A gas fireplace provides the most convenient way to enjoy the flickering flames of a fire. No need to chop or haul firewood; simply flip a switch or light a match to get the appliance started. If ventless appliances are permitted where you live, installation of a gas fireplace may not even require a chimney, which means you can have a stylish fireplace installed in virtually any room of your home. As with any appliance, however, there are various problems you may encounter. Below are some of the most common types of problems that homeowners have with gas fireplaces, along with common solutions.
Pilot Light. The small flame that ignites a gas fireplace burner is called the “pilot light.” If the pilot light goes out, first check to be sure that the gas valve on the fireplace is open. If it is not, switch it to the “on” position; and light the pilot according to manufacturer’s instructions.
If the pilot light still doesn’t come on, check to see if the gas tank is empty; or check with the service company supplying the gas, to be sure that the gas hasn’t been shut off.
It could simply be that the pilot light was blown out, perhaps by a strong draft. Re-light the pilot precisely according to manufacturer’s instructions. If the light is blown out more than once, check to make sure the fireplace vent cap is in place. There should be no gaps or holes which allow downdrafts to affect the pilot light. It may be necessary to have the vent cap repaired or replaced. Contact one of our chimney professionals for this and all repairs, to ensure the safe operation of your gas fireplace.
If the pilot light seems to light but then goes out quickly, it could be that the thermopile needs to be replaced. Thermopiles on gas fireplaces need to be replaced every few years, another job that should a certified chimney sweep should perform.
If you still can’t get the pilot light started, it could be because wiring is unconnected, loose, melted, or damaged. Contact a professional for repair.
Fireplace Burner. When the pilot light is on but the main burner won’t turn on, the thermostat could be the cause. Be sure the thermostat is on, and check to be sure the thermostat is set above the current room temperature.
Other than above-named issue, problems with gas fireplace burners usually require the help of a professional. Common causes of problems with burners include:
- The pilot light orifice, where the flame emerges, is dirty. Our professional technicians can remove the contaminants, such as dirt and soot, that tend to obstruct the system.
- Unattached, damaged, or faulty wiring could be preventing the burner from lighting; contact a professional for repair.
- A part called the “thermocoupler” could be malfunctioning; a service professional can perform a test to determine the cause and resolve the issue.
See this continuing series for more troubleshooting tips related to problems with your gas fireplace. In the meantime, remember that our chimney professionals are experienced and ready to assist with any problems you may be having with your gas fireplace. Give us a call for repairs or for installation of a new gas appliance.
Northeastern Chimney, Inc.
formerly Nayaug Chimney Services, LLC
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110