Gas fireplaces are a thing of beauty. Convenient, functional, clean, efficient, and generating instant ambiance, it’s no wonder gas fireplaces and inserts are an immensely popular home heating feature. However, even the best appliances require maintenance – and, unfortunately, occasionally act up.

If you have your heart set on the warm glow of a fire, here are some factors that may be involved in a misbehaving fireplace.

Need some professional care? Give us a call or reach out online today.

original infographic about why your gas fireplace won't light

🔥 My Fireplace Won’t Turn On: Pilot Light Edition

The pilot light is the tiny flame that keeps your fireplace ready to ignite at a moment’s notice. But what if it’s out? A few potential culprits include:

  • Gas supply. Check that the gas valve supplying your fireplace is fully open. If you’re lucky, it’s as simple as that!
  • Thermocouple or thermopile trouble. Depending on your unit, you have either a thermocouple or thermopile, but they have roughly the same function as a sensor for your system. The thermocouple and pilot light go together like the proverbial peanut butter and jelly. Adjust your thermostat to see if your fireplace ignites. If not, ensure that your thermocouple is securely in place and properly aligned. If the pilot light continues to go out, it may be that the thermocouple is not reading the pilot light correctly and therefore shutting off the gas flow (and extinguishing the pilot light). If this is the case, it’s malfunctioning and may need to be replaced. 
  • Pilot assembly. Another possibility is that accumulated dust is interfering with the flame, which may be helped by a careful cleaning of the pilot assembly.
  • Downdrafts. A strong draft can extinguish a pilot light. This can either be a one-time occurrence, or signal a ventilation issue.

If your pilot light is out, you can relight it according to manufacturer instructions. If pilot light continues to go out, however, you probably need to identify and remedy the root cause.

🔥 My Fireplace Won’t Turn On: Electrical Edition

Your fireplace needs a supply of gas and electricity to work. If you’ve already checked that the gas valve is fully open to the fireplace, check out your circuit breaker. A tripped switch will keep electricity from flowing to your fireplace. Flipping the switch back on may fix the issue. If it doesn’t, a glitch in the wiring can also prevent your fireplace from turning on. If that’s the case, it may be time to enlist the pros.

🔥 My Fireplace Won’t Turn On: Igniter Edition

If your pilot light is going strong but nothing happens when you press the ignition button, your ignitor may not be producing the spark needed to ignite your fireplace. This could mean that it’s defective, but it also may simply be obstructed by debris. Clear away any dirt between the igniter and thermopile or thermocouple. 

Having Gas Fireplace Performance Issues?

It’s possible that your fireplace is turning on, but it isn’t yielding the type of performance you desire. There’s no reason to content yourself with less when more is possible.

  • Weak flames. Underwhelming flames can result from poor gas pressure, a clogged burner, or even a thermostat that merely isn’t set correctly. Try checking the gas valve, clearing out any build up that may be obstructing the flow of gas, and double checking your thermostat settings.
  • Insufficient heat output. If you aren’t getting the robust heat you’re after, make sure that your thermocouple isn’t faulty. You may also not have adequate insulation to keep heat in the room. Consider examining your room to see if you’re losing heat through cracks, or whether your fireplace is not well enough insulated.
  • Strange smells. It’s normal for a new fireplace to smell strangely of factory chemicals or paint, especially doing the first few uses. This should be a temporary sensation. Soot and chimney moisture can also create an unpleasant odor. But if what you’re smelling is a gas odor similar to rotten eggs, evacuate the premises and call your gas utility’s emergency line for emergency assistance!

We’re Your Chimney Professional Partners

As a homeowner, there are steps you can take to help identify and ameliorate minor issues. But there are also times when professional maintenance is essential. Here’s why:

  • Safety. Your safety is paramount. This is why The Chimney Guys commit to ongoing industry education and certification with the CSIA. Professional technicians have the knowledge and experience to recognize and address potential safety hazards.
  • Longevity. Regular maintenance can extend a fireplace system’s useful life immensely. In the long haul, this means savings in both stress and finances.
  • Efficiency. Another cost saver is the efficiency that accompanies a well-maintained heating appliance. Professional maintenance can help you heat your home more effectively while consuming less energy.

We’re proud to partner with Charlottesville homeowners to help provide the knowledge, expertise, and resources necessary to safely enjoy all the benefits of a well-functioning fireplace.

Call or book online with our techs today.