Everything You Need to Know About Fireplace Maintenance

Maintenance and repair is imperative for any homeowner with a fireplace. Many homeowners gather around their indoor fireplaces in the winter, and their outdoor fireplaces or wood stoves in the summer.

Regardless of the season, you need to maintain your fireplace consistently (and properly) to ensure its longevity and safety. Below, we outline several steps to properly maintain every fireplace type; from gas, electric, and wood burning fireplaces.

Gas Fireplace Maintenance and Repair

Gas fireplace maintenance is considerably less work than maintaining a wood-burning fireplace. However, it’s still necessary to clean the fireplace of dust and debris at least once per year. It’s also imperative you follow all safety precautions while doing so.

Removing Grime Buildup

You can do this by removing the glass screen of your fireplace and wiping it down with a special fireplace glass cleaner. This is not the same as a regular glass cleaner, which typically contains chemicals that aren’t suitable for your fireplace’s heat. 

Use Handheld or Vacuum Hose Over Rocks or Logs

Carefully run a handheld vacuum over your lava rocks and fire logs. If your rocks or logs start to fall apart, you need to replace them. 

Wipe the Dust from Fireplace Trim Using a Microfiber Cloth

When cleaning a gas fireplace, you should check the surrounding wall for any damp spots, peeling wallpaper or bubbling paint. Additionally, inspect your outdoor chimney for any stains or eroding bricks.

Typically, these signs indicate that your fireplace must be professionally inspected to ensure that you and your family remain safe. 

Electric Fireplace Maintenance and Repair

Electric fireplaces are gradually becoming more popular, which is partly due to the minimal cleaning required.

While these fireplaces don’t have a real flame or produce any harmful byproducts like carbon monoxide or soot, you still need to check it regularly to ensure its longevity. 

Turn the Fireplace Off

Before doing any form of cleaning, you need to turn the fireplace off and unplug it from the electrical outlet. If your fireplace is hard wired into your home’s electricity, turn it off at the circuit box.

Additionally, if your electric fireplace was recently used, make sure it’s cooled down before beginning.

Exterior Cleaning

Your electric fireplace is an electric appliance, so you don’t want to drench it with water. If you’re simply trying to remove dust that may have accumulated over time, all you need to do is use a slightly damp, lint-free cloth. Use soapy warm water, but make sure you ring out the cloth as much as possible before use.

However, don’t use abrasive cleaners or detergents on your electric fireplace. It’s not necessary to wipe dust off your unit, and could unintentionally scratch the surface of the fireplace. 

Cleaning the Glass

If the inside of your electric fireplace needs to be cleaned, call a professional. It’s not recommended to open up your fireplace, due to several electrical components inside.

Wood Burning Fireplace Maintenance and Repair

If you own a wood-burning fireplace, most of the maintenance is done to keep the firebox (the area where you build a fire) clean. After each use, you should remove and dispose of the remaining ash. However, wait at least 12 hours until after use to make sure the ash is cold. 

Pro-tip: Ash is nutrient-heavy and can be added to soil, potted plants, or compost as a natural fertilizer.

Clean Around Your Fireplace

Burning wood produces soot and creosote, which is the dark residue that coats the firebox and lining of the chimney after extensive use. This buildup should be removed once a season (or whenever the creosote thickness reaches ⅛ inch). 

This is because creosote can release toxic gasses, and is a major cause of chimney fires.

Clean Before Summer Months

If you decide to clean your fireplace yourself, you should do so before summer begins. This is so the warm humidity doesn’t interact with creosote, as this interaction creates unpleasant smells. 

Hire Professional Fireplace Cleaners

Hiring a professional chimney sweep once a year is the smartest and safest option for homeowners. Even if you’re keeping your fireplace clean every season, you should at least hire a certified chimney sweep to inspect your fireplace setup once a year. 

Only professionals possess the right tools and knowledge to ensure everything is functioning properly. 

Need a Fireplace Inspection?

Fireplaces are a focal point to your home. That’s why you need to maintain it, even during the off-season, to ensure its longevity and your home’s safety.

No matter if it’s a wood-burning, gas or electric fireplace, the team at Supreme Fireplace & Hearth are your one-stop-shop for all things fireplace, including maintenance, repair and inspection. Contact us today to learn more!

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