Common Gas Fireplace Problems and Fireplace Repair [With Pictures]

On a cold evening, there’s nothing like warming up in front of the fireplace with your family. Once you finish dinner, you tell your children to get into their PJs while you boil hot cocoa and turn on the gas-powered flames to heat the living room. Then, while sitting around the fire, you tell stories while the kids sip from their mugs.

A moment like this feels absolutely perfect, so you understand how terrifying it is to try and light your fireplace only to find that the flames won’t spark! That is a huge disappointment - especially for your kids - as your wonderful family moment has been destroyed because you need a gas fireplace repair.

To that end, there’s no need to fear because it’s SuperTech to the rescue! Read on to learn about possible at-home fixes you can use for your gas fireplace, signs that your system needs a professional gas fireplace repair, and why maintenance is the best way to prevent issues in the future.

Furthermore, if you live in or around Baltimore, SuperTech HVAC is the best-rated heating service you will find! We will take the time to thoroughly inspect your fireplace and tell you precisely what is wrong with it to ensure you know every necessary repair. So please give us a call if you need us!

Lit Fireplace

Baltimore's #1 Heating Contractor Can Fix Your Fireplace!

Do-It-Yourself Fixes For Your Gas Fireplace

Not Enough Fuel

Fuel for gas fireplaces is supplied by either a propane tank or a natural gas line. Whichever applies, your unit always needs to have access to it. If your fireplace has a propane tank, make sure there is enough fuel inside; if not, you will need to refill or replace it. If it gets its gas from a line, the shutoff valve must stay open so gas can flow to the system. The shutoff valve will be nearby your fireplace, and you can open and close it yourself.

Dead Remote Batteries

Many fireplaces can be activated using a remote, which requires batteries to work like most wireless devices. If your system’s remote is not working, check to see if the batteries are dead and change them.

Remote Control For Fireplace

Fireplace Wall Switch Turned Off

Some fireplaces include a wall switch, which looks and functions just like a light switch. If you flip the switch up, the fireplace is on; flip it down, and it’s off. It’s simple enough. If your fireplace doesn’t light, check to see if the switch has been turned off.

Wall Switch For Fireplace

Pilot Light Went Out

If your fireplace has a pilot light, you can actually try to relight it yourself. However, it is a fairly detailed step-by-step process and requires you to read and be familiar with your system’s manual before doing so. Furthermore, you must know the location of the control board and feel comfortable with the presence of a possible heavy gas smell. If any of that concerns you, you may be better off scheduling an appointment for a SuperTech professional to come to your house and light your fireplace for you.

On the other hand, If your gas fireplace has a gas valve key, lighting it is an entirely different process of its own.

Control Board For Fireplace

But most importantly, if you want to try lighting your fireplace on your own, we highly advise reading about them in detail by consulting our blog on how to light a gas fireplace.

If none of these fixes solve the problem, your gas fireplace will need a professional repair. In that case, keep an eye out for ten common visual and/or sensual clues that this is the case...

Don't Keep Fretting Your Broken Fireplace. Call SuperTech!

Pilot Light Not Staying On

If our advice on how to manually light your fireplace does not solve your problem, check your system’s gas supply. If it has run out, it will need to be replenished before your fireplace can resume functionality.

That being said, if the gas is full, the fire not lighting could have resulted from a problem with the gas valve, thermopile, or thermocouple. The thermopile is responsible for converting thermal energy to electric energy and detecting and controlling thermal radiation within the fireplace. The thermocouple is a small metal safety piece that monitors the temperature of the fireplace and controls the gas valve by allowing the gas to light the flame.

Thermocouple For Fireplace

Fire Not Coming On

As we mentioned, this is a problem you may be able to fix by turning on the fireplace’s wall switch or changing the remote’s batteries. But if neither works, the issue may be that the remote or the receiver that detects and responds to the remote’s signals is faulty. What's more, there could be a problem with the sparking ignition, which provides the electricity needed to spark the pilot light and create flames. A bad gas valve and disconnected wires are causes as well.

Fire Goes Out & Comes Back

There are several potential causes of your fireplace’s flames repeatedly going out and then returning after you have lit them. One is the thermopile becoming dirty and not working because you haven’t had a cleaning done for your system.

Another cause may be a dirty flame sensor, which may experience on-and-off interruptions with its signal. There could also be a problem with the gas valve, wiring, or delays in the system’s ability to receive signals from the remote.

Burning Smells

A burning fireplace smell most often results from overheating glass, metal, and/or plastic inside the system. However, these odors can also result from ventilation issues and incorrect gas pressure. Furthermore, you may smell them if foreign materials fall into the firebox from the chimney or if burning wires are present anywhere in the system. 

Do-It-Yourself Fixes For Your Gas Fireplace

Gas Smells

Equally important, smells of gas will come about if a gas-related component of your fireplace, such as a broken gas valve or a leaking gas pipe, is experiencing an issue. They may also result if another gas appliance in your house has a problem. But regardless of where the smell comes from, you will want to open your windows and doors, hurry outside, and have a repair person come out and find the source ASAP!

Furthermore, look to see if there is fog on your fireplace's safety screen. This might be a sign of an excessive amount of exhaust chemicals building up because they are not getting properly expelled from the firebox.

Fog On Fireplace Screen

Cracked Safety Screen

If your glass safety screen cracks, the chemicals behind it that have been blocked off can spread to you! And not only can the screen get cracked by something hitting it, but exposure to temperatures of 600+ degrees Fahrenheit as well! The screen is only supposed to withstand 450 degrees of heat, so turn off your fireplace before it produces more heat than this.

Under these circumstances,  DO NOT use your fireplace until you have the glass replaced, as a cracked safety screen is not something you can repair. Otherwise, dangerous chemicals produced by the flames (such as carbon monoxide) may leak out and harm you.

Frequent & Heavy Soot Buildup

Finding soot on a fireplace is not uncommon, but a large amount of it is not good. This can result from an air circulation problem within the fireplace or a ventilation issue such as a blocked flue pipe, which sends dangerous gases and exhaust produced by the fire up through your chimney and outside. Additionally, unusual soot accumulation can result from a malfunctioning gas valve, improper gas pressure, and avoiding routine maintenance.

Flue Pipe For Fireplace

Visible Rust

Many fireplaces come with a coating over their metal components that prevents rust. If that coat wears off, that protection will be gone. Rust on a fireplace usually develops when the system gets old (i.e., between 10-15 years). At that point, it is best to have it replaced.

Unbalanced Fire

Sometimes, while your fireplace will light, the flames may not come out of every space between the burners. One cause of this is a clog in the burner’s orifice, an opening in the tubes supplying the fuel that mixes with the air to produce a flame. Another reason could be that the fireplace has not had the proper amount of gas pressure supplied to it. If either is the case, you will need a professional to do a cleaning or replace the orifice. This will hopefully return proper gas pressure to the system.

Chalky White Soot

While this isn’t so much a sign that you need a repair, it is still something to keep an eye out for. 

Sometimes, the soot on your fireplace may be white, which develops from regular fireplace use and a lack of maintenance. The buildup of this unsightly material provides a great incentive to get a tune-up or cleaning done for the system every year before the cold season reaches its peak.

As a matter of fact...

White Soot On Fireplace

How to Prevent Fireplace Repairs In the Future! 

The worst time to find out that your fireplace isn’t working is the first time that you go to light it. Unfortunately, at that point, serious issues may have started to develop! It would therefore be best to get regular maintenance for your system as close to the start of the colder seasons as possible. This will help you realize if your fireplace has a developing issue and give you time to fix it early.

This annual inspection costs significantly less than a repair or a replacement, and it is worth ensuring that your fireplace can light. And if you live in or around Baltimore, SuperTech is the best company to call for a gas fireplace tune-up. We are the area’s top-rated HVAC contractor and have the expertise to provide the best possible gas fireplace repair!

Consistently Reliable Fireplace Maintenance!

Make Absolutely Certain Your Fireplace Will Produce Warmth!

You may get concerned during the winter if you find that you have a frozen heat pump or need a professional furnace repair. However, neither creates the same homely feeling as a gas fireplace. So if you enjoy the cozy feel of sitting near the flames with a piping-hot beverage and a blanket, make sure your fireplace stays working throughout the fall and winter.

If you live in or around Baltimore and need annual maintenance or a repair for your fireplace, choose SuperTech so that you know your system will be in the best shape possible. We are Baltimore’s top-rated heating contractor and have knowledgeable and skilled technicians who will show up at your doorstep on time with a smile and get to work fixing up your systems ASAP!

  • I have been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.

    • Absolutely! It’s always best to try changing batteries before calling for repair. Many times a couple double A batteries can save you a diagnosis fee!

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