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Billy
Billy, HVAC Technician
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 20165
Experience:  Endorsed for unlimited heating, cooling, oil burners, boilers, refrigeration, hydronics
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I have a propane fireplace that shut offs within a minute after

Customer Question

I have a propane fireplace that shut offs within a minute after the actual fire starts. In troubleshooting, I ran the pilot for a week with no issues. Today, I removed the glass front, started the fireplace and it ran with no issues for over five minutes,However, when I re-installed the glass back on the front fore[place, the fire shut down including the pilot. Any suggestions? The fireplace is four years old and we ran it last year with no issues. It is an Empire comfort system fireplace.
Thanks,
Bob
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: HVAC
Expert:  Billy replied 5 years ago.
where does your combustion air come from?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
It looks like the combustion air comes from the bottom of the fireplace IF the blower behind the fire grate. If this is the combustion air blower?
Expert:  Billy replied 5 years ago.

that is probably the circulation fan to blow heat in the room

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Where can I find where the combustion air comes from?
Expert:  Billy replied 5 years ago.
It is either room air through slots into the fire chamber or a intake pipe that goes to the outside and has what looks like a dryer vent hood on it, but instead of a flap it has a screen to bring air into the fire place.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Looks like there are three holes on the top of the fire box. These are covered with a piece of metal and it looks like some filter material or something like that glued to the metal. This assembly is laying flat over the holes. I am guessing room air is drawn into the firebox through these holes to aid in combustion. I can not see anything else going into the fire box. There is no external source of combustion air.
Expert:  Billy replied 5 years ago.
Ok I just read a bit on our unit. Do you have access to where the vent pipe goes outside?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes,I looked at the vent and did not see anything plugging the area. I don't know what else to look at so I left the ladder going up to its location.
Expert:  Billy replied 5 years ago.
According to mfg this could have been installed with a concentric vent. A pipe within a pipe. The exhaust pipe goes in the center of a larger pipe, the area around the exhaust is the intake combustion air. So the combustion air is brought in just in the gap between the exhaust pipe and outer pipe
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Billy,
That is what it looks like a pipe within a pipe. Looks like there is a large pipe inside that vent on the sides. Then is looks like there is a screen slots underneath collecting air to be brought in along the pipe down to the firebox, for the vent system. Directly behind the fire logs, there is a box type cover held on by five screws, I removed this and it exposed two 4" in diameter holes that I assume is the combustion air holes coming from the vent / roof area. Is there anything I should be looking for blockage, power source, etc?
Thanks,
Bob
Expert:  Billy replied 5 years ago.
Our biggest issue is trying to ascertain whether the air gap around the exhaust is clear. The only reason everything would snuff out is if we do not have incoming air
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Billy,
It is now dark outside so I can't look at anything tonight. Do you have any ideas that I can look at tomorrow to make sure everything is clear? Maybe take off the vent cap and look inside?
Thanks,
Bob
Expert:  Billy replied 5 years ago.
Yes that is my bet. I have a couple that every year I know I am going to with a shop vac an find compressed air. The bugs, mice, birds never seem to get into exhaust but find there way behind the deflector for outside air. It may be a job but I believe this to be your issue. Wait, have a go at it tomorrow and then let me know how you turned out. I will leave this question open for you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Billy,
I just pulled the top vent cap off the chimney and both the inside and out side of the tube is clear. I was wondering if the fire place has a CO2 or O2 sensor that may be failing? One more constant is when the fire goes out, so does the pilot light.
By the way you have been way more helpful than the local contractors.
Thanks,
Bob
Expert:  Billy replied 5 years ago.
you raise an interesting point. I was thinking basic air requirement. Is the o2 sensor where you could move it or temporary bypass?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Where might I find the sensor? I do have jumper wires so I can bypass if needed.
Expert:  Billy replied 5 years ago.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes it is, but I can not find the word Tahoe on the fireplace just Empire and the model
number of DVS-36-1
Expert:  Billy replied 5 years ago.
do you know if you kave the thermocouple with a 2 strand wire coming from it (millivolt) or a solid copper wire/tube that screws into gas valve?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I do not see any two strand wire coming from where the thermocouple is to be located. I do see a two strand wire from where the thermopile is located. Looking at the wiring diagram, I see a small black wire where the thermocouple is supposed to be located. this is attached to a screw.
Expert:  Billy replied 5 years ago.
ok, does one wire from the thermopile go to PP on the gas valve?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
One Thermopile wire goes to TPTH, the other goes to TP. It appears a wire from where the thermocouple is located goes to TH. Then a wire from that goes to the remote On/ Off switch.
Expert:  Billy replied 5 years ago.
ok for this test we want both wires from the thermopile to go to TP.....one wire to each and not the TPTH. We are going to test by running thermopile direct.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
done
Expert:  Billy replied 5 years ago.
now put front on and see if it can maintain.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I had the front on so I lit the pilot light and turned on the fire place, nothing. The only thing working is the pilot light.
Expert:  Billy replied 5 years ago.

Ok we know for sure now that it is a millivolt problem. Only thing is which. We bypassed switches and went straight to valve. So now if you had a meter we could see if the generator is coming up short.

 

Or you could get a thermopile since the greater odds are with that. Price is anywhere from $25 bucks on up - http://www.thegreathardwarestore.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=789925&click=2744

 

Sorry for the long way but at least now we got it to one of 2 things.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I do have a meter, just don't know what to test. Or I can order a thermopile. By the way,what is a thermopile compared to a thermocouple?
Expert:  Billy replied 5 years ago.
good question...a thermocouple just generates magnetism. That is why you hold a button down on a regular pilot is so the 2 parts can become magnetized and hang onto each other. On the other hand a thermopile is also know as a generator...it makes its own millivolts which actuall activate the gas valve. So one is just hold things together and act as a safety and the other actually creates its own power
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Billy,
Thanks for all your help. I ordered the Thermopile from the Great Hardware Web site, According to the confirmation I received, the part should arrive early next week. I will let you know how things work out then.
Thanks,
Bob
Expert:  Billy replied 5 years ago.
Terrific, I will leave this open in case you need anything. I appreciate the immense patience you have shown. I do this on top of my regular job and replies can be spotty. I thank you for working through it with me.
Billy, HVAC Technician
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 20165
Experience: Endorsed for unlimited heating, cooling, oil burners, boilers, refrigeration, hydronics
Billy and 6 other HVAC Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Billy,
I just installed the thermopile and trued the unit with the same results. the fire place runs but only for a minute then shuts off. Any other suggestions?
Thanks,
Bob
Expert:  Billy replied 5 years ago.
very sorry to hear that. Can you get me the gas valve number please?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
According to the parts manual you send me it i Empire number R-5455. The valve itself is very difficult to access, i will have to remove several bolts to get at the unit.
Expert:  Billy replied 5 years ago.

http://www.empireheaterparts.com/

do you have a tab or wire u nder the thermocouple on the valve?

 



Edited by Billy on 11/14/2009 at 10:38 PM EST
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Sorry for the delay in answering, yes there is a wire, it goes from the thermocouple to TH on the gas valve.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Billy,
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, I have been out of town. Just to give you an update the fire place . . . it is now working fine. When I installed the Thermopile, I did not follow the relight sequence as per the instructions (thats a man for you) anyway things are good. It was especially nice since we lost power last weekend due to a storm and the fireplace was the only thing keeping us warm for a day and a half.
Let me now what I have to do to get your bill paid.
Thanks,
Bob
Expert:  Billy replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for the update Bob. I am glad all is well with the fireplace. Something tells me you know you way around it pretty good now!

 

I admire your perseverance. Happy Holidays!

 

 

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Billy
Billy
HVAC Technician
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Endorsed for unlimited heating, cooling, oil burners, boilers, refrigeration, hydronics