the 3,000 people directly employed in the industry in BC, and part of a larger group of upwards of 7,000 residents whose livelihood is derived from the sector.

You and your colleagues across the 60 Small and Medium Businesses in BC are working relentlessly to adapt and adjust to the challenges created by inflation, supply chain issues, and increased raw material costs. Specifically, you have iden­tified and communicated to government how shortages in electronic components are negatively impacting industry, and have asked for collaboration opportunities to mitigate the impact.

In this context, you were then informed by a public Ministry of Finance notice released near the end of February that an additional 5% sales tax on fireplaces will be imposed starting April 1st. You quickly realize the decision was made without consulting you, your colleagues, or any of the 3,000 people working in the industry.

From conception to implementation, all evidence points to a policy process lacking in transparency and due diligence. On top of no consultation during the policy development stage, which you would have willingly been a part of, industry was not given one phone call, email, or heads-up of any type. You were not given a single opportunity to provide input on a decision that directly impacts a vital BC industry, or even consulted on the implementation which itself is problematic and costly for BC’s Small and Medium Businesses.

Now ask yourself if this meets your responsibility to foster respectful, inclusive, and transparent public policy development. Was this policy process built on the principles of procedural fairness, proper notice, and amenability to discussion; so that even when a decision negatively impacts an industry there is time to consider how to mitigate these impacts?

Respectfully, the BC Hearth Industry