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.

The Crucial Role of Chimney Cleaning: Ensuring Safety and Efficiency

The Crucial Role of Chimney Cleaning: Ensuring Safety and Efficiency

The cozy warmth of a crackling fire in the fireplace is the ultimate comfort during colder months. However, there is a critical aspect of maintaining a safe and efficient wood burning fireplace or stove – chimney cleaning. Often overlooked, chimney cleaning plays a pivotal role in ensuring not only the safety of your household but also the efficiency and longevity of your hearth appliance. In this blog post, you’ll learn why regular chimney cleaning should be a top priority for every homeowner.

1. Preventing Fire Hazards

One of the most compelling reasons to prioritize chimney cleaning is the prevention of fire hazards. As you enjoy your wood burning fireplace, stove (or pellet stove) creosote – a highly flammable substance – accumulates on the interior walls of your chimney. Creosote is a byproduct of burning solid fuel like wood or pellets, and over time, it can build up and create a thick layer that increases the risk of chimney fires. These fires can be extremely dangerous, potentially leading to the spread of fire throughout your home. Regular chimney cleaning removes this hazardous buildup, significantly reducing the likelihood of a damaging chimney fire.

2. Ensuring Proper Ventilation

A clean chimney ensures proper ventilation for your hearth appliances. When a chimney becomes clogged with creosote, debris or animal nests, it can obstruct the flow of exhaust gases. This obstruction can cause harmful gases, like carbon monoxide, to be forced back into your living space rather than being safely vented outdoors. Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless and highly toxic, making it a silent but deadly threat. Regular chimney cleaning ensures these gases are properly vented and maintains your home’s indoor air quality.

3. Maximizing Heating Efficiency

A clean chimney also contributes to an efficiently burning fireplace. When a chimney is obstructed, the draft necessary for proper combustion and heat transfer is compromised. This can lead to inefficient burning, decreased heat output, and an overall wastage of energy. By keeping your chimney clean, your hearth appliance can work at its optimal efficiency, saving you money on energy bills and the environment from unnecessary resource consumption.

4. Extending Appliance Lifespan

Chimney cleaning goes beyond immediate safety concerns; it also impacts the lifespan of your heating appliances. A buildup of creosote and other debris can accelerate the deterioration of your chimney’s lining, as well as the interior components of your fireplace. Over time, this can lead to premature wear-and-tear and costly repairs. Regular maintenance, including chimney cleaning, helps keep your fireplace in good working order for many years to come.

5. Professional Expertise

Look for a WETT-certified expert who will have the knowledge, tools, and experience to thoroughly clean and inspect your chimney, identifying any potential issues that require attention. A professional chimney sweep can provide you with peace of mind, knowing your chimney is in capable hands and your home’s safety is a top priority.

Do not overlook the importance of chimney cleaning! The safety, efficiency, and longevity benefits it provides are undeniable. By investing in professional chimney cleaning, you are not only safeguarding your home, but also contributing to a more sustainable and energy-efficient living environment. 

Find a service company specializing in hearth appliances near you at www.members.hpbacanada.org/find-a-member or visit wettinc.ca.

Is It Time For A New Fireplace?

Is It Time For A New Fireplace?

It’s that time of year – the days are getting shorter and the nights cooler, which means we can start enjoying our hearth appliances. If you haven’t yet performed the yearly maintenance that ensures your unit is in good working order, please read our article on preparing for the season.

For some, it might be time to consider replacing their old unit with a newer, more efficient model. The best way to determine the age your appliance is to contact the manufacturer of the product. You’ll need to provide the full model and serial numbers directly to the company in order to obtain this information.

Model and serial numbers are key to finding information, getting service and ordering parts for your hearth product. These numbers can be found on the ‘rating plate’, a metal plate that’s usually permanently affixed to the fireplace, insert or stove. Access to the plate may require the removal of some parts and accessories.


Woodburning Appliances

On factory-built wood-burning fireplaces, these numbers will be on a metal plate which can be located in a variety of places, depending on your product:

  • Inside the bottom of the fireplace behind the bottom louver or faceplate (the bottom louver or faceplate will need to be opened or removed)
  • The bottom front of the stove, under the ash-lip (the fan will need to be removed first),
  • The upper left side or right side of the firebox
  • Riveted on the smoke shield behind the screen

Gas Appliances

On gas appliances and inserts, the serial/model/rating plate should be in one of the following:

  • The lower cavity controls area
  • The control compartment area (the decorative front and vanity panel may need to be removed)
  • Below and behind the fireplace’s lower louver
  • Attached to a gas line or stamped on the floor of the insert

A wood burning fireplace will need to be replaced when critical parts deteriorate and replacements become unavailable. Parts are usually available for a minimum of 7 to 10 years after the fireplace has been manufactured.

Repairs are possible with available replacement parts but some issues are not repairable and require that the homeowner replace the fireplace. This would include deterioration of the firebox or heat exchangers. These are most commonly due to lack of regular maintenance or general misuse by the operator.

Gas burning units are less prone to such failures because they are generally not used for long periods of time. Since these types of fireplaces are often used for decorative applications or zone heating, the length of time in which they are used in a season can be significantly less when compared to other products, resulting in a potentially longer life cycle.

We recommend you call a professional WETT-certified chimney sweep to clean and service your wood appliance. For gas appliances we recommend using a gas fitter for cleaning and service.


You can find specialty hearth retailers and service experts by visiting hpbacanada.org/find-a-member/retailers-and-service.

A Little Seasoning Goes a Long Way

A Little Seasoning Goes a Long Way

July might seem early to be talking about wood supply, but its actually about two or three months late, depending on when you first fire up the woodstove in the fall. The importance of properly seasoned fuel for your woodburning appliance can’t be overstated. Wet wood burns poorly and inefficiently, causes excessive smoke and doesn’t provide as much heat as properly seasoned wood.

The ideal moisture content for firewood is between 15 and 20%. Inexpensive moisture meters are available to test your wood but if you don’t have one, here are some signs that your wood is too wet, compliments of woodheat.org:

  • Difficulty getting a fire going and keeping it going
  • Smoky fire with little flame
  • Dirty glass
  • Rapid creosote buildup in the chimney
  • Low heat output
  • The smell of smoke in the house
  • Short burn times
  • Excessive fuel consumption
  • Blue-gray smoke from the chimney.

If you’ve invested in a modern, EPA-certified wood burning appliance it will perform best if you only burn seasoned, dry wood. Even older model appliances burn more efficiently and cleaner with proper wood fuel.

Properly splitting and stacking your wood supply right away will also help to minimize mould growth.


Important Steps

  1. Cut, split and stack your wood in early spring to be ready for fall.
  2. Cut the wood to the right length for your appliance – about 3” shorter than the width or length of your firebox (depending on how you like to load the wood).
  3. Split the wood before stacking – in log form, moisture is held in by the bark, so split your wood before you stack it. A variety of sizes is best, from 3” to 6” at the widest cross section, so you have smaller pieces for lighting the fire.
  4. Pile in a single row exposed to the sun and wind to allow for proper drying.
  5. Dry the wood for at least 6 months. Most wood will dry well within this time frame, with the exception of dense woods such as oak, which require up to a year to dry. In damper climates, such as the Maritimes, it may also take longer to dry your wood supply.

You can also loosely cover your wood to keep the rain off, but it isn’t necessary.


For more details on proper seasoning and storage of wood, visit woodheat.org.

For building plans for a simple wood storage shed, visit the US EPA’s Burn Wise website.

How To Plan A Fireside Date At Home

How To Plan A Fireside Date At Home

This Valentine’s Day looks a little different for most of us due to the ongoing pandemic, but it doesn’t mean we can’t bring romance and date nights home. With the significant changes in the way we spend our time, it’s essential to make your date night at home feel just as exciting as if you were spending the evening out. The best part? You can come as you are, no dress code required.

Planning a successful fireside date night at home takes a few elements and a little creativity. The following five essential components are the perfect combination for the most romantic date. 



Food is one of the best parts of any evening, and that is especially true when it comes to date nights, as food can be an activity or provide an opportunity to try something new. Cooking together can be a great date night idea, no matter what you choose to cook. If you’re not interested in lifting a finger, this could be a great time to explore local restaurants that deliver directly to your front door. That way, you can be adventurous with new cuisine without having to leave the comfort of your couch.



The drinks or beverages you choose may seem like an insignificant detail but making sure to have options available can make your date night feel like an extra-luxurious occasion. Consider offering multiple drinks throughout the date, such as water to start, a cocktail or a glass of wine as you head into dinner, and finishing off the evening with a nightcap.  



The ambience in your home is a big part of the evening as it will truly help set the mood. Lighting the fireplace adds instant romance to your room, whether you have a wood, electric or gas fireplace. If you find yourself without a real fireplace in your home, you can create that ambience by turning on a fireplace video. No matter how you accomplish that fireside feeling, this little touch makes a huge difference, and also works well if you happen to be planning a fireside picnic in the living room for your date.



Keeping your home feeling warm and comfortable is a significant part of a successful date night, especially as you’ll most likely be spending the entire evening in one room. So set your home’s temperature or fireplace to a suitable level; if you’ve decided to get dressed up, you’ll want to feel comfortable without a jacket or a sweater. As the evening starts to wind down, consider setting out a few cozy blankets for extra comfort and warmth.



The evening’s entertainment portion is where you can get creative and have fun with your plans for the night. Do you prefer a quiet activity or something with a bit of excitement? Whether you plan to cook a meal for two together in the kitchen or a night of charcuterie and board games, choose something that both parties will love and enjoy. 


Now that you’ve gathered everything for your romantic fireside date night, all that’s left to do is pick the time. Consider sending your partner or spouse an invitation a few days ahead so they’ll know to reserve their spot on the couch. All of these little details can make up the perfect night at home and the ideal way to spend February 14th, or any day, with someone you love.

Working from the Warmth of Home

Working from the Warmth of Home

Picture this: It’s mid afternoon on a cool October weekday, and you are about to log on to your fourth virtual meeting of the day. Most of the other callers will be in front of a bland background. Maybe a wall, or a bookshelf if they decide to get fancy. There may be one or two people on the call who are both adventurous and tech-savvy enough to use a virtual background: a sandy beach, their favourite golf course, or a luxurious office space that doesn’t really exist. And then there is you. You’re poised with the comfort and ambiance of a real fireplace just over your shoulder. Congratulations. You have won the meeting, and it hasn’t even started yet!

With the COVID-19 pandemic transforming how and where Canadians work, it’s no surprise that sales of home improvement and outdoor entertainment goods have been strong this summer.

“You’re looking at about $3.5 billion in sales in the month of June — that’s the latest figure from StatsCan. Not only higher than it was in May but it’s actually higher than it was in June last year — so you’ve actually seen growth over the comparable month pre-COVID,” said Karl Littler, Senior Vice-President of Public Affairs for the Retail Council of Canada.

Whether investing to take your home office to the next level, up the cozy-level in a bedroom, or adding new style and animation to a living space that may be seeing more living than usual for the foreseeable future, a fireplace adds warmth, elegance, and comfort to your home like nothing else.

If you haven’t explored what is available in the fireplace market recently, you will be pleasantly surprised at the flexibility of styles, sizes and fuel types now available, which provide nearly infinite options for location, design, and functionality within a home:

Fuel Options

  • Natural Gas remains a great option for beauty, warmth and convenience
  • Of course, some will opt for the traditional authenticity and comfort of a woodburning appliance
  • Ethanol or Alcohol Gel models offer the beauty of real flame with no smoke or smell, do not require any chimney or venting, and as a result can be installed virtually anywhere.
  • Electric fireplaces offer an alternative to real flame, which will appeal to some for safety, convenience, or design purposes

Heating vs. Decorative

You may also be surprised to know that not all fireplaces are designed to heat the space around them. Ethanol and alcohol gel models generally produce little heat, and Natural Gas, Electric, and even woodburning appliances can also be configured with little heat output for those seeking the aesthetic benefits of the appliance over heating functionality.


To discuss trends and design options, HPBA Canada spoke with Adriana Mot, Principal of Toronto-based Dochia Interior Design since 2000. Both an architect and interior designer by training, Adriana has a unique perspective on the fireplace as a key design feature: “A fireplace can be a mix of art and architecture, and a feature element in any space”.

Adriana has identified the trends she has experienced with her most recent hearth projects:

  • Open flame, when safely available, is very much in, both indoors and outdoors. Outdoors, the feature can be a place to gather together. Indoors, it’s just something cool.
  • Simple and sleek linear fireplaces always remain popular.
  • Two sided fireplaces are popular, and can positively change the relationship between two rooms, such as tying a working space into a more family oriented space.
  • Three sided fireplaces are an elegant way to divide an otherwise open space.
  • Many clients are looking for ambiance and visual presence over heat production.

On the topic of working from home, Adriana notes “the office or work space is traditionally somewhere private and quiet, so adding the animation of a fireplace to the space where you will be working can make it feel less isolated and more comfortable while maintaining the necessary privacy.

Adriana has worked with beautiful appliances from a number of HPBA Canada member companies, referencing Canadian companies Montigo and Napoleon, as part of her more recent work, and has regular contact with many of the industry’s manufacturers to keep abreast of the latest developments in innovation and design.

Adriana Mot, Principal
Dochia Interior Design

If you are considering home updates in the near future, consider the beauty and animation of a feature fireplace.