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Tim H.
Tim H., HVAC Professional
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 3070
Experience:  Experienced in all aspects of HVAC, both residential and commercial.
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I have a gas fireplace manufactured in 1991 by Gas Technologies

Customer Question

I have a gas fireplace manufactured in 1991 by Gas Technologies Inc.(Model# XXXXX). I beleive that this company has since gone out of business. The problem I am having is with a faulty safety switch. The fire spontneously ignites, and does not reliably shut off – clearly a safely hazard! I have had three gas fireplace service techs in the Santa Fe area look at it, and everyone agrees that the safety switch needs to be replaced. My concern was that, if GTI is no longer in business, that this part is probably no longer being made. Then it occurred to me that, since the gas control/ pilot light (Honeywell, VR-8200) must be directly connected with the safty switch, maybe you could help me. Please let me know what you think.
Thanks,
Harper Schantz
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: HVAC
Expert:  Tim H. replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to help! Harper, I'm not sure what you are referring to when you say "safety switch". There is a high limit which sits above the burner area and shuts the unit off should too high temperature occur. There is also a small micro switch down near the burner that turns the unit off and on.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It's not the manual on/off switch at the base. It is above the burner, mounted on the side of the unit.
Expert:  Tim H. replied 2 years ago.
That would be the high limit. What's the temperature rating on it? It should be stamped on the switch. Chances are you can use a generic one.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Unfortunately, I don't have that info available. I do not live in that house any more; it is under contract, and the new owners will be taking possession in less than two weeks, which is why it's urgent that I get this taken care of immediately. I do, however, still have access to the property. If you tell me what I should be looking for, I can go check. Where would I get a generic safety switch, or would I have to buy but the whole pilot assemly package? And, if there IS a temperature rating on the switch, where would I go from there?
Expert:  Tim H. replied 2 years ago.
If it is a high limit, it will look similar to this and have 2 leads going to it. The image of the high limit is about half way down this page and has two leads and looks like a small metal disc on the front. You will have to remove it and look for the temp rating stamped on it. You may need a magnifying glass. With the company out of business, I don't see any other way to get the part other than trying to find a generic one on the internet somewhere.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
b with you in one sec, Tim. Gathering info...
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
b with you in one sec, Tim. Gathering info...Okay, here's another thought. Ihave an "optional remote" that I hadn't been using, and the problems began around the time that I re-united the remote with the fireplace. I had teurned the pilot light off over the summer, since no one was living in the house, and the batteries in the remote were dead, so I replaced them. Since then, not only has the remote not worked reliable, but this spontaneous ingition problem has been occurring. Could there be some electrical feedback loop going on between the high limit control and the remote? Or maybe the remote alone is responsible for theproblem?
And, yes, judging from the picture, we are definitely talking about the high limit control.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
b with you in one sec, Tim. Gathering info...Okay, here's another thought. Ihave an "optional remote" that I hadn't been using, and the problems began around the time that I re-united the remote with the fireplace. I had turned the pilot light off over the summer, since no one was living in the house, and the batteries in the remote were dead, so I replaced them. Since then, not only has the remote not worked reliable, but this spontaneous ingition problem has been occurring. Could there be some electrical feedback loop going on between the high limit control and the remote? Or maybe the remote alone is responsible for theproblem?
And, yes, judging from the picture, we are definitely talking about the high limit control.
Expert:  Tim H. replied 2 years ago.
The high limit is in series with the millivolt valve and thermopile. No, the high limit's only job is to SHUT THE FIREPLACE OFF, if the temperature gets too high. I'm thinking that this issue is something with your remote and receiver. Did you put new batteries in both? You know, you can just disconnect the receiver and use the micro switch to turn the unit off and on. You don't absolutely need the remote-receiver combination, it just makes it more convenient.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
You say "remote and receiver"? Are these two different things?
Expert:  Tim H. replied 2 years ago.
The remote (handheld device) connects with a small black box known as the receiver which is located down below the burner area.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Is it enough to simply not use the remote, or does the receiver have to be disconnected?
Expert:  Tim H. replied 2 years ago.

If it is coming on by itself, you may need to take the receiver out of the circuit. But first try putting fresh alkaline batteries in both units. Maybe it's as simple as that! Let me know what happens.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX been very helpful!
Expert:  Tim H. replied 2 years ago.
Thanks. Let me know if you need anything else.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
One question: do I need a Honeywell service person to locate the receiver and change the battery for me? I tthink if Firebird knew how to do it, they would have suggested it. Can you reccommend someone?
Expert:  Tim H. replied 2 years ago.
It shouldn't be something you need a service person for. Open the grate at the bottom of the unit and look inside by the gas valve and piping. You should see a black box or "receiver". Just open the small battery door and put fresh batteries in. Do both the remote and receiver at the same time.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
OK. How can I get back to this site to review the info you have given me, if I need to? Also, where and how can I provide feeback re. my experience w/ you today, which, by the way, has been very positive!
Expert:  Tim H. replied 2 years ago.
You will be given the chance to leave feedback when you hit the "accept" button. Bookmark the page and you can always come back for more help.
Tim H., HVAC Professional
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 3070
Experience: Experienced in all aspects of HVAC, both residential and commercial.
Tim H. and 3 other HVAC Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Tim H. replied 2 years ago.
When you check the receiver underneath the burner and replace the batteries, note whether or not the manual microswitch is in the "on" or "off" position. Let me know what you find. Another expert has suggested that the switch could be in the on position and that you could have a weak thermopile, which is entirely possible. This could cause unit to come on, then go off. 95% of the time on fireplaces, the issues are caused by weak thermopiles.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi, Tim.Right now the pilot light is shut off and the manual microswitch switch is in the "off"position. What position do you WANT me to have it in when I check the receiver and change the batteries? For safety, I would be inclined to have it in the "off" position, and then turn it on afterwards to test it.
Regarding the thermopile, I don't know what that is, this is sounds like an interesting possibility. However, I doubt that I would ever leave the manual switch in the "on" position. I think it's more likely that what's happening is a delayed reaction after trying to light it with the remote. Would that make sense if the batteries in the receiver were low? Another reason I think it's probably not the theropile is that, once the fire comes on, it does not shut off by itself, and is, in fact, very difficult to shut off at all, which is the main reason I turned off the pilot light. Does this information help?
Expert:  Tim H. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, it helps. Let's proceed with what we originally planned which is to replace batteries in both remote and receiver, relight, and see what happens.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
OK. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks, again!
Expert:  Tim H. replied 2 years ago.
Thanks

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