A guide on gas fireplace maintenance

gas-fireplace

 

Many homeowners find the clean-burning nature of gas fireplaces appealing. The ability to gather around the fireplace and enjoy its warmth without worrying about as much daily upkeep — such as shoveling out ash — can undoubtedly make a gas fireplace an excellent option for many homes.

However, if you own a gas fireplace, you still need to properly maintain and care for this feature. Proper maintenance can help expand its life span while keeping you and your family safer. Your fireplace needs monitoring to check for potential carbon monoxide leaks, adequate ventilation, needed fireplace repair and gas leaks. 

If you own a gas fireplace, we will walk you through what you need to know about home safety and maintenance. 

 

What maintenance is required for a gas fireplace?

To keep your gas fireplace in working order, pay attention to a few critical maintenance guidelines.

  • Get an annual inspection for your fireplace. You want a professional to look over the fireplace to ensure that you do not have any damage that could cause cracks or leaks.
  • Do regular cleanings of your fireplace. Even though gas fireplaces do not need to be shoveled out like wood fireplaces, you still need to clean them regularly to remove dust and dirt. A handheld vacuum likely works well, but read the manual for your fireplace. We will discuss more about how to clean your fireplace below.
  • Give your lava rocks an inspection a few times a year. These are the rocks that heat up with the fireplace. Look for signs of wear and tear or cracks, which necessitate replacement. 
  • When you run the fireplace, watch for signs of dampness or white stains around the fireplace. These are signs that something is not working as intended, and you need a professional to come and give it a closer look.

 

How to clean a gas fireplace

Part of keeping your fireplace in working order is regularly cleaning it. We will walk you through the core steps involved in this process so you can confidently use your gas fireplace. 

What you need

Before starting, gather all the materials needed to accomplish your project. This will save you time and effort because you won’t have to look for supplies in the middle of your project. 

The items you will want to have on hand include:

  • Screwdriver
  • Dropcloth
  • Old towel
  • Vacuum
  • Fireplace glass cleaner
  • Paper towels
  • Microfiber cloth

1. Turn off the gas and disassemble

Before doing anything, ensure you shut off the gas. You do not want to let any gas escape while you work, which can be extremely dangerous. Find the gas valve and turn it off to shut it off. You may also need to turn off the pilot light if it applies to your model. Reading your owner’s manual can help you determine what you need to do for your specific model.

Once you have shut off the gas, take the fireplace apart to better access all the different areas.

  • Remove the glass from the front. Screws will hold the glass in some models, while others use spring clips. Carefully place the glass on a clean and soft surface so it does not get scratched or damaged during the cleaning.
  • Remove the lava rocks. It may help to take a picture so you remember how they looked before removing them.
  • Remove the gas logs. Take out each log carefully. Put them on an old towel so they don’t get anything dirty. 

Now you are ready to clean the rest of the space. 

2. Clean the inside of the fireplace

Begin by cleaning any buildup out of the fireplace to eliminate dust and grime in the space. You can use a vacuum to clean out the firebox. Get rid of dirt or cobwebs that might have built up in the firebox.

Next, use your microfiber cloth to wipe down the walls of the combustion chamber. 

Be sure to clean all the items that go back into the fireplace interior. Specifically, use your vacuum to clean any dust that settled on your logs. 

Finally, use a separate container to run cold water over your rocks. Let them dry completely before they go back in. 

3. Clean the glass doors

Now turn your attention to your glass doors. Give them a careful, thorough cleaning with the glass cleaner. Use a soft cloth or paper towel to make sure you do not scratch the glass while cleaning. Doing this regularly can help prevent the buildup of carbon deposits.

Once you clean the glass, begin putting the fireplace back together. Replace the rocks and logs where they were. Then reattach the glass doors.

 

How to perform regular maintenance to your gas fireplace

As you regularly use your gas fireplace, it is good to perform basic maintenance tasks to make sure it is in proper working order. Here are a few best practices to help you maintain your gas fireplace. 

Before each fire

Before you start your fire, do a quick visual inspection. During this visual inspection, you will look for:

  • Any logs out of place
  • Glass panes that have become loose
  • Visible dust or debris on the logs

If you notice any of these issues, take a moment to correct the problem before starting the fire. If the problem is something you cannot fix quickly or by yourself, then hold off on starting the fire until you can have a professional come and help.

Before each burn season

You will also have some routine maintenance you need to do before each burn season. Make sure you hit each of these steps every season:

  • Perform a chimney inspection. Look for signs of staining, cracks in the mortar, or other signs of damaging wear and tear that can indicate problems that need correction. 
  • Get a professional chimney cleaning. Have your chimney professionally cleaned. Although a gas fireplace might not give off creosote like a wood-burning fireplace does, it still needs an annual chimney sweep to ensure you do not develop any blockages.
  • Make sure the combustion chamber of the gas fireplace has been cleaned. You do not want a buildup of dust and debris around the fire.
  • Check that the fireplace lights up correctly each time you turn it on. If it does not, that could indicate a problem with the lighting mechanism.
  • Check your carbon monoxide detector. A functioning detector is essential because a gas fireplace with a leak or blockage could cause a buildup of carbon monoxide in the room. 

Annual maintenance

Finally, there are annual gas fireplace maintenance tasks that you will want to take care of each year: 

  • Inspect your fireplace components. First, make sure that you carefully look at the glass in your door, your firebox and your logs. Make sure you do not see any cracks or other signs of damage.
  • Check your vent enclosures and flashings around the chimney. Make sure everything is sealed correctly.
  • Verify you do not see any signs of blockages or problems in your ventilation system. 

While this inspection will help you monitor your fireplace, ensure that you do not neglect to secure your professional annual inspection. 

 

FAQ on gas fireplace maintenance

When discussing gas fireplace maintenance, we encounter several common questions. We will address these frequently asked questions to help you better care for your gas fireplace. 

Should gas fireplaces be serviced?

Yes, your gas fireplace should be inspected and serviced by a professional at least once per year. This inspection helps catch any wear and tear and the beginning signs of degrading parts before they become serious problems. Because malfunctioning gas fireplaces can release gas and carbon monoxide, taking care of your fireplace is an important safety concern.

How often should a gas fireplace be professionally cleaned?

Cleaning a natural gas fireplace should be a monthly task to prevent the buildup of dust and debris, such as pet hair, bugs and cobwebs. However, this cleaning can be a DIY project. 

Besides this typical cleaning, you also want to make sure your chimney gets professionally cleaned and inspected. Even if a gas fireplace doesn't produce creosote, it produces other types of buildup you want removed. Also, ensure no other debris ends up in your chimney, such as animal nests. Getting your chimney professionally cleaned once per year generally works best.

Finally, you should have your gas fireplace professionally inspected once per year, which can also help check for a buildup of dust or other grime in the space. 

How much does it cost to maintain a gas fireplace?

Your cost to maintain your gas fireplace will vary considerably depending on what might need to be fixed and how long it has been since your last inspection. However, according to HomeAdvisor, some important costs to keep in mind include:

  • Fireplace inspection costs typically fall between $75 and $125
  • Gas fireplace restoration costs fall between $390 and $2,000
  • Firebox repair costs fall between $160 and $750
  • Overall gas fireplace repair typically falls between $177 and $933

 

Discover how a Cinch warranty covers built-in home systems and appliances

Taking proper care of your gas fireplace will help ensure that it serves you well for years to come. As you take proper care of your fireplace, you also want to ensure that the rest of your home is protected. 

Fortunately, although Cinch does not cover fireplaces specifically, we offer home warranties for your built-in systems and major appliances. Protect everything from your plumbing system to your washer and dryer. If something goes wrong with a protected part of your home, a quick service call to Cinch will help you connect with a vetted, qualified service provider. You can have repairs completed as quickly as possible and get back to enjoying your home. Learn more about the plans offered by Cinch.

Come and experience the convenience and peace of mind from working with Cinch. Reach out today for an instant quote

 

Taking proper care of your gas fireplace can help this appliance last for years to come. Here is how to care for your fireplace.