If you have an outdoor gas fireplace, you may not realize that it requires periodic maintenance. Usually there is nothing too taxing or expensive about performing maintenance, but just a few small tasks will keep your fireplace performing at its optimum every year. When you can no longer simply flip a switch or press a button to get warm and realistic looking flames, it may be time to check a few things. These tips for outdoor gas fireplace maintenance are recommended.
Outdoor gas fireplace maintenance is not something you should always do yourself. We recommend that you always start by having a licensed propane or natural gas provider inspect your outdoor fireplace. Ideally this should be done annually, before the colder weather hits and you want to enjoy the warmth nightly. A licensed professional can give it a good cleaning, check for gas leaks and ensure it is venting properly and performing safely. They can also examine the pilot light and determine if there are any defective burners.
Clean It Yourself
Outside of an annual inspection, you can perform some outdoor gas fireplace maintenance by way of cleaning it yourself to get rid of dirt, dust and ash residue that builds up over time both on the outside and inside of the unit. At the end of the season is a great time to schedule this.
Always start by turning off the pilot light and the gas or propane valve.
If your outdoor gas fireplace has a protective glass panel, remove that and set it aside. Remove the decorative logs or fire media elements. This should be easy but may require unscrewing the assemblage. If it is an intricate setup, take a photo of each step of disassembly and place the pieces in order when you remove them.
Clean the interior bricks and hearth by using a shop vac. Use the brush attachment to clean the dust off the fire logs or a soft cloth to wipe any fire media, such as glass or pebbles, clean. If your unit has a door, clean it with a glass cleaner and buff dry with a soft cloth.
Reassemble the pieces in your newly cleaned outdoor gas fireplace.
Other DIY Maintenance
If cleaning will not restore the good looks of your fire media, it may be time to replace them. Refer to our article on decorative fireplace logs here for inspiration.
Examine the fireplace periodically for signs of damage, such as cracked bricks, moisture buildup and excessive soot stains. Also looks for cracks in the concrete foundation as outdoor fireplaces tend to settle over time, especially when there is excess moisture in the foundation. The exterior of the fireplace can also begin to crumble due to repeated exposure to weather.
If you notice that the heat output of your outdoor gas fireplace is not what it used to be, consider calling a professional to inspect the unit outside of the normal annual maintenance appointment. This could be due to “back puffing”, or gas flame output being sent out the front of the unit instead of going up a possibly clogged chimney.
With just a bit of regular outdoor gas fireplace maintenance and annual checkups, it should look great and function fully for many years to come.