Use These Tips To Keep Your Natural Gas Fireplace Running All Winter Long
When the temperature drops, homeowners in Billings reach for the cozy blankets and settle down in front of your gas fireplace for a relaxing evening at home.
Unlike a wood-burning fireplace, natural gas fireplaces burn cleaner and are lower maintenance, meaning you can spend more time doing what you love and less time scooping ash from the fireplace.
But that doesn’t mean you never have to clean your gas fireplace. Much like other types of fireplaces, a gas fireplace requires regular maintenance to remove byproducts and keep it running safely.
If you don’t regularly clean a gas fireplace, you could be faced with hazardous gas leaks that can cause carbon monoxide poisoning and dangerous creosote buildup. Also, it could cause your gas fireplace to stop working and require costly repairs or replacing.
Take a look at our ultimate guide to cleaning your fireplace the right way to ensure you and your home stays safe.
What Type Of Gas Fireplace Do I Have?
Before you start preparing to clean your fireplace, you need to understand what you’re working with. There are many different makes and models of gas fireplaces. It’s essential to know the type you have so that you can approach the task with the right materials.
Here are some of the different types of fireplaces and how to tell them apart.
Direct Vent Gas Fireplace
A direct vent fireplace uses air from outside your home for combustion rather than air from inside your home.
You’ll know if you have this type of gas fireplace if there is a completely sealed combustion chamber that vents to a pipe that goes through the outside of your wall or your home’s roof.
The firebox is completely sealed, making this model safer and more effective at heating your home.
Vent-Free Gas Fireplace
A vent-free gas fireplace, also known as ventless, exclusively uses the air inside your home for combustion.
You’ll know you have a ventless gas fireplace if your unit is completely enclosed and has no pipes leading outside your home.
These models are more energy efficient because no heat is leaked outside, but you must clean them frequently to prevent any toxic fumes from entering your home since there is no exterior vent.
B-Vent Gas Fireplace
Also known as a natural vent, this type of gas fireplace uses a b-vent pipe that is installed through your home and ends above the roof. They use air from your room and the outside air for combustion.
You’ll know you have a b-vent fireplace if your fireplace is vented vertically and does not have a sealed firebox.
Now that you know what type of gas fireplace you have in your home, let’s look at the ins and outs of keeping it clean.
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How Often Do Gas Fireplaces Need To Be Cleaned?
While gas fireplaces don’t burn wood and produce smoke like a wood-burning fireplace, you should clean them once a month.
Regular cleaning will keep dust and debris from building up in the mechanisms and allow you to inspect the unit. This practice will help prevent surprise repair bills and keep your gas fireplace running all winter long.
As part of your cleaning routine, check your carbon monoxide detector batteries. Most models have a test button that lets you gauge if the detector is functioning properly in just a few seconds.
This action could save lives in the event of a carbon monoxide leak, so you’ll have a clean gas fireplace and functioning detector!
What Do I Need To Clean My Gas Fireplace?
Like with any home maintenance task, you need the right tools for the job.
Here’s a list of available materials and tools you’ll need to keep your natural gas fireplace in tip-top shape.
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Remember, never use ammonia-based cleaning products on your gas fireplace. They are flammable, and any residue left behind can wreak havoc on your system.
Always consult the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you are using materials that won’t harm your gas fireplace.
How To Clean A Gas Fireplace The Right Way
Now that you are ready to start, it’s time to clean your gas fireplace. Make sure you’ve turned off the gas, and the unit is cool to the touch if you’ve had it on recently.
Turn the gas valve, located on the wall next to the fireplace, completely off and check to ensure the pilot light is out. Wait a few minutes to begin to let the gas leave the pipes safely.
Now let’s look at how to clean your gas fireplace.
1. Disassemble The Gas Fireplace
Open the glass doors. If you must completely remove them, lay them down on a soft cloth. Remove any metal screens or mesh curtains for easy cleaning.
You may want to take these components outside to prevent dust and debris from making a mess in your living space.
2. Brush The Unit & Inspect The Parts
Using the unused paintbrush or hand broom, carefully brush dust and debris away from the gas logs or decorative components like lava glass or other fireplace glass.
Never spray liquids like fireplace cleaners or water onto your gas fireplace components. Carefully inspect each log or piece of fireplace glass for severe burn marks, holes, or cracks.
Use the same brush to remove dust from the burner unit and ensure there are no clogs in any of the vent holes that could impede the gas flow.
3. Vacuum The Dust And Sweep Away The Cobwebs
Glass stones, lava rocks, and other types of fireplace glass can accumulate lots of dust. The hose attachment of your shop vac or vacuum cleaner will come in handy to remove it.
Since the rocks are small enough to enter the house, use nylon netting or cheesecloth to cover the nozzle. Secure it with a rubber band to keep it in place. That way, the dust can get through, but the rocks won’t.
Be sure to vacuum all the corners to remove insects, cobwebs, and other debris. You can use an old cloth to wipe down the gas line components and pilot light gently.
4. Polish Any Glass Or Metal Parts
Next, clean the glass doors on your gas fireplace to remove any cloudiness caused by the combustion process.
Use a cleaner that’s made specifically for fireplace glass. Never use a lye-based oven cleaner or a glass cleaner with ammonia. The residue could cause permanent etching that will ruin your fireplace glass.
Spray the cleaning solution and allow it to sit for several minutes before using a soft cloth to wipe away the film and dirt. If you have a mesh curtain or metal screen, use your vacuum to remove the dirt from both sides.
Once you’re done, inspect the gaskets and look for any cracks or deterioration that indicate they may need replacing.
5. Give The Mantle And Hearth A Good Wipe
Now, turn your attention to the mantle and hearth around your gas fireplace. This area collects a lot of dust and pet hair, so you must give it a good clean.
Depending on your surfaces, dust with a microfiber cloth and remove any soot. Avoid harsh cleaners and opt for warm water to prevent etching or cross-contamination.
6. Put Your Fireplace Back Together
Once you’ve finished cleaning your gas fireplace, reassemble all the pieces. Put the burner back together and place the gas fireplace logs, lava glass, or stones in the proper location.
Reinstall any gas fireplace inserts and ensure they are securely attached. Make sure nothing is blocking the thermocouple or thermopile.
Replace your fireplace glass and any mesh curtains or metal screens. Once you’ve closed up your fireplace, turn the gas back on and check the pilot light. You may have to safely light your gas fireplace if it doesn’t come back on.
7. Inspect Any Exterior Vents
Finally, do a visual inspection of your outside vents to check for blockages. These could be caused by animals, leaves, or general lawn debris and can cause toxic fumes to invade your home.
If you suspect the flue or vent is clogged, call an expert fireplace maintenance company to come out and ensure your vents are clear and functioning correctly.
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Schedule An Annual Inspection With R&T Services
Your gas fireplace is the heart of your home. It gives your living space a warm, comforting glow and helps you reduce your heating costs in the winter months.
But if you clean it monthly, does your gas fireplace need a regular service call? Absolutely!
Even with the most diligent cleaning schedule, every gas appliance requires annual maintenance from a certified technician to ensure it’s running properly.
They will run critical tests and inspect all components. This allows the technician to catch any issues early on and helps you avoid costly repairs.
So contact the experts at R&T Services today to get your Billings, MT gas fireplace serviced and keep your home comfortable all year long.