ClickCease Complete Seasonal Fireplace Maintenance Guide
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Complete Seasonal Fireplace Maintenance Guide

Complete Seasonal Fireplace Maintenance Guide

Whether you have a wood-burning, electric, or gas fireplace, performing regular maintenance and getting it inspected by a professional are essential. Although gas and electric options are lower maintenance, that doesn’t mean they don’t require some level of service. Even if your fireplace’s manufacturer provides specific instructions, this complete seasonal fireplace maintenance guide works as a basic rule of thumb.

Wood-Burning Fireplace Maintenance

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, you’re probably already aware of the extra effort required to keep it clean. Regardless of the added work, many people opt for traditional fireplaces because they enjoy the authenticity of an open flame and a smoky scent. Let’s explore the measures to keep your wood-burning fireplace in tip-top shape.

Clean Inside and Around Your Fireplace

Unfortunately, burning wood produces soot and creosote, which is the black residue that coats the walls of the fireplace, chimney, and surrounding areas. While it might not seem like a big deal, creosote releases toxic gas and is highly flammable. In fact, it’s a leading cause of chimney fires.

Aside from clearing out ashes between each fire, you should remove the residue build-up once per season to avoid exposure to harmful gases and accidental fires. Your family’s safety should be the number one priority.

Clean Before Summer

Whether you clean your fireplace and chimney yourself or hire a professional, ensure you do so before the summer each year. The summer humidity can interact with the soot and creosote and create unpleasant acids.

If you clean it yourself, use a drop cloth to keep the inside of your home clean, and wear a dust mask and goggles to keep potential carcinogens out of your body. With that in mind, don’t feel obligated to do the maintenance yourself.

Hire a Professional if Necessary

While cleaning the fireplace yourself is doable, hiring a professional to sweep the chimney is the safest option for most people. Additionally, you can burn a chimney cleaning log every so often to help prevent creosote build-up. If the build-up isn’t too thick, it may be possible to clean your chimney independently.

Electric Fireplace Maintenance

One of the biggest selling points of electric fireplaces is their low-maintenance design. Although they require minimal upkeep, regular cleaning can extend your fireplace’s life. Understanding the unit’s components is essential before you attempt to clean it.

Typically, electric fireplaces have a digital screen to display the artificial flames and a heating element. Hiring a professional is always a good idea if you’re uncomfortable working with your fireplace. But cleaning it yourself is a relatively simple task.

Turn It Off and Unplug It

First, turn the fireplace off, unplug it, and make sure it’s cool before you touch it or start cleaning. Also, remove any personal items from the top and surrounding areas to avoid knocking anything over during maintenance.

Exterior Cleaning

Since the fireplace is an electrical appliance, you shouldn’t soak it in water or other cleaning products. With that in mind, focus on removing dust from the outside of the unit. A lint-free cloth and minimal water should be enough to clean it adequately.

Use the cloth to wipe down the entire exterior, and be sure to thoroughly clean the air inlet and outlet to ensure air moves through the unit properly. When a blockage hinders airflow, the fireplace might overheat and shut down or cause permanent damage.

Glass Cleaning

The next thing to clean on your electric fireplace is the glass front. Since electric fireplaces produce false flames, there won’t be any soot or black residue coming off the glass like there would be from a wood-burning fireplace. Your goal is to remove the dust. You can keep using the same damp cloth you used for the exterior.

Pro Tip

No fancy cleaners are necessary to keep your electric fireplace clean; minimal soap and water will do the trick!

Gas Fireplace Maintenance

Although gas fireplaces are near the higher end of the low-maintenance list, you still need to keep them clean and have them inspected regularly. Before you start, you must turn off the gas and pilot light and let the unit cool down.

Remove and Clean Glass

First, remove the glass from the front of the unit and clean it with a fireplace glass cleaner. Do not use a traditional glass cleaner as it may contain chemicals that react poorly to the heat from the fire.

Vacuum

The next step is to vacuum over and around the decorative logs. Excess dirt and debris can cause the logs to break down sooner, and you’ll have to replace them. Additionally, if you notice your logs start to decay or fall apart, you should replace them as quickly as possible.

Wipe Away Dust

Aside from vacuuming, you should also wipe away dust from the entire unit to keep it clean and operating correctly. You can use a damp, lint-free cloth to do so.

Inspect the Surrounding Area and Chimney

While you do your annual cleaning, be sure to keep an eye out for damp spots, paint inconsistencies, and peeling wallpaper on the wall surrounding your gas fireplace. Aside from irregularities inside your home, you should also check for eroding bricks or white stains on the chimney outside. Unfortunately, all of these issues are indications that something may be wrong with your unit’s operation and will most likely require professional attention.

Annual Professional Inspections

Aside from hiring a professional when something’s wrong, be sure to hire a licensed gas provider to inspect your gas fireplace for issues you can’t spot yourself. For instance, the connectors and valves might malfunction or wear out without your knowledge.

Even if you don’t suspect any issues, an inspection is essential at least once each year. When it comes to natural gas, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. As you can see, Monessen fireplace systems and other gas fireplaces are relatively easy to use and care for.

With this complete seasonal fireplace maintenance guide, you have the knowledge you need to keep your fireplace in good condition and ensure your family’s safety. It’s no secret that some units require more attention than others, but each household can determine which one is right for them.

Complete Seasonal Fireplace Maintenance Guide
Deborah Jankowski
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