Gas fireplaces continue to be extremely popular heat sources because of their ease of use, minor upkeep, and low cost to operate. And while most gas fireplaces will remain worry-free heating appliances for years to come, it is important for homeowners to understand the basics of gas fireplace maintenance.
Cleaning your gas fireplace
While you may not need to shovel out ashes and soot after every use, gas fireplaces still need to be cleaned regularly. To prevent buildup around the components of the fireplace, gas fireplaces should be cleaned one to two times per year depending on use.
Cleaning the outside and inside of your gas fireplace is easy; however, there are still safety precautions to consider before cleaning your gas fireplace. First, make sure the gas has been completely turned off. Next, the fireplace should never be cleaned immediately after use; wait to clean until all the fireplace components are cool to the touch.
Exterior glass and metal panels can be wiped down using a damp cloth or glass cleaner daily to remove dust, smudges, or smears. Interior fireplace components can be gently cleaned using a clean, dry cloth or a clean soft-bristled paintbrush. When cleaning interior fireplace components, take care to ensure that no gas lines or valves are shifted, as even moving them a few millimeters can impact fireplace performance. Lastly, only specialized gas fireplace cleaners should be used on interior components; traditional cleaners can damage the fireplace or leave behind flammable residue.
Flue and vent maintenance
Many homeowners are surprised to learn that their gas fireplace still needs to have its chimney swept! However, flue and vent maintenance are an important part of keeping your gas fireplace operating safely and efficiently.
Similar to their wood-burning counterparts, gas fireplaces should have annual chimney sweepings and inspections; instead of removing soot and creosote, technicians will look for signs of acid erosion in the flue. This regular maintenance ensures that the fireplace is operating safely and efficiently and that there are no venting issues with the fireplace.
Common gas fireplace issues
One of the most common gas fireplace issues is incomplete combustion. Incomplete combustion typically occurs when a flue is improperly sized for its fireplace unit or the fireplace does not vent properly. When caused by an improperly sized flue, incomplete combustion can also cause water buildup in the flue; this moisture can have a corrosive effect on the flue lining and cause significant deterioration.
Venting problems can cause gasses or smoke to back up into your home. Because of this, it is important to call a certified chimney professional if you experience any of the following signs of venting problems:
- Damp patches on interior walls or exterior walls
- Peeling wallpaper
- Blistered paint
- Stains on the ceiling around the chimney
- White stains on exterior masonry
- Eroded mortar joints
- Crumbling bricks
Gas fireplaces are safe and efficient heating appliances for your home; while they may be easier to use then wood burning appliances, they still require regular maintenance to work their best. If you have questions about adding an efficient gas fireplace to your home, contact The Cozy Flame today!