14 Annual Maintenance Tips for Fireplaces

fireplace maintenance

Fireplaces are elegant and efficient additions to any home. However, to continue functioning at a high level, gas fireplaces require occasional maintenance, ideally once a year. A quick tune-up, especially before winter, will ensure you have warmth and comfort ready when that first snowfall arrives.

With maintenance, your gas fireplace may continue to function efficiently and economically. Though it requires very little attention compared to wood-fueled fireplaces, an annual maintenance plan for a gas fireplace makes sense for several reasons. Here’s what that looks like.

Make Sure Vents Are Clear

A blocked vent prevents heat from reaching the thermocouple, a safety mechanism that turns off gas flow when the appliance is not hot enough. In other words, a blocked vent may mean your gas fireplace is not working. These should be cleaned annually.

Blocked Vents Could Prevent Ventilation

Another way a blocked vent impacts gas fireplace use is by trapping the ventilation. This happens if an animal such as a bird, bat, squirrel, or raccoon has a nest or habitat in your chimney. If left unaddressed, an animal may die in your chimney, leaving your gas fireplace with the foulest of odors.

Cracked Gas Fireplace

Any cracks in the gas fireplace burner or anywhere else warrant a professional’s eye. If there are cracks anywhere—burner, glass, or elsewhere—it’s best not to use your gas fireplace and get the advice of a technician after they have assessed the situation.

Get Rid of Dust, Dirt, and Dead Insects

Over a year, your gas fireplace can accumulate dust. Debris and dead insects can also enter the fireplace’s orifices and burner ports. All that sits there. While a gas fireplace will still work, it will not burn as efficiently.

Wiring Connections Causing Problems

Over time, wiring can get dirty or loose. If the wiring isn’t properly cleaned or if the issue isn’t caught in time, it can cause problems. It can be a fire hazard or potentially cause your fireplace to short-circuit.

Components Wear Out

Gas fireplaces are like any other mechanical equipment. To operate at peak efficiency, you’ve got to take care of your fireplace. Wear and tear happen over time. Especially when you alternate from zero to high use, parts will wear down and require replacements, which annual maintenance and servicing can handle.

Detect Gas Leaks

Valves and gas connections can break down. Without an inspection, the thermocouple and thermopile could become damaged. As your fireplace has a gas supply, it’s key to ensure no gas leaks, however small.

Avoid Sudden Fires

If things go wrong, a neglected gas fireplace that has not been maintained over the years can explode or suddenly catch fire. This can lead to serious injuries, house fires, and worse. Avoid these issues with annual maintenance.

Worn Gaskets

Worn gaskets that are not working properly can let poisonous carbon monoxide filter into your living space. These require a quick look at once a year.

Ceramic Logs Deteriorating

Ceramic logs worn down over time do not look pretty, but it’s not just aesthetics that matter. The material can clog vents and burner ports, which is why it can be valuable to check on them and repair materials that may be disintegrating.

Soot Is a Major Warning Sign

Soot is not a by-product of gas fireplaces. If you see black soot buildup, especially on the glass doors, that’s a warning sign that your fireplace needs a checkup immediately.

If soot is on the glass doors, it’s probably also on the logs, the firebox interior, and the outside venting. This is a major hazard that requires a technician to look at as soon as possible.

Clean Your Glass Doors

If your gas fireplace has glass doors, a maintenance visit is a reasonable chance to upgrade them to heatproof glass. You can also simply clean what you already have and ensure it’s still forming a seal.

Excellent Reminder to Redo Your Fireplace

boy with helmet

When a technician performs annual maintenance, it’s an excellent occasion to redo, clean, redress, and polish your gas fireplace surrounds. Depending on how it is built and its style, many premium-grade polishes and cleaners can be used to refinish a gas fireplace, and they’re not expensive.

Schedule Your Annual Maintenance

Avoid all of the troubles we mentioned by scheduling an annual gas fireplace maintenance service visit in advance. A fireplace technician will examine all accessible parts, check for damage, remove hazards, replace broken parts, and clean out anything that requires tidying inside your home.