Fireplace Installation

Polluted air may be being blown into your home by your positive pressure fireplace.

Utah Inversion – Is your positive pressure fireplace blowing toxic pollution into your home?

         Positive Pressure Fireplaces – Are They Filling Homes with Toxic Outdoor Pollution?

Because they blow outdoor air into your living space, positive pressure fireplaces may have the potential to significantly increase the health risks to you and your family when operated in areas where there are inversions and outdoor pollution. In Utah, that includes residents of Salt Lake City and anyone living along the Wasatch Front.  Other ares of concern include Logan and St. George, as those cities have also been affected by increased pollution levels due to inversions and growth.

How Does a Positive Pressure Fireplace Work?

Positive pressure fireplaces operate in a manner similar to swamp coolers by blowing in outdoor air through a high speed fan system to positively pressurize your home. Imagine blowing air into a paper bag with small holes in it and you will get a miniature idea of how it works.

Instead of cooling the air like a swamp cooler, the outdoor air is pulled in and heated by the positive pressure fireplace and then blown directly into your living space. Some have confused the manner in which positive pressure fireplaces work with the way the standard furnace heats your home – they do not operate the same. Your furnace does not pull in outdoor air and then push it into your living space, instead it  efficiently recirculates the existing air in your home through the cold air return and then out to the rest of the home through the heat registers.

Click Here to Learn How a Gas Furnace Works

What is the Danger?

The high potential for increased health risks exists when the positive pressure fireplace is operating normally and blowing outdoor air into your home on days and  nights when the pollution levels are at a moderate or high level. Even with pollution at low levels, it is easy to see how the air quality could gradually worsen as your positive pressure fireplace continuously pumps in polluted air from the outside. The danger of blowing outdoor air into your home significantly increases during an inversion because toxic pollutants are trapped in the lower atmosphere and continue to increase in severity and density the longer the inversion lasts. Inversions can last for weeks.

When the local news is telling you not to go outside because of bad air quality – You may think twice about operating any appliance that could continuously blow toxic air into your home, especially if anyone in your family suffers from heart disease, lung disease, asthma, or shortness of breath.

Asthma Sufferers Affected by Longer Inversions – Deseret News

As stated in the above article link by, PM2.5 Pollution – the kind that is prevalent in Utah, especially during an inversion, is associated with leukemia, lymphoma, and central nervous system tumors, especially in children. PM2.5 pollution causes pre-maturity and low birth weight in infants.

If you, or someone you know, has a positive pressure fireplace, you may want to contact the EPA and your State and local heath department to further address your concerns and learn more about the potential health risks of operating your positive pressure fireplace in areas where there is any level of outdoor pollution.

As with any gas or wood appliance – please install carbon monoxide detectors in your home and read the instructions thoroughly on their operation and maintenance. Thousands of people are sent to the emergency room each year to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning, too many of them die unnecessarily. Don’t let it be you or your family.

In order to understand the serious health hazards created by inversions and PM2.5 pollution, read the following article. – Winter Pollution 

How Do I Know if I Have This Type of Fireplace in My Home?

Google“Positive Pressure Fireplaces” to see if you or someone you know may need to be concerned with the type of fireplace they have.

NOTE: This article’s intention is not to infer that positive pressure fireplaces are faulty or do not provide heat. Its intent is only to address the manner in which they bring outdoor air into your home. If that air consists of pollutants – common sense alone will tell you that you are significantly increasing your health risks by constantly forcing it into your home and breathing it.

Utah Department of Health
Environmental Protection Agency – EPA

If Your Fireplace Looks Like This – It’s Time for a Service


If Your Fireplace Looks Like This – It’s Time for a Service

Fireplace in Serious Need of Service

Gas Fireplace Before Being Serviced from Southern Utah Fireplaces

If your fireplace looks anything like the gas fireplace to the left – your fireplace may not be safe to operate. As fireplaces accumulate carbon deposits, dirt, dust, rust, spider webs, and all manner of insects and other critters – orifices can become blocked or completely plugged. This condition can cause a delayed ignition when the unit is turned on, causing a build up of gases and a mild to severe explosion inside your fireplace.

Newer fireplaces have safety features built in to them to handle this type of issue up to a certain point without blowing out the glass – but older units do not. Having your fireplace thoroughly inspected by a professional and also cleaned out and refurbished on a yearly basis provides you with the peace of mind that you and your family deserves. Be sure that the professional you hire is not an “inspection only” type of a serviceman. It is essential that your fireplace is cleaned and checked as thorough as possible, just cleaning your glass is not sufficient.


Gas Fireplace After Being Serviced from Southern Utah Fireplaces

Gas Fireplace After Being Serviced from Southern Utah Fireplaces


This is what a thoroughly serviced and refurbished fireplace should look like upon completion – just like new. Expect the most from your service professionals and make sure you ask for references – they are often your best source of reliable information.

Should a Handyman Work on Your Gas Fireplace?

After 25 years of servicing gas fireplaces my knowledge has only to do with the laws of the State of Utah as I am not familiar with other States and their regulations. In Utah – anyone that works on a gas fireplace must be certified as a Natural Gas Technician by the Rocky Mountain Gas Association. The law pertains to fireplace professionals, heating and air conditioning technicians, and anyone else attempting to service a gas fireplace – including handymen and well-meaning neighbors and brother-in-laws.

If the person working on your fireplace is certified as a Natural Gas Technician, has a business license, and is insured – the next thing you will want to make sure of is his years of experience. Don’t leave the safety of you and your family in the hands of unqualified individuals – no matter who they are. Gas fireplaces are not the simple appliances that many people assume. Without the right equipment and knowledge, your fireplace could be left in a very dangerous state. Natural Gas and Carbon Monoxide are not to be taken lightly and having certified technicians with the right equipment to test for leaks is extremely important.

There are also many safety features on your fireplace that must be tested and assured that they are working properly. I have been on way too many service calls where individuals have wired past the safety features – why someone would do that I have no idea. Don’t let just anyone work on your fireplace, even if it will save you a couple of dollars. The consequences are not worth it.

Whoever you choose to service or repair your gas fireplace, make sure you ask to see their Natural Gas Technician card – by law they must have it on them when working on your gas fireplace.

An important thing to remember, as stated by the fireplace manufacturer in your owner’s manual – Make sure you have your gas fireplace serviced yearly to keep it safe, efficient, and looking new for years to come.

Adding a Fireplace to Your Home – Is it worth the investment?

This article brings to light the importance of making sure you install a furnace rated fireplace in your home and not an out-dated inefficient and expensive masonry fireplace. It also prompts me to stress the importance of doing your own research and finding those people that actually know what they are talking about – rather than so called “experts” whose specialty is just writing articles.

It is not new news that masonry fireplaces are costly and extremely inefficient. The majority of earth-friendly home builders do not incorporate these fireplaces into the energy efficient homes that are being built today. They are installing furnace rated gas fireplaces that cost less than $1000 dollars and often operate more efficiently than the average furnace and heat the areas you spend the most time in. This type of fireplace can reduce the cost of running your furnace and pay for itself over time. As energy costs rise – the time to recoup your return on your initial investing shrinks considerably.

Who wouldn’t pay more for a luxury that warms your body as well as your soul – all while paying for itself and providing a peaceful environment to gather around and enjoy.

A Regularly Serviced Fireplace Helps Keep You and Your Family Safe.

Over time – fireplaces accumulate dirt, dust, rust, spiders, bugs, flying ants, and all sorts of surprises; the critters and dirt usually start out as minor issues but are often the source of serious damage and unsafe operating conditions that you can’t see. Regular service will help keep you safe while lengthening the life of your fireplace.

Fireplace owners are rarely aware that their fireplace should be serviced yearly by a professional.

Gas Fireplace and Pellet Stove Manufacturers Strongly Advise that your fireplace or stove be serviced by a qualified fireplace service technician each year.

Yearly Service can help save you from costly future repairs due to normal wear, tear and neglect, but it will also help save on fuel consumption by making sure that the fireplace is operating cleanly and at it’s most efficient capacity.