Everyone knows that it’s important to keep your wood-burning fireplace inspected and cleaned on an annual basis. This is because one of the by-products of burning wood is smoke, which is actually moisture from the wood that is released during the combustion process. There are also chemicals that are released and carried up and out of your house with that smoke. When the smoke reaches the cool interior surface at the top of the chimney, that moisture condenses. This condensation forms a layer of creosote. Creosote is highly flammable, and as little as an eighth of an inch of buildup can cause a major chimney fire. But the question is this: does a gas fireplace require the same type of maintenance and inspection? The simple answer is yes.
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) website, gas fireplaces need to be maintained on an annual basis in the same way as wood fireplaces. Gas fireplaces need to be vented just like wood fireplaces. When your chimney is used for that venting, it can develop some of the same problems that wood burning creates. For example, even though burning gas won’t leave a visible soot buildup, it can leave a corrosive coating that will eat away at the interior of the chimney.
Because your gas fireplace is very energy efficient, less heat escapes through the chimney. This leaves the surface cooler. When you burn a fire in your gas fireplace, the byproduct that is released will now condense onto the cooler interior of the chimney, and with it the acidic contents. This is a substance that needs to be cleared away so that your chimney can continue to vent properly, without allowing any of the gases to re-enter your home.
Some Things You Can Do Yourself
There are some things you can do yourself to keep your gas fireplace running in top condition. First, make sure that the fire is out and that the gas is off. Then, if there is a glass covering, either remove it or open it, depending on the style of fireplace you have. Using a soft cloth and an alcohol-based fireplace cleaner, spread the cleaner on the glass and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then wipe it clean using a clean cloth. Clean the burners by running a hand-held vacuum over them, brushing any stubborn grit with a bristle brush. To clean gas logs, simply remove the logs from the fireplace. You may want to take them outdoors, or at least put the logs on a cloth to protect the surroundings. Use an old paintbrush to brush them clean.
When it comes to your annual inspection, be sure to hire the professionals. Call SirVent Chimney and Venting Service to make sure the job is done right!