While gas fireplaces are easier to maintain than wood fireplaces, gas logs do need to be cleaned ever so often to keep them working properly and looking authentic. When it comes to gas logs, there are two main materials they are made out of. In this article, we will go through the different types of gas fireplace logs and give you tips for cleaning them. If you have questions after reading the entire article you can always call our NFI certified techs at 800.203.1642 or read more articles about gas logs here.
Ceramic Fiber Gas Logs:
First things first. Before cleaning any gas fireplace logs, you need to turn off the gas to the appliance first. While it may be funny explaining to your friends how you got 2nd-degree burns while cleaning your fireplace, it might be better to just avoid having to tell that story altogether. Also, make sure the gas valve is turned off for at least 20 minutes before you begin cleaning your logs.
If you aren't sure whether you have ceramic fiber logs or not, you can figure it out by looking at their weight and texture. Ceramic fiber is very lightweight and feels like foam when handled. Keep in mind, because these logs are fragile, you will need to handle them with extra care. Once you are ready to clean, it is smart to take photos or videos of the way the gas logs are set up in the firebox. This will help you put them back in their correct spot later.
Ceramic fiber gas logs are cleaned using a "dry" method that prevents water from seeping into their pores and causing the material to break down. When you have removed them from the firebox by disassembling them from the top-down, take them outside and grab stiff horsehair or ceramic bristle brush. Use the brush to gently sweep dirt and residue off the gas logs. Make sure you pay attention to those nooks and crannies your mother warned you about. Those can hide all kinds of junk you don't want to keep in your gas logs. When you've loosened up all the debris, use compressed air to blow it off the surface of your logs.
Before you put them back in the firebox, you should check for fireplace embers and lava rock that may have shifted while you took them out. Get your accessories back in order and when you are done, use the video/photos you took earlier to help you get the gas logs back in place. Finally, turn the gas back on and make sure the flame burns around the logs as it is supposed to. If you have vent free gas logs, you should expect some funny odors rolling around your home during the first burn. This is due to residual dust being burnt off and it should stop soon after the initial burn.
Ceramic Refractory Gas Logs:
Refractory gas logs are the sturdier of the two options and are typically more expensive. They have a smoother surface, which won't hold odors like ceramic fiber, but they will hold onto soot deposits. Refractory logs are commonly used in vented fireplaces because they can be placed directly over the flames, which in turn causes more soot to build. On the other hand, ceramic fiber logs can't be placed directly over flames because they will absorb then put off carbon monoxide into the room.
Ceramic refractory logs are best cleaned using a "wet method." Just like the ceramic fiber logs, you turn off the gas, disassemble the logs and take photos, then take them outside for cleaning. You can use a sprayer filled with 50/50 dish soap and water or fill a bucket with about a gallon of that mixture. First, dampen the logs with plain water. Then using a coarse cloth, lightly scrub the soot off the logs. Keep in mind that most refractory gas logs are painted so you don't want to scrub so hard that you take the paint off. In some cases, it might be better to leave small dots of soot on the logs instead of chipping the paint.
Allow the mix to sit for about five minutes then rinse it off with plain water. Check to see that you have cleaned it to your liking then let the logs dry and replace them in the firebox. Once you've rearranged any shifted accessories and readjusted your gas log set, turn the gas back on and check to see if it is burning properly.
As a final note, while you are cleaning your logs, it is also a good time to see how worn down they are. When ceramic fiber logs are ready to be replaced they will crumble and crack easily during the cleaning process. Ceramic refractory logs won't crack like ceramic fiber but their paint will chip away over time. So, if you get to a point where you are cleaning bare logs or notice half the paint is gone, it is time to consider replacing them as well. For now, that is all we have on cleaning gas fireplace logs. Please let us know if you have questions and feel free to call our NFI certified techs at 800.203.1642