Common Gas Fireplace Problems & Causes

A gas fireplace that’s not working due to a common gas fireplace problem.

While you may consider the wood-burning fireplace a traditional piece of any home, more modern homeowners are turning to gas fireplaces than ever before! Their aesthetic and convenience are hard to beat, and it’s no surprise that even vintage homes are being upgraded to gas-fueled alternatives. But like any appliance, homeowners may run into gas fireplace problems from time to time.

If your gas fireplace is not working, or if you’re having strange issues with it, read on to learn more about common issues and your options to fix them.

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 terrifying! Fortunately, it many cases, the odors aren’t as problematic as your initial fears may suggest.

There are several non-threatening sources of gas fireplace odors:

  • Pet dander/fur
  • Dust
  • Dirt

Some things, like objects near the fireplace or even cleaning residue you may have used on the glass can also emit an odor when heated.

That said, there are some smells that are a cause for concern! If you smell gas directly or notice a smell like burning wires or electrical components, immediately shut off your fireplace and contact a professional!

The Pilot Light is Out

Like any appliance that uses a pilot light, gas fireplaces can have theirs go out as well. 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.

Pilot lights can go out for a variety of reasons. A gust of wind is all it takes in some cases! If you suspect this to be the case, confirm that the vent cap is securely in place.

If you find yourself constantly needing to reignite the pilot light, it could be a sign that the thermopile may be damaged. The thermopile is a small probe that uses energy from the heat of the pilot light to open the gas valve. This fail-safe helps prevent gas from flowing when the pilot light goes out. However, if it’s damaged, it often leads to pilot light issues.

When your pilot light constantly goes out, it’s time to contact a professional chimney sweep to inspect and repair your gas fireplace!

Ignition Failure

Is your fireplace failing to ignite? Depending on the cause, you may be able to fix the problem yourself! If you haven’t used your gas fireplace in a while, there may be air in the tubing. You’ll need to bleed the air out by holding down the pilot button for a minute or two. In many cases, this is all it takes to get the fireplace going again.

Do you notice gas coming out of the pilot, but it won’t ignite? Your spark igniter could be faulty. Check to see if there is any debris that may be causing an issue between the thermocouple and spark igniter.

Lastly, if you have compressed air, it’s possible that blowing the pilot area clean can help restore the proper conditions to ignite again. Use the air and wait a few minutes, then try again.

If none of these solutions work, you’ll need to call a professional.

Cloudy or Hazy Glass

Over years of use, you may begin to notice that the glass on the front of your gas fireplace looks a little hazy. This is a common problem and it’s important to clean it properly. Ammonia-based cleaners will be too harsh for the glass and may etch it – leaving your fireplace glass permanently damaged.

There are products you can use to clear away the hazy residue. The most important thing to remember is to act quickly. The sooner and more often you clean your fireplace glass, the easier it will be to clear away this residue. If you leave it for months or years, even specialized cleaner won’t be able to restore the glass to a crystal-clear condition.

In other cases, you may notice this cloudiness when the fireplace is off. It may also quickly disappear when you turn the fireplace on. This specific issue is due to condensation, and it disappears when because heat from the fireplace quickly evaporates the thin layer of moisture.

This isn’t necessarily a fireplace issue as much as it is an issue with the moisture levels in and around your home. Fortunately, a small amount of condensation doesn’t impact the functionality of your fireplace. As long as the glass is regularly cleaned without using damaging chemicals, you should be okay. If the glass becomes etched, you’ll need to replace it.

Is Your Gas Fireplace Having Issues? – Call Doctor Flue!

We can inspect and repair your gas fireplace to fix any problem! Contact us today to schedule an inspection to help keep your home safe and your fireplace ready for winter.

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