A cozy fire is a comforting amenity to warm up a living space. You may notice that your fireplace glass fogs up from time to time. And over time, perhaps that foggy look just doesn’t go away. What happens to make your fireplace glass foggy?
Fireplace glass fogs briefly from condensation and can get a more permanent foggy appearance from acidic moisture etching the glass. This glass etching creates a foggy look on the glass panes and may require that the glass be replaced to get rid of the look.
Condensation and acidic moisture are two leading causes that make your fireplace glass look foggy. The first one is a temporary fogginess while the second one is more permanent—especially if the cleaning has been overlooked.
Why Is My Fireplace Glass Foggy?
Fireplace glass becomes foggy from condensation and from gas logs producing acidic moisture. The fog from condensation will evaporate shortly as the glass pane warms. The foggy look that doesn’t disappear is caused by acidic byproducts and needs to be cleaned.
Let’s go over the two reasons why a fireplace glass looks foggy.
Reason 1: Condensation
You may notice a fog appear on the glass pane of your fireplace when you first turn it on. It slowly evaporates over time, but what is it? And what causes it?
It is condensation. Condensation is the transformation of water from a vapor to a solid initiated by a change in temperature. When the fireplace turns on, the moisture inside the firebox begins to warm. That warmed vapor turns into a solid droplet of water if it meets the cool glass pane.
As the fire continues to warm up the air, the glass pane will warm and the water droplets will evaporate, getting rid of the fog.
Reason 2: Etched Glass
Gas burning fireplaces produce an acid that mixes with the moisture in the air. This moisture then turns into water droplets on the fireplace’s cool glass pane. The white film remains on the glass if the fireplace is turned off before all the moisture evaporates.
The residue left behind on the glass is cleanable, but the acidic moisture can etch the glass over time, leaving it with a permanent foggy look. A white foggy glass that hides the fireplace’s flames from view won’t evaporate when the fireplace is turned on. It either needs to be cleaned, or the glass needs to be replaced.
How Do You Fix Foggy Fireplace Glass?
A foggy glass pane on a fireplace can be cleaned with either vinegar or a glass cleaning product. The glass may need to be replaced as a last resort if the cleaning solutions don’t work. Vinegar is a great place to start since most people have a bottle in their pantry. It is natural and easy to use.
Three methods to remove the foggy look are:
- Clean with vinegar
- Clean with a fireplace glass cleaner
- Replace the glass
Cleaning With Vinegar
Let’s talk more about cleaning with vinegar. The inside part of the glass is what needs to be cleaned. Remove the glass pane carefully, making sure to follow the owner’s manual. If you are working with a gas fireplace, it is best practice to turn off the gas while you are servicing the fireplace.
Once the glass pane is removed, dampen a cloth or paper towel with the vinegar and rub it over the glass’s surface in a circular motion. Wipe the pane dry of any remaining moisture or residue on the glass.
Hold the pane up to a light source and see if the white appearance is gone to check if this method worked.
Cleaning With Glass Cleaner
If the vinegar method did not work, try a glass cleaning product. Most home improvement retailers sell a version of glass cleaners that are specifically manufactured for fireplaces. The products are designed to remove buildup and soot.
These products also work great for wood-burning fireplaces that have glass panes since they will also remove smoke and creosote buildup.
Replacing The Glass
As a last resort, the glass panes may need to be replaced to get rid of the foggy appearance. After a while, the glass becomes etched or scratched from the residue, and a simple cleaning will not remove its opaque appearance.
Can I Prevent My Fireplace Glass From Fogging Up?
Fogginess on fireplace glass can be prevented by reducing the humidity in your home, reducing water from entering the chimney, and by cleaning the panes regularly.
- Dehumidifier. A dehumidifier reduces the humidity in the air. Most homes will have some level of humidity in the air, but too much moisture in the air can lead to condensation on the walls, or in this case the fireplace.
- Chimney cap. If a lot of rain water comes down into the fireplace, it could be that the chimney cap is missing or damaged. Reducing the amount of rain water coming down the chimney will reduce the humidity inside the fireplace.
- Regular cleaning. Some fogging may be unavoidable and cleaning the panes regularly will reduce the risk that the glass will become permanently etched.
Can I Remove The Glass Panes On A Fireplace Myself?
The glass panel can be removed from fireplaces that are not a sealed unit. A direct-vent gas fireplace is a sealed unit and therefore cannot have the glass panel removed. Other types of gas fireplaces and wood-burning fireplaces have removable glass panes. Follow the owner’s manual to find out how to remove the glass.
The owner’s manual is a great place to start to safely remove the glass panes (every model will have a different approach). The glass panes or the fireplace could become damaged if the panes are not taken off correctly. Also, it is best to turn off the gas before beginning work on a gas fireplace to avoid any gas leaks.
Some typical ways that the glass pane can be removed is by undoing clamps or screws. Check both the bottom and the top of the glass pane. Once the clamps or screws are removed, the pane should easily lift away.
It is important to note, if your fireplace is a sealed system, there is no way to remove the glass. It should not be forcefully removed either because, in a sealed system, the glass pane is required to be sealed for the fireplace to work. Removing the glass could permanently damage the fireplace.