Fireplace Cleaning Tips for Gas & Wood Fireplaces

Housewife during cleaning the fireplace at home

Fireplaces, like all appliances, need looking after. A clean and well-maintained fireplace is a welcomed addition to most any home, but one that’s neglected can be a serious danger. The good news is it’s not that hard to keep your fireplace running in near perfect shape, year after year.
Here are some fireplace cleaning tips that cover both wood-burning and gas fireplaces. You can do most of it yourself. But when in doubt, use the services of a fireplace and chimney professional.
Wood fireplace cleaning tips

  1. Creosote issues. Cleaning and prevention go hand in hand. You can prevent quite a bit of the creosote buildup that can coat the inside of your chimney by burning only seasoned wood. “Green” wood creates much more smoke than dry wood, and that’s how creosote is formed.

Also – store-bought logs that are marketed as a way to get rid of creosote won’t solve this problem. Eventually, creosote will have to be dealt with, no matter what kind of logs you use. Homeowners are encouraged to have their fireplaces and chimneys professionally inspected annually and cleaned at least every two years.

  1. Cleaning out the ashes. The aftermath of burning logs is ash, which can build up pretty fast. Normally, cleaning out the firebox should be as simple as using a fireplace shovel or similar device. Place the ashes in a metal can and wait about 72 hours before mixing the ashes in with regular trash. Just because it looks like nothing’s burning in the ash pile doesn’t mean nothing is.
  2. Dirty surround. If you’re noticing a buildup of smoke and soot on the surround, it’s probably because of a flue that’s clogged or a damper that isn’t open. Solve these problems, then use rubber gloves, a stiff brush and masonry cleaner to clean the surround.
  3. Fireplace doors. Over time, glass doors on wood fireplaces can become occluded. Regular cleaning with a good non-ammonia glass cleaner and paper towels or crumpled-up newspaper will do the trick.

Gas fireplace cleaning tips
It would be a mistake to confuse “low-maintenance” with “no-maintenance,” but that’s what some people do with their gas fireplaces. It’s true that this kind of fireplace creates less of a mess than wood fireplaces, but it’s not true that you never have to do anything to them.

  1. Glass doors. Glass is glass, so clean them the same way you clean the doors on wood fireplaces. Note: the job will be easier and more thorough if you can remove the doors.
  2. Debris. You won’t find a firebox full of ash and debris like with wood fireplaces, but there’s still a little cleanup to do. Vacuum out the firebox periodically, paying special attention to the area around the heat exchanger, if your fireplace has one.
  3. General maintenance. Check the pilot light and make sure it’s burning correctly. If it sputters or won’t burn at all, there may be a clog in the tip of the pilot gas line. Also, make sure your gas logs are stacked correctly for the most efficient heating and visual experience.

View a full line of exceptional gas-burning and wood-burning fireplaces at Marsh’s Stoves & Fireplaces of Toronto. We’re at 3322 Dundas Street West. If you have questions about the type of heating appliance that’s best for your home and lifestyle, call us at (416) 762-4582.