Whether you have a gas fireplace, or a wood burning fireplace that uses a log lighter, you'll want to check the integrity of your gas valve before you start to use your fireplace for the upcoming winter season. The best way to do this, is to contact a certified gas appliance installer and have an inspection of your fireplace done.
Your certified gas installer will check for ...
- Leaks in your gas line.
- Low/High flow of gas in your line.
- Hazards around your gas lines that may cause eventual damage.
- The plumbing of your gas line is up to code.
Making sure your fireplace is up to code is extremely important. First and foremost, for your personal safety and the safety of your home. Second, if you ever choose to sell your home, having a fireplace that is not up to code could derail the sale until it is fixed.
Since codes differ in every state, county and city, we cannot tell you the codes that would impact your home. We can give you some tips, though, on some basics.
1. Your gas valve must be within 6 feet of your fireplace. This allows you to quickly be able to turn off the gas in case of an emergency. This also will ensure that when you turn ON your gas, you're in close proximity of the fireplace to quickly light it.
2. Flex line cannot be used on your gas line before the valve. Flex line is convenient and you may find it easier to use it to get your valve in the perfect spot, but don't sacrifice the building codes for convenience. Never use flex line before your valve.
Why would you need to replace your gas valve?
Sometimes the original plumbing of your gas fireplace puts your valve in an inconvenient spot, especially if you've renovated the room. If you've installed a large mantel, or tiled over your fireplace, the valve may need to be moved.
You will also want to make sure the valve is put in a place that it can be reached by your key. Although most valve kits that come with flanges and keys have a 3 inch key, you can easily purchase a key extender or a longer valve key.
What is a gas ball valve?
A ball valve has an actual ball in the center of the forged brass valve that has a hole drilled in it. With just a 1/4" turn the ball inside will rotate, allowing gas to flow through the hole inside the ball. And, with just a 1/4" turn the other way, that ball rotates and stops the flow of gas. Ball valves are valued for their ability to quickly and easily stop of the flow of gas.
Whether you have a gas fireplace or a wood burning one with a log lighter, we hope this information has helped you in your quest to prepare your fireplace for winter. If you'd like further instructions on installing a log lighter into a fireplace, please check out a previous blog post here.