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On Fireplace Glass Importance and Cleaning Tips

For most modern and traditional fireplaces, a sheet of glass will be placed in front of the actual fireplace opening for both safety and efficiency. This glass protects people and pets in your home from burn risks, plus also ensures that air is being vented properly so you aren’t losing air.

At Uintah Fireplaces, we’re here to not only provide a huge range of fireplace options, including both gas and electric fireplaces, but also to offer expertise on the care of any part of your fireplace setup. One common topic we assist our clients with: Cleaning and maintaining the glass that sits in front of their fireplace, ensuring it does its job — and that it’s aesthetically pleasing to the space while doing so. Why is cleaning this glass important, and what other roles does your fireplace glass play? Here’s a primer.

Fireplace Glass Purpose and Cleaning Value

Most modern fireplaces are very low-maintenance, including both gas and electric options, but one of the few areas where some occasional attention might be required is in cleaning their glass. There are a few reasons why doing this is important, the first of which is a potential buildup of a hazy film that may present itself on this glass — and depending on how recently you installed the fireplace, the reasons for this film may differ:

  • New fireplace: If your fireplace is brand-new, there is a period of what’s known as “off-gassing” during the first extended uses of the fireplace. Off-gassing involves the release of certain chemical compounds from the construction of the fireplace, which can present as a hazy film or breathability on the glass itself. If you see this when your fireplace is new, it’s natural and should dissipate in time (how quickly depends upon how heavily you use your fireplace). If it doesn’t, you can attempt the basic cleaning steps we’ll go over later in this blog.
  • Old/Unused fireplace: For older fireplaces or those that haven’t been used in a long time, on the other hand, this hazy film usually builds up due to natural humidity in the air. Depending on where you live, this could be every day during the winter months alone! If this is the case, you’ll need to consider a number of different factors — including how often you use your fireplace and what kind of wood it’s burning — when figuring out how often to clean these windows. In addition, you may have to consider some venting themes if your older fireplace is showing this film.

In either of these cases, cleaning the film off your glass will return it to a pristine form. This is important for homeowners who closely monitor the aesthetics of their home decor, and it’s also critical if you want to ensure that autumn and winter weather isn’t interfering with your fireplace’s air ventilation and efficiency. When you clean it periodically (and we’ll discuss how often in a moment), the glass is like new again — meaning no film or fog, which allows the outdoor elements to be vented properly.

In addition, however, fireplace glass can serve as an initial signal to you that something is going wrong within the fireplace itself. If you see any water or moisture on the glass, for instance, that means there’s a leak somewhere in the fireplace itself — and this likely requires a call to a professional to determine where it’s coming from.

Basic Steps for Cleaning Fireplace Glass

If you’re seeing a hazy buildup or any other kind of dirt or grime formation on your fireplace glass, cleaning it is luckily very simple and straightforward. Here are some basic steps:

  • Following your fireplace manual’s specific instructions, turn off the gas or electricity to the fireplace and allow it to cool down.
  • Open the front of the fireplace.
  • Leave the glass on fireplace hinges, if they’re present. If they aren’t, remove the glass and place it on a flat, clean surface like a table or countertop.
  • Using a glass cleaner and paper towels (or equivalent), wipe the glass down very carefully and thoroughly. If there are specific manufacturer instructions for cleaning the glass, you should follow these directly. Wipe down both sides of the glass if it’s double-sided. We recommend wiping in circular motions, moving in opposing directions so as to cover the sides uniformly.
  • After you’ve wiped down both sides of the glass, replace it into its original position in front of the fireplace.
  • Turn on the gas or electricity again to activate your fireplace’s burner(s).

Safety Precautions

Safety is vital during this process, even despite the fact that fireplace fuel will be turned off. A few pointers we can offer down these lines:

  • Do not use any ammonia-based cleaners or Windex, as they can damage the finish on your fireplace.
  • Do not use abrasive cleaning pads or sponges, or abrasive products like Comet that may risk the integrity of the glass.
  • Do not use any cleaning tools or cleaners that produce steam (steam cleaners or carpet cleaners), as this can cause dangerous heat build-up within the firebox.
  • Always keep a safe distance between you, the fireplace and any pets or children to ensure they don’t accidentally come into contact with hot glass.

For more on why fireplace glass is important and how to clean it, or to learn about any of our gas or electric fireplace services, speak to the staff at Uintah Fireplaces today.

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