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Why Are My Gas Logs Turning Black?

By Lawrence Macmillan October 25, 2021

Gas fireplaces are a great and energy efficient way to replicate a traditional wood fireplace.

They do not burn anything but gas, as the logs that are often inside of them are ceramic artificial logs, rather than real ones. They are simply painted to look like real wood burning logs.

However, even though there are no real logs in your gas fireplace, it is still possible for them to start to turn black over time.

But why is this happening? The main answer to this question is that it is a build up of soot.

Thankfully, there are some things that you can do to prevent your gas fire logs turning black, and there are lots of ways to clean them if they have already turned black.

We are going to tell you how to do both of these things in this article.

Why Are My Gas Logs Turning Black?

The main reason why your gas logs are turning black is due to a buildup of soot on the logs, which can be due to the fuel in the fireplace not burning properly or even a lack of ventilation inside of the fireplace.

Thankfully, these are two things that you can fix, and you can often prevent this from happening.

How To Stop Soot In A Gas Fireplace

In  order to stop the soot from collecting from the logs in your fireplace you will need to keep an eye out for any issues that may occur. To check for soot, you should turn off the fire and allow the logs some time to cool.

Next, take a clean white cloth and rub it on the logs in the fireplace. If black marks appear on the cloth then you have a soot issue.

You may also notice small clumps of black and powdery ash-like substance on the ceramic logs.

What Causes A Buildup Of Soot On My Gas Fire Logs?

The most common causes of soot buildup in a gas fireplace are ceramic fire-logs that have been moved out of their proper position and burner ports that are clogged.

If your firelogs have moved, then this can interfere with the path of the flames that work to ensure the clean burning of the gas. This can lead to soot formation on the logs.

Another common cause of soot in your gas fireplace is that you have clogged ports on the gas burner, which can cause an incomplete or unbalanced burn, causing soot to form on the logs.

Either way, you should always clean the firelogs and doors of the fireplace and make sure that the logs are in the exact place that is specified by the manufacturer of the fireplace. 

If you find that the ports are clogged on the burner, then you should clean them according to the manufacturer's directions or have a professional come out to clean them.

Airflow

The correct fuel and air mixture in your fireplace will produce yellow flames with minimal soot buildup.

Open-front gas fireplaces will usually feature an air shutter on the gas line feeding the burner, which allows you to adjust the fuel-air mixture.

On fireplace models with glass doors, adjustable vent shutters are typically located beneath the doors to regulate the amount of combustion air.

The air shutters or air vents will need to be cleaned and unobstructed. They will also need to be kept in their proper position.

If the flame becomes starved for air, then it is likely to start to produce excessive soot.

How To Prevent Soot On Your Gas or Propane Fireplace Logs

To prevent the logs in your gas fireplace from gathering soot, you should:

  • Ensure that the logs or positioned correctly and according to the manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Make sure that the logs are not obstructing the air supply or the supply of fuel to your fireplace
  • Clean any soot that has settled on the logs
  • Clean the burner ports to the manufacturer’s specifications
  • Make sure that the air coming to your fireplace is not being obstructed
  • Check your air vents or shutters
  • Ensure that there is plenty of ventilation in the room
  • Check your chimney or flue for a buildup of soot that may be affecting ventilation

If all else fails, you should have your fireplace inspected and serviced by a professional.

How To Clean Soot From Gas Fire Logs?

If you want to clean the soot from your gas fire logs, you will need to wait for them to cool down before you get started.

Once you remove them from the fireplace, you should put them onto some newspaper to prevent making a mess.

Once you have done this, you can follow these steps to clean your gas fireplace logs.

1. Wipe the logs clean with a rag. You can remove any soot that is clinging to the logs with a dry and soft rag. Wipe it over the whole log, and the soot should brush off.

2. Clean the logs with a damp rag. Once you have finished the previous step, you can then go in with a clean rag that has been dampened with a small amount of water.

The water should be lukewarm, and you should always wring out any excess moisture. You can then wipe it over the logs to remove any excess soot. 

3. You should only even use a cleaner if they are approved in the owner’s manual of the fireplace. Otherwise, you should avoid this.

If you are ever unsure, then you should test it on a small and inconspicuous area of the log before going in for full cleaning.

4. If this soot has built up in small crevices, then you can use a soft bristled paintbrush or cotton swab to remove it.

5. Finally, you can vacuum up any soot that has been left behind. This will ensure that the soot does not spread throughout your home.

All that is left to do is dispose of the newspaper and return the logs to their exact position within the fireplace.


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