Gas fireplace question/concern

qbert4578's picture

So, I have a gas fireplace that has a pilot light, no real wood, but flames... I don't think it's move-able, so I guess the gas is connected directly into the fireplace somewhere... ??

My question/concern is this: I don't use it very often, but I thought I would try it out this year (the 4th year I've had it). Every time I turn it on, my smoke detector goes off. I don't know if it's just a smoke detector or a combo-one that might also detect Carbon Monoxide and/or gas (or is that carbon monoxide?). I tried it a few times and within minutes, the "alarm" goes off.

Any ideas? Should I call the gas company? Could there be a gas leak? Should I try and call the fireplace manufacturer?


Nunzio's picture

Qbert, I sincerely doubt

Qbert, I sincerely doubt your gas fireplace is moveable, so please don't try. I did that with a gas dryer once and it wasn't pretty.

You could have a carbon monoxide problem if the alarm goes off after you turn on the fireplace, so please do not turn it on until you get this figured out. You're too valuable a neighbor.

Even if you had PGW's Parts and Labor Plan, I don't think gas fireplaces are covered. You could try calling, though.

I think your best bet is to contact a plumber. Danny Hazley of Can-Do Mechanical is a good guy, as evidenced by his graduation from North Catholic in 1983, his membership in the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and his service in Operation Iraqi Freedom. With all this, you can't go wrong. He advertises in the Spirit. He ran a promotion of free carbon monoxide checks in December, so I'm sure he has the equipment. His number is 215-338-2411. Give him a call and ask if he can handle something like this.

biggeo's picture

i have a gas fireplace it

i have a gas fireplace it heats the house up fast and the heat does rise to the upper floors quickly if you go upstairs and come down the stairs you will feel the difference in temperature,i did hear that ventless gas fireplaces do kind of burn up the oxygen in the air faster , but i have run mine for a couple hours when we were low on oil with no problems

codergrrl's picture

My smoke alarm goes off

My smoke alarm goes off everytime I put the oven on.
Its due to its location, (and probably the fact that I need to clean the oven).
It may be nothing at all, but its always better to be safe than sorry.

jmminarik's picture

I thought the proper

I thought the proper solution was to remove the batteries from the smoke detector. Just like when the car starts making a screeching noise you turn up the radio. Learn something new everyday. :-)

yeah yeah's picture

"ventless Fireplaces"

"ventless Fireplaces" Actually need some make up air. But unless you live in a new home, your old home will have enough leaks to allow air in.

They do produce CO2, but so does your stove (if it's gas). They are not really complex either. They either light or they don't. So if it lights and runs, no need to call PGW, you would smell the gas leak before you turned it on anyway. More than likely, your CO2 detector is in a pocket collecting what is omitted before it can dissipate. Move the detector first.

These are great products btw. 100% efficient, no waste, heat is direct and instant and can heat your whole home.

Larry99's picture

Is there a burning odor or

Is there a burning odor or anything when you turn it on? If so, my guess is because you never use it, there's alot of dust and residue on the surface of the burner and other parts that get hot when it's turned on, kinda like when you turn your heat for the first time in the fall. This little bit of residue is probably burning up and setting off your smoke alarm.

I would turn it on and let it run for awhile (of course you'll have to disable the smoke detector first) to let it dissipate. Keep an eye on it and make sure it's OK. After it's been on for awhile and there is no odor, re-engage your smoke detector and see what happens.

susan's picture

Do a little PM. I clean my

Do a little PM.

I clean my ventless gas fireplace in the Fall and again mid-Winter. It gets very dusty. When it's dusty it doesn't work correctly. They say to dust the logs with a clean paint brush- but I just vacuum everything. I'd be nervous about the alarm. I might call the manufacturer or check their website for tips then call a fireplace technician if the cleaning didn't stop the alarm.
This one is specific to cleaning and maintenance.

Turn off the pilot. Vacuum the element and the inside/bottom where the controls are located. Make sure the little holes in the element are free of debris. The logs are supposed to be placed in a certain way. Take note of their proper placement before you move stuff around. This is a big deal/ very important.

You could always call a fireplace technician and watch them trouble shoot and do routine preventative maintenance and learn from them. I'm not sure if a plumber is your best bet.

Yes the gas is connected directly to the fireplace. Somewhere in the bottom of the unit or in the cellar there should be a shut off valve connecting the gas line to the fireplace with a compression fitting . My bet is if the alarm is only when the fireplace is running then the issue is after the connection from the gas line. I vacuum the heck out of mine and it has always worked well afterwards. I love it.

2014 susquehanna's picture

Smoke detectors not only

Smoke detectors not only detect smoke but they can go off with sudden changes in temp. My guess is that the sudden burst of heat, rising to the cieling, is setting off the alarm. Same thing happens to me when I open my oven.