On cold nights, it can be relaxing to warm up by the gas fireplace, so relaxing that it makes sleeping a lot easier. Before you fall asleep, though, you begin to wonder, is it okay to leave it on during the night?
Is it safe to sleep with the gas fireplace on overnight? You should not sleep with your gas fireplace on overnight due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If properly maintained, it may be safe to do so; however, it is recommended to use a smoke and carbon monoxide detector.
Although not as dangerous, the heat may negatively affect your sleep. It may feel nice initially, but during the night, you may get hot and sweaty.
Despite the risks, however, there are still some people who do leave their gas fireplace on overnight. After all, once you begin to feel that wonderful warm feeling, it can be difficult to resist the temptation to turn it off.
Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Gas Fireplace on Overnight
It’s a nice thought to be able to warm up your whole room or house with a gas fireplace, especially when you can have a cozy sleep during a cold night. But, the fact still remains that it can pose a risk.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning is just one of the primary risks. If you leave the gas fireplace on overnight, the first danger you could face is this. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. The only way to detect it is by using specialized equipment. Being exposed to this gas can lead to poisoning and possible death. With the fireplace on, wood or fuel, such as propane or kerosene, can form carbon monoxide in the air. Because it’s a gas that you can’t notice, it is sometimes referred to as a silent killer.
Once you breathe this poisonous gas into your lungs, it starts to bind to the hemoglobin found in the blood. The blood then delivers the gas to all the cells in your body. So, the more of it you inhale, the greater you are naturally and unknowingly poisoning yourself.
Carbon monoxide also deprives your body of oxygen, and when your body is lacking in oxygen, you will start to feel very sick. If you’ve ever encountered people getting ill overnight and find out they leave their gas fireplace on often, you might know why.
As mentioned before, carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal if not dealt with. Even having the specialized equipment to detect it won’t keep it away. The best option would be just to avoid it, such as not leaving your gas fireplace on overnight while you sleep.
Will The Gas Fireplace Help You Sleep Better?
We all have our preferences on how hot or cold we want the room. In the winter, you will probably opt for leaving the gas fireplace on to keep warm. However, will that really help you to sleep better?
Sleep quality affects our health and how we function each day. A bedroom that is too warm will likely disturb your sleep, even if you prefer a warmer room. You may sweat during the night and have to change your clothes. If the bed sheets are damp, you will have to change them too or risk health issues. You may also disturb your partner by tossing and turning or fiddling with the sheets.
There are other ways to keep warm while sleeping, aside from leaving your gas fireplace on all night. You can use a thick blanket (view on Amazon), thermal underwear, and thick socks. Even a warm hat could help. These are lots of alternatives, especially if you’re sleeping with someone who prefers a colder room temperature than you do.
What If Something Goes Wrong While You Sleep?
A well-maintained gas fireplace is generally safe for your household if you are there to monitor it. This does not mean you have to keep on checking it every few minutes. But at the least, you should know if something is off, such as the air quality, so that you can act accordingly.
However, if you’re sleeping, especially in the deep sleep stage, you are unaware of what is going on around you. If there is a gas leak, you may never know until it is too late. Breathing in carbon monoxide may not be fatal, but there is a high possibility that it will damage your lungs and cause other respiratory problems. If you have a baby or toddler at home, this is especially dangerous. Asthma attacks and other health issues are possible effects that you will want to avoid.
Fire, in general, can be very dangerous, even with a high-quality fireplace and assurance from the installer. You should have peace of mind before sleep. For this reason, it is better to turn off the gas fireplace and put your mind at ease.
Safety Tips If You Accidentally Left the Gas Fireplace On
If you accidentally left the gas fireplace on, you need to open all the windows in the house immediately. If you struggle to resist the temptation to turn your fireplace off, then you should invest in a good ventilating system. This will help reduce the chance of carbon monoxide building up. Another tip is to go outside and get some fresh air now and then to reduce the carbon monoxide concentration in your lungs. Of course, we will always inhale carbon monoxide, but if you get enough fresh oxygen, then it won’t become too poisonous.
Investing in a good smoke and carbon monoxide detector (view on Amazon) is another way to protect you and your family. This battery-powered detector provides constant monitoring of CO levels, even if there is a power failure.
How Many Hours Can You Run a Gas Fireplace?
Leaving the fireplace on for an extended period increases the risk of dangerous fumes. As to how long you can keep it running, it all depends on the type of fireplace you have. Nowadays, you can find some that are built to run continuously, while others can only be used for a few hours at a time.
If you want to know exactly how long you can use your fireplace for and how to use it safely, you first need to find out what type it is. There are three types, which are:
- Direct Vent – Most of these types of fireplaces can run continuously thanks to the exhaust’s vent placed through the house’s exterior wall. But, this is only the case if you seal the fireplace’s glass door while it’s on.
- Vent-Free – These are fireplaces that have a non-vented secondary heat source. Since they don’t exhaust fumes outside of the house, you can only use it for a while, usually for a few hours at a time.
- Fireplace Inserts – Inserts come with a vent pipe placed within the chimney to exhaust the fumes. Just like a direct vent, you can use it continuously if you seal the glass door.
Taking into account the type of fireplace you have will make it much easier for you to know its safety precautions. That way, you can know what you can do and what you can’t do.
Gas Fireplace Safety Precautions
Gas fireplaces are generally safe when it comes to toxic fumes, including carbon monoxide. But still, it is a good idea to have a detector installed near the fireplace. This is especially true if you have a vent-free type. The detector will help you to keep track of the level of carbon monoxide in your home; if it is becoming dangerously high or not.
1. Keep Flammables, Children, and Pets Away
Besides having a detector, it is also essential that your curtains and drapes, as well as other loose objects, are a few feet away from the gas fireplace to avoid the risk of fire. If you have small children or pets, you can keep them away by placing a fence or gate around the fireplace. The fireplace can get extremely hot when it’s running, so this will also keep them from getting burned.
2. Fireplace Installation
The most important thing when installing a fireplace is that it is installed by a professional, such as a registered Gas Safe Register Engineer. Don’t ever attempt to install it on your own. Only a qualified engineer knows precisely how the main gas supply is fitted. If it’s not done correctly, your house insurance can become invalid. Also, make sure it is working correctly and safely by having your fireplace serviced annually.
3. Cracked or Damaged Units
If you see a gas fireplace with cracked glass or damaged parts, never ever turn it on. If the glass is broken, it could be leaking gas, which could soak your entire house with deadly gas. Even using a damaged thermometer is not advised. If the thermostat is damaged, it will be difficult to tell if the furnace is on or off. In situations like this, call a qualified heating contractor right away.
4. Cleaning and Leaving the House
When it comes to cleaning the fireplace, never do so until you know it is completely cool. Don’t attempt to use water on it, especially if it has a hot glass as the glass may crack. Furthermore, don’t go out until you have the fireplace turned off completely. Just as it is recommended not to leave it on while you’re asleep, you should also not let it run unattended.
Maintenance is crucial if you have a gas fireplace. It is not only so you can ensure that it works correctly, but also to guarantee the safety of everyone in the home. By performing regular maintenance and knowing all about your fireplace, you can find out and avoid any damages beforehand. Then you’ll be able to prevent the risk of being exposed to carbon monoxide or your house catching on fire.
Newborn and Small Children Safety for Your Gas Fireplace
In some countries where the cold weather can get extreme or is very common, it’s not unusual to find the whole family snuggling up near their gas fireplace. While you have made sure to follow the safety precautions of your fireplace, there are extra precautions you should consider if you have newborns or small children in the house. These little ones are very fragile at this stage of their lives, so you really want to be extra careful with them around.
Fireplace Dangers for Children
Carbon monoxide poisoning in children is rare, but it can happen to them as well, sometimes just as bad as their lungs are more delicate and developing. Additionally, there is a potential risk of young children getting burned on the glass and metal parts of the fireplace, and you know what children are like, they annoyingly want to touch everything!
If you have newborns, you should never leave them near the fireplace. Although the fumes may not be much for adults, for small babies, they are a big deal. As for the risk of fire, having a fire escape plan helps. You should develop and practice a fire escape plan for your family so that your children can always know what to do in these emergency situations.
Running the Gas Fireplace All Day
Hopefully, you have now decided to not leave your gas fireplace on overnight. But, there is one more thing we need to cover about leaving your gas fireplace on overnight while you enjoy your beautiful slumber. This, of course, is how much it costs to run your gas fireplace. Here are several factors that can affect costs:
- The size of your house
- The number of times you use the fireplace
- Your insulation system
- Primary heating system
If you want to save on your heating bills, turning down your main heating source in some parts of the house will help. You can then use the gas fireplace as a zone heating system, keeping only one place warm where you can stay most of the time during the cold. But if you want to save even more, you may want to look for other heating alternatives than just relying on your gas fireplace.
Final Words – Is It Safe to Sleep with the Gas Fireplace on Overnight?
Instead of leaving your gas fireplace on overnight or all day while you relax, why not try some other winter heating alternatives? As good as fireplaces are, like with all things, there is a time and place for everything. Understanding your fireplace, as well as knowing other alternatives, can ensure you a much safer and more efficient family home.