Why Does My Wall Get Hot When My Gas Fireplace Is On?

Ian Haynes
by Ian Haynes

Gas fireplaces are a dream addition to homes for American homeowners because there is a certain charm to them. And to top it off, they are gas efficient, affordable, and look good in any setting.

That’s why it can be a bummer when these fireplaces start heating things they are not supposed to… like the wall behind them. Two possible reasons why the wall and other surrounding areas of the fireplace heat up can be excessive flame impingement and improper installation and maintenance of the fireplace itself.

If you want to know more about heated walls and why they are alarming, read on. Next, we’ll explore the workings of a gas fireplace and what might be causing it to go into overdrive.

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How Does A Gas Fireplace Work?

A gas fireplace does not emit smoke as it releases the waste gases away from home using a tube that goes into the chimney. Warmth and coziness are the only residues that make their way inside the house, and they are always welcome.

Almost all gas fireplaces are composed of fireproof logs designed to cover vents. An added feature of this fireplace is that the burning fire remains inside the glass surface. It also helps remove convection and radiant heat, leaving you indoors with fresh, breathable, and warm air that feels amazing.

Why Is The Wall Getting Hot…What’s Happening?

Many people complain that their wall or section near the gas fireplace gets hot. This is a reason for concern, especially for parents who are worried about the safety of their children and want to know if the ‘wall getting hot’ is safe or is it risky.

It’s a fact that many homes with a gas fireplace face this kind of situation. That’s because modern fireplace designs leave no room for conventional louvers – these are slats angled in such a way to allow air and light – or shutters. Instead, they’ve focused more on the attractive look and larger glass surface.

These new designs have entirely shifted the traditional fireplace dynamics and created new ones where the heat flow slows quite frequently near the gas fireplace and makes way for your wall to heat up. Besides, the gas fireplace creates by-products such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide, to name a few.

All these lethal gases may find their way inside the house with heat and cause serious harm. In addition to that, excessive heating can also damage the tiles inside the gas fireplace and the floor outside of it.

Here are a couple of reasons why your wall heats up while the fireplace is on:

Flame Impingement

Sometimes homeowners miss the look of logs in the wood fireplace and try to replicate that image with their gas fireplaces. This happens by adding ceramic logs that look good, just like their wood counterparts. However, in doing so, they’ve invited a flame impingement problem.

Flame impingement happens when the logs get overheated by the flames. To avoid this situation, you can do what most other homeowners have done – reposition the fireplace logs so that it won’t cause excessive heat.

But do it carefully, as you don’t want to disrupt the fire or affect its combustion in any way.

Unsuitable Installation

Incorrect positioning with no regard to the manufacturer’s instruction leads to overheating.

It is important to remember here that a gas fireplace can’t be installed spontaneously just anywhere in the house. Make sure you create a detailed plan and carry out a thorough inspection of the property to find the perfect spot for the fireplace.

That’s because it has a unique heat flow dynamics which need to be taken care of during installation. See, every manufacturer provides a manual with the unit, where they’ve outlined detailed instructions on how the unit ought to be maintained and installed.

Homeowners and architects must follow these guidelines to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the homeowners. Mostly, when the walls or other surrounding area of the fireplace gets hot, it means the installer hasn’t followed the manual and didn’t get proper clearances either.

And if you’re wondering how to deal with such contractors in the future, read this guide.

How To Keep My Wall & Home Safe From Excessive Heating

Luckily, most models have a feature that automatically turns off the gas in case of excessive heat.

Here’re a few things you can do:

Check The Temperature Around Your Fireplace

You can quickly tell if the fireplace burns excessively hot by looking at the nearby tiles, which may have turned dark or started corroding.

If you’ve got a damaged hearth floor or a nearby wall, they may lead to a fire emergency. Therefore, you’ve to check the wall and floor’s temperature frequently and shut off the gas fireplace while you’re out – read this article to know more.

You can monitor whether it’s overheating the wall by using a probe thermometer. To give you a general idea, the average temperature remains under 100°F. Anything above this is going to make you feel inordinately hot and also heat your home.

This way, you’ll know the fireplace is heating up and requires an instant solution to avoid fire risk.

Lower The Temperature When Necessary

In case you feel the walls surrounded by the fireplace are too hot, turn down the heat immediately. In case you don’t know how to do that, grab its instruction manual to see how to operate your gas fireplace. Otherwise, look online for instructions.

In fact, it is a good idea to use the manual to get familiar with your fireplace. After all, what good is having a snazzy fireplace in your home if you don’t know how to operate it right?

In addition to that, you can also use the instruction guide to inspect whether the clearances are followed in letter and spirit. In case you see code and guideline violations, it’s time to set things right.

Common Gas Fireplace Safety Guidelines You Should Follow

Almost everyone appreciates a gas fireplace in the house as it keeps you warm with little to no smoke, unlike wood-burning fireplaces, and adds to the room’s overall aesthetics.

But to ensure you have a long-lasting clean, and useful heat, you need to follow these safety tips:

  • Make sure you put all clothes, wood furniture, curtains, and other inflammable material at a safe distance from your gas fireplace
  • Don’t allow children or pets to come near the fireplace, especially if you’re facing excessive heating on walls and hearth floor
  • Know that it takes fireplaces a good while to cool down. So even if you’ve turned it, move cautiously around it until it has thoroughly cooled down.

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Related Questions

Are Gas Fireplaces Costly?

Expect to pay anywhere from $2000 to $4000 for an embedded gas fireplace, including installation. If these upfront costs scare you, know that running a gas fireplace is far more economical. The truth is that these are incredibly inexpensive compared to other types of fireplaces.at converting energy to heat.A gas fireplace uses up to 16,000 BTUs and is 70% to 90% more efficient than electrical variants. Expect to spend no more than $60 every year.

Can I Touch My Gas Fireplace?

No, you shouldn’t attempt to touch the gas fireplace when it’s working. Not only is the fireplace hot, but the surrounding area may also be boiling hot. It’s best to stay away from the wall and surfaces near the fireplace.Some homeowners make the mistake of installing their TV and other expensive devices over the fireplace. Other times, they put invaluable family heirlooms and decoration pieces up there. That’s never a good idea as the heat from the fireplace can ruin these items and also damage the electrical devices.

Can Gas Fireplaces Cause Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Yes, they can create carbon monoxide. If you haven’t maintained the fireplace as per the manufacturer’s code, not only does the combustion get affected, but it can also spread carbon-monoxide and other deadly gases inside your house.That’s why it is essential to have adequate ventilation in the house and have your fireplace installed by a professional.

Ian Haynes
Ian Haynes

Ian Haynes is a digital marketing specialist and has successfully written hundreds of home improvement guides. Outside of his work, Ian likes fixing old bikes and exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador.

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