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tinman
tinman, Home Improvement Enthusiast
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 177
Experience:  Property Maint, Electrician, Appliance Repair, HVAC, Carpentry, Plumbing, Mechanic, Water Treatment
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Fake gas fireplace logs turning black due to burning

Customer Question

The fake logs in my gas fireplace appear to have actually burned. There is heavy black residue on one of the logs in a couple of spots. It's so thick it has actually fallen off in chunks. Took some out - very light and fluffy. Glass was pitch black as well. I noticed the residue when I opened it up to clean the glass. Do I need to replace the logs? What causes this?

Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  tinman replied 6 years ago.

Hi,

Thank for for contacting justanswer.

Are you sure this is not just decoration? Most fake fireplace logs have decoration on them that looks like smoke and soot, as if the logs were burning.

Now if it is not decoration there is a motor in some Fake Fireplaces that turns a cylinder that a light shines up through. To give the fireplace a light show of sorts as if a fire was burning. If this is real smoke this could mean the motor could have burned and smoked. Another thing could be that the light that is in there could have had something fall on it and burn from the heat of the light.

Check the motor and the light to see if they look like something is wrong with them? If they look suspicious, unplug the unit and have someone check it out good before you plug it back up.

Thanks

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I doubt very much this is fake. I can see parts on the log that are as you describe - clearly made to look like burned parts of the log - this stuff is jet black. There is enough of it that it has fallen off because it can no longer support itself - much like a cigarette does if you don't remove the ash. Glass was very black as well. In fact that's how I discovered this - removed the glass to clean it. There is no light in the fireplace - fireplace burns natural gas.

Expert:  tinman replied 6 years ago.

I have misunderstood your problem. I thought you were talking about a fake fireplace.

You have a potentially dangerous situation and it needs to be addressed. Soot is unburnt carbon particles, soot can also be a sign of carbon monoxide! Please do not use this fireplace again until we figure out what is wrong. The list below can cause what you are experiencing.

1. If this is a vented fireplace check to be sure your damper is open.

2. If so, check to make sure a squirrel or bird hasn't built a nest in the chimney or flue.

3. You could have negative pressure in the winter, (air sinking down the chimney) instead of going up the chimney. If this is the case try priming your fireplace by using a hair dryer set on hot and blow it up the chimney for a while before you lite the fireplace.

4. Your air/gas mixture is too rich, causing the flame to smoke. If this is the case you will need to have your local gas company adjust the air/gas ratio.

5. One thing is for sure, you have soot in your fireplace. That means your orifices are probably stopped up, this is compounding the problem. You will need to have the orifices blown out with compressed air.

6. Also you are not getting a clean burn from your gas, this means you are wasting gas and not getting any benefit from it.

7. Please install a smoke alarm nearby, with a carbon monoxide detector.

PLEASE, CHECK ALL THESE THINGS I HAVE MENTIONED ABOVE BEFORE YOU BURN YOUR FIREPLACE AGAIN.

Thanks