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Maintenance Tips: How to Clean The Inside of An Electric Fireplace

Benefits of fireplace

Knowing how to clean the inside of an electric fireplace is really quite simple. These low maintenance units don’t have a real flame. This makes cleaning them much easier than cleaning gas logs or  wood-burning fireplace counterparts.

You won’t be dealing with the process of setting up or sustaining an actual fire, and you won’t have to clean out a past fire in order to start a new one. With a modern corner electric fireplace, the heat and flames are artificial, but it is still important to keep it clean so that it continues to look amazing and provide the warmth you desire.

While these fireplaces don’t require routine maintenance the way a wood-burning fireplace would, dust can build up in the inlet or outlet to the heater. Removing this dust periodically ensures your fireplace works properly and safely. That is why it is so important to learn how to clean the inside of an electric fireplace.

In this post, you will learn:

  • Does Your Fireplace Need Cleaning?
  • The Benefits of Cleaning an Electric Fireplace
  • What is Inside of an Electric Fireplace?
  • What Cleaning is Required?
  • How to Clean Your Fireplace

Does your fireplace need cleaning?

These fireplaces don’t have real flame-like wood-burning fireplaces. This is why they don’t need a vent, and they won’t produce any harmful byproducts like carbon monoxide or creosote. The heat and fire you will enjoy are artificially created.

The flames you see are a result of light being reflected off of a set of rotating mirrors, an image projected onto a screen, or state-of-the-art holographic technology. Each of these methods creates the look of flickering flames.

These artificial flames don’t produce heat. The heat comes from a supplementary source similar to a space heater. The heater is integrated into the fireplace design, and it is either a forced fan heater or an infrared heater.

Because of how the flames and heat are created artificially, there is much less cleaning required than you would have with gas or wood-burning fireplaces or a wood-burning stove.

The benefits of cleaning an electric fireplace

There are several benefits to an electric fireplace over other types of fireplaces when it comes to cleaning and maintenance.

  • You have access to an instant fire. Once your fireplace is plugged in, it can provide heat and the look of flames with the flip of a switch.
  • You will have no ongoing maintenance to worry about. As long as you have a properly working source of electricity, your fireplace will function at 100% capacity.
  • No vent is necessary. Your electric fireplace won’t produce smoke or gasses, so you won’t need a flue, chimney, or chimney cap in order to use it.
  • There is no cleaning between uses. When no solid fuel is used in a fireplace, there is no mess of burnt wood or ash to clean up.

These benefits make this fireplace a hassle-free and user-friendly option when it comes to cleaning.

What is inside of an electric fireplace?

When it comes to learning how to clean the inside of an electric fireplace, it is important to know what you will find inside of the unit. These fireplaces come in several styles. The ones that first come to mind are the ones that look like traditional large electric fireplaces. There are also fireplace inserts that can be placed in an existing fireplace and ones that look like a wood-burning stove.

Inside of any freestanding fireplace, you will see two main components. This includes an LED light or a rotating light source that creates the realistic flames and the heating element and blower. There will more than likely be a lot of open space as well for ventilation.

You will find the controls hidden someplace on the exterior of the fireplace. Manufacturers like to keep them hidden in order to maintain realism. Sometimes you will find them behind a panel under the mantel on a traditional design or behind a fake ash pan compartment door on the wood stove versions.

Behind the glass doors of the unit, you will find the artificial logs and a back screen where the flame images are projected. The back of the unit will have some type of back cover. This is usually made of metal.

The heater

Once you remove the back cover, you will see the flame effect parts and the heater. The heater will look similar to a space heater, complete with a blower to draw in cold air and blow warm air out.

The blower is a cylinder that has several metal fan blades that are controlled by a motor on the end of the cylinder. These fan blades push the air through the heater.

The other part of the heater is the coils, which you will see if you look into the vents on the unit. These coils will have a red glow after the heater has been on for a while.

An electric fireplace in the living room

Flame effects

Depending on the style of your fireplace, your flame effects will either have a light source and mirrors that rotate or an LED screen that creates the image of the flame.

An LED model works similarly to a TV when creating the image of flames. Wall-mounted fireplaces use LED effects. This keeps it from sticking out from the wall.

Freestanding fireplaces can use LEDs or rotating mirrors for their flames. Freestanding units are deeper in size and can handle either style of flame effects.

What cleaning is required?

While this type of fireplace is low maintenance, you do want to remove any dust from the unit. This keeps it looking great, and it helps keep the inlet and outlet of the heater from becoming blocked.

The main cleaning you need to do involves wiping the exterior down to keep it in good condition. The logs are generally located behind glass, so they won’t get as dusty as other areas.

If you have an electric insert in the firebox of your existing fireplace, you may need to dust the ember bed, but that depends on the unit’s design.

How to clean your fireplace

Even though there is very little cleaning needed, it is important to do it properly.

Turn the fireplace off

Before doing any form of cleaning, turn the fireplace off and unplug it from the electrical outlet. This is recommended in the owner’s manual.

If your fireplace is hard-wired into your home’s electricity, make sure it is turned off at the circuit box. If the electric fireplace has been used recently, make sure it has time to cool down before beginning.

How to clean the inside of an electric fireplace

It is not typically recommended to open up your fireplace. There are several electrical components inside. These delicate areas are best left undisturbed, but you may find that dust can find its way inside and interfere with the functionality of the unit over a long period of time. Always refer to your specific fireplaces’ user manual.

Before you begin, make sure the fireplace is unplugged or shut off at the circuit box. When it comes to the interior, do not use a damp cloth. Instead, choose a dry microfiber cloth. You will also need a vacuum with a brush attachment.

The interior of your realistic electric fireplace consists of two main compartments. This includes the heater and the flame effects. Use your cloth to carefully wipe away any dust from the blower. Use the vacuum for more difficult buildup. Be sure not to use too much force and risk damaging the interior mechanics.

Your flame is created by mirrors connected to a motorized rod along with a light source such as light bulbs or LED strips. Remove dust from the mirrors and light source with a soft brush if you can reach them.

When it comes to the ember bed, use a vacuum to remove the dust. A soft brush attachment may be helpful. You can get the majority of the dust in this manner. Follow the vacuuming with your microfiber cloth. This will pick up the remaining dust.

Exterior cleaning

Your fireplace is an electric appliance, after all, so you don’t want to drench the unit with water. Avoid excessive use of water or liquid cleaning products when cleaning the exterior of the fireplace.

You are simply trying to remove the dust that may have built up over time. All you need to get rid of that dust or any marks from the outside of the fireplace is a slightly damp, lint-free cloth. Dip your cloth into the warm soapy water and ring it out as much as possible before using it.

Stay away from abrasive cleaners and harsh detergents. This is overkill for what you are removing, and using these products could result in you unintentionally scratching the surface of the fireplace.

Use your cloth to wipe the entire exterior and the ember bed firebox where dust could be noticeable. The ember bed is open on some models, while other versions have it behind a screen or glass doors.

The logs in the fireplace are typically hidden behind doors that can be closed. This keeps dust from settling there as much as it does in other areas.

You also need to wipe the inlet and outlet to the heater in your fireplace. Focus on removing dust from these areas as a safety precaution. Heating units are usually located at the base of the fireplace. On fan-forced heaters, you will find an inlet on the backside of the unit with the outlet on the front. If these areas become blocked, the air can’t flow through the unit properly. This could cause the fireplace to overheat and shut down. The most dust will be found at the inlet. This is where the air is drawn onto the heater.

Cleaning the glass of the electric fireplace

Cleaning the glass

The average fireplace has a screen on the front of it that encloses the flame images. While most of fireplaces are constructed from metal and plastic, the screen is often a glass panel.

You can use that same damp cloth you used for the exterior when it comes to cleaning the fireplace glass. Since the flames are artificial, you won’t have the soot and stains that you would find on a screen in a wood-burning fireplace.

You are again simply removing dust. Sticking with a damp soapy cloth ensures that harsh cleaners won’t be reaching the other areas of the fireplace. If you still see dust on the inside of the glass, you need remove the screen carefully. Use a mild glass cleaner to remove any water sports.

In conclusion

Knowing how to clean the inside of an electric fireplace will allow you to enjoy the look and feel of real flames within your home for years to come. While these fireplaces require little maintenance, you may need to clean them from time to time.

The cleaning process is simple when compared to the work a wood or gas fireplace requires. You won’t be dealing with the removal of creosote or grime that a real flame can create or have to hire a professional to clean a damper and chimney. You can avoid the harsh chemicals and stick with nothing more than a clean cloth for much of the cleaning.

Be sure to turn the fireplace off and unplug it before beginning. Start with a cloth and soapy water to wipe down the exterior. When cleaning inside of the unit, carefully use a dry cloth and your vacuum to gently remove dust from the blower, ember bed, and light bulbs.

After cleaning the unit thoroughly, your fireplace maintenance shouldn’t require much more than going over the piece with a duster once a week to keep it looking and functioning beautifully.

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