Gas Fireplace Maintenance before Fall
Although gas fireplaces are known for efficient clean burning fuel, they do need to be regularly maintained just like any other type of heating appliance. There are a variety of components including the burner, logs and grate, that can become damaged, clogged or wear out during normal use. Also, particles of soot can build-up on the surfaces inside the firebox, on the doors and on the burner itself reducing its efficiency.
Performing recommended gas fireplace maintenance before the cooler fall season arrives, can help extend the life of your heating appliance and spot problems before they become a more serious and costly issue or even a safety hazard.
Before you begin:
For your safety and to reduce the risk of an explosion, always check to make sure that the gas to your fireplace is completely turned off, including the pilot light before performing any routine maintenance. If you are not sure where the pilot light is located or how to turn it off, contact your fireplace repair specialist for assistance. Allow at least 60 minutes for the gas to dissipate and the fireplace to cool.
What you will need:
All you really need to perform routine maintenance on your gas fireplace before the fall season is a vacuum or hand-vac, a soft brush, streak-free glass cleaner and paper towels. Also, a pair of work gloves comes in handy so you don’t leave any fingerprints after cleaning the ceramic, metal and glass components inside the fireplace.
The ventilation system is a major component that protects the occupants in your home from exposure to heat, gas and fumes from combustion. It’s important that the chimney and any vents that are connected to the gas fireplace be inspected and cleaned at least once per year by a certified chimney sweep. If you have a traditional vented gas fireplace, fumes are routed up through the chimney. Although there is no creosote or burning ash, the chimney and flue does need to be inspected annually for cracks, water or gas leaks and debris that can block the escape of poisonous carbon monoxide fumes.
If you have a direct-vent gas fireplace, there will be one or more pipes that directly connect to an outside vent. You will need to vacuum out the dust that accumulates in the vent, ensure there is no blockage in the pipes and replace any worn pipe fittings. This is also a great time to change the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector.
To make it easier to inspect and clean, remove the logs and grate from inside the firebox. You may also need to temporarily remove any safety screens or decorative elements in front of the fireplace to give you unobstructed access to the firebox. Vacuum any debris inside the firebox. You can also use a soft damp cloth to wipe down the floor and walls. Then carefully inspect all surfaces and components. If you notice any rust, cracks or flaking it is best to contact a fireplace specialist for repairs.
Next, check the gas burner for rust, dents or other damage and make sure the area around the pilot light is not clogged. Replace any worn out components like valves, fittings and the pilot. You can use a soft brush like a paint brush to gently remove soot from the burner. Avoid using any abrasives or cleaning agents as it could damage the burner.
Most gas fireplace logs are made from high quality ceramics and are meticulously designed to look just like real wood and are often sold as a set with a burner. Vented gas logs should be inspected regularly and any soot can be cleaned with a soft brush to maintain its authentic appearance. Damaged logs will need to be replaced. Vent-free logs require inspection by a qualified fireplace professional.
Check the glass doors and replace them when scratches, cracks or any broken glass are found. You may notice a thin film and a layer of soot that are stuck to the glass. You can use a streak free glass cleaner or soft cloth with mild detergent to clean the glass.
Contact us to schedule an annual maintenance check-up for your gas fireplace before fall and be ready when the first cold snap arrives at your door.