Even the most reliable appliances can encounter hiccups. Gas fireplaces, while convenient and dependable, are no exception. While these hiccups can be frustrating, there are steps you can take to begin to rule out and remedy minor issues – or to help you know when you need to reach out to a seasoned professional for help.

If you need care, English Sweeps is here for you – don’t wait to get in touch.

original infographic stating common issues for gas fireplaces

Gas Fireplace Issue: The Fireplace Won’t Turn On

You’re ready to bring on the ambiance of a cozy fire, but your gas fireplace refuses to ignite. What gives?

  • First, be sure that your pilot light is lit. If it isn’t, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for relighting it.
  • Then, consider that your fireplace uses a supply of gas and electricity to get started and keep going. If either is compromised, your fire won’t start. Check the gas supply valve to ensure it’s fully open and didn’t accidentally get turned off. Open it up, then try again. You may also need to contact your gas utility company to ask whether service has been interrupted. 
  • If you get no result, turn your attention to electrical issues. A tripped circuit breaker or faulty wall switch may be hindering the flow of electricity to your fireplace. Check your breaker box, and if it’s tripped switch it back on.
  • Finally, consider your thermostat. Is it set to the desired temperature? Do the batteries need to be replaced? A final check should be made of your thermocouple (or, if it’s a newer model, your thermopile). This electrical sensor is located between your gas valve and pilot light, and it may need to be tightened, adjusted, or even replaced.

Gas Fireplace Issue: The Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit

Your pilot light may flicker to life but refuses to stay lit, leaving you in the cold. What could be instigating this dilemma?

As above, you’re going to want to take a look at your thermocouple or thermopile, and to consider your gas supply. If your thermocouple is dirty or faulty, it won’t be able to properly aid in ignition. Clean it with a soft cloth to remove any build-up that may be hindering its function. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, you may need to check your gas pressure or inquire whether gas service has been interrupted. Inadequate pressure or a supply failure can prevent the pilot light from working consistently.

Another culprit in extinguishing your pilot light can be a strong downdraft. Relight the pilot, and if the problem is recurring, address drafty areas or ventilation issues.

Gas Fireplace Issue: The Flames Are Weak or Appear Low

Your fireplace’s flames are lackluster, not providing the warm glow you crave. What’s to blame?

It’s possible that your burner is clogged, and the dirt or debris is inhibiting your fireplace’s performance. Check that no build-up is obstructing the burner orifice and impeding gas flow. If it is, carefully clean it using compressed air or a soft brush. Verify that gas pressure meets manufacturer specifications, and have it adjusted if needed.

Gas Fireplace Issue: The Igniter Isn’t Sparking

Have you and your fireplace lost that spark? You press the ignition button, but no spark ignites the flame.

Again, dust or grime may be a factor. Accumulated dirt or corrosion on the igniter can keep it from doing its job. It also may be misaligned or damaged, in which case it will need to be adjusted or replaced.

Gas Fireplace Issue: Your Fireplace Isn’t Bringing the Heat

A gas fireplace that doesn’t provide adequate heat can be particularly frustrating during colder months. Gas units are renowned for their ability to provide steady, reliable heat, so if your fireplace isn’t doing that, something is amiss.

Check that your thermostat is set properly, then check from the thermocouple to the igniter for any debris that needs to be cleared away. Consider the level of insulation in the room and whether the fireplace unit is properly sized to the room. Enlisting the help of a professional can help you make these determinations.

Gas Fireplace Issue: Unusual Odors

While strange smells may be concerning, they may be innocuous. When you have a new unit installed, you may notice some unusual odors burning off from the manufacturer the first times you use it. This should diminish as you use your fireplace.

That doesn’t mean you should ignore strange smells, however. If you notice a rotten egg odor, whether faint or strong, the smell may indicate a gas leak. This is a serious safety hazard. Take action if you suspect a gas leak. Shut off the gas supply to the fireplace immediately, then evacuate all people and pets from the house before placing an emergency call to your local gas utility company.

Chimney moisture, soot, and small animals or debris can also create odor, in which case your chimney should be swept. If the smell is a burning electrical smell, there may be an issue with a component in the fireplace that should be investigated by a qualified technician.

Keeping Your Fireplace & Chimney in Tip-Top Shape With Us

Some basic troubleshooting and maintenance can go a long way in keeping your fireplace at the top of its game. It’s also imperative to note when professional intervention is necessary. Trying to repair complicated issues, especially those related to gas and electricity, without proper knowledge and expertise can pose safety risks – and potentially aggravate the issue, causing more damage and cost.

Be sure to schedule your annual fireplace and chimney inspection with our competent, professional team to stay ahead of issues and address any concerns you may have. We’re happy to leverage our industry expertise for your benefit! Call or book online today.