Why Does My Gas Fireplace Smells Like Kerosene?

If you have a fireplace in your home, you know the joys and comforts of having a fire roaring while curled up on your couch with your favorite book or watching your favorite show on a frigid winter evening.

And, as much as your fireplace can bring with it a sense of security, warmth, and coziness when working correctly– it can also be a cause for concern when it is not functioning properly.

One of the main concerns from gas fireplace owners is the smells that it can produce. And, it is certainly normal to be concerned about certain smells that your fireplace produces, such as natural gas or kerosene, or chemical smell. So it’s no surprise that the single most common question that fireplace owners ask is—is it normal for a gas fireplace to smell?

And the answers are not as straightforward as a simple yes or no. While some smells are indeed normal depending on the age, make, and setup of your fireplace, others can indicate something wrong and shouldn’t be ignored.

Let’s take a closer look at this hot topic.

Is It Normal For a Gas Fireplace to Smell?

To know if the smells coming from your fireplace are normal, it is first important to know what type of fireplace you have. There are many variations, however, the most important when it comes to the smells your fireplace could be producing are if it is vented or ventless.

Vented gas fireplaces are vented to the exterior of your home and take in outside air for combustion, and exhaust all the gases outside of your home. Due to the air circulation and venting to the outside, a vented gas fireplace should have little to no impact on the air quality of your home.

Ventless gas fireplaces are usually the culprit when it comes to smell from gas fireplaces. This is because instead of venting and circulating air to and from the outside, it is re-circulated back into the home.

Are Fumes From a Gas Fireplace Harmful?

Naturally, you are wondering if these fumes and gases are dangerous or harmful. Fireplaces are a source of carbon monoxide, which can be extremely dangerous to you and your loved ones.

Generally, a vented gas fireplace can be left on for long durations; however, it is not recommended to be left on overnight. On the other hand, Ventless gas fireplaces should not be left on for longer than a few hours at a time, and the manufacturer’s specs should always be followed.

Regardless of which fireplace you own, you should make sure that you have a working carbon monoxide detector near your fireplace and all across your home at all times.

The reason for this is because you cannot smell carbon monoxide, and a build-up can go unnoticed—with potentially fatal effects.

10 Reasons Your Gas Fireplace Smell Like Kerosene

Kerosene, on the other hand, has a very noticeable smell. And there are a couple of reasons why your fireplace may be producing a smell resembling it.

One reason you may be smelling kerosene is that your gas fireplace logs are new and need to be broken in. The smell associated with the new logs goes away after about 3 or 4 uses.

Another source of a kerosene smell may be impurities in the air of your home. Maintaining a healthy air quality in your home is important, particularly if you have a ventless gas fireplace. These impurities are invisible and make their way to the fireplace to be burned up. The product of which can be a variety of smells, including kerosene.

Some common contributors of impurities in the air are as follows:

  • Petroleum-Based Products
  • Oil-based Products
  • Paints
  • Varnishes
  • Cleaning Products
  • Any oil-based products
  • Pet hair
  • Pet dander
  • Dust
  • Cigarette Smoke

So if you have a family pet, have painted recently, or regularly use heavy cleaners in your cleaning, these very well could be the reason your fireplace is producing strange smells, including kerosene.

How Do I Stop My Gas Fireplace From Smelling?

There are a few simple steps you can take to improve the overall air quality within your home to make it safer and smell much better:

  •  Dust; Vacuum: One of the easiest things you can do to have an immediate impact on the air quality of your home is dust and vacuum often. This is especially true if there are pets in the household, as their fur and dander can build up very quickly.
  •  Air Purifier: A quality air purifier for your home can be a very wise investment and drastically change the air quality within your home.

Other Gas Fireplace Smells You Shouldn’t Ignore

If you have taken these steps and are still noticing strong smells emitting from your fireplace, there may be more significant issues that a professional needs to be diagnosed by a professional.

This is especially true of any smell of natural gas. If the scent is heavy and lasting well after use, this may indicate a gas leak, which will need to be addressed immediately.

Gas Fireplace Maintenance Tasks to Prevent Smells

It is also essential to make sure you are performing the necessary maintenance on your fireplace, not just to prevent smells but also to ensure safety. Some of these include:

Schedule Annual Inspections: get your fireplace checked by a professional to ensure it is in proper working order.

Clean Your Fireplace: Clean your fireplace as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Be Vigilant: keep an eye out for any signs that your fireplace may be malfunctioning, whether it is lingering or new smells or moisture building up in certain areas.

Conclusion

There are little things that come close to a warm and crackling fireplace in the dead of winter. However, to get the most out of your fireplace and ensure overall safety, you should ensure healthy air quality in your home, as well as take necessary preventative and safety measures.