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The gas fire appliance guide

Gas fires are a great way to provide additional heat in your home, especially during the colder months. However, as with any type of gas appliance, your gas fire needs to be properly fitted and maintained to make sure it continues to be safe for use in your home.

Here, you can find out more about ensuring your gas fire is installed and maintained by a Gas Safe registered engineer, and the warning signs which could indicate an unsafe gas fire.

Types of gas fires explained

Gas fires with a flue

A flue can be a brick chimney or metal constructed pipe and simply provides a means for exhaust gases to pass from a gas fire to the outside of your property.

There are two main types of flued gas fire: conventional flue gas fires, and balanced flue gas fires. Each type has certain distinguishing features, and your Gas Safe registered engineer will be able to advise you on which kind of gas fire is most suitable for you and your home and if they require additional ventilation.

Conventional flue gas fires

For conventional flue gas fires to function safely and correctly, they must be connected to a chimney/ flue, some may require additional ventilation. This information can be found in the manufacturer's instructions.

Conventional flue gas fires work by drawing air from the surrounding space, which is combined with draught air rising through the chimney/ flue. This helps remove Products of Combustion (PoC) or waste gases that are then expelled via the chimney.

Conventional flue gas fires come in both open-fronted and glass-fronted styles. Glass fronted styles have become more popular with stove effect fires. Always refer to the manufacturers information to find out efficiency, installation, and maintenance guidance.

Advantages of conventional flue gas fires

  • Flexibility. They can be either open-fronted or glass-fronted depending on the setting required and preference.

Balanced flue gas fires

Balanced flue gas fires use a concentric flue at the top or reverse of the gas fire to connect them to the outside. These gas fires use outside air for combustion, while Products of Combustion (PoC) gases are expelled via the flue.

Unlike conventional flue gas fires, which can be open-fronted, all balanced flue gas fires are room-sealed and glass-fronted.

Advantages of balanced flue gas fires

  • The way they function means they do not deplete oxygen levels in the home.

Flueless gas fires

Some gas fires are flueless, which means they do not need to be connected to a flue pipe or chimney , they do however require adequate ventilation. Because they burn very cleanly, exhaust gases can be released back into the room safely. Other flueless gas fires have catalytic converters built in to remove any harmful emissions.

However, for a flueless gas fire to be safely installed:

  • Manufacturer guidelines will specify appropriate room sizes which should be followed
  • Appliance should be installed in a room with functional/ opening window to provide comfort and ventilation.

LPG gas fires

Most gas fires use natural gas which comes from the mains gas supply. However, for homes which do not have access to a mains gas supply, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), also known as propane or butane, is a viable alternative fuel for a gas fire.

Not all gas fires are suitable for use with LPG fuel. That is because natural gas and LPG burn differently and therefore require different burner systems.

Using the wrong type of gas fire for your fuel supply could cause a serious safety risk, and your Gas Safe registered engineer will be able to help you select the right gas fire for your home.

Gas fire installation

If you are having a new gas fire installed, then this work should only be carried out by a competent Gas Safe registered engineer. They will be best suited to advise on which is the most suitable type of gas fire for your home, and make sure your new appliance is properly fitted and safe to use.

 

Find a registered engineer near you

 

Gas fire maintenance

Getting your gas fire serviced is important to make sure it remains safe and in good condition.

Have a look at your gas fire manufacturer’s guidelines to find out how often a service is recommended. If you do not have these to hand, then it is a good idea to have your gas fire serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer on at least an annual basis.

What does a gas fire service involve?

During the service, your Gas Safe registered engineer will ensure identify that there are no faults with your gas fire, and it is operating safely and efficiently.

They will carry out numerous checks in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines. These may include:

  • A visual examination of the gas fire and its flue to ensure its suitably located and installed
  • Checking and cleaning various components of your gas fire
  • Testing for leaks within the installation
  • Pressure testing within the installation.

During the service, your Gas Safe registered engineer will identify any issues with your gas fire and any necessary repairs to ensure its functioning safely.

Gas Safety Report

You can request that the Gas Safe engineer servicing your appliance fills out a service report following completion of the service, including detailing any repairs which might have been made to your gas fire. This report is also called a Gas Safety Report.

 

Find a registered engineer near you

 

Gas fire repairs & problems

Your gas fire may need a repair during the service, however if the appliance stops functioning for any reason it is important that you turn off the gas at the supply and contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to competently diagnose and repair.

Here are some of the most common signs which may indicate an issue with your gas fire:

  • Signs of black sooting surrounding the appliance
  • Issues with lighting or ignition
  • Popping or unusual sounds coming from the appliance
  • Damaged coals
  • Damaged chimney/ flue.

If you are concerned that your gas fire is not safe or working as you would expect it to, contact a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Signs of an unsafe gas fire

Getting your gas fire regularly serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer will ensure your appliance continues to be safe to use. However, it is still useful to know the warning signs of an unsafe gas fire which indicate your gas fire needs immediate servicing by a Gas Safe registered engineer. These include:

  • The smell of gas
  • Visible scorching, sooting, or black marks
  • A floppy yellow pilot light
  • Physical symptoms, including headaches, nausea, and dizziness, which could indicate carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly poisonous gas produced by the incomplete burning of natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). This can happen when a gas appliance has been incorrectly fitted, badly repaired, or poorly maintained.

CO can be deadly and is especially dangerous because you cannot see, taste, or smell it, and some symptoms mimic the effects of viruses and even a bad hangover.

Here is what to do in a gas emergency.