Cleaning your Gas Fireplace
If you have or have had a wood burning fireplace you probably remembered to have it professionally maintained, but now that more of us have replaced wood burning fireplaces with gas fireplaces have you thought to have them professionally maintained and cleaned?
A gas fireplace does burn cleaner than a wood burning fireplace which is why many of us have them in our homes. However, like a wood fireplace, you should still clean a gas fireplace every year. I clean the glass in our fireplace in the fall before we’re going to be using it daily.
Before starting this cleaning task, make sure the fireplace is cool and turned off. It’s also a good idea to make sure the gas valve is turned off.
Cleaning the Glass
The first thing is to remove the glass from the fireplace (if possible); refer to the manual to make sure you are able to safely remove it, generally it is held on by clamps or screws. After you have removed it set it down on an old sheet or drop cloth to keep the floors from getting dirty when you clean the glass.
If you have young kids or pets, try to keep them at a safe distance so they don’t accidentally step on the glass.
Once you’ve removed the glass, it’s time to clean it.
Why Does the Glass on a Gas Fireplace Turning Black?
A black coating can be caused by a clogged burner port or logs not positioned properly which can cause incomplete burning and a buildup of soot.
If left to sit over the years, the heat can fuse this to the glass making it difficult to clean.
What is the White Haze on the Glass of my Gas Fireplace?
A white haze on the glass can be caused from the glass being cool or cold when turning on the fireplace which can allow moisture from the ignition process to condense on the glass. The moisture will evaporate as the glass warms but can leave behind a residue.
A white haze can overtime happen from improper combustion and can also be part of the natural burn off or settling period of use during the first few years and if not cleaned regularly and left to sit; this white haze can actually become permanently etched into the glass.
But as the fireplace is used over the years this natural burn off will diminishes.
Regular Glass Cleaning
If you clean the glass on your gas fireplace fairly regular, chances are it only needs a light cleaning, as the amount of “soot” is minimal. If you see a few brown/black spots on the glass, which is fairly common, it can be caused because the flames are necessarily clean, just like a candle can leave a black residue on the glass container surface.
If the glass is pretty clean, you can most likely use a glass cleaner. But if you see a few of those black spots, try to use something like a nylon scrubber, that won’t scratch the glass, and Dawn dishwashing liquid to carefully remove the spots - I have used a polymesh scrubber that Dawn makes.
Heavy Duty Glass Cleaning
If the glass is dirty with a black coating or a white haze, you’ll need to do a heavy duty cleaning. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, call in a professional to have the glass cleaned.
If you are comfortable doing this, use either a polymesh scrubber or super fine grade #0000 steel wool that won’t scratch the glass and Dawn dishsoap.
- Apply a big squirt of Dawn to the inside of the fireplace glass.
- Use a soft rag to rub the Dawn around all the glass and let it sit about 5 minutes.
- Dip the nylon scrubber or super fine grade steel wool in warm water and gently scrub the glass surface. You must keep the glass surface wet as you’re scrubbing to avoid scratching so you’ll need to dip the scrubber or steel wool in the water frequently.
- Wipe off some of the glass to see how well it’s working, if it’s clean, rinse with clean water and wipe dry. If the surface is still dirty, repeat the process until clean.
If the white haze has been left unclean for a long period of time and appears to be permanent, I haven’t tried this but have heard that a burnishing paste (which you can buy in an automotive store) could possibly remove the haze?
If the glass surface is so bad that a cleaning hasn’t worked, you may need to replace the glass.
Cleaning Dust and Cobwebs from the Logs
Dust and cobwebs can keep your fireplace from functioning properly. Have you ever noticed a dirty burning smell the first time you turn on your gas fireplace? If you have, it’s from the dust that has settled on the logs over a period of time.
I try not to move the logs when I’m cleaning them as they need to be positioned correctly in order for it to run and function properly.
For logs that are dusty and just need a light cleaning, use the vacuum or a shop vac with the brush attachment to clean the logs and surrounding area. If dust is caked in corners of the logs, you can use a small soft paintbrush first to help dislodge before vacuuming.
If you notice the logs look worn down or if they are cracked or broken, they should be replaced so the fireplace continues to function as it should.
If it looks like there is an excessive amount of black carbon buildup on the logs, it could be an indication of a problem and you should call to have your fireplace serviced.
It is equally as important to have the chimney/venting system serviced as it is to keep the gas fireplace clean and maintained.
A certified professional can evaluate and make sure yours is functioning properly, safely and efficiently.
Taking the time to clean your gas fireplace and a few dollars spent is well worth it to keep your fireplace running safely and effectively.