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gas fireplace during winter

3 Reasons Your Gas Fireplace Smells: And Which Ones Need Urgent Attention

In Calgary, when winter arrives, we all look for different ways to keep warm and cozy. The thermostat gets turned up (then turned up again!). You bring out the warm blankets from the closet. But something is missing. Of course… the comforting flame of your gas fireplace!

So, you go to ignite it for the first time in 6 to 8 months. That beautiful glow appears, and you can feel the embrace of warmth. But the peaceful moment is ruined, because your senses are overwhelmed by an unexpected odour.

There are three types of unpleasant smells you may notice coming from your gas fireplace. One is harmless. The others require attention. Here’s what you need to know, and do if you smell anything suspicious.

1. There’s a ‘plastic smell’ when I light my fireplace for the first time in a while

Don’t worry. This ‘burnt plastic’ smell is harmless – and short-lived. It’s caused by the accumulation of dust, debris, hair, skin cells and pet dander behind the glass of your gas fireplace. As they are exposed to heat, they emit an unpleasant smell.

This is a common occurrence when you start using a direct-vent gas fireplace for the first time in months. Because this style of fireplace is enclosed, the smell is more noticeable. It also occurs when you turn on a newly installed gas fireplace for the first time.

2. I smell gas! (Immediately turn off your fireplace)

As you’re turning on your gas fireplace, you may momentarily notice a faint gas smell. This is to be expected and should go away once you press the ignitor to light the flame.

If you ever smell gas after the pilot light is on or when the unit is not in use – immediately turn off the gas valve feeding the fireplace. Then, open nearby doors and windows to let the fumes escape.

If the smell persists, you should call your local utility provider so that they can identify the source of the leak.

Natural gas can pose a serious danger. If there is a leak or buildup of gas, it can be prone to ignition – and potentially result in a fire or explosion. 

3. My home smells almost smoky when I use my gas fireplace

Gas fireplaces don’t produce smoke, like a wood-burning fireplace. But when gas is ignited, it does produce exhaust emission

Your fireplace is designed to allow the exhaust to escape up the chimney or flue, and safely out of your home.

If your chimney or flue becomes clogged or obstructed, the gas may remain inside your home. This can be dangerous, as the exhaust contains carbon monoxide – a harmful and odourless gas.

To prevent this from happening, it is important that your fireplace is properly installed and vented.

As a further precaution to protect you and your family, its recommended that you get the following maintenance work done by a professional on an annual basis:

– Get your gas fireplace inspected to check for leaks and make sure all components are working properly.
– Have your chimney cleaned to prevent the buildup of debris and residue, and to remove any blockages. This will also help prevent the ‘plastic smell’ from dust and debris.

Home Safety Tip: Always have a working carbon monoxide detector in the same room as your gas fireplace – or any gas appliance. It will warn you the second a leak is detected.

Stay warm. Stay safe.

There’s nothing nicer than turning on the fireplace on a cold winter’s night. It sets the perfect mood: whether it’s for a family game night or an intimate glass of wine. Keeping your fireplace in top working order will allow you to relax and enjoy these magical moments worry-free.

Furnace & Duct Cleaning Checklist

Pre-cleaning

Cleaning

Post-cleaning

Quote guarantee

Guarantee
When we receive an online furnace or air conditioning quote request and the customer accepts the initial quote, we’ll send a comfort advisor to confirm the provided information and quoted price in person. 

 

If the comfort advisor finds any inaccuracies during the in person visit, we’ll revise the quoted price on the spot. After the quoted price is confirmed with an in person visit, the price is set. 

 

If there are unforeseen complications on the date of install, Advanpro will not pass the additional costs along to the customer. (See exceptions in Terms below.)

 

Terms

The guarantee is not valid if the customer provides inaccurate information when Advanpro seeks to confirm any information about the quote. This also applies to the on-site confirmation visit. 

 

 

In the exceptional circumstance that the chimney liner required for most furnace installations cannot be installed or gets stuck during installation, the guarantee no longer applies and we will provide a supplementary quote to complete installation. 

 

We do not warranty or guarantee customer-supplied thermostats.

Repair guarantee

Guarantee
If the diagnosed issue is not fixed by our initial repair, we will dispatch the first available service technician to return and fix it at no additional cost.

 

Terms
If we determine that there is an additional unrelated issue, there may be a charge for the additional repair.

Correct A/C sizing guarantee

Guarantee
If the air conditioner Advanpro installs is determined to be improperly sized for your home, we will supply and install the correctly-sized A/C condenser at no additional cost. 

 

Terms
Advanpro must be immediately notified of any install issues. The guarantee applies for 3 months, starting from the installation date. The guarantee no longer applies if, at any time after the quote or installation, modifications are made to the home that impact cooling requirements.

Correct furnace sizing guarantee

Guarantee
If the furnace Advanpro installs is determined to be undersized for your home, we will supply and install the correctly-sized furnace at no additional cost. 

 

Terms
Advanpro must be immediately notified of any install issues. The guarantee applies for 3 months, starting from the installation date. The guarantee no longer applies if, at any time after the quote or installation, modifications are made to the home that impact heating requirements.

Hot water tank types

Natural draft or atmospheric vented hot water tanks have a 3″ – 4″ steel vent pipe, which runs to a vertical chimney. The chimney is usually shared with standard or mid-efficiency furnaces.

 

Power vented hot water tanks have one or two black or white plastic vent pipe(s), which are 2″ – 3″ in diameter. The vent pipes usually exit from the side of the house.

A/C Tune Up

Regular preventative maintenance improves efficiency and extends the lifespan of your air conditioning system, with the following benefits:

 

  • Reduced electricity bills and operating costs. When the unit operates as designed, electricity usage is reduced.
  • Maximized cooling capacity. Home comfort on the hottest of days with minimum run time.
  • Minimized repair bills. Detect and fix small problems before they get worse.

HRV Cleaning

In Calgary, all homes built in 2016 or later have a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV). Some homes built or renovated after 2013 may also have an HRV. 

 

An HRV efficiently replaces stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air, all year round.

 

As with any other air-handling equipment in your home, your HRV should be cleaned regularly to ensure the best possible indoor air quality.

 

If you aren’t sure if you have an HRV, call our team to find out how you can tell.

Duct Work Sanitizing

If you or your loved ones suffer from respiratory issues or allergies, or you’re concerned about the quality of the air that you are breathing, then our sanitizing treatment will give you the reassurance that your ductwork is sterile and free of debris that could negatively impact your respiratory and overall health.

 

Microban is our hospital-grade sanitizing solution, which kills 99.99% of germs, viruses, funguses, molds, and other pathogens.

 

We also offer Benefect, an all-natural sanitizer made from plant extracts, which also kills 99.99% of germs, viruses, funguses, and molds. ​

Exhaust Flu Stack Cleaning

Mid-efficiency furnaces produce a sand-like, mildly-corrosive byproduct. This substance condenses in the exhaust flu stack and collects over time near the inducer/venter motor, restricting exhaust gas flow. Eventually, it enters the inducer motor and causes premature wear on the furnace.

 

Exhaust flu stack cleaning removes the build-up to reduce the chance of motor failure and maximize the life span of your furnace. Preventative maintenance ensures your furnace runs efficiently all Winter long — without costly no-heat emergencies. 

A/C + High-efficiency Bypass

The secondary heat exchanger in a high-efficiency furnace or A/C coil has delicate, closely spaced fins that must be protected during your furnace and duct cleaning.

 

For furnaces that require a bypass, we temporarily install a filter above the heat exchanger or A/C coil, and position our duct vacuum above the filter.

 

This bypass procedure prevents damage by ensuring all dust and debris in your supply duct work is collected before reaching the heat exchanger or A/C coil.

 

Standard furnaces without A/C don’t have secondary heat exchangers or A/C coils and don’t require the bypass procedure.

Furnace Tune Up

Regular furnace tune ups are essential to maximizing the lifespan and efficiency of your furnace, so you can rely on it to keep you warm all Winter long.​

 

During our 30+ point inspection, we check all furnace systems to identify components that are worn out and need replacement. Replacing parts before they break — preventative maintenance — maximizes heating efficiency, avoids no-heat emergencies, and saves on costly service calls. 

 

Home furnaces can last for 20 years or more if well-maintained. A professional furnace tune up every two years helps to preserve your investment for decades.

Reverse Octopus Whip Tool

The reverse octopus whip has eight 16” flexible tentacles, which whip around blasting high-pressure air in all directions as it moves through your duct work.

 

The tool agitates and dislodges the most hard-to-reach dust, debris, and contaminants, moving them toward our duct vacuum for collection and disposal.

Brush Cleaning Method

Our high-speed rotary brushing equipment sweeps the entire interior surface of your duct work, ensuring that all dust, debris, and pet hair are vacuumed away.

 

Physically cleaning the entire length of your duct work ensures that no contaminants are left behind, increasing your indoor air quality and peace of mind.

Dryer Vent Cleaning

Dryer fires are a top-five cause of house fires. Cleaning your dryer vent regularly greatly reduces the chance of a dryer fire, plus the following benefits:

 

  • Reduces clothes drying times
  • Lowers utility bills through greater efficiency
  • Extends the life span of your dryer
  • Lessens the amount of allergens in your house

Back Skipper Tool

The back skipper is a 1” diameter rounded ball connected to a long, flexible high-pressure airline.

 

The 1” ball has jets that discharge high-pressure air, pulling the tool and airline through the length of your duct work.

 

The high-pressure air moves the dust and debris toward our duct vacuum, where it is collected for disposal.​