How to Clean Your Gas Fireplace

Delivering nearly instantaneous warmth and ambiance, a natural gas fireplace is a great way to keep your home cozy all winter long. Clean burning, natural gas fireplaces require less work to maintain.

While a natural gas fireplace or fireplace insert does not require routine cleaning of ashes, soot or creosote glaze from your chimney, it does require maintenance to keep it running safely and at its best. Even if your gas fireplace is rarely used, regular cleanings will help to prevent dust and dirt from causing harm to its mechanisms, while providing you with an opportunity to inspect for any damage.

Giving your natural gas fireplace a thorough cleaning at the end of the season will keep it running smoothly for years to come. Here is a quick tutorial to teach you how to clean your gas fireplace at the end of the season.


1. Gather the Right Tools

Like most tasks, cleaning your natural gas fireplace is easier when you have the right tools at hand. You’ll need a vacuum with a hose attachment, rags, an old towel or bed sheet, a soft-bristled brush such as a paintbrush or hand brush (a toothbrush works great!) and an alcohol-based cleaner that is specifically designed for fireplaces from your local hardware store. You may also prefer to wear a face mask to avoid inhaling dust and dirt.


2. Shut Down Your System Completely

Turn off any power buttons and switch the natural gas valve to the "off" position. This can usually be found on the wall near the fireplace insert or unit. Ensure that the pilot light is completely out and wait ten minutes for all remaining gas to clear from the piping. If you have used the fireplace recently, make sure it has cooled completely before beginning.


3. Dismantle the Unit

Start with the outside and work your way in, removing any metal screens or curtains and the fireplace’s glass cover. This should be followed by the removal of the natural gas logs and the burner unit. When the time comes to reassemble things after cleaning, it is very important that they are returned to their exact configuration. For this reason, you may wish to snap a quick photo before you begin or after each step so that you can reassemble more easily after cleaning.


4. Vacuum up Debris

Using the hose attachment on your vacuum, clean your fireplace’s interior, including any visible dirt, insects, or cobwebs, especially in the corners. Don’t forget to clean around the lava rocks or glass stones if your fireplace has them as these can get quite dusty over time. Use the vacuum to remove dust from both sides of any metal screens or mesh curtains if you have them.


5. Collect Remaining Dust

Using the soft-bristled brush, dust the logs of your natural gas fireplace from top to bottom taking care to brush away dust and dirt from each log and decorative part. Do not spray cleaners or water on these parts, they should merely be brushed and/or vacuumed. As you clean, inspect each component for excessive burn marks, cracks, holes or wear. While you are brushing the burner unit, take a moment to inspect the vent holes for any dirt or build-up that may clog or impair the flow of gas. Using a dry cloth, wipe down the pilot light and gas line components too.


6. Clean the Glass Cover

Apply the alcohol-based fireplace cleaner to the glass cover and wipe with a dry cloth, restoring its natural shine. Sometimes the glass can become cloudy over time due to the combustion process, and regular cleaning can help to prevent the glass from becoming etched permanently. While you are cleaning the glass, inspect the rubber gaskets for signs of deterioration or cracking.


7. Wipe the Frame

Using a damp rag, clean your gas fireplace’s mantle and exterior frame.


8. Reassembly

Ensure that each component is completely dry before moving towards reassembly. Damp parts may interfere with the operation of the unit and its ability to operate safely. Review the photo you took earlier and reassemble your natural gas fireplace. Make sure your logs are positioned in the exact way they were before cleaning, to minimize the risk of carbon monoxide escaping. Replace or close the glass cover and return the natural gas line to the "on" position.


9. Check Your Vents

If your natural gas fireplace vents outside of your home, this should be checked each month to ensure no nests or leaves are clogging it.


That’s all there is to it! Cleaning your natural gas fireplace or fireplace insert at the end of the season will keep your unit running efficiently and safely; providing a cozy spot for your family to enjoy year after year.