How to Maintain Gas Fireplaces

Gas fireplaces with gas logs require little cleaning or maintenance throughout the year. Because they don't use wood, there are no ashes, partially burned logs, or soot to deal with. They do require some annual maintenance however, as well as periodic professional maintenance.

Annual Maintenance for Gas Fireplaces

Each year, you should perform these simple steps to clean your gas fireplace and ensure that it's working properly. You can hire a professional to do it, or you can do it yourself. If you have a vented gas fireplace, there is slightly more maintenance, but it's still manageable.

1. Turn off the gas valve, pilot light, and electrical igniter.

2. Remove the gas fireplace insert and take it outside.

3. Dust off the insert. Visually check it for cracks. Most inserts are concrete, so you shouldn't see cracks, but call a professional if you spot any or see excessive wear around the gas release valves.

4. Dust and vacuum the fire box.

5. Remove the glass doors. Clean them with vinegar and water or glass cleaner. If the doors have developed a white film or fog, buy a special glass door cleaner to remove it.

6. Inspect the lines and valves for cracks and wear. Make sure all the connections are tight.

7. Reassemble the fireplace. Relight the pilot and perform a 30-minute test burn to ensure all parts are working properly.

Professional Maintenance for Gas Fireplaces

In addition to the annual maintenance you can perform yourself, you should have your gas fireplace inspected by a professional periodically. Manufacturers recommend once a year, but every two to three years should be sufficient unless you use the fireplace heavily.

At the visit, the technician will perform all of the above maintenance. He'll also check the pilot and electrical igniter, valve pressure, log position, electrical connections, and heat exchange. In addition, he'll test for gas leaks, inspect the chimney for cracks, and inspect the flue for rust caused by moisture in the gas.

If necessary, the technician will replace parts, replace the embers that wear out faster than the logs, and repaint the interior to correct any heat-induced discoloration.

Although gas fireplaces require less maintenance than wood-burning fireplaces, they're not maintenance-free. Perform these checks annually and schedule periodic service visits to ensure your safety and the proper function of your fireplace.

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