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What Certain Odors in Your Gas Fireplace Mean

There are certain areas or home components where odors sometimes signal problems, but sometimes are also just part of normal operations. A great example comes within the realm of gas fireplaces – while certain odors that may come from a gas fireplace are problematic and may signal a dangerous issue, others aren’t a big concern and are actually part of standard operations.

At Uintah Fireplace and Design, we’re happy to offer a wide range of linear gas fireplace design and installation services, plus help with basic upkeep and maintenance for any fireplace you buy from us. What are some examples of odors that are somewhat normal in a gas fireplace, versus those that are not normal and need to receive some attention? Here are some basics.

Burning Plastic

One odor type that may actually fall into both of these categories at certain times is that of burning plastic. Let’s dig in a bit further so you understand what we mean.

If you smell this odor after just turning your gas fireplace on for the first time in at least a month or two, this is actually entirely normal. This smell is actually due to the interior parts of the fireplace building up bits of dust, hair, pet dander and other particles, which then burn off when you turn your fireplace on. This is similar in many ways to what your furnace does when it’s first turned on for the season, and it’s not something to worry about.

However, burning plastic odors that last for an extended period of time or that appear intermittently could be a sign of a problem with your fireplace itself – the wires could be getting too hot, for example. If you smell this odor at any point, turn off your fireplace and call a professional.

Direct Vent and Burning Plastic

If your gas fireplace is of the direct vent variety, such burning plastic odors might be even more common – and are typically nothing to worry about. Such fireplaces often are barely or never used during the spring or summer, so then will have large deposits of dust and other particles that will burn off when you first use them.

The key here is to pay attention to whether the odors last for an extended period of time or if they dissipate after a few minutes. If the odor persists, it’s best to turn your fireplace off and contact a professional right away.

Gas Odor in a New Fireplace

Down similar lines, a gas odor that appears during the first few times a new gas fireplace is turned on typically isn’t anything to worry about either. This is due to residual gas left in the gas lines that was not properly vented, and this smell will often diminish quickly.

This also could be due to a few additional components, such as lubricants, paints and others. These may not smell exactly like gas, but will usually dissipate in a short period of time. If you smell the odors over several days, even after you’ve turned your fireplace off or it successfully lit up, then it’s best to call a professional.

Gas Odor in Older Fireplaces

Easily the most serious and worrisome gas odors come from older gas fireplaces. In such cases, the odors may be indicative of a serious problem with your fireplace – it could mean that there is an issue with the seals in the pipes or other components that allow gas to escape. Escaping gas is a significant hazard, one that needs to be taken very seriously and addressed as soon as possible.

There could also be problems with exhaust from your fireplace spilling back into your home, which can also cause a gas-like odor plus other issues. This creates a need to inspect the entire system, seal up any necessary pieces and make sure everything is working correctly.

If you smell a gas odor coming from your older fireplace, be sure to turn it off right away and refrain from using it further until a professional can inspect the unit. This is the best way to ensure your safety and that of your loved ones.

Gas fireplaces can create odors that range from completely normal to potentially dangerous, so it’s always important to pay attention to the type of odor you’re smelling as well as how often it appears or persists. If you have any doubts or difficulties, contact our team at Uintah Fireplace and Design, where we can help you with all your gas fireplace needs.

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