Gas fireplaces are popular for many reasons including beauty, ease of use, EPA-standard efficiency and great heating performance. To operate your gas fireplace safely, there are a few things you need to do on a regular basis. Here are some simple maintenance tips to get your fireplace ready for winter.
Clean the fireplace
Gas fireplaces don’t require the heavy-duty cleaning needed with wood-burning units, but some cleaning is necessary. Start by cleaning the blower by brushing and vacuuming out dust buildup. This will prevent blowing dust all over the place when you use the appliance again after the off-season.
Next, vacuum the entire firebox, making sure to not pick up ceramic embers, if they’re part of your fireplace setup. You can then wash all the firebox components such as the log set, rocks, beads, etc. Create less mess by doing this at the sink with basic dish soap. Finally, wipe down all interior surfaces of the firebox with a mild cleanser and warm water.
Clean the vent pipe
Vented gas fireplaces should have their vent systems cleaned and checked once a year. Many homeowners bring in a certified chimney expert for this work, just to make sure it’s done correctly and thoroughly. Gas fireplaces don’t fill their vent systems with creosote and soot the way wood fireplaces do, but they still need a little preventative maintenance and cleaning. A good cleaning will ensure that the pipe is open and able to draft as it should.
Glass fireplace door cleaning
Before the busy burning season is a good time to get your glass doors clear and shiny. If they’re heavily coated, wash with a mild detergent then use a window cleaner to brighten them up. While cleaning, check the gasket seals to make sure the doors close tightly and completely to prevent the escape of dangerous carbon monoxide when you’re using the fireplace.
Pilot light inspection
The main thing here is to see that the light is working and that connector wires are secure and in good condition. If the light doesn’t work or if anything feels loose or looks damaged, a professional fireplace service technician should be called in.
While you can do some things to get your fireplace ready for another season, some other things can only be done by a professional. Annual safety inspections are important to ensure that every component in your gas fireplace system is working according to spec and that the fireplace itself is operating at peak efficiency. A thorough inspection definitely should be on your pre-winter to-do list.
It’s always good to remind yourself of these gas fireplace safety tips:
- Do not use the unit if you smell gas
- Have working carbon monoxide detectors appropriately placed within your home
- Never burn any foreign materials in your gas fireplace
- Teach young children to stay away from the fireplace – when it’s in use and when it isn’t
- Don’t leave home for an extended period with the fireplace running
Fluesbrothers Chimney & Fireplace of Kansas City, KS, is standing by to help with all your fireplace, stove and chimney needs. We’re certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America and the National Fireplace Institute. Call us at (913) 236-7141 to get your gas fireplace in tip-top shape for the winter.