Gas fireplaces are far safer than their wood-burning counterparts—no matches, no smoke, no sparks, no backdrafts, no soot—but that doesn’t mean owners should ignore basic precautions. Here are a few things you can do to minimize the dangers posed by even the safest modern fireplace.
Pay Attention to Clearance Zones
Ortal’s Cool Wall technology makes it possible to place décor and electronics close to the fireplace. Still, every fireplace, no matter how advanced, has a clearance zone—an area around which it’s unsafe to place flammable or easily damaged materials. Never place wood, newspapers, books, drapes, etc. directly against the glass or too close to the firebox.
Schedule Yearly Maintenance
Modern gas fireplaces require far less maintenance than their wood-burning masonry cousins, but it’s still a good idea to schedule an annual maintenance inspection just to make certain everything is running as it should be. The best time for a quick checkup? Before winter rolls around and you light the fire for the first time.
Double Check the Safety Screen Barrier
Gas fireplaces feature a glass panel that separates the firebox from the room. That makes them safer and more efficient. The only problem? The glass can get hot. Very hot. Anyone who touches it will suffer severe burns. For homes with children, the safety hazard is too great.
That’s why, in 2015, the industry stepped in and demanded that every direct vent fireplace come equipped with a safety mesh screen to prevent serious burns. While every Ortal fireplace comes standard with a nearly invisible, fine mesh safety screen, it’s up to you to make certain the installer has affixed it securely to the unit.
Upgrade to a Double Glass Heat Barrier
Want even more safety and efficiency? Consider adding a double glass heat barrier, which comes with not one, but two panes of glass—an outer panel and an inner panel. In between the two panes sits a ventilation layer.
At the bottom of this layer, we’ve included tiny, silent fans that release heat into the room, thereby keeping the outer glass at a safe temperature while providing even more heat to the room. That’s one more safety measure in between you and a hot flame.
Warn Children of the Danger
Even the most formidable safety barriers can’t eliminate the danger posed by hot glass, which is why parents should tell their kids not to play anywhere near the fireplace when they see the flame burning. They might even establish a “no-go zone”—say, one or two feet in front of the fireplace—to prevent young children from getting too close.
Want to learn more about Ortal’s commitment to safety and customer satisfaction? Take a look at our advanced safety features that do most of the work for you, taking the risk out of gas fireplaces.