Homeowner Use and Maintenance Guidelines
See also Fire Prevention.
Most of us feel a fireplace is an excellent way to create a warm, cozy atmosphere. However, without sufficient information, your usage of the fireplace can only result in heat (and dollars) being wasted. To help prevent that, consider the following points:
- Look upon the burning fire as a luxury that adds much to the atmosphere but just a little to the heat in a home. About 10 percent of the heat produced by a fire is radiated into the house. In many older homes, the air used by the fireplace for combustion is replaced with cold outside air drawn in through cracks around doors and windows. However, your home is constructed so tightly that this does not happen. We install a fresh air vent to supply the fireplace with combustion air and reduce the amount of heated air the fire draws from your house. Open this vent before starting the fire as you do the damper.
- Close the damper and cold air vent when the fireplace is not in use. Leaving these open is equivalent to having an open window in the house. If the fire is still burning, but you are finished enjoying it, use glass doors to prevent heated air from being drawn up the chimney until your damper can be closed.
One caution on the use of glass doors: do not close them over a roaring fire, especially if you are burning hardwoods (such as oak or hickory) because this could break the glass. Also, when closing the doors over a burning fire, open the mesh screens first. This prevents excessive heat build-up on the mesh, which might result in warping or discoloration.
Your objective in building a fire should be a clean, steady, slow-burning fire. Begin with a small fire to allow the components of the fireplace to heat up slowly. Failure to do so may damage the fireplace and can void the warranty. Start the fire by burning kindling and newspaper under the grate; two to three layers of logs stacked with air space between, largest logs to the rear works best. One sheet of paper burned on top of the stack will help the chimney start to draw. Any logs 6 inches in diameter or larger should be split.
Caution: Do not burn trash in the fireplace and never use any type of liquid fire starter.
Remove old ashes and coals from under the grate when completely cool. A light layer is desirable as an insulator and will help to reflect heat.
Creosote and other wood-burning by-products accumulate inside the flue over a period of time. This build-up can be a fire hazard. The way you use your fireplace and the type of wood you burn determine your chimney cleanings' frequency. For instance, burning softwoods or improperly seasoned woods necessitates more frequent cleaning. Hire a qualified chimney sweep for this cleaning.
If the spark arrester becomes clogged, the diminished airflow will affect the fireplace's performance and maybe a fire hazard. Have the arrester cleaned professionally when needed.
Parasol Properties offers direct-vent gas fireplaces. If you ordered this type of fireplace, it is demonstrated during the orientation. Read and follow all manufacturer's directions.
A slight delay between turning the switch on and flame ignition is normal. The flames should ignite gently and silently. If you notice any deviation from this and any gas smell, immediately shut off the switch and report it to the gas company.
Excessive winds can cause a downdraft, which can blow out the pilot, requiring you to relight it before using the fireplace.
Caution: The exterior vent cover for a direct-vent gas fireplace becomes extremely hot when the fireplace is operating.
Parasol Properties Limited Warranty Guidelines
Fireplaces are not intended to be the sole heat source in the home. The fireplace should function properly when Parasol Properties's and the manufacturer's directions are followed.
Separation of a brick chimney from a newly constructed home may occur. Parasol Properties will repair separation from the main structure over ½ inch in 10 feet. Caulking is acceptable in most cases.
Normal shrinkage of mortar results in hairline cracks in masonry. Parasol Properties will repair cracks that exceed 1/8 inch in width. The repair consists of pointing or patching, and the mortar color will be matched as closely as possible, but expect some variation.
Exterior masonry may have chips, irregular surfaces, and color variations during manufacturing, shipping, or handling. Unless such conditions affect the structural integrity of the home, no repair is provided.
Discoloration of the firebox or brick is a normal result of use and requires no corrective action. Mortar-style fireplaces may develop cracks due to temperature changes and other factors.
Although extremely high winds can result in a downdraft, this condition should be temporary and occasional. We will determine and correct continuous malfunction is caused by a construction or design defect.
We confirm that glass fireplace doors are in acceptable condition when included with the home during the orientation.
In unusually heavy or prolonged precipitation, especially when accompanied by high winds, some water can enter the home through the chimney. The limited warranty excludes this occurrence.