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Q&A Sooty Smoke From Gas Logs

Post in 'Questions and Answers' started by QandA, May 23, 2002.

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  1. QandA

    QandA New Member Staff Member

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    Question:

    I have a set of vented gas logs that were professionally installed 12 years ago. In the last two years the fire has burned much more sooty than it has in the past. In fact, its to the point now of leaving a residue on the white wood mantle above the fireplace opening.



    Answer:

    Sooty Smoke From Gas Logs

    I have a set of vented gas logs that were professionally installed 12 years ago. In the last two years the fire has burned much more sooty than it has in the past. In fact, its to the point now of leaving a residue on the white wood mantle above the fireplace opening.

    I think you have 2 things going on: your chimney needs cleaning or other attention and your gas logs need to be serviced. The extra soot you're seeing on the logs sounds like the logs need to be cleaned and perhaps an adjustment made to its settings. All gas appliance owners manuals specify the annual maintenance that needs to be done on them to keep them performing properly. The logs should be removed with careful attention (take a picture or make a drawing) of the log setup. Carefully remove the old "ash" and "ember" bed. After this long you may as well throw them away and replace them with clean materials. Then you come to the most important part which is cleaning the burner tube. It has tiny pinholes in it that collect soot, pet hair and dust bunnies. When they become blocked the gas cannot come through the holes correctly and will burn dirtier. The dirtier it burns, the worse the tubes get clogged so the problem continues to worsen. If you have a professional in your area who offers gas log maintenance then you should try to have the service professionally done since the technician can check for other things that you really shouldn't attempt on your own, such as checking the gas pressure, pilot setting and flame height. When reassembling, pay careful attention to proper placement of the logs onto the grate and how the sand or vermiculite and burning embers are installed onto the burner.

    Your big problem is seeing the soot on your mantel. If your chimney were operating properly then the soot produced from your logs would be evacuated up your chimney. GAS LOG SOOT SHOULD NEVER APPEAR IN YOUR HOUSE! When you see soot that means that fumes are also entering your house, including carbon monoxide. Move pictures on the wall nearby to make sure soot stains haven't developed elsewhere. If your logs are a vented style then the damper must be open to allow soot and fumes to enter the chimney. I recommend the damper be fully opened and clamped fully open at all times as a safety precaution to someone closing the damper. You'll lose heated air up the chimney during the winter but this is preferable to being exposed to carbon monoxide. Install glass doors to help prevent heat loss up the chimney. If the damper IS fully open then your chimney is not drafting properly. Call a certified chimney sweep to inspect your chimney and clean it if needed.

    You can get more information on gas log maintenance at this page of our web site: www.dukefire.com/page58.html For more information on the need for chimney cleaning and what to expect of a professional chimney sweep, see this page: www.dukefire.com/page57.html

    Please don't use your logs again until your chimney has been checked!

    -Karen Duke CSIA certified chimney sweep #1243 Duke Chimney Services Mechanicsville, VA

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