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What Can Go Wrong : Gas Fireplace

A gas fireplace is one of the best ways to bring heat, comfort, beauty, and enjoyment into your home. But although these units are easy to operate and simple to maintain, that doesn’t mean nothing can ever go wrong.

Ye Old Brit Chimney Sweep of San Bernardino, CA, would like to outline why common gas fireplace problems happen and what to do about them.

gas fireplace in Verdemont Heights CAThe gas valve has closed

If you’re not able to get a fire started, the gas valve may be closed. Check this first. In most systems, the valve handle will align with the direction of the pipe when the valve is open. Typically, valves open and close with a quarter turn.

The pilot light is going out

A common cause of an extinguished gas fireplace pilot light is sudden wind gusts. Your fireplace owner’s manual will tell you how to safely re-light your pilot light. If the light is going out all the time, there could be an issue with the fireplace’s thermopile, which needs to be repaired or replaced by a professional. 

Thermostat and burner problems

If you can’t get your main burner to work, the most likely cause is a problem with the thermostat. First, confirm that the thermostat is on; second, set it above the current temperature in the room.

Strange non-gas odors

If your gas fireplace is emitting strange odors, there’s probably no cause for alarm. Most times, the odors are caused by contaminants on the burners. Common contaminants that can release smells into the air include:

  • Household dust
  • Dirt
  • Hair and dander from pets

For these and other contaminant-based odors, regular cleaning and wiping down will prevent the problem.

Soot buildup from reduced air flow can also cause odors. The solution is to remove the soot with a period of more air flow and less gas flow, accomplished with the mixing valve on your fireplace. Otherwise, your fireplace technician can help you resolve the problem.

Gas odors

The unmistakable smell of natural gas or propane is a reason for concern. If you smell it in your home, the first step is to turn off the valve and open some windows and doors to ventilate your home. A gas leak can be caused by obstructions or breaks in the gas line, so before using the fireplace again, schedule a visit from a gas fireplace technician. He or she will perform an inspection and advise you on the right way to fix the problem.

Regular maintenance for your gas fireplace

While gas fireplaces don’t require the heavy-duty cleaning (chimney sweeping) that’s needed with wood-burning fireplaces, they do need to be watched and maintained. It’s a good idea to schedule annual safety inspections, whether or not you’re having problems with the appliance.

Between inspections, you should keep an eye on your fireplace, watching, listening and smelling for anything that you consider unusual. Report all this to your technician.

gas fireplace installation in Yucaipa CA

You can also periodically vacuum out your firebox to remove dust, dander, soot and other contaminants. Occasional wiping down will keep the fireplace looking good and reduce the chance of unpleasant odors when the unit is operating.

Call your SoCal fireplace experts

Ye Olde Brit of San Bernardino, California, is standing by to help with all your gas fireplace needs. We specialize in the repair and inspection of all styles of gas units and know how to keep yours running safely and optimally.

Speak with a fireplace expert today at (909) 880-2120, or get in touch with our handy contact form.

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