Burning Clean: How to Clean Your Natural Gas Fireplace

2043_04_GASWISE_01_1200X1200Hate the cold weather? We understand – but at least it’s a great reason to warm up to your natural gas fireplace. Before you kick your legs up on the sofa, though, we have an important question: when was the last time you cleaned the fireplace?

Sure, natural gas fireplaces tend to be cleaner and more efficient than wood-burning fireplaces, but they still require maintenance to ensure a safe, clean-burning experience. Follow the steps below to ensure your fireplace is a space for relaxation – not for fire hazards.

What Type of Fireplace Do I Have?

There are wood-burning fireplaces, gas-burning fireplaces, ethanol-burning fireplaces, and even electric fireplaces. While all these devices have their benefits, we’re, of course, partial to natural gas fireplaces. These are known for burning cleanly while creating more heat at a lower cost. There are three types of natural gas fireplace units:

  • Vented Natural Gas Fireplaces: These expel air from a chimney or other exterior openings.
  • Ventless Natural Gas Fireplaces: No chimney required; these use indoor air for combustion.
  • Natural Gas Fireplace Inserts: With a fireplace insert, you can upgrade your wood-burning fireplace into an efficient, natural gas heat source without any major renovations.

The Power of Preparation

2043_04_GASWISE_02_1200X1200 (1)The right tools will help you give your vented or ventless natural gas fireplace a good, thorough cleaning. To start the process, have the following nearby:
  • Vacuum with hose attachment
  • Alcohol-based cleaner designed for fireplaces
  • Old towel or bed sheet
  • Cloth rags
  • Paintbrush or soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Optional: face mask

 
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1. Pump the Brakes (on the Gas): Switch your natural gas shut off valve (likely located near your fireplace along the wall) to the “off” position. Allow ten minutes for all natural gas to clear the system, and then ensure your fireplace has completely cooled.

Pro tip: Worried about experiencing a natural gas leak in your home? Here are four detection tips.

 
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2. Dismantle the Mantle: It may be what’s on the inside that counts – but when it comes to natural gas fireplaces, you should always start with the outside and then move in. First, open or completely remove the fireplace glass cover. Next, carefully remove the natural gas logs and place them aside on an old towel or bedsheet.

Pro tip: Snap a photo of your fireplace before you start cleaning! When you replace the logs in Step #5, they’ll need to be reassembled in the original position.   

 
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3. Get Free of Debris: Use the hose attachment on your vacuum to clean the interior of your fireplace. Clear out cobwebs and any visible, lingering dirt. If your fireplace has lava rocks, use the attachment to clean around them individually.

Pro tip: Be sure to pay attention to corners and avoid smaller debris that may clog your vacuum.

 
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4. Bust the Dust: Dust your natural gas fireplace logs from top-to-bottom using a paintbrush or soft-bristled toothbrush. Next, wipe down the glass cover with a dry cloth and an alcohol-based fireplace cleaner (one that is not ammonia-based) for a spotless shine. Lastly, dampen a rag with water and clean the exterior frame and mantle of your fireplace.

Pro tip: Before reassembly, be sure each natural gas fireplace part is completely dry; otherwise, it may be unsafe – not to mention difficult – to relight the fire.

 
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5. Replace the Space: Now that you’ve taken everything apart – it’s time to put it back together! Consult your owner’s manual and the picture you took in Step #2 to reassemble your natural gas logs. Remember, these should be arranged in exactly the same way as they were prior to cleaning to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning! Then, re-install the fireplace glass cover if you removed it in Step #1 and close it completely. Once everything is in place, pull up your towel or bedsheet carefully to capture any remaining dust or grime, and then follow the manufacturer’s directions to turn the natural gas back on.

 
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6. Have the Best Inspect: Did you know that natural gas fireplaces should be inspected yearly? From logs to lava rocks, a visit from a certified technician will help ensure every part of your fireplace is in working order. So, before you turn on your fireplace for the season, consult a professional to keep it in tip-top shape and ready to take on the winter.

The next time you’re cleaning your gas fireplace, use our guide to keep it firing on all cylinders. After all, home is where the hearth is!


 

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