Gas stoves are very popular these days, and for good reason! They are cozy warm, create ambiance, and best of all, there’s no mess, and no buying or chopping of wood. Easy-peasy, right?
But it’s important to remember that, just like a furnace, gas stoves need annual maintenance to keep them working, keep you warm, and keep those toxic combustion gases headed in the right direction (out of your house)!Have you ever wondered what exactly needs to be serviced on a gas stove, how often, and why? In this, Part II of our Annual Maintenance Series, (click here for Part I on Furnace Maintenance), we will walk you through the details and checklists of Gas Stove and Gas Insert maintenance, discuss whether or not this service is important, and what you can expect to pay for it.
Is annual maintenance important for your gas stove or insert?
There are quite a few parts involved in a gas unit. Every part should be removed, inspected, and cleaned annually. Why? Because the combustion process of the gasses should be smooth and clear to create the most heat, cleanest burn, and healthiest system for your indoor air quality. If the parts are not regularly cleaned, they can get clogged or build up moisture, which can lead to ineffective heat, corrosion, and the release of excessive carbon monoxide (which I’m sure you know, is not something to be messed with).In addition, the aesthetic of your gas stove (which is one of the most important features for most people) can only be maintained by cleaning the glass on a regular basis. Looking at all of these elements, I’d conclude that yes, annual gas fireplace maintenance is very important!
What exactly needs to be done annually?
Just like furnace maintenance, gas stove and insert maintenance has a long checklist that should be diligently followed by your technician. They should be able to quickly rattle off or give you a printed list of all the items they will be inspecting and cleaning. Here is a great reference of the minimum to look for when your technician visits:
- Remove and clean:
The glass, the logs, the burner, the pilot hood, the pilot orifice, thermocouple’ thermopile, spark igniter, flame sensor, and firebox. The blower fan should also be cleaned.
Millivolt output of thermopile and thermocouple, resistance through switch, thermostat and remote circuits. Also, electrical wiring connections should be inspected and loose wires tightened.3. Replace batteries:
In remote, receiver, thermostat, and ignition control.
Glass trim and other penetrations for proper sealing as well as the gas fittings for leaks. Very important is checking the operation and measuring the carbon monoxide in the leaving space to make sure the very toxic gas is at healthy levels.
- Replace or Repaint:
Replace ember material. When necessary your contractor should offer to repaint the firebox and other components with high temperature rated stove paint to protect against corrosion.
Could the homeowner do all of this herself? What should it cost for servicing?
The response to this question is almost exactly the same as in Part I of this series. The glass on the fireplace oftentimes needs to be cleaned more than once per year, especially if it’s your main source of heat. Major buildup of the minerals produced by combustion can cause permanent clouding if the glass is not cleaned regularly. But some units can be tricky to get into. Give your HVAC service contractor a call if in doubt.
For the rest of the gas stove or insert maintenance, homeowner could in fact do all of these things, but only if they know how to perform all or most of the items on the list above. If, however, you don’t feel comfortable DIYing your gas unit, which is a fairly complex system, you can expect to pay between $100-$175 a year for your technician to service your gas fireplace, giving you near-absolute peace of mind.
What about wood and pellet stoves?
Check with your HVAC company about whether or not they service other types of stoves. Barron happens to service every type of stove and insert that they sell, including wood, pellet, and gas. I chose to focus only on gas stoves in this blog because they are more complex, more popular, and I wanted to provide specific information. However, it is important to note that pellet and wood stoves require regular servicing by a technician or advanced-DIY servicing as well.
Hopefully this post has helped to take some of the complexity and mystery out of the annual gas fireplace maintenance. Keeping your annual appointment is all about preventative measures. Following recommended maintenance will likely keep you warm longer, and keep unexpected fireplace shut-downs and scary carbon-monoxide leaks at bay.