How often do you have your fireplace cleaned?

Real Estate Agent with Prudential Preferred Real Estate

A fellow agent friend of mine just paid a chimney sweep company $179 to clean her gas log fireplace this morning. It's a brand new house with a brand new ventless gas fireplace not even a year old.Gas fireplace

Now I know, if you have a regular, wood-burning fireplace, you should clean it out once per year. I called the only 2 chimney sweep companies we have in town, and they said you should have your gas fireplace cleaned once per year. But of course they're going to say that! That's how they make their money. It seems to me that my friend is getting "raked over the coals," so to speak. I laughed at her for being over-cautious and being duped by the chimney sweep. What on earth could he have swept?

Ventless gas firplaces have no soot, no ashes, what's the deal?

I googled the question and found no acceptable answer. There  are a couple of DIY sites that show how to clean your own fireplace, and a few used phrases like, "your yearly inspection." But none gave any indication of how often you should have one cleaned.

I ask you Active Rainers, does anyone who is not a chimney sweep, have an answer?

I'd love to have more fuel for the fire for my friend.


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Jay, I'll be honest with you.  I am a chimney sweep (18yrs) and a fireman (20 yrs).  I'm honest with my customers when they call and say they have gas logs.  I ask them "Why do they think their fireplace is dirty?"  Gas Logs burn clean, just as a furnace, water heater and even your kitchen stove!  True that the logs themselves get dirty from a carbon build-up due to the yellow flame.  The logs are ceramic and can be washed by the home owner with a product found at the home center.  Or just brushed with a wisk broom or wire brush.

The main thing a homeowner should be aware of with gas logs is that no obstruction is in the flue and that the damper is open when using the logs.  Newer homes that are well insulated or "tight" may not allow the chimney to draft properly.  Chimney caps are recommended to keep out unwanted items from the flue.

As for your friend who called a chimney sweep to sweep her "ventless" gas fireplace, What was she thinking?  Do the research and find a honest sweep in your area.

Sep 30, 2008 12:01 PM #1
Jeff Simmons


I am also a chimney sweep and a  National Fireplace Institute certified gas installer. I am afraid you are wrong about the importance of servicing vent-free gas appliances annualy. Every gas log set comes with an instuction manual. Every manual has a section titled "Maintenace". All manufacturer's stress in their manuals the importance of regular (annual) cleaning of their product and the importance of installing this product in a clean fireplace. They suggest this work be performed by a NFI certified professional.

Vent-free gas logs are house vented log sets. In order to burn clean all the gas orifaces must be kept clean and free of dust and debris. If dust starts to block these tiny openings the log set will start to burn incorrectly. If your lucky all that happens is the house slowly gets sooted over. Many owners of vent-free logs that are not serviced complain of odors or cold-like symptoms. The later could be carbon monoxide poisioning.

Many people, incorrectly, believe that the required ODS (Oxygen Depletion Sensor) will protect them from carbon monoxide poisoning. It will only shut down the log set if the level of oxygen gets to low in the room.

Even the proponents of this product (The Vent-Free Alliance) state the importance of annual cleaning. You can find more resources at,, American Lung Association, or the manufacturer of yur gas log set.

You can also find more information on my web site and go to FAQ's

Oct 25, 2009 04:57 AM #2
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Jul 05, 2010 09:30 PM #4
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Jay Knorr

Auburn Al Properties
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