How to Troubleshoot Problems with Your Gas Fireplace

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file00053670326Gas fireplaces are a wonderful addition to any home. They’re a great compromise if you want the look and feel of a nice warm fire during fall and winter, but don’t want to have to deal with firewood. Gas fireplaces provide more heat than their wood burning counterparts, but at a bit of a cost. We’ll discuss that briefly near the end of this post. For now, let’s talk about troubleshooting problems with your gas fireplace.

Gas Fireplace Won’t Light

The very first thing you should inspect in the event that your gas fireplace won’t light is the pilot light. This is a mechanism that provides the necessary flame to start the fire. It allows a small amount of gas to come from the gas pipe through a very small tube. Sometimes the pilot light malfunctions and must be replaced. 

Don’t just assume that the pilot light is the problem. Double check your fuel reservoir to make sure you haven’t developed a leak somewhere along the way and you’re completely out of fuel. Also check the fireplace vent cap to make sure it is in place and working properly.

Soot

Look for signs of soot in and around the fireplace; using ceramic logs and natural gas or propane, you should not have a bad soot problem. Use a tissue or a white cloth to touch the ceramic logs and check for signs of soot. Use any of the methods below to fix soot problems:

  • Clean and reposition the ceramic logs. Improper positioning is the primary reason behind soot on ceramic logs.
  • Clogged burner ports. Clogs in the burner ports can cause an incomplete burn of fuel, resulting in soot.
  • Make sure the damper is open.
  • Check the chimney for clogs and debris.
  • Inspect the combustion screen.
  • If all of your efforts fail, and you’re still seeing soot production, call a professional for help.
  • Odd Noises
  • Your gas fireplace may occasionally make some strange noises, which is fine. If the noises persist or you feel that they’re caused by an underlying problem, try some of these fixes:
  • Dirty burners cause a rumbling noise. Call me for an inspection and cleaning.
  • Flame too high or too low will cause a bit of a roaring noise. Some flame noise is okay but it shouldn’t be distracting.
  • Electronic noise or a grinding noise could be caused by the fan as it is trying to push heat out into the room.
  • General cleaning can often fix some of the problems that cause noise in your gas fireplace.
  • Chimney Cleaning and Inspection

Gas fireplaces make your chimney dirty just like wood burning fireplaces. The general rule of thumb is; if you have a chimney, it needs to be inspected and cleaned at least once a year. You may attempt this as a DIY project, but be forewarned – it is a messy job that requires special tools.

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