Keeping our home warm during the colder seasons does not have to mean installing a rough and ugly heating system. In fact, the classic method of using a fireplace will always be effective and elegant. Today we can even install gas fireplaces to avoid dirt left by coal or firewood. That doesn’t stop us from knowing how to clean a gas fireplace.
Although we do not face the same type of dirt as in other fireplaces, this does not mean that it is less important to clean it occasionally. Any type of debris can mean a loss of performance.
What kind of pollutants can we find in our gas fireplace? The most common is dust. This accumulates easily in pipes and vents, creating plugs that prevent the passage of gas. Gas fireplaces are also prone to nest insects, such as spiders, since they do not have such high combustion temperatures.
Today we will indicate the proper process to keep all types of gas fireplaces in suitable conditions, as well as the parts that need to be checked, and how to clean them.
Safety aspects of gas fireplaces
Image source: Susi Builders Supply Inc.
Gas fireplaces are no stranger to wear or dirt. If we do not verify it with a certain frequency, it can suffer serious problems.
Electrical wires will eventually wear out, causing breakage in the insulator. A spark can be deadly when combined with gas. The pipes are prone to obstructions due to dirt, preventing the free movement of gas. It can also happen that some pipes have cracks, or that the joints between them are broken, which could cause leaks.
The first step for you to be safe while cleaning your fireplace is to make sure it is cold. The fireplace must have been turned off for two hours before it can be checked.
The next thing you should do is disconnect it. Close the gas valve and turn off the pilot light. Whether due to danger of explosion or poisoning, never perform maintenance on devices that use gas without having cut off the supply.
The fireplace protective glass plays a fundamental role in preventing carbon monoxide poisoning. If you don’t know how to replace it, hire an HVAC expert to do it for you.
An additional protection measure is to install an alarm near the fireplace that detects carbon monoxide levels in the air, alerting you from possible leaks.
How to clean a gas fireplace properly
The cleaning of gas fireplaces should be done monthly. Unlike other fireplaces, it has to be checked even if we do not use it constantly to avoid that, when using it, we discover problems in the pipes and cables.
After you close the gas valve, wait a few minutes before performing any maintenance or inspection. This with the purpose that the remaining gas dissipates.
Start with the protective glass
The first thing we will clean will be what we have most accessible: the fireplace glass. Once the gas has dissipated, gently remove the glass and place it horizontally on a smooth surface. On some occasions, you will have to remove the glass from the hinges that hold it
There are multiple fireplace glass cleaners in the market that you can purchase. These look like soap, producing foam that is responsible for corroding dirt from the glass. Be sure to buy an alcohol-based cleaner. Just apply it and leave it to rest for 15 minutes. Then remove it with another clean cloth.
Now you can reinstall the glass in the fireplace. It should be firm and well adjusted to prevent carbon monoxide leakage. Take the opportunity to check if the insulating joints are in perfect condition, or if they should be replaced.
Decorative logs also get dirty
Gas fireplaces also have decorative logs inside (although they are an important part of the mechanism that will make the fire look real). However, corners are prone to getting dirty with dust and other particles.
With the gas valve closed, proceed to remove the logs inside the fireplace and look for an open place to clean them. The garden or patio of the house is perfect for removing accumulated dirt.
Remember that these are still decorative, so they are not as resistant as real logs, so you should treat them delicately when cleaning them. Simply spray them with water at low pressure. Use a brush to reach difficult areas, such as cracks, which easily accumulate dust.
Once clean, do not place the logs immediately in the fireplace. Take the opportunity to check them and look for any imperfections in their structure, such as breaks or burns. Some logs may have already exceeded their useful life, so it is necessary to change them.
It’s time to clean lava rocks
While the logs are drying, you should clean your fireplace lava rocks or glass stones.
In some cases, these stones are very small, so we can vacuum them by accident. To avoid this, simply place a nylon mesh or a gauze in the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner.
Once the rocks are clean, vacuum the corners of the fireplace. These areas are perfect to accommodate spider webs and large amounts of dust.
Once the internal structure is cleaned, you can proceed to clean the gas piping system and the electrical components that you see with a dry cloth.
To remove soot from the inner edges, it is best to use a slightly damp cloth with water. Avoid using chemicals to clean the inside of the fireplace, as they may react with gas.
Every time the wet cloth gets dirty, clean it with warm water to get rid of all the dirt it collected. After cleaning this sector, you can place the decorative logs.
Cleaning the main burner
Knowing how to clean a gas fireplace includes being able to clean the system that supplies the gas and ignites the fire. To locate the main burner, all we have to do is follow the gas supply pipe that begins where the logs are.
You will recognize the burner because you will see a small hole near the tube. Since this is where the oxygen is mixed with the gas so that it ignites, it may have some accumulated dust. This will make it harder to light the fire.
Cleaning begins with a superficial vacuum to remove larger debris. To remove the most difficult debris, use a soft brush.
If you still cannot remove all the dirt, the last option is to spray the burner with water or some cleaning product. The safest thing is to use water since there is no danger of combining it with the gas. However, we can use chemicals, but you must be careful with their handling.
To clean the inside of the pipes, you will need to buy a can of compressed air. Simply insert the nozzle into all the inlets of the tubes to expel the stuck dirt and allow the gas to flow smoothly.
Maintenance is essential
Knowing how to clean a gas fireplace is essential if you want to keep your investment for a long time. Proper and constant maintenance can prevent us from having to replace complete pipes every couple of months.
The best way to identify a problem with the gas fireplace is to see the quality of the fire. If the color of the flame is no longer yellow or orange, then there is some problem in the gas supply.
The ventilation system is another aspect that you must constantly inspect. A clogged system means that gases will not be properly expelled from the fireplace, which could result in an explosion. These harmful gases can also start to leak into your home.
Remember that it is important to keep the carbon monoxide detection system always running to avoid poisoning by this gas. Constantly check if the detector batteries are charged.
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