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Inquiries and Emergency Services

Signs Your Gas Fireplace Isn’t Working

Posted on November 6, 2018
by Appleby Systems

Running into some frustrating problems with your gas fireplace and wondering what those problems could mean? It’s important to share these symptoms with your HVAC professional, who will use this information to diagnose any problems with your gas fireplace. Here’s what could be wrong and what to do about it:

It Won’t Turn On

The most common, and the most frustrating sign that something is wrong with your gas fireplace is that it simply will not turn on. A few things could be the problem here.

  • Ensure that your thermostat is turned on and demanding heat (some fireplaces won’t work unless the thermostat requires additional heat).
  • Check the fuel supply. Is the fuel supply connected? To tell, check to see if the gas valve is open.
  • Look to see if the fireplace’s fuse has blown (flip the fuse on and off to check).

Rotten Egg Smell

Along with a rotten egg smell, you might hear a hissing, whistling or even a roaring, which could be the sound of the gas escaping, or the sound of a fire fueled by the gas. Natural gas is given a rotten egg smell intentionally, to alert you to a gas leak.

  • It is an emergency if you suspect your fireplace or its fuel source is leaking. Leave your home immediately and call your emergency services or your natural gas supplier.

Burning Smell

If your fireplace smells like burnt metal or debris, and lacks that distinct rotten egg smell, you’re likely not dealing with a gas leak, but with a burning of some kind.

  • Most commonly dust has built up on some component of your fireplace and is burning off when the fireplace gets hot.
  • You may also have burnt electrical wires, or debris in the actual fireplace, that is creating the smell.
  • A call to your fireplace technician and a deep clean of the fireplace are in order.
  • Be sure to call your HVAC technician before you clean, because exposed wires can be dangerous if you get them wet.

Pilot Light Keeps Going Out

The manufacturer of your gas fireplace should have instructions for you about how to turn on your pilot light, perhaps even to troubleshoot it if it continues to go out. However, their tips don’t always solve the problem.

  • Sometimes the root issue is a broken or worn out thermopile, which needs to be replaced occasionally.
  • You could have faulty wiring.
  • There are a few other possible solutions, but you’ll need a professional to tackle any persistent problem with a pilot light.

If you can’t pinpoint the problem with your gas fireplace, a professional can inspect it for you and let you know what’s going on. Call the professional team at Appleby Systems to book your appointment.

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