How to Operate a Gas Fireplace

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.….Educational Videos….Chimney products….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

Gas fireplaces, whether designed for beauty or heating, are factory built boxes enclosed by glass doors so you can see the fire. Your gas fireplace should be checked as frequently as a woodburning fireplace because even though gas generally burns clean, your chimney can still be obstructed by birds’ or other animals’ nests and become a fire hazard. The ease of owning a gas fireplace has appealed to many homeowners who want to quit splitting the wood and hauling it inside the home. Many gas fireplaces operate even when the electricity goes out, which can be a great relief in the presence of a winter storm.You also do
not have to worry about cleaning up ashes from the burned wood.

                             Both *Yellow and *Blue flame gas fireplace logs are available.

imgres-3*Blue flame gas logs are approved to be used without a ventilation system, whereas yellow flame gas logs must have a venting system. Blue flame logs are the cleanest and most efficient flames to have in your home.


*Yellow flame logs can produce soot and carbon, both of which can build up on your gas logs and in the chimney. There may be orange streaks in the flame; an indication of dust or other particles in the firebox.


imgres-2This is generally acceptable. If you have logs that are blackened by soot or carbon, try using  a product called ACS Gas Log Cleaner. It removes carbon and soot buildup on gas logs without harming or discoloring them.

<——- Can be purchased at

*Be sure when choosing a gas fireplace, that it is going to serve your needs. Although there are countless styles and shapes available, some are designed for décor and others for actual heating of the home. Modern gas fireplaces may even come equipped with remote control starters, allowing you to adjust the flame height, heat output, etc. with the touch of a button. Some units burn propane and others natural gas. Whether you choose an ultra-modern unit or a more contemporary piece, and no matter where it is installed and what type of gas it burns, you should always work with a professional as much as possible.

                 The two main types of gas fireplaces are vented and vent-free.

*Vented gas logs that are “vented” are able to take the place of wood in a traditional chimney. These are vented such that any dangerous gases like carbon monoxide will exit the home. However, merely converting from a wood burning aparatus to gas logs will not solve the problems of a deteriorated chimney. Any deterioration, damage, or buildup in the chimney must be treated the same with gas logs as would be with wood.

*Vent-free gas logs, despite their similarity to a real, wood burning fire, can be dangerous to the respiratory system. Since the products from this particular flame are not vented up and out of the home, the chance of carbon monoxide, a lethal gas, entering and building up inside the home are increased. Vent-free gas logs are also deemed not safe or up to code in two states due to the increase in likelihood that small children or elderly will develop respiratory problems.

Through technology and the modern world’s need for easy and comfort, new technologies in the realm of gas fireplaces are popping up left and right. Not only are there gas fireplaces but gas fired inserts have been designed to be installed inside a fireplace. Gas fireplaces can even be installed without an existing fireplace. Always remember to follow manufacturers installation methods and be sure that all work done measures up with your area’s codes. However, once a safe, up-to-code gas fireplace is working and functional, there is no limit to the joy and beauty it can add to your home.

Read More

How To Remove Creosote and What is Creosote?

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.….Educational Videos….Chimney products….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb
Looking up or down a chimney flue, you may see this: creosote glazing and scorch markings.

What is Creosote?

Creosote is a flammable and corrosive substance that can build up on the walls of your fireplace and chimney. Creosote forms when unburned wood particles, fly ash and other volatile gasses combine as they exit the chimney. If there’s a poor draft, these unburned particles and gasses can condense and build up on the walls of your chimney. Over time, these e or soot buildups can become a danger as they can potentially result in a chimney fire.

Causes of Chimney Creosote Problems

Smoke, or better termed, flue gas, releases by the initial fire, or primary combustion. Burning wood, no matter when releases pollutants in the form of gasses and particulate matter. Flue gas, comprised of steam and vaporized but unburned carbon based byproducts (vaporized accumulation). If smoke exiting the chimney is cools to below 250 degrees Fahrenheit, the gasses liquefy, combine, and solidify to form that tar compound. A flue too large for the woodburning appliance may increase the likelihood that creosote will build up. Restricted air supply, unseasoned or rain-logged wood, and cool surface flue temperatures also encourage creosote to build up.

Creosote Stages:

Condensation: In an attempt to save fuel, many people reduce the amount of air entering the combustion chamber, causing the appliance to smolder. This has serious side effects. Smoke then cools as it rises in the chimney, not having enough heat energy to escape the stack. The flue gas then condenses on the inside of the chimney and the sap/resin turns into creosote.

This swollen creosote is very fragile and brittle. It can block the flue and cause tremendous smoking problems. Not uncommon if you’ve experienced a chimney fire.

: This sap/resin turns liquid and can seep into mortar joints or cracks in the flue tiles. The corrosive property held by creosote destroys masonry work and jeopardizes the life of your chimney.

Solidification: As temperatures fall and rise within the chimney, causing the heating and cooling of the creosote. This quickly enables build-up, reducing the amount of space the flue gas has to exit the chimney and, in extreme cases, blocking the flue completely. This build up can look like tar and is frequently termed “tar build-up.

Fragile State Creosote: When the solid creosote is burned, all volatile oils are removed leaving a residue that appears very similar to honeycomb which is crisp and easy to sweep from chimneys.

Often creosote will accumulate at the top of the chimney over longer periods of being unattended to during the events.

Creosote Glazing

Glaze forms in the solidification stage and occurs when new layers of creosote build so quickly that the layers below it have no time to dry. These fresh layers then insulate previous deposits so it eventually solidifies creating the rock-like substance known as glaze.

How to Remove Creosote Glaze

To remove this hard-as-a-rock glaze, it must first be broken down chemically. The two best products to use To remove this hard as a rock glaze, it must firare Anti-Creo-Soot Liquid spray or ACS Powder. ACS in liquid form is a chimney creosote removal spray that can be applied directly onto the fire or used to pre-treat the wood before burning. The vapor goes up the flue and attaches to the glazed creosote and chemically modifies it. This converts it into a harmless ash that can easily be swept out with a chimney sweep brush. ACS in powder form is a little bit more powerful. This powdered chimney creosote remover is applied to the chimney walls and up the flue.

When you start a fire, the temperature needs to reach 300 degrees F. When this happens, the ACS Powder causes the creosote to expand and contract at a different rate than the flue it’s attaches to, causing it to pee
l away from the flue liner. Both of these products contain unique chemical catalysts that break down the creosote over time. They are the most powerful when used in combination. Use the ACS Powder for the first 2 weeks to break down the really heavy duty creosote. Then use the regular ACS liquid spray every time you have a fire. Give it 5-6 sprays each fire to reduce creosote buildup and keep your chimney creosote-free.

In conclusion, after you solve your creosote problem, it’s a good idea to check the rest of your chimney and make sure it’s in good shape. Keeping your bricks waterproofed and performing chimney crown repair if needed are essential steps to take to keep your chimney in proper repair.

After this, remember to check out our Youtube channel and other blogs!

Make sure you check out our YouTube

And other blogs or

Affiliate Disclosure

I NEVER recommend a product or service that I don’t personally use (and love) myself but just to be totally transparent you should know that some of the links on my site ARE affiliate links and I DO make a small commission from any sales that are made. Thanks for your support!


Read More