Troubleshooting Tips for Gas Fireplaces – Part 1
There’s no question that gas fireplaces provide the most wonderfully convenient way to enjoy a flickering fire in your home. In spite of the fact that a gas appliance is far less complicated to deal with than a wood-burning fireplace or wood stove, problems still arise and professional maintenance for gas fireplaces is essential, for safety reasons. See the following troubleshooting tips plus more that will be included in this continuing series.
The most common problem that people with gas appliances experience involves the pilot light which is the small flame that ignites a gas fireplace burner. The first thing to check if the pilot light has gone out, is whether or not the gas valve is open. Simply switch the gas supply to the “on” position and light the pilot according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Sometimes the problem with a pilot light is that the gas supply has either been depleted or cut off. Check to see if the gas tank is empty or if service from your utility company has been temporarily cut off.
If your pilot light is out because of a draft, check the fireplace vent cap. Make sure it is in place, and also check to be sure there aren’t any holes or gaps in it which will allow air to blow out the pilot light. It’s possible that you will need to have the vent cap replaced or repaired; be sure to contact our chimney professionals, who can help to ensure that all components of your gas fireplace are operating properly.
The thermopile is a component of the gas fireplace that needs to be replaced every few years. If your pilot light seems like it is going to light but then abruptly goes out again, it’s a good indication of a faulty thermopile.
Another potential cause of pilot light problems is damaged wiring. Look for loose, melted, unconnected, or otherwise damaged wiring. Don’t attempt to use your fireplace again until a professional has been able to repair the faulty wiring for you.
A soot problem may not be immediately obvious, but it is something you should check for routinely. If you take a white piece of tissue and wipe across the length of the front ceramic log on your gas fireplace, you may see small , black, ash-like, powdery clumps or your tissue may pick up a dark grey or black substance. This can be evidence of two possible problems:
- The ceramic logs are not properly positioned. This results in unburned fuel, which causes excess soot deposits on the logs. The gas logs should be cleaned and repositioned by a professional chimney & fireplace specialist.
- The burner ports are clogged. In addition to causing an unbalanced or incomplete burn, the appearance of the fire can be negatively affected. Call our professionals to clean the logs and the burner ports.
Other possible solutions to a gas fireplace soot problem follow:
- Be sure that your damper is completely opened.
- Check the chimney to be sure it isn’t clogged with some type of debris, such as a bird’s nest or leaves.
- Check the combustion screen, and clean it according to manufacturer’s instructions, if it is clogged with soot.
Be sure to see part two of this continuing series for more troubleshooting tips related to problems with your gas fireplace. Call our experienced chimney professionals for help with all of your chimney and venting needs.
Northeastern Chimney, Inc
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110