Living Space: Essential gas fireplace maintenance tips to keep your home safe
A gas fireplace lets you enjoy the warmth and coziness of a glowing fire by simply flipping a switch or pressing a button. Without the mess of ash and soot, these clean-burning units require much less upkeep than traditional wood-burning fireplaces, but a bit of gas fireplace maintenance is essential to keep yours in top shape.
First, it’s recommended that you have a licensed gas service provider inspect your fireplace at least once per year. The technician can thoroughly clean gas fireplaces, check for gas leaks, ensure the fireplace is venting properly and identify potential safety issues.
Between annual inspections, you can also conduct some gas fireplace cleaning yourself. Especially if you use your gas fireplace frequently, dirt, dust and other residue can build up over time, eventually resulting in musty odors or glass doors that appear milky or foggy. If your fireplace’s interior or glass looks grimy, follow the steps below on how to clean a gas fireplace.
How to clean a gas fireplace
Working around gas components can be dangerous. Before you begin, read the manual for your gas fireplace and be sure to follow all manufacturer’s instructions, paying special attention to safety precautions.
What you need
Step 1: Turn off the gas and disassemble.
Switch the pilot light and the gas valve off and wait for the fireplace to cool down completely before cleaning. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, remove the glass panel to access the interior of the fireplace. Set the glass on a soft surface, such as a dropcloth or an old towel. If possible, remove the decorative logs (this might require a screwdriver) and place them on the dropcloth or towel. Consider taking a photo of the fireplace before disassembling to help you remember where to put everything back.
Step 2: Clean the fireplace interior.
Vacuum up any dirt or dust inside the fireplace, moving carefully around the grates, decorative stones or other components. If the stones or rocks inside your gas fireplace are small enough to get sucked up by the vacuum, carefully remove them before vacuuming. Dust off the logs, using a soft cloth, and replace them inside the unit.
Step 3: Clean the gas fireplace glass.
Gas fireplace glass sometimes acquires a white, foggy-looking film resulting from chemical residue. To clean, use a glass cleaner specifically designed for fireplaces, and buff with paper towels or a soft cleaning cloth. Replace the glass on the fireplace.
Other gas fireplace maintenance tips
The faux logs and rocks inside your gas fireplace can become discolored, worn or cracked over time. If you notice any signs of damage, replace these components immediately. Ensure you have a working carbon monoxide detector installed nearby that can alert you in the event of a leak. Call a professional if you notice any signs of excess moisture, cracked paint, stains or other damage around your fireplace or chimney, and schedule your annual fireplace inspection in the late summer or early fall before the temperatures drop.
(Better Homes and Gardens is a magazine and website devoted to ideas and improvement projects for your home and garden, plus recipes and entertaining ideas. Online at www.bhg.com.)
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