This is why you still need to have your chimney cleaned & inspected
submitted by Matt Halper, American Chimney, www.americanchimney.net
Gas burning fireplaces are convenient and although they are relatively low maintenance when compared to wood burning ones, there are still several potential problems that can occur.
Buildup of Debris
Gas fireplaces can accumulate a buildup of debris. For example, ceramic logs can deteriorate and clog vents.
Additionally, if the exterior chimney has cracks in the crown or mortar joints that are in poor condition, moisture can enter the chimney system and cause the flue tiles to break off and fall into the hearth.
It is important to have the entire fireplace cleaned and ready for another year of use, including cleaning any residue from the glass doors, inside and out.
Over time, valves and connections can develop leaks. The thermopile and thermocouple could be worn and/or in need cleaning. The ceramic logs should be checked to ensure they are properly placed and in working condition.
Gas fireplaces are susceptible to explosions and sudden fires, if there are any leaks or malfunctions.
Even though a gas fireplace burns clean, meaning that no creosote or soot is deposited in your chimney, the structure still needs to be inspected annually. As mentioned above, moisture problems can cause the chimney to deteriorate and fail to function properly. Cracks, falling debris and nests can impair the ventilation system from working properly and potential expose your family to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Any type of open combustion system has the potential to cause house fires. Gas fireplaces should be treated with the same level of awareness and respect as wood-burning fireplaces, including being cleaned and inspected annually.