For your safety, be sure to read the General Gas-Fired Equipment Maintenance Tips for appliance maintenance before attempting to investigate or repair natural gas equipment problems. Have a heating contractor (registered with the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA)) perform a yearly maintenance check-up of your gas-fired equipment and venting system to ensure efficient, safe operation. Adjustments, cleaning of burners, replacement of parts, repairs, and inspections of venting are jobs for licensed professionals as explained in General Gas-Fired Equipment Maintenance Tips who know the equipment and the codes that must be followed.
A standard wood-burning fireplace may be romantic, but it is not very energy efficient! In fact, it can remove more heated air up the chimney than it provides. One of the best ways to improve the energy efficiency of a wood-burning fireplace is to replace it with a natural gas fireplace. They're energy efficient, convenient to operate - and romantic!
If you can't replace your wood-burning fireplace, here are some tips to minimize your heat loss:
Provide outside air for combustion. It may be as simple as opening a window in the room or installing a fresh air vent for the fireplace. Contact your local fireplace specialty store for further advice and options.
Install tight-fitting glass doors and keep them closed when the fireplace is not in use to prevent the home's warm air from escaping up the chimney.
Close the damper once the fire has completely died out to prevent warm air in the house from escaping up the chimney.
Seal off an unused fireplace with a home-made insulated plug. Simply cut a piece of rigid polystyrene foam to fit snugly in the front opening and decorate the plug with either wallpaper or paint.
Be aware that young children are attracted to flames in a fireplace. Glass panels on fireplaces can get very hot yet not appear to be so, posing a burn risk, particularly to toddlers learning to walk. Young children should not be left unsupervised in a room with an operating fireplace. Consider a protective screen for your fireplace which can be secured to hold back determined toddlers.