How often you clean a fireplace mostly depends on the use and type of fireplace. This is because not all fireplaces are the same. The frequency of cleaning an electric fireplace is not the same as cleaning a wood-burning fireplace. That is what I look at below for each type and give you more tips on when to clean them.
How Often Does Gas Fireplace Need To Be Cleaned?
It is advisable to clean the gas fireplace each month even if it is not being used more often. The aim of this cleaning process is to prevent dirt and dust from building up in the gas fireplace.
Also, it allows you to inspect the system for damage or gas leaks and have them fixed as soon as possible before the next use.
You are advised to regularly check the appearance of the gas fireplace pilot flame. The flame should mostly be blue with a tiny yellow tip. If the color changes to more yellow or there is a great deal of soot collecting on the fireplace, then you might need an inspection of your gas line.
When you turn off the gas line and you smell any malodors, then it might be time to call the gas company for more checks.
For those that might not have used their gas fireplace for several years, have it inspected by a qualified technician to ensure everything is intact before using it.
How Often Should A Wood-Burning Fireplace Be Cleaned?
Cleaning a wood-burning fireplace involves more than removing the ash once you are done using it for the day. There is also the need of cleaning the chimney. This is what we will focus more on in this case.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America or CSIA recommends that you thoroughly clean the chimney and fireplace when there is soot or ⅛” of creosote build-up in the chimney liner. The National Fire Protection Association or NFPA recommends an annual cleaning of the chimney regardless of the amount of time you use the fireplace.
It is common for people to schedule this type of cleaning during spring, but I recommend doing it before the cold weather sets in. Such means that you have the chimney also cleared of any debris or nests for an improved fireplace performance.
How Often Should An Electric Fireplace Be Cleaned?
Unlike wood-burning and gas fireplaces, the electric fireplace does not need a lot of maintenance. For the most part, you will only need to clean it once a year to remove the dust and debris that might have accumulated in the electric fireplace.
I recommend that this is the time you also check for any electrical component issues. Ensure you consult the owner’s manual to see if there are any specific cleaning guidelines you should follow.
Once you are done with the cleaning, you should enjoy another year of clean heat from the electric fireplace.
How Do You Know If Your Fireplace Needs Cleaning?
Just because I recommend that you do a thorough cleaning annually, it does not mean it cannot be done sooner also. Here are some of the signs that can make you consider cleaning a fireplace.
- The fireplace has a burned wood smell. This can happen even when the wood-burning fireplace is not lit.
- When your fire is not burning as it used to do before. This applies to the gas and wood-burning fireplaces.
- You may find that it takes more effort to have the fire started. It might be the chimney is clogged or there is a restriction in airflow.
- Smoke quickly fills the room when you light a wood-burning fireplace. Check if the flue is open or there is a need for removing any debris in the chimney.
- You notice that the fireplace damper is black. When you notice this, it means there is creosote build-up. It is time to clean it right away.
- If the fireplace walls have oily marks, it means creosote is present also. This calls for cleaning also.
- Sometimes you can hear animals inside your chimney. It can be birds setting up nests or squirrels looking for a new home. Clean the chimney to avoid having animals in it.
How Much Should A Fireplace Cleaning Cost?
Electric and gel fireplace cleaning is easy and can be a DIY project you do over the weekend. However, wood-burning and gas fireplaces are different because chimney cleaning is also involved.
Chimney cleaning plus fireplace cleaning will cost you an average of $129 to $377 depending on the amount of work involved. Let the technician assess the chimney condition then you will be given a quotation of what you can expect as the cost.
Conclusion: Should You Clean Fireplace After Each Use?
Some might be asking themselves, what happens if you don’t clean your fireplace? The short answer is that it won’t work well. In the case of wood-burning fireplaces, compounds such as creosote can be harmful to your health. So, make a plan of cleaning the fireplace more often.
Well, not all fireplaces need cleaning after each use. You may have to do some cleaning for the wood-burning fireplaces after each use to remove the ash and prepare it for the next use.