Gas fireplace maintenance
Doing proper gas fireplace maintenance will help your gas fireplace and all it’s parts last longer year after year. Better yet, you’ll get to enjoy the comforts it provides and the peace of mind knowing you’ve inspected, cleaned and made any repairs necessary to make it as safe as possible for you and your family.
But just what’s involved in keeping your gas fireplace maintained? Gas, either natural or propane (a type of LP gas) is involved, not to mention gas valves, flues, dampers, chimneys, logs and more. What does each require every season to ensure they are in their best working order? Well, be assured that it isn’t much work. In fact, carrying out proper gas fireplace maintenance is just following a relatively small check list and making sure to call in professionals should you suspect or run into anything that’s changed in operation or performance of the gas fireplace over time.
Gas fireplace maintenance steps
Below is a straightforward guide to maintaining your most old and modern gas fireplaces. You can follow it just before the cold season or after it completes. Remember, if you keep up regular gas fireplace maintenance, you won’t need to hire professionals to come repair or service it as often, perhaps even for many years.
Before doing any tasks, first observe the appearance of your gas fireplace flame. If it has changed color, or you notice dark soot collecting on logs or glass doors, it’s a good idea to call your gas company. Find out if they have changed or added anything to the gas they’re supplying. The composition of the gas can affect how your gas log fireplace looks. This can happen if you haven’t used your gas fireplace in a long time.
Before doing any gas fireplace maintenance, turn off your main gas supply and electrical power. If necessary, let your fireplace cool down. A big word of caution is to remind you that even when the fireplace’s pilot is burning, there are some very hot parts inside. As such, always wear heavy gloves when working with logs, stones, grates, etc.
Remove gas fireplace logs, stones and the burner. (If you want, take a photo or memorize the position of the logs if you like how they were configured or want to maintain the manufacturer’s suggested setting). Take them outside and lightly brush with a medium-coarse bristled brush, e.g. nylon type. With the firebox empty, do the same with the brick walls to remove dust or soot. If you have a vacuum hose with a brush attachment, this does a good job of removing small debris from your firebox.
Turn off the pilot and carefully inspect the pilot nozzle and burner mechanism. With a clean, dry cloth, go over all these components. Look at what you’re removing on the cloth to determine how much you’re cleaning them. Note, if you have an electric ignition gas fireplace, you will not have a pilot. Electric ignition are the types that light automatically, and you don’t turn a valve on the outside with a key.
Take a look at your vents on the front side. This is an important part to gas fireplace maintenance. Just ensure they are solidly in position and remove any dust, cobwebs or other debris that may have gotten trapped in the vents. You may have vents at both the top and bottom of your gas fireplace, and if so, check both.
When returning the decorative logs, stones and grate to your gas fireplace, again see if you can match the configuration you had before. It’s actually important that these pieces stay in precise locations on most units.
When the fire is lit, you can use your nose for part of the gas fireplace maintenance process. Check that you don’t smell any gas. Flame adjustment can be made by moving the main air shutter. You want a yellow/orange flame and not soot emanating from the flame itself. On your viewing glass doors, just clean with soap and water, windex or a special fireplace glass cleaner if desired.
If you run into problems during your gas fireplace maintenance steps try to consult your owner’s manual or call the manufacturer for assistance. Many issues come up having to do with the gas lighter not lighting. If that happens, then the gas/air mixing chamber inside or beneath your logs may be clogged. Since this chamber has small perforated holes, it isn’t hard for them to be blocked by ash, dust or soot accumulation. This is especially true if your fireplace is just equipped with a gas log starter and uses regular wood. Don’t try to clean or unclog them. Just purchase a new replacement chamber. The new part should be rated for your type of gas, either natural or propane (LP). Just be sure to the gas valve is in the off position before disconnecting the old chamber.