How to Clean a Gas Fireplace

Important annual gas fireplace maintenance.

Time

An hour or less

Complexity

Beginner

Cost

Free

Introduction

Every year you light up the gas fireplace and wonder, what's that awful smell? It's dirt, dust and bugs burning off the logs. To avoid that this year, follow these easy steps to keep your fireplace burning cleanly and efficiently.

Tools Required

  • Large bowl or bucket
  • Screwdriver
  • Shop vacuum

Materials Required

  • Can of compressed air
  • Glass cleaner

Project step-by-step (12)

Step 1

Inspecting the Gas Fireplace

  • Check that the logs are intact and free of dust and debris.
  • Check that the glass is not cracked or loose.
  • Inspect the chimney and exhaust vent for loose bricks or blockages within the vent.
  • Start it up and check that the ignitor and burner are working properly.

Step 2

Access Fireplace Controls

  • Remove the front screen or open the bottom grate of the fireplace.
  • Remove the top grate of the fireplace (if applicable).
    • Note: Some of these grates are held on with magnets — simply lift up and pull out.

Step 3

Turn Off the Gas

  • Turn off the pilot light (if applicable).
  • Shut off the gas valve.

Step 4

Remove Glass

  • Release the bottom two spring clips, then release the top two clips of the glass frame.
    • Note: Some frames are held on with screws.
  • Tip the glass out and lay the glass on a clean soft surface.
  • Inspect the condition of the perimeter gasket. It’s usually a woven rope.

Step 5

Clean the Glass

Step 6

Take a Photo

  • Take a picture of the logs so you can remember how they go back together.

Step 7

Remove and Clean the Rocks

  • Remove the lava rocks and place them in a container to wash.
  • Remove ember fiber and place it in a separate container.
  • Place the rocks in an old strainer and rinse them with cold water.
  • Spread the rocks on an old towel and let them dry.
    • Pro tip: Throw the dirty water outside — not down the drain or in your toilet.

Step 8

Remove the logs

  • Remove the logs one by one and place them on an old towel or piece of cardboard.
    • Note: Sometimes the logs are attached to a mounting plate that is then attached to the floor of the firebox.
      • Remove the screws that hold the mounting plate to the firebox floor not the screws holding logs to the mounting plate!
  • Vacuum the logs or blow them clean with compressed air.

Step 9

Clean Firebox

  • Vacuum any dirt, dust, or debris from the firebox floor.
  • Clean all the walls of the combustion chamber using a microfiber cloth.

Step 10

Clean the Burner

  • Remove any shields or cover to access the burner and ignitor, taking note of how it comes apart.
  • Vacuum the burner, removing any soot or deposits in the burner orifice or on the burner.
    • A compressed air canister works well for this.
  • Check and clean the thermocouple and ignitor for carbon build-up.

Step 11

Put it All Back Together

  • Reassemble your fireplace in the reverse order you disassembled it.
  • Install the burner cover.
  • Install the logs one by one, being careful not to chip or break them — they're fragile.
  • Sprinkle in the rocks around the logs.
  • Place the ember fiber just behind (not on) the flame ports (if applicable).
  • Install the glass and secure the clips.
  • Install the front screen or grate.

Step 12

Light the Fire

  • Refer to the fireplace owner’s manual and follow the lighting instructions.
  • Check the pilot flame — it should completely engulf the thermocouple.
  • The main burner flames should have strong yellow tips with a base of blue/white.
  • Flames should not be directly hitting the logs — they should curve around them.