Should I clean my gas fireplace chimney?

I just bought a condo for rental purposes. They tenants asked if the chimney was going to be cleaned. I had no idea that a gas fireplace chimney needed cleaning. I have my own and have never cleaned it. A web search said that it should be done.
Does anyone have any experience with this?

I have a gas fireplace and I can’t imagine why it would need cleaning.

Maybe if a bird or bees built a nest in there it might need it.

3 times we’ve bought houses that had fireplaces (although all of ours have been wood burning) and each time we’ve had it cleaned.

You may well be able to get away without doing it, but it seems like a peace of mind thing to do, as well as an opportunity to have the flue examined for problems.

It certainly needs to be cleaned if burning wood. But gas?


You can still get soot from ceramic fire logs, definitely not as much from wood burning, but still some that can accumulate over years of use. Doesn’t hurt to periodically have your chimney inspected to determine if it needs a cleaning.

You don’t provide many details, but it can’t hurt.

First, keep in mind that there are both vented and ventless gas logs/burners. If you are using ventless, it’s not unusual for the flue to be closed or even clamped shut (assuming there is a flue and that the chimney is actually real).

Second, if there is no chimney cap or screen, debris often enters a chimney. This can include leaves, twigs, and even dead critters.

It’s entirely possible for debris to accumulate in the bottom of the chimney and for it to dry out enough to be a fire hazard when the fireplace is used. We have our flue clamped shut (to reduce heat loss) and we remove pine tags and debris every season prior to using the gas logs. This isn’t the same as actually having the chimney cleaned by a professional, but it’s enough of a hazard to make it reasonable for someone to ask that the chimney be cleaned and checked regularly.

Most people around here have gas heat and hot water and never have had the chimney swept or inspected at all. Would a fireplace be any different?

Yes, indeed.
I had a new, efficient gas furnace installed a few years ago, and it doesn’t even have a chimney. It has a 4" plastic pipe that runs mostly horizontally across the ceiling of the basement and out that side of the house. No connection at all to the 100-year-old brick chimney in the house.

And I’ve never had that exhaust pipe cleaned, and the heating company visits twice a year to check the equipment, and has never suggested it. Indeed, I don’t know how you would be able to clean it without dis-assembling it.

You just bought the condo. Do you have any way of knowing what the previous owners used to toss in the gas fireplace? Perhaps it was nothing. Perhaps they used to toss stuff in there instead of running it through the shredder. Perhaps the liked to toss in pine cones because they liked to watch them burn.

It never hurts to check.

Exactly this. It’s cheap insurance.

I’m not telling you not to clean it, but do the tenants even know what they’re talking about? It is not unheard of for a tenant to be clueless.

Good points all.

Cite, please?