Shattered glass, here's yer sign
I got a call from a customer that needed his glass replaced. I asked how it became broken and his voice changed from calm to irritated. He said his wife was playing with their 8yr daughter and her heard his wife say "Hey, listen to the funny sound it makes when you throw water on the fireplace glass." He heard sizzle, sizzle.......oh crap. Yup, he is still finding little pieces of glass.
I don't know if I'm going to be able to locate the glass because it is about 12 years old. I guess they may be getting a new DV gas fireplace.
Duh!! Throwing water on the glass????
At least tey were honest..I usually get the "I dont know what happened, it happen after you serviced it so it must have been something you did!!!"
Yup, they are afraid to tell you the truth. I had one guy with a ventfree with pilot probs. As soon as I walked in the door I saw the logs were out of place. He said our guys left them that way the last time we were there. I took the logs off, cleaned them and the firebox and found "someone" had disconnected the pilot line. I showed him the pilot line and told him that whoever "didn't" move the logs also "didn't" disconnect the pilot line. I showed him what would have happened had he been able to get a spark to the pilot line........it blew an 18" flame across the firebox. I think that scared him enough to take care of any future bouts with tinkeritus.
If they would just be honest it would save me time and them money.
Amazingly enough, we are able to order glass for a number of older gas fp units. Check with your local supplier for that make - there's a good chance you'll be able to get it.
We usually get a few people a year with 5+ year old fireplace where the glass just suddenly breaks for no reason when they are running it. Of course when we give them the price of $200+ and a service call charge to come clean it up and swap the glass they demand it should be under warranty. Sorry but if a glass is going to break from mfg defects it would be within the first week (usually first hour) of use.
I have asked people if their children could have tossed a toy into in and chipped it, then it broke when they used it next. "oh no, my kids never throw toys" hahaha good one.
Ok, here is the deal, Tempered glass will randomly shatter. I don't know why but it does. I think it has something to do with temprature variations and the grain of the glass developed in the tempering process. If you talk to a automotive window guy they will tell you this.
I have thought that keeping the wing nuts loose would help in preventing shattering glass but then I remember the glass shattering when I just remove it. Doah!! Oh well.
But this is the big question, If the glass shatters 1 hour after you left a job what is your policy in the replacement.
I don't think that most customers truely believe that if the glass shatters after you were just there, you did cause the problem.
For this reason my policy is to eat it and replace it my self. It sort of pisses me off because I don't think they ever know that I just gave that to them but they think they were entitled to it.
I may need you help. I have a good reputation here and this is this sort of service that may help make that so.
What is the policy of your companies?
Yeah if it breaks the day we service the fireplace we will replace the glass for free. One can only assume the tech slightly damaged the glass which made it break.
I will replace anything I mess up, no questions asked. For glass, I will even give it a few days after the service (hasnt happened yet). I remember taking out a B vent glass one time and it completely shatter in my hand. I didnt even get a chance to put it down yet when all of a sudden there was a loud noise and next thing I knew, i was holding two very small pieces of glass. I have had calls of broken glass but I got the call 6 mos after the fact and the customer stated that it happened after I left but they have not had a chance to call yet. The answer to them was..Sorry for your loss.
Tempered glass can have tiny specs of impurities called "inclusions". These defects create stress points that eventualy lead to glass failure. The key to tempered glass is to keep all stresses equal and unilateral. Uneven heating can cause it to shatter just as easily as a diamond ring, water or a kid's toy hitting it. I've seen homeowners with raised brick hearths lean it against the sharp corner of the brick. I know of a service company that routinely sets the steel grate directly on the glass.
As for replacement glass, you really need to get the OEM glass. Not all tempered glass is tempered glass. If the glass makeup or thickness is off, it can affect the heat signature of the fireplace. This can lead to premature failure of components or even fire so don't take chances. Using non-OEM glass voids the warranty and listing.
Some mfrs still make glass for very old units so check with the mfr.. If a mfr. is out of business you and the client have a decision to make. Do you risk it, leave the fireplace out of commission or replace the entire fireplace? BTW, replacement with a non-OEM part should also be approved by the AHJ but even then most of these guys do not understand what I just wrote so it is incumbent upon the technician to inform the AHJ on such matters.
Keep the fire inside the fireplace.
I thought that most new inserts/stoves used ceramic glass instead of tempered glass.
Tempered glass can loose its temper after 500F when subjected to the heat of inserts / stoves.
I am reading technical info from Schott Applied Energy Systems on their ROBAX ceramic glass. It is rated at 1400F.
They can make ceramic glass in many sizes and shapes.
Both ceramic and tempered glass are in use in gas fireplaces today.
Originally Posted by gary_g
"Typically" factory-built fireplace doors will have tempered glass in them.
I believe all modern woodburning stoves and inserts will be equipped with ceramic. Some older units like the CEMI Concept II used mica or "isinglass" rather than actual glass.
"Typically" inserts and fireplaces over 40k btu are where you'll find ceramic, although that's not a guarantee, to my knowledge.
We sell gas fireplaces with a tempered or a ceramic glass option, though. It's a crazy mish-mashed world out there in fireplace-land.
CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep
CSIA CDET Dryer Exhaust Technician
NFI Master Hearth Professional
Notice: Advice given is general in nature. Local laws and ordinances may govern and/or supersede the information and recommendations provided. Final determinations are the responsibility of a local qualified industry professional with first-hand knowledge of the situation, and the AHJ.
Hey Rob what size are you looking for, I have lots to choose from, do not substitute with ceramic glass as it is not as forgiving if there is a buildup of gas.