Gas Fireplaces & Gas Space Heater Defects List & Home Inspection Education
DEFECTS LIST - HEAT SPACE & FIREPLACE, GAS - CONTENTS: Defects in gas fireplaces. Defects in gas space heaters. Lists of important defects for residential buildings. What does a home inspector need to know? Home inspection training and education curriculum recommendations
InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.
Gas fireplace & gas space heater inspection & defect checklists.
This article lists significant gas heater or gas fireplace defects, definitions, and home inspection education topics.
This article series, beginning at BUILDING DEFECTS LISTS, provides lists of common building defects and basic defect knowledge that also outline recommended curriculum content for home inspector education.
The building defects and inspection points listed in these articles also guide homeowners and home buyers to building areas that merit careful attention and often point areas of safety concern or important maintenance and repair tasks.
Home Inspection Education Curriculum - Gas Space Heaters & Fireplaces
4.8 Gas Space Heaters and Fireplaces Inspection Recommendations & Lists of Defects
Safety Warnings about Gas-Log Fireplaces & Gas-Fueled Space Heaters in Buildings
Improper installation, venting, combustion air supply or use of gas or kerosene fired heaters can produce high indoor carbon monoxide(CO) levels.
Watch out: Never go to sleep in an enclosed space with a space heater left operating. In addition to the CO hazards there is a risk of oxygen depletion which can also lead to asphyxiation. Also see Unvented heaters, below.
Tight House conditions can cause dangerous carbon monoxide hazards where gas fired fireplaces or space heaters are in use
Even if previously there were no backdrafting or CO problems at a building, retrofits to improve the energy efficiency of a home can change its air leakage rate and might lead to backdrafting.
See COMBUSTION PRODUCTS & IAQ. Atmospherically vented gas appliances such as heaters and water heaters pose special problems because if they backdraft there is little warning and the possible production of carbon monoxide can put lives at risk.
Un-vented heaters or space heaters installed in buildnings
Un-vented heaters or space heaters, such as "vent-free" fireplaces or gas-log fireplaces. Un-vented appliances are in stunningly wide-spread use and we [DF] found it interesting to read that for at least some "un-vented" gas log fireplaces even the installation instructions specified a requirement for outside combustion air and venting.
Modern versions of un-vented heaters usually include a sensor that is intended to put out the fire if the oxygen level falls too low.
That approach may not detect CO production at all. In this home in Mexico (photo above left) we observed that it was impossible to operate the gas-log fireplaces without the CO detector alarm sounding even when the carbon monoxide sensor was placed more than 20 feet away from the fireplace.
Incidentally, CO detectors should be installed about 10 feet away from woodstoves, pellet stove, coal stoves, and gas log fireplaces. Not 20 feet as we did.
4.8.1 Knowledge Base for Gas Heaters & Fireplaces: Inspections & Defects
1. Describe the function of gas space heaters and gas fireplaces.
2. Describe the types of gas space heaters including wall furnaces, floor furnaces and room heaters. Highlight the difference between these and forced air furnaces.
3. Describe gas fireplaces and gas logs, highlighting the differences between these and wood burning fireplaces.
4. List the materials and components of each of the systems listed above.
5. Describe the features of good installation and repair technique for each of these systems.
6. Define the following terms with respect to gas space heaters and fireplaces: decorative appliance, radiant system, convective system, vent, unvented appliance, direct vent system, fire stop spacer, inspection cap (for furnace).
7. Identify the code or standards which apply to gas fired space heaters and fireplaces in your area.
4.8.2 Inspection skills for Gas Heaters & Fireplaces: Inspections & Defects
1. Describe the inspection procedure for gas fired space heaters and fireplaces.
2. Identify the following common defects listed on the next page.
3. Describe the implication of each defect.
4. Identify safety issues for the inspector and occupant of the home (gas explosion, electric shock, fire, combustion products poisoning occupants, injury due to moving parts).
5. Communicate findings with client verbally and in writing, recommending corrective action where needed.
Typical Visually-Obserable Gas Fired Space Heater, Room Heater, or Fireplace Defects
Clearance to combustibles
Too close (photo at left)
Combustion Air Hazards
Possible or obvious inadequate combuation air
Missing CO or Smoke Detectors
Heat Exchanges in Gas-Fired Space Heaters
• Cracks, holes or rust
• Soot or deposits
• Rusting or dirty
Fan Limit Switch Defectson Gas Fired Space or Room Heaters
• Set wrong or defective
• Improperly wired
• Mechanical damage
• Missing cover
Cabinets: Gas fired space heaters
• Combustible clearances
• Mechanical damage
• Missing components
• Obstructed air intake
Inspection Defects Specific to Gas Fired Wall Furnaces
• Ducts added
• Not listed, certified or approved
• Unvented furnace in bedroom or bathroom
• Unvented furnace
Inspection Defects Specific to Floor Furnaces
• Cap missing or damaged
• Firebox cracked or rusted
• Not permitted
• Not listed, certified or approved
• Restricted airflow causing overheating
• Thermostat remote
Common Defects Observable at Room Thermostats Used with Gas Space Heaters or to Control Gas Fireplaces
• Not level
• Poor adjustment or calibration
• Poor location
Defects in Blower Assemblies Used on Gas Fired Space Heaters
• Fan belt loose, worn or damaged
Inspection Defects Specific to Gas Fired Room Heaters
• Fireplace damper not fixed open
• Not labeled for use in a fireplace
• Poorly secured
• Running continuously
• Too small
• Unbalanced or vibration
Inspection Defects Specific to Gas Fireplaces & Gas Logs
• Damper in existing fireplace not fixed open
• Glass door problem
• Not suitable for use in a bedroom or bathroom
• Unvented (may be acceptable ?)
• Asbestos-suspect based on age
Gas Supply Defects at Gas Fired Space Heaters, Room Heaters, Fireplaces
Improper gas piping material
Missing or improperly located gas shutoff valve
Indications of leaks (odors, deposits, complaints)
Readers should see HEATING SYSTEMS for our complete list of articles on this topic. Also see HOME & BUILDING INSPECTORS & INSPECTION METHODS. Use the Search Box at the top or bottom of these pages to find in-depth information about building, energy savings, and indoor environment inspection, diagnosis and repair at this website. Watch out: these inspection lists do not list all possible defects for the systems discussed, and not all home or building inspectors will examine all of the items listed here. CONTACT us to suggest corrections or additions to articles at this website.
These curriculae and building defect lists are based on smilar curriculum documents first prepared by Joe Scaduto, an ASHI member who prepared course material for Northeastern University's Building Inspection Certificate program in 1988, subsequently by DF, InspectApedia's editor, for New York University ca 1988 and later, with others, recommended to ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors.
The curriculum and lists of defects are informed by additional analysis of the process of home inspection that was developed beginning Calgary, AB for Canadian and U.S. home inspector education and certification examinations in 1997. Other early contributors to home inspection education in the U.S. and Canada include Dr. Jess Aronstein, Alan Carson, Mike Casey, Mark Cramer, John Cox, Dwight Barnett, Douglas Hansen, Rick Heyl, Larry Hoytt, Bill Merrill, Kevin O'Malley, Dennis Robitalille, Keith Peddie, Pat Porzio, Roger Robinson.
No FAQs have been posted for this page. Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia.
Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia
Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
Home Inspection Education Home Study Courses - ASHI@Home Training 10-course program. Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Home Reference Book, a reference & inspection report product for building owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Home Reference eBook, an electronic version for PCs, the iPad, iPhone, & Android smart phones. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Enter inspectaehrb in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones.
Eric Galow, Galow Homes, Lagrangeville, NY. Mr. Galow can be reached by email: email@example.com or by telephone: 914-474-6613. Mr. Galow specializes in residential construction including both new homes and repairs, renovations, and additions.
Roger Hankey is principal of Hankey and Brown home inspectors, Eden Prairie, MN. Mr. Hankey is a past chairman of the ASHI Standards Committee. Mr. Hankey has served in other ASHI professional and leadership roles. Contact Roger Hankey at: 952 829-0044 - firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Hankey is a frequent contributor to InspectAPedia.com.
Arlene Puentes, an ASHI member and a licensed home inspector in Kingston, NY, and has served on ASHI national committees as well as HVASHI Chapter President. Ms. Puentes can be contacted at email@example.com
Wikipedia provided background information about some topics discussed at this website provided this citation is also found in the same article along with a " retrieved on" date. NOTE: because Wikipedia entries are fluid and can be amended in real time, we cite the retrieval date of Wikipedia citations and we do not assert that the information found there is necessarily authoritative.
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Or choose the The Home Reference eBook for PCs, Macs, Kindle, iPad, iPhone, or Android Smart Phones. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAEHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.