Help — My Gas Fireplace Won’t Turn On!

Help — My Gas Fireplace Won't Turn On!

Oh no…it’s getting cooler in the evenings and you want to enjoy a glass of wine or cup of hot cocoa by the fire, but your gas fireplace won’t turn on. What do you do now? Do you have to call a professional or is it something that you can fix yourself?

First, you have to know what type of gas fireplace you have and then it’s important to determine the cause.

Types of Gas Fireplaces

Gas Fireplaces are incredibly popular because they are attractive, clean, convenient, and cheap to operate. They also come in a variety of forms:  gas inserts, log sets, built-ins, and free-standing units. For our purposes, let’s look at how they ignite.

Standing Pilot Light — With this type of pilot light, the flame is burning all the time. While it is using a tiny bit of fuel all the time, it is also not reliant on electricity to ignite — so during a power outage, the fireplace is still working.

Electric Ignitions — Newer fireplaces use an electronic ignition system, so unless you have a battery backup (be sure to check your batteries in the battery backup) you won’t have ignition during a power outage.

Identifying the Culprit

Gas fireplaces are actually pretty straight forward. There are only a few reasons why they aren’t working, most of which you can check yourself. If for any reason this makes you feel hesitant or uncomfortable, stop and call a professional. You want to be safe at all costs.

First, and most importantly, be sure that you don’t smell gas. If you do, please call fortisBC or a certified fireplace technician immediately. Also, make sure that your gas valve is shut off after accessing the inner mechanics located inside or underneath the firebox.

Next, check to make sure that there is no debris blocking any venting or the chimney, which may be cutting off oxygen to the source.

So let’s take a look at what might be causing your gas fireplace malfunction…

Is Your Pilot Light Lit?

If you have a standing pilot light, remove the cover and follow the instructions listed here. That should have you up and running in a flash.

For electric ignition gas fireplaces, be sure to check the fuses and circuit breakers to ensure that power is getting to the ignition mechanism. If fuses are blown, be sure to replace them with a like voltage replacement fuse. If your circuit breaker has been tripped, just reset it and see if that solves your issue.

With either solution, once complete, check to see if that fixes your problem. If so, terrific! If not, move on to the next level.

Is Your Gas Valve in the On Position?

Be sure that you have a flow of gas getting to your gas fireplace. People sometimes shut off their fireplace’s gas valve in the springtime, when the season is over, and when they go to start their system in the fall…no gas. Give a quick check to see that the gas valve is in the on position.

You May Have a Dirty Thermocouple

The thermocouple, a metal probe used to control the valve where the gas enters the system, can sometimes get dirty or out of position. Check to see if the thermocouple should be cleaned, repositioned, or replaced.

Or a Worn-Out Thermopile

Like a thermocouple, a thermopile is a temperature sensor that works with the electric ignition system and can become worn or mispositioned. Either of these situations, really requires an experienced professional rather than a DIY solution.

Have You Checked the Batteries?

Depending on the type of gas fireplace you have, you need to check your remote control and your internal receiver to ensure that the batteries are fresh. Old, stale batteries in one or both can cause the igniter to not fire.

Time to Call the Professionals

If you have checked all the preceding potential issues and still can find your culprit, it’s time to bring in the professionals. Kirkstone Heating is available to analyze and assess your problem and recommend a solution. We serve the entire city of Vancouver and surrounding municipalities, which include Abbotsford, Aldergrove, Burnaby, Cloverdale, Coquitlam, Delta, Ladner, Langley, Lions Bay, Maple Ridge, Mission, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, Surrey, Tsawwassen, Vancouver, West Vancouver, and White Rock.

You may also want to consider our 360 30-Point Inspection, Maintenance, and Cleaning package that will ensure your gas fireplace is operating at top condition. Included in this service are:

  • Gas and carbon monoxide leak testing
  • Inspection of the entire gas and mechanical systems, including burners, ports, fan blowers, thermostats, remote controls, and safety controls
  • Checking the seals on the glass doors and venting
  • Cleaning the interior firebox and repositioning the logs to ensure an aesthetically pleasing appearance

So if your gas fireplace won’t turn on or if it’s time for your annual service, consider a visit from one of Kirkstone Heating’s professional technicians. Each of our technicians has a minimum of 15 years of experience and hold numerous licenses and certifications and, most importantly, our work is guaranteed.

Contact us for all of your gas fireplace maintenance and service needs.

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