DIY Gas Fireplace Safety Tests

gas fireplace safety tests homeowners can do

Do-It-Yourself Gas Fireplace Safety Tests

Before you turn on your gas fireplace for the first fire of the season, have it serviced by a certified chimney sweep or other gas product professional certified to work with gas fireplaces.  You will need a professional who knows the relevant regulations of your local jurisdiction.

There are some inspections, however, that homeowners can do themselves.  If your gas fireplace fails any of these Gas Fireplace Safety Tests, you will want to have it serviced immediately.

Test 1:    With the unit off, wipe a white tissue along the entire length of the front log.

fail Fail:  The tissue is dark gray or black.

Problem:  Either the ceramic logs are improperly positioned or the logs’ burner ports are clogged.

Test 2:  With the unit off, visually inspect the interior of the glass

failFail:  White film on the glass.   You can remedy this yourself with a good cleaning.

Problem:  If the white film builds up, it can be difficult to impossible to clean off.


Test 3:   With the unit off, wipe the inside of the fireplace glass with a white tissue.

failFail:  A black, ashy substance comes off the glass.

Problem:  Either the ceramic logs are improperly positioned or the logs’ burner ports are clogged.

Test 4: Inspect the glass for irregularities.

failFail:  Cracks or chips can indicate the glass should be replaced.

Problem:  Imperfections in the glass can cause it to explode when heated.

Test 5:  With the unit off, check the glass for tightness of fit.

failFail: Loose glass.

Problem:  Carbon monoxide can escape into the house.


Test 6 (for Vented Models):  Inspect the exterior of the house near the vent

failFail:  A sooty or scorched look on the brick or siding

Problem:  Either the ceramic logs are improperly positioned or the logs’ burner ports are clogged.


Test 7 (for Vented Models):  Inspect the gas fireplace vent

failFail:  Anything that can block the air passages in the vent such as loose mortar, birds’ nest, spider webs, leaves or other debris

Problem:  The blockage can affect the fireplace’s air-gas mixture and the fireplace’s ability to stay lit.

Test 8:  Visually inspect the pilot light (usually located between the front and rear ceramic logs)

failFail:  Pilot light not covering the top 3/8” of the thermo-pile or thermo-couple (the small metal rod that sticks up, usually to the left of the pilot light)

Problem:  Pilot light orifice is clogged or the orifice is the wrong size or type.

Test 9:  Are there children who live in or visit the home?

failFail:  Your gas fireplace does not have a screen to protect children from touching the hot glass.  You can remedy this yourself by placing a fireplace safety screen or securing a regular fireplace screen in front of the fireplace.

Problem:  Children can experience severe burns when touching gas fireplace doors not just when the fire is lit but also for a considerable time afterwards before the glass cools.


Test 10:  Is there a functioning carbon monoxide detector in the house?

failFail:  No carbon monoxide detector.  You can remedy this yourself by installing a carbon monoxide detector.

Problem:  Undetected carbon monoxide in the home can cause illness or death.

By conducting these inspections and DIY Gas Fireplace Safety Tests, homeowners can be active participants in maintaining the safety of their gas fireplaces.

If your gas fireplace fails Test Two, Nine or Ten, you can remedy it yourself.  By calling on a certified gas fireplace  professional if your fireplace fails any of the other tests tests, you can assure the safety of your home, family and guests.

Use a cleaner specifically designed for gas logs to clean your own gas logs.





Susan shares ways to make homes, especially those with fireplaces, renewing spaces for families. When not writing for, she can often be found by a fireplace with a book in hand.

Posted in Fireplace and Chimney Maintenance, Safety Tagged with: ,

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