How to clean your electric fireplace

Compared to traditional fireplaces, electric fireplaces require little effort to keep them clean and running safely. Without a real fire or burning fuel, electric fireplaces produce no harmful byproducts like the ash or smoke that a traditional fireplace produces. However, it may still be necessary to clean your electric fireplace occasionally to keep it in best condition.

Do you need to clean an electric fireplace?

There are a few simple steps you can take to clean your electric fireplace. For the exterior of the unit, you should use a damp cloth to wipe away dust and markings. For the internal components of your fireplace, you should instead use a dry microfibre cloth to remove dust or debris.

As is the case with any appliance in your home, it’s a good idea to clean your electric fireplace every so often. Aside from keeping it looking its best, this is to ensure your fireplace operates safely and efficiently. With that said, the cleaning requirements for an electric fireplace are a fraction of those necessary for a fireplace that burns real fuel.

With a traditional fireplace, a lot of regular maintenance is required to keep them clean and safe. In these fireplaces, a real fire is created by actual burning fuel. This process produces many byproducts; the burnt fuel creates ash, while the smoke contains harmful substances such as carbon monoxide and creosote. It’s therefore essential to keep up with regular maintenance activities with a traditional fireplace, such as removing the old ash, cleaning the hearth, and keeping the chimney in good order.

Electric fireplaces, on the other hand, do not use actual burning fuel, nor do they produce real flames. These fireplaces instead create the illusion of a traditional fireplace using electrical components to mimic the look and feel of a real fire. They generate heat using an internal heating element, such as a fan-forced or infrared heater. To create the visual effect of real flames, these fireplaces also utilize a light source that reflects off a series of rotating mirrors.

As there is no burning fuel, electric fireplaces produce no byproducts whatsoever. Because of this, they require very little in the way of maintenance and cleaning. However, you will inevitably have to clean your electric fireplace at some point; dust can gather on the internal and external components of the unit like any other object in your household.

Although electric fireplaces are generally much safer than traditional fireplaces, they still require occasional maintenance to remain in top condition.

How to clean an electric fireplace

Although it isn’t a regular requirement, follow these steps to clean your electric fireplace when it becomes necessary.

1. Turn off the electric fireplace and disconnect from the power

Before cleaning your electric fireplace, the first essential step is to switch it off and disconnect it from its power source. This is to avoid any accidental electric shocks during cleaning.

If you have a plug-in electric fireplace, switch it off at the outlet and remove the plug completely from the socket.

If your electric fireplace is wired into your home electrics, disconnect it by isolating it from its electrical supply in your property’s fuse box. 

Once you have disconnected your electric fireplace, you need to let it fully cool down before attempting to clean it. This is only necessary if you were recently running the unit.

2. Clean the exterior of the electric fireplace

To begin cleaning your electric fireplace, you should start with its exterior. There may be markings or a build-up of dust on the unit’s exterior that you wish to remove for both aesthetic and safety reasons.

Clean the ember bed

Dust can accumulate on the ember bed of your electric fireplace, i.e. on its bed of faux logs or coal. While this won’t cause any issues with how your fireplace runs, you’ll want to keep this part clean for aesthetic reasons.

To clean off this part safely, take a cloth and soak it in warm tap water before wringing it out; the cloth should be damp rather than wet. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the ember bed. If the part is particularly dusty, use a vacuum to remove excess dust before wiping it down.

Clean the heater inlet and/or outlet

Other parts of your electric fireplace that may gather dust are the inlet and outlet vents on the heating element. It is essential to keep this part clean to maintain the safe operation of your electric fireplace. If the vents become blocked with dust or debris, it may cause the heater to overheat.

The heating inlet and outlet vents are typically located on the base of the electric fireplace, on the front and back of the unit. Again, use a damp cloth to wipe the inlet and outlet vents down, removing all visible dust.

Clean the glass screen

If your electric fireplace has a glass screen, this is the next part you should clean. As they don’t utilise a real fire, the glass of your electric fireplace shouldn’t have any severe staining. However, it’s still possible for this part to get dusty or marked over time.

Use your damp cloth to clean off the outside and inside of the glass screen on your electric fireplace. Depending on the model, it may be necessary to remove the screen from your fireplace to clean both sides properly.

3. Clean the interior of the electric fireplace

It isn’t generally recommended to open up your electric fireplace to access its internal electric components. With that said, it may be necessary to open up your fireplace if there is a build-up of dust on the blower or flame effect components.

Take note that It’s especially important to ensure your electric fireplace is disconnected from any power source before touching or cleaning its internal components. For a plug-in model, unplug the unit from the wall completely; if your fireplace is wired in, disconnect it using your fuse box. It’s also essential to use a dry cloth instead of a damp one to clean the fireplace’s interior.

Clean the blower

If your electric fireplace uses a fan-forced heater, one of its internal components will be its blower. To clean the blower, use a dry microfibre cloth or a vacuum to remove all visible dust and debris. Take care when cleaning the blower so as not to damage it.

Clean the flame-effect-generating components

In addition to its heating element, your electric fireplace will contain the components that create the flame effect. These are most typically a set of mirrors attached to a motorized rod, and a light source, either being an LED strip or halogen bulb. Again, use a dry microfibre cloth to clean these components carefully.

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