Gas Fire Maintenance

A GOOD up-draught is essential for comfort and efficiency, and, of course, for healthy conditions in the room. Light a candle or a taper, and hold it just at the opening of the hood or canopy of the gas fire. The flame will be drawn up into the canopy if ail is well, thus demonstrating that there is a draught upwards through the fire and into the flue. The extent of this up-current can be gauged by the vigour with which the flame is blown inwards and upwards.

Should there be a poor draught, it may denote a blockage in the flue or chimney, or may indicate that soot, etc. may have fallen down and against the outlet from the canopy at the back. The first case needs generally the services of a fitter to disconnect the stove, and of a builder to clear the chimney, supposing the latter had been swept before the fire had been installed. But soot not reached by the sweep may fall down later, so that sweeping the chimney anew may cure the trouble.

Supposing the second case to exist, it can be dealt with in the course of a general clean-up as below described. Take off the wire guard from the fire; take out the ‘radiants’ carefully and lay them in a safe place: they will probably be brittle after use. Unscrew the metal fender or similar fittings at the foot of the fire. Now brush out all dust and fluff with a small paintbrush. Clean out the burner jets with a skewer, as described for the cooker burners; the suction nozzle of a vacuum cleaner will draw out dust and fluff from the burner nipples. Using the handled brush mentioned for the cooker, brush down the fire-bricks, and the inside of the canopy. Push a flue brush through the canopy from the front to clear any soot or dust, trying to bring this to the front so that it falls clear and does not go down behind the fire. Modern fires are fitted in a small specially built recess in the wall; but when a gas fire has been fitted in an existing fireplace there may, of course, be a good deal of space behind. Often, the only way of dealing with the matter is to have the gas fire disconnected and drawn out, so that the back space can be cleared thoroughly.

Put back the radiants, buying fresh ones to replace any that are broken. Defective radiants waste gas and impair the action of the fire to a very great extent. The flame should pass up through the radiants without being checked or diverted by misplaced or broken portions. Wrongly shaped ones, which do not properly fit that particular fire, are also a source of wasted heat. The adjustment of the burner control is a matter for a competent gas-fitter.

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