What are Common Gas Fireplace Problems?

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. Their aesthetic and convenience are hard to beat, and it’s no surprise that even older vintage homes are upgrading to gas-fueled alternatives. But as with any appliance, there are various problems you may encounter. In this article we outline some of the most common types of problems that homeowners have with gas fireplaces to be aware of.

Gas Valve

If there is no ignition and you do not smell any natural gas, the problem may be as simple as a closed gas valve. You can usually identify if the valve is open because the handle will be in line with the pipe. Most modern valves are 90-degree valves, which means opening and closing them is done with a simple quarter turn.

Unusual Odors

This common gas fireplace problem can be a source of panic for homeowners. The combination of a gas appliance and a strange odor can be very scary. Luckily, in many cases, the odors aren’t as much of a problem as your initial fears may suggest.

There are several non-threatening sources of a gas fireplace odor, such as:
* Pet Dander
* Dust
* Dirt

Soot Build-Up

If there is an abundance of soot build-up in your gas fireplace, air flow may be the problem. All you may need is less gas flow and more air flow, and fortunately there may be a mixing valve on your fireplace or a vent to allow in more air. Doing this every so often produces a bluish flame, but tends to remove the soot.

Pilot Light Out

Like any appliance that uses a pilot light, gas fireplaces can have theirs go out, too. Every gas fireplace will have a set of instructions, supplied by the manufacturer, to show you how to reignite the pilot light in the case of failure.

The reason for pilot lights going on can be attributed to several different reasons. Even a gust of wind can be all it takes in some cases. However, if you find yourself constantly needing to reignite the pilot light on your gas fireplace, it could be a sign that the thermopile may be damaged, and you’ll need a professional chimney sweep to address the issue.

Fireplace Burner

When the pilot light is on, but the main burner of your gas fireplace won’t turn on, the thermostat could very well be the cause. Be sure the thermostat is on, and check to be sure that it’s set above the current room temperature.

Underlying Piping

If there is no ignition or if you smell something that you believe may be natural gas, this is not one of the gas fireplace problems you should attempt to fix on your own. Identifying natural gas is easy because it smells of sulfur or “rotten eggs.” If you see obstructions in the piping, they can cause little or no flow of gas. If there is an odor, immediately deactivate the valve and vent your home.

Due to the nature of gas being dangerous, we don’t recommend you repair gas fireplace problems on your own. Fixing your gas fireplace problems on your own is very dangerous, gas can be deadly, so please call the certified professionals at Chimney & Masonry Outfitters if you need help: 317-500-1250.