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Gas Fireplace Repair and Troubleshooting

Does your gas fireplace work intermittently-do the flames go out? Need help troubleshooting or repairing a gas fireplace?

Experts often receive questions about gas fireplaces and related gas fireplace issues. Readers want to know how to troubleshoot gas fireplace problems.

Here are some typical questions asked by readers and Expert answers.

Why does a gas fireplace with a new valve, thermostat and thermopile extinguish itself and the pilot a few minutes after lighting?

This could happen because of two possibilities:

  • The orifice of the pilot light is clogged or dirty and goes out causing everything to shut down.
  • The main burner might be throwing out a stray flame which hits the lower end of the thermopile heating it up and causing it to shut the whole system down. Something like this is rather rare but has been known to happen.

Why are the decorative logs in a fireplace actually getting charred?

This is a potentially dangerous situation because of which the fireplace should be shut down immediately till the problem is identified and resolved. Some of the possible causes are:

  • If it is a vented fireplace the damper should be open. It might have closed inadvertently by a bird or squirrel’s nest. Make sure that the flue is absolutely clear.
  • Because it is winter there could be negative pressure in the chimney allowing the air to sink rather than ascend. Use the hot air from a hairdryer to prime the fireplace before lighting it.
  • The gas/air mixture is too rich because of which smoke is being generated. If that is so the local gas company will have to make an adjustment for the right mix.
  • The fact that the decorative logs are being charred suggests that there is combustion inside possibly because some orifices are blocked. Make sure all orifices are clear and free to vent out.
  • As a measure of abundant caution install a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector in the vicinity.

Why does a gas heatilator fireplace work erratically - sometimes it’s perfect and at others it shuts off?

The thermocouple might be faulty and need to be replaced. The thermocouple is a safety device which ensures that gas does not flow unless it is burnt.

If the problem is not with the thermocouple it could be with the thermostat.

Why would a gas fireplace suddenly stop working though the pilot light is on the thermopile is delivering a voltage?

This is typical of a bad gas valve. If the voltage is correct, the coupler is working, the thermostat has been jumped, and still the fireplace does not work, the problem must be with the gas valve. It should be looked at by a skilled technician. It is preferable not to attempt a DIY repair as a faulty repair could potentially be very dangerous.

Why do the flames on a gas fireplace appear to leave the burner outlets and then go out along with the pilot light?

If there is a hissing sound it could be because the gas pressure is too high at times. Otherwise it could be due to a faulty gas regulator or one where the setting is not right. Then solution is to call the gas company to check out the regulator and the regulating valve near the fireplace.

While a gas fireplace is the norm in areas where gas is freely available, many people are wary of attempting to repair them because a faulty repair could potentially be dangerous. In such situations it is safer to ask an Expert for the right solution when faced with a gas fireplace problem. An Expert can always be relied upon to analyze the problem and give insight on the best way to repair it.

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