Whether you have a gas or a log-burning fireplace, summer is the perfect time to give it a thorough cleaning. This cleaning will make your fires not only more beautiful but also safer.
Cleaning a wood-burning fireplace in the summer provides important benefits to health and safety by reducing major fire and air quality risks. Cleaning a gas log fireplace is less critical to safety, but regular inspections and cleaning can help prevent issues that could eventually become risks if left unchecked.
In this way, cleaning your fireplace in the summer provides more than just a prettier-looking living room. You can improve the functionality and safety of your own fireplace by using the following advice to clean your fireplace thoroughly.
Your first step when cleaning a wood-burning fireplace is to remove any remaining debris or fireplace accessories like screens. You can then brush away soot and creosote — a type of thick residue caused by burning logs — with a stiff-bristled brush. Wear protective eyewear and a mask to prevent soot from entering your lungs.
Reach as high up in the chimney as you can to remove buildup, but recognize that you will likely need to hire a professional chimney sweep if it is extensive. Creosote is highly flammable and can lead to a house fire in many instances if ignored over the years. A chimney inspection may also be needed to detect any cracks that could lead to poisonous carbon monoxide leaks or fires.
Sweep and vacuum any remaining soot on the floor. You can use a sponge and a diluted mixture of non-bleach household cleaner to remove any lingering blackening, soot or buildup from the brick or other materials surrounding your fireplace. Wipe any accessories off with a damp cloth before replacing them as instructed.
Alternatively, you can consider converting your wood-burning fireplace to a gas log set, which will greatly reduce the amount of maintenance you face next year. Not only that, but a properly maintained gas fireplace can create less risks through its lower amount of combustion fumes and more controlled burning environment.
Cleaning a gas fireplace can be performed with diluted ammonia cleaner or specialized soot-removing cleaners. You can remove the gas-burning element and simulated logs for a more complete sweeping and vacuuming of the area — just make sure to turn off the safety valve before removing any components. If your gas fireplace has a pilot light, remember to relight it safely and according to instructions the next time you intend to open the safety valve.
You can remove glass panes on covered fireplace sets and wipe away lingering “haze” residue with special products like White Off. Do not use any abrasive sponges or cleaning products on glass coverings since scratches can eventually cause the glass to shatter.
Also, do not allow simulated log sets to become soaked or submerged since they are porous. Wipe with a dry microfiber cloth for best results.
Ensure your system is fully connected before opening the safety valve or attempting to operate the gas fireplace. You can inspect your entire gas fireplace system for tight connections and leaks using a diluted soap mixture sprayed on joints. If there are leaks, you will see soap bubbles form when gas flows through the lines. If you detect any leaks, shut off your system immediately, tighten connections and try again. Contact your manufacturer and/or your gas provider if you cannot correct the leaks through tightening.
The chilly fall and winter months are closer ahead than it may seem, so if you are considering converting your wood fireplace or purchasing a new gas log fireplace, then now could be the perfect time to do it!
Take a look at our line of ventless and vented gas fireplace sets to choose the perfect model for keeping your family cozy and warm all winter long.