Gas fireplaces differ to wood burning fireplaces and stoves in that there is less mess leftover within the fireplace after a fire.
Wood burning fireplaces can have leftover ash and charred bits of wood that needs to be regulated and cleaned, but gas fireplaces burn very cleanly and typically leave no trace of use after a fire and so do gas fireplaces need to be cleaned?
Gas fireplaces typically require an annual service that can involve the cleaning of a gas fireplace to ensure that it is operating as safely as possible. An annual gas inspection can be done by a certified professional in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines.
We have our gas fireplace serviced every year in line with the operating manual for our particular gas fireplace and as part of this service the fireplace is checked for any build-up of dirt or dust and cleaned as necessary.
We’ve therefore explained in more detail below using our own gas fireplace as an example:
- Whether gas fireplaces need to be cleaned and what parts should be inspected and cleaned.
- Who can clean a gas fireplace.
Do You Need To Clean A Gas Fireplace?
While wood burning appliances can produce creosote that can line the internal walls of a chimney and may need sweeping more than once per year, gas fireplaces don’t produce any creosote but a gas fireplace itself and any associated chimney will still need to be inspected and cleaned as part of an annual service to ensure that it’s working correctly and safely.
Instead of creosote, gas fireplaces may release other particulates that may be harmful to a chimney if not inspected regularly and dealt with before more serious and expensive problems can occur.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) explains:
‘Appliances fueled by natural gas or propane may not produce the visible soot that appliances burning other fuel do, but they can deposit corrosive substances in your chimney.’CSIA
Many manufacturers of gas fireplaces recommended that a service and cleaning is undertaken at least annually.
The manual for our own particular gas fireplace states:
‘The customer should be instructed on the need for regular servicing. Frequency of service depends on usage, but MUST be carried out at least once annually.’Focal Point Fires
We therefore pay a professional to come and service our gas fireplace every year, typically before the Winter season to ensure that it’s in full working order and any dust or other dirt has been removed prior to using.
Before cleaning a gas fireplace a few things should be undertaken as a safety precaution. As an example, the user manual for our gas fireplace recommends that before the fireplace is serviced:
‘Isolate the fire from the gas supply. Ensure that the fire is fully cold before attempting service.’Focal Point Fires
Items included within the service of our own particular gas fireplace (as stated within the manual) that should be cleaned, if required, include the:
- Fireplace opening
- Burner pipes
- Injector, pilot assembly and burner tube
- Burner tray
- Ceramic components, such as any fake logs or coals
Other parts of a gas fireplace that may require annual cleaning, or cleaning more often depending on how often the fireplace is used, can be the glass front if you have a direct vent gas fireplace.
Cleaning A Gas Fireplace Chimney
If a gas fireplace uses a chimney to exhaust waste air from a home (like our natural vent gas fireplace insert does) then the chimney may also still need to be inspected at least annually in line with recommended guidelines.
Our gas fireplace is a natural vent type meaning that it was installed within an existing masonry fireplace and utilises the chimney for venting.
It’s therefore important that if a gas fireplace uses a chimney that the chimney is inspected as part of annual servicing of the gas fireplace, or inspected separately by a chimney sweep also at least annually.
Even if you haven’t used your gas fireplace within the last year, debris such as bird nests may have accumulated within the chimney and must be removed prior to using a gas fireplace that relies on the chimney for ventilation.
Cleaning a gas fireplace chimney will ensure that waste air is being exhausted properly from a home.
Gas Fireplace Burner Tray Cleaning
The burner tray typically sits below the visible area of the gas fireplace where the fake logs/coals are located and the flames are seen.
This burner tray should be inspected and cleaned at every annual gas fireplace service to ensure that the flames are being produced correctly and safely.
As an example, the manual for our particular gas fireplace states for the burner tray:
‘Clean away any debris that may have accumulated. The filter element should also be blown clean.’Focal Point Fires
Gas Fireplace Firefront Cleaning
The area at the front of the fireplace, which can also be referred to as the firefront, can be cleaned using a vacuum cleaner and/or a dry cloth as required.
Gas Fireplace Ceramic Parts Cleaning
The ceramic parts of a gas fireplace are the fake logs or coals found where the flames are produced. Cleaning the ceramic parts of a gas fireplace will help keep the fake logs/coals looking nice and ensure that the flames are working correctly.
Our particular gas fireplace uses coals and these should be cleaned as part of an annual service or as and when required.
As an example, the cleaning instructions for our own particular gas fireplace for the coals are to:
‘Remove the ceramic components. Gently clean in the open air.’Focal Point Fires
Ceramic parts of a gas fireplace should always be replaced as per the instruction manual.
The coals on our gas fireplace need to be put back in a specific order and in the right location. Seek professional help if you’re unsure of how these parts should be put back in your gas fireplace.
Gas Fireplace Pilot Assembly Cleaning
The pilot assembly of a gas fireplace should be cleaned to ensure that a gas fireplace is starting correctly and safely.
Cleaning may be done with a soft brush and by blowing air.
Who Can Clean My Gas Fireplace?
A gas fireplace service should always ideally be done by a certified professional who is fully qualified to be able to work with gas appliances.
The instruction guide of our particular model of gas fireplace states:
‘Servicing must be carried out by a competent person, such as a registered installer.’Focal Point Fires
An annual service should include the cleaning of all major gas fireplace components for safe operation.
Gas fireplaces should always be maintained, inspected and cleaned in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines for your particular model of gas fireplace, and in line with local and/or national building codes and regulations, for both servicing requirements and servicing frequency.