Tip – Cleaner Glass for gas fireplaces

Why does the glass get dirty on my gas fireplace, and how often should I be cleaning it?  The answer: it depends, because there are many factors that affect cleanliness of the window on your gas fireplace or stove.

The build up on the window of a gas fireplace is often a white haze, a black soot, or maybe both.  In any event, regular cleaning with a good fireplace glass cleaner should do the trick at getting the window to sparkle like new.

The white build up, often described as a “cloudy” look to the glass, results for a few reasons.  When a fireplace is started up from a cold state, condensation may be noticed on the inside of the glass.  As the water evaporates and the fireplace glass gets hot, water spots (or mineral deposits) may develop, and leave the window looking like a dirty piece of glassware from the dishwasher.  This build up can me stubborn to remove, and may require you to polish it off with an appropriate glass cleaner that contains mild abrasives.  CAUTION: using the wrong kind of cleaner or abrasives will scratch the glass leaving you with swirl marks.  The only remedy if this happens is to replace the glass.

If the build up on the glass is black, then you have soot build up.  Soot is the product of cold or incomplete combustion.  Gas fireplaces are engineered to burn cleanly, and if you are experiencing incomplete combustions, then your fireplace needs to be inspected and/or tuned up.  Gas pressure, burner settings, and log positioning play a role in clean and complete combustion.  You may check these factors yourself, but most people contact a hearth professional for this service.  In addition to tuning the fireplace, a thorough cleaning and detailing is often part of the service call.

Soot build up should be monitored closely, and if significant, fireplace use should be discontinued until a remedy is found.  In addition to the build up on the glass, you may be getting buildup on the logs, the interior of the firebox, and the outside venting on the house.  Cleaning all of these affected areas can elevate a minor cleaning to a major cleaning, costing you more money.

Some other thoughts:

  • When you turn the fireplace on, run it until the condensation is evaporated, your glass will stay looking cleaner
  • Do not use any glass cleaner containing ammonia.  It is possible to etch the glass permanently if there is an ammonia film on the glass when the fireplace is used.
  • Household window cleaner can be used to remove the soot build up, followed by a fireplace glass cleaner (polish), to really get the glass to sparkle.
  • Clean you glass 1-3 times per year based on use.  The more often you clean the glass, the less elbow grease required!
  • Always contact a hearth professional if you have any questions or concerns about build up.  It could be a sign that something is wrong with your fireplace.

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This entry was posted on Friday, October 22nd, 2010 at 7:30 pm.

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