How to Clean and Maintain an Outdoor Fireplace

Picture a chilly fall night. You and your friends and family are gathered around a warm, cracking fire in your backyard. The warm glow is illuminating everyone’s faces, smoke is softly billowing out of a chimney and a few kids are roasting marshmallows. Pretty nice, huh?

An outdoor fireplace is a great way to add style and ambiance to your outdoor living space. And while they are fairly easy to care for, it is important to understand how to maintain and clean your fireplace periodically.

Read on to see how you can keep the flame alive!

How to Maintain Your Outdoor Fireplace

Regular maintenance is essential to ensure the longevity and safety of your outdoor fireplace. Here’s what you need to do:

Inspect regularly

Check for cracks, loose stones or signs of wear. Repair any damage promptly to prevent further issues.

Clean the firebox

Remove ashes and debris from the firebox after each use. This prevents the buildup of creosote, a highly flammable, tar-like substance that forms from the byproducts of burning wood.

Get the chimney inspected

If you have a chimney, have it inspected and cleaned annually by a professional to remove creosote and ensure proper ventilation. If you have a gas fireplace, the inspector will check for gas leaks and ensure all components are in good working order.

How to Clean Your Outdoor Fireplace

Roll up your sleeves and don some gloves because it’s time to get dirty!

Cleaning your outdoor fireplace is an essential part of its maintenance. The procedures will vary depending on whether you have a wood-burning or gas fireplace, as they involve different steps due to the distinct fuels and resulting byproducts. Here’s how you should clean each type of fireplace:

Cleaning a Wood-burning Fireplace

Remove remaining ashes

As we mentioned, you should be removing ashes each time you use your fireplace. Use a fireplace shovel and brush to carefully scoop out the remaining ashes and debris. For an extra clean, suck up all the rest of the dust with a wet/dry vacuum. Dispose of them in a metal container with a tight-fitting lid.

Scrub surfaces

Scrub the interior and exterior surfaces of the fireplace with warm, soapy water and a stiff brush. This helps remove soot and other residues that can accumulate over time. Rinse thoroughly and let it dry.

Creosote removal

Wood-burning fireplaces produce creosote, a flammable substance that can accumulate in the chimney. To prevent chimney fires, it’s crucial to have your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned annually. The chimney sweep will remove creosote buildup.

Cleaning a Gas Fireplace

Clean the glass

If your gas fireplace has a glass front, it may accumulate a film of soot or residue over time. To clean the glass, turn off the gas and allow the fireplace to cool completely. Then, use a gas fireplace glass cleaner or a mixture of warm water and vinegar to wipe down the glass. Avoid abrasive materials that can scratch.

Check and clean the burner

Inspect the burner and logs for any dust or debris that may have settled on them. Gently vacuum or brush away any loose particles to ensure proper gas flow and flame appearance.

How Often Should an Outdoor Fireplace be Cleaned?

The frequency of cleaning depends on how often you use your outdoor fireplace. In general:

  • If you have a wood-burning fireplace, clean the firebox after each use to prevent creosote buildup.
  • Conduct a thorough cleaning, including scrubbing surfaces and inspecting for damage, at least once a year.
  • Have a professional chimney sweep inspect and clean your chimney every one to two years.

Outdoor Fireplace Construction in Northern Virginia

Add warmth and coziness to your outdoor living area so friends and family can gather into the cooler months. Outdoor Spaces can design a beautiful outdoor fireplace to add ambiance to your patio. Learn more about our services and call us for a free estimate today.