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  1. #1
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    Mar 2007
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    Default Fireplace question

    I very rarely see a fireplace, so please excuse my ignorance here. I ran into a gas fireplace today with no flue or venting. Not sure what the requirements are here. Thanks for your help.

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    Bill Siegel
    Florida Home Inspection Team Inc.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Fireplace question

    Bill,

    That looks like a vent free, or ventless, gas fireplace and gas log set.

    You would need to look at the nameplate on the fireplace and match up the log set with the fireplace.

    Did you read the metal tags attached to that log set (there should have been metal tags attached by a chain). That will tell you the brand, Btu, etc., about the gas log set, including wording that it must only be used with adequate ventilation, keep a window or door partially open, never use in a bedroom or sleeping room, and never sleep in that room (or it becomes a sleeping room, in which case you may well not wake up if things do not go just right).

    So much for using it for heat (have to keep a door or window open).

    Of course, though, down there ... ... I always told my clients all they had to do was set the a/c down to 55 degrees when they leave for work in the morning and the house might be cool enough for them to enjoy the gas log set in the evening.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
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    Jul 2007
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    Chicago
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    Default Re: Fireplace question

    If it uses a loglighter remind them to hide it around children.
    Suggest they put a CO detector in the area near the ceiling.
    Never use for solid fuel (wood).

    Logs must always be in planned rack order.

    Show them how to light when there.

    Give the air some time to displace before you say its broke


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Serving SC & NC
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    105

    Default Re: Fireplace question

    Make sure there is a shut-off valve within 6 feet of the appliance. Also, you often see CSST gas piping coming into the unit unprotected, with the pipe directly on the sharp edges of the cabinet. Other than that, not much to inspect (provided it works).

    P.S. I don't spend a lot of time trying to light them. If I can't get it after about a minute, I just say that I was unable to light the unit, which is not unusual and that they should have the homeowner/builder demonstrate that it functions.


  5. #5
    chris mcintyre's Avatar
    chris mcintyre Guest

    Default Re: Fireplace question

    Quote Originally Posted by william siegel View Post
    I very rarely see a fireplace, so please excuse my ignorance here.
    Show them how to light when there.



  6. #6
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    Default Re: Fireplace question

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Funderburk View Post
    Make sure there is a shut-off valve within 6 feet of the appliance.

    For the gas fireplace, the shut off can be remotely located, but must be labeled for what it operates. Remember, those gas shut offs are not emergency shut offs, they are simply service shut offs.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Fireplace question

    Quote Originally Posted by chris mcintyre View Post
    Haha
    He needs to get his feet wet sometime.
    Needing to show others forces you to learn also.

    Beside I meant later on.
    He is not going to show those people as the Inspection is done.

    Good one though.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Fireplace question

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Haha
    He needs to get his feet wet sometime.
    Needing to show others forces you to learn also.

    Beside I meant later on.
    He is not going to show those people as the Inspection is done.

    Good one though.
    I never light pilots, my inspection report and our SOP says inspector do not light pilot lights. I've seen a few realtors do it, fly at 'er. It's not about knowing how, it's about playing with fire and gas in someone else's house.


  9. #9
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
    mathew stouffer Guest

    Default Re: Fireplace question

    I see them all over the place around here, especially in remodels. They are cheap and easy to install. I agree with Bob, recommend a CO detector. Plus I always refer to the manufactures installation instructions. They will often recommend opening a window when the unit is on, and limit the burn time to 3 hours.


  10. #10
    Richard Pultar's Avatar
    Richard Pultar Guest

    Default Re: Fireplace question

    if it's in a bedroom it needs a oxygen depletion sensor


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Fireplace question

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    I never light pilots, my inspection report and our SOP says inspector do not light pilot lights. I've seen a few realtors do it, fly at 'er. It's not about knowing how, it's about playing with fire and gas in someone else's house.
    John it is know different from lighting the stove burners and I am sure you test them.

    They use sparkers just like a stove does ,so what is different.

    Ok you need to turn and push in the valve

    Nothing wrong with testing as long as you have an idea how they work.

    Start doing it and you will get more comfortable.

    I hear what you are saying though, and I am tempted to write up low water pressure at sinks , yet guess what (stupid me) I hand loosen the damn cartridge to see if that is the issue rather than make it one.

    May just be a matter of personal comfort or knowledge .


  12. #12
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Fireplace question

    Thanks guys. I appreciate all the information

    Bill

    Bill Siegel
    Florida Home Inspection Team Inc.

  13. #13
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    Cool Re: Fireplace question

    The rating plate would provide the info. necessary to determine if VF or not.

    The gas line is not properly sealed at the penetrations in the refractory and sidewall of the Fp
    The facing does not appear to be properly secured.
    Check clearances to combustible facings per listed instructions.

    FYI, ALL ventfree are required to have an ODS pilot regardless of location. VF listed for use in a BR limited to 10,0000 BTU/hr input AND must meet IRC requirements for min. ventilation and home construction.

    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Fireplace question

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    John it is no different from lighting the stove burners and I am sure you test them.

    They use sparkers just like a stove does ,so what is different?

    Ok you need to turn and push in the valve

    Nothing wrong with testing as long as you have an idea how they work.

    Start doing it and you will get more comfortable.

    I hear what you are saying though, and I am tempted to write up low water pressure at sinks , yet guess what (stupid me) I hand loosen the damn cartridge to see if that is the issue rather than make it one.

    May just be a matter of personal comfort or knowledge .
    It is this way, Bob. First I would fiddle fa#t around and bleed the air out and finally get a light, hold for a long minute, yep she's lit, now wait for the fan to kick in, off to another room, back to turn off later, but what if there's a leak? What if the sellers quit using it because it leaks? What if I leave the pilot burning when I leave, and then it blows out because the unit is defective? Nope, if it's off, it stays off.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Fireplace question

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    It is this way, Bob. First I would fiddle fa#t around and bleed the air out and finally get a light, hold for a long minute, yep she's lit, now wait for the fan to kick in, off to another room, back to turn off later, but what if there's a leak? What if the sellers quit using it because it leaks? What if I leave the pilot burning when I leave, and then it blows out because the unit is defective? Nope, if it's off, it stays off.
    Ok matter of personal comfort, but I find it hard to miss a open fire or opportunity to show clients proper use.
    Also get a lot of first time home buyers


    My biggest fear is if I ever forget to turn off the Oven..


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Fireplace question

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    My biggest fear is if I ever forget to turn off the Oven..
    I carry poker chips marked "Oven" "T-Stat", "WH" etc., set them on or near each item I need to reset, and pocket then again once I've reset the item.

    I count em' at the end of each inspection, and if one is missing...

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Fireplace question

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    I carry poker chips marked "Oven" "T-Stat", "WH" etc., set them on or near each item I need to reset, and pocket then again once I've reset the item.

    I count em' at the end of each inspection, and if one is missing...
    Sounds like a good idea.
    Now will that work for the (3 light) testers I forgot in the past.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Fireplace question

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew stouffer View Post
    I see them all over the place around here, especially in remodels. They are cheap and easy to install. I agree with Bob, recommend a CO detector. Plus I always refer to the manufactures installation instructions. They will often recommend opening a window when the unit is on, and limit the burn time to 3 hours.
    Here's my standard report statment.... pretty much the same.

    The gas fireplace is a vent-less type. There should be a carbon monoxide detector present anytime this unit is operated. Also, the manufacturer’s instructions should be read to determine what kind of fresh air requirements there are for this unit. Often times there needs to be a window opened or some other source of fresh air supplied while this appliance is running.

    This is one of those things where I have to not let my personal opinion get too far into what I say/report. Honestly, I think ventless fireplaces are junk and shouldn't be allowed.... but they are so all I can really do is make people aware of how to safely use them.

    Just this week a guy died in a house in my city from sleeping in a room sealed up tightly with a ventless gas heater/fireplace (not sure which it was). His girlfried was still in the ICU last I heard.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Fireplace question

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Sounds like a good idea.
    Now will that work for the (3 light) testers I forgot in the past.
    Those and your favourite screwdrivers and a few flashlights, too.
    I've learned to put things back in the bag, and check the bag before driving away.
    So the first cold day of the fall, I left my coat in the house, vacant of course.

    Good idea, Micheal. Business cards are ok for that, but a set number of markers, way to go.


  20. #20
    Rob Yarboro's Avatar
    Rob Yarboro Guest

    Default Re: Fireplace question

    Hey Matt, could you post a link to that vent-free fireplace/heater death?

    Thanks


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