A Comprehensive Guide to Gas Fireplace Maintenance

A Comprehensive Guide to Gas Fireplace Maintenance

Gas fireplaces provide warmth, comfort, and ambiance to homes, making them a popular choice among homeowners. To ensure your gas fireplace continues to operate efficiently and safely, regular maintenance is essential. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps required to keep your gas fireplace in top-notch condition.

1. Safety First

Before you begin any maintenance, ensure your gas fireplace is turned off and cool, and the gas supply is shut off at the main valve. Safety should always be your top priority.

2. Cleaning the Exterior

Start by cleaning the exterior of your gas fireplace. Dust and debris can accumulate on the surface, affecting its appearance. Use a soft cloth or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove dirt and dust. For stubborn stains, use a mild, non-abrasive cleaner.

3. Inspect the Glass Front

The glass front of your gas fireplace can become cloudy or develop deposits over time. To clean it, follow these steps:

  • Ensure the fireplace is cool.
  • Remove the glass front according to your manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Clean the glass with a gas fireplace glass cleaner, ceramic cooktop cleaner, or a mixture of vinegar and water.
  • Dry the glass thoroughly before reinstalling it.

4. Check the Burner and Ignition System

The burner and ignition system are crucial components of your gas fireplace. Here’s how to inspect and maintain them:

  • Remove the logs or artificial embers to access the burner.
  • Clean the burner and pilot assembly using a soft brush or compressed air to remove dust and debris.
  • Inspect the ignition system for signs of wear or damage. Contact a professional technician to have worn-out components replaced.

5. Examine the Venting System

A well-maintained venting system is essential for the safe operation of your gas fireplace. Check for obstructions or debris in the vent pipe, and make sure it’s properly sealed. If fireplace is direct vented through the wall, inspect the outside sidewall terminal and ensure it’s clear of debris or overgrown shrubbery.

6. Clean the Firebox and Logs

The interior of your gas fireplace can accumulate soot and debris over time. Here’s how to clean it:

  • Turn off the gas supply and allow the fireplace to cool completely.
  • Remove the logs or artificial embers.
  • Use a soft brush or vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove soot and debris from the firebox.
  • Clean the logs or embers with a soft brush or a damp cloth.

7. Inspect the Gas Lines and Connections

Visually inspect the gas lines and connections for any signs of damage or leaks. If you suspect a leak or find damaged components, contact a professional technician immediately.

8. Replace Batteries

If your gas fireplace has a battery-operated remote control or ignition system, replace the batteries with quality alkaline batteries annually. This ensures that your fireplace functions smoothly.

9. Annual Professional Inspection

While regular maintenance is crucial, it’s also essential to have a professional technician inspect your gas fireplace annually. They can identify and address potential issues that may not be visible during routine maintenance.

By following the steps outlined in this guide and scheduling an annual professional inspection, you can enjoy the warmth and comfort of your gas fireplace for years to come. Remember that safety should always be your top priority, and if you’re ever unsure about any aspect of maintenance, consult a qualified technician. Find a service company specializing in fireplaces near you at www.members.hpbacanada.org/find-a-member.

Understanding the Manufacturer’s Manual

Understanding the Manufacturer’s Manual

If you have a new hearth appliance, or you’ve inherited an existing appliance in a new residence, you’ll want to read the manual carefully before operating your appliance to ensure safe and proper operation. If you can’t locate the manual you should be able to download a copy from the manufacturer’s website. You can find the manufacturer, brand and model on the rating card or plate. The following items will be of particular importance to you as the owner of the appliance.


Read this section carefully as it provides you with important and helpful tips, and recommendations for the safe use of your device.

Rating Label or Card

Essential information such as brand and model are clearly indicated in the manual. This information may be requested by your insurer or municipality, or if you plan to participate in a rebate program. In addition, you will find information on safety and performance certifications, efficiency and emissions ratings, BTUs and serial number, etc. or instructions on where to find this information on the appliance.


This section explains important information for you and your installer on clearances from combustibles, chimney or venting installation and more. This information will be useful to you or your contractor for planning or finishing after installation.


In this section, the manufacturer guides you to the optimal operation of the device, the location and use of the combustion air control lever or dampers and lighting instructions on woodburning appliances, remote control operation and lighting procedures on gas hearth appliances and more.

Servicing & Maintenance

While maintenance instructions and checklists are included in the manual for basic cleaning instructions and for checking the appliance we recommend you have your appliance inspected and serviced annually by a qualified technician. A professional service technician can perform a complete cleaning and inspection giving you piece of mind.

Lists of Replacement Parts

In this section you will find a complete list of replacement parts. All you need to do is contact your specialty hearth retailer if you need to have a part replaced.


This section provides information on the manufacturer’s warranty, provides instructions for dealing with problems and gives you the procedure to follow to register your device.

Keep your manual on hand. If you sell your property, do not forget to give it to the new owners.

Getting Your Fireplace Ready for Action

Getting Your Fireplace Ready for Action

As we head into fall and look forward to cooler weather with a cozy fireplace, we should remember that fireplaces, stoves and inserts – like a vehicle – require yearly maintenance to ensure everything is in good working condition for the heating season. The best person to perform the required service is a trained technician who specializes in the maintenance of fireplaces, venting or chimney systems. Before lighting the first fire of the season, here are a few important maintenance tips if you have a gas or wood-burning fireplace:

  • Have a technician check the gas lines, clean the burner, control compartment, fan and related air circulation passages, as well as check for condensation annually.
  • Ensure the vents are unobstructed and able to do their job.
  • Check the batteries in the carbon monoxide detector.
  • Be alert for unusual odors or flames, which are often a sign that the fireplace is not operating properly.
  • Clean the glass and adjust the glowing embers and logs for best appearance.
  • Have your chimney cleaned on a regular basis. Soot and creosote can adhere to the inside and cause a fire because they are highly flammable. A yearly chimney sweep by a professional ensures the whole system is in proper working condition. They will also check the condition of your flue lining, where even a small crack can cause a house fire.
  • Check the integrity of the chimney. When the mortar is cracked or bricks are loose, it can cause moisture to enter your chimney system, which can affect the overall performance of your fireplace. Have it repaired as soon as possible.
  • Make sure the fireplace damper is working properly and that no debris is preventing it from opening and closing.

As with other gas-burning or fire-producing appliances (stove, barbecue, etc.) precautions must always be taken to avoid serious burns. A gas or woodburning fireplace is no exception. Be sure to adhere to the following safety tips to minimize the chance of burns or fire:

Gas Fireplace Safety Tips
  • Installing a safety screen or safety barrier is recommended to reduce the risk of serious burns by preventing direct contact with hot glass, which can take up to an hour to cool.
  • Always supervise children, the elderly, infirm or pets near an operating or recently turned off gas fireplace, stove or insert.
  • Keep the remote control (if available) out of the reach of children. Install a switch lock to prevent children from turning on the appliance.
  • Inform family members and guests that the glass panel of a gas fireplace, stove or insert can be very hot and cause burns.
  • Wait for the appliance and glass panel to cool down before allowing anyone near it. Cool down can take a long time – an hour or more. Some appliances turn on and off automatically with a thermostat, so you may not know when the fire turned off. Always consider the glass as potentially hot.
  • Be aware that metal surfaces such as door frames and grilles may also get hot.
  • Always read the owner’s manual and follow the instructions. For example, there may be ways to disable your remote when not in use to prevent children from turning on the fireplace.
Woodburning Fireplace Safety Tips
  • Install a chimney cap, preferably with mesh, to keep moisture and critters out and to prevent fires by extinguishing hot embers that might otherwise escape from the chimney.
  • Check outside to make sure there are no overhanging tree limbs encroaching on the chimney. Limbs present a fire hazard because they restrict proper draft airflow.
  • Try to burn small fires, as they generate less smoke and cause less creosote accumulation.
  • When building a fire, position the logs toward the rear of the fireplace and use kindling to start the fire, not flammable liquids.
  • Ensure your fireplace is functioning properly by lighting a few small pieces of seasoned wood to see if the smoke exits vertically from the fireplace up the chimney and not into the room. If the smoke doesn’t exit vertically, it could mean there is creosote buildup, debris in the chimney (nests, leaves, branches, etc.) or a closed or partially-closed damper. Keep in mind, if you have a tightly sealed home, opening a window slightly can provide the fireplace the intake air required to direct the smoke up the chimney.
  • When selecting wood to burn, choose dense wood such as oak. Use wood that has been split and stored in a high and dry place for at least six months prior to use. Avoid burning green wood such as pine, as it can produce more creosote. Remember, properly seasoned firewood should have a moisture content below 20 percent for best results.
  • Coals can remain hot for up to three days, which can become a fire hazard if they come in contact with flammable materials.
  • Install a metal-mesh screen to prevent hot embers from escaping. While following these tips can provide an extra margin of safety, there is no substitute for a physical barrier. Consumers with existing fireplaces, stoves or inserts should consider installing a protective screen or physical barrier to reduce the risk of serious burns by preventing direct contact with hot glass, the fire itself, or flying embers. Safety barriers are available through specialty hearth retailers or by contacting the manufacturer.

Since January 1, 2015, all newly manufactured glass-fronted gas appliances – that means fireplaces and heaters – require a protective barrier if its glass surface temperature exceeds 172 degrees Fahrenheit. This safety standard requires that the barrier must be in place when the product is installed.

Visit hpbacanada.org or hpba.org for more safety and maintenance tips, and contact your local specialty hearth retailer to book an appointment for service.

Prepping for Winter

Prepping for Winter

Canadians understand how important heat is in the winter. As we head into fall, there are a few things you need to do in the coming weeks to prepare for the winter months.

Whether you burn logs or gas, it can be dangerous to light a fireplace until certain things have been done or checked.

Here is a checklist that can provide assurance when the time comes to get cozy near a safe, blazing fire. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detector and have a fire extinguisher close to the appliance. Clear the area around the fireplace of any potentially flammable materials – 3 feet away is a good rule.

Woodburning Fireplaces and Stoves

Experts recommend that fireplaces, wood stoves and chimneys be inspected annually. Clean chimneys help fireplaces and stoves run more efficiently and safely. Soot and creosote may adhere to the inside and can cause a fire because they are highly flammable.

  • A yearly chimney sweep ensures the whole system is in good working condition. Professionals will also check the condition of your flue lining. Even a small crack in the flue can cause a house fire.
  • Chimney structures are out of sight, but they should not be out of mind. When mortar is damaged or when bricks are loose or cracked, there is a good chance moisture has entered your chimney system. Moisture damage should be repaired as quickly as possible, to minimize the amount of damage done.
  • If there is not already a cap on your chimney, have one installed as soon as possible. Chimney toppers serve several important functions, particularly when they have wire mesh. Chimney caps keep moisture out, keep critters out, and help to prevent fires when they have a mesh spark guard that will extinguish embers that might otherwise fly from the chimney.
  • Stock up with the right fuel. Have your firewood stored, dried, and ready to burn. The type of firewood you burn determines the quality of your fire and how much flammable creosote is deposited in the chimney. Seasoned hardwoods burn longer than softwoods. If you don’t want a lingering fire, softwoods are the better choice because they don’t leave smoldering wood coals behind.

With some quick annual maintenance, you can maintain or even improve your stove’s efficiency this winter – you might even burn less wood.

Pellet Stoves

Experts also recommend pellet stoves have a yearly maintenance check that will include:

  • Cleaning the exhaust piping and venting
  • Removing the combustion and distribution fans, then vacuuming out all the ash and soot
  • Cleaning behind the inner firebox panels, top heat exchange panels, firewall panels and any ash traps
  • Double-checking the gasket on the firebox door
  • Cleaning the firepot and the hopper carefully, removing any ash, bits of pellet or pellet dust
Gas Fireplaces

There is nothing easier than a gas burning fireplace or insert. There’s no ash to clean up because it burns natural gas or liquid propane but don’t assume this means it doesn’t need cleaning. In fact, it is still recommended you have a certified gas technician inspect and clean your gas fireplace to ensure your safety. The technician will first inspect the exterior to ensure glass is not chipped, cracked, or dirty, and the framework is holding up sufficiently.

  • While checking for dents or debris, the technician will also look at the interior gas ignition under the log structure and make sure it is lighting flawlessly. They also make sure your log set is not deteriorating in any way.
  • The face of the unit will have to be taken off, so they can inspect the valves and connections underneath your fireplace or insert. They will make sure your fireplace’s heat output is correct, and clean up any residue that has started to block any ports or vents.
  • After a routine check, your technician should make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors, and that you are aware of any repairs your gas fireplace may need.

Certified gas technicians have a wealth of information and will be happy to answer any questions you may have about your fireplace or insert. Don’t be afraid to ask.