Author Topic: gas fireplace won't start. Help!  (Read 3966 times)

StockBeard

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gas fireplace won't start. Help!
« on: November 25, 2015, 02:28:57 PM »
The gas fireplace in our condo will not start. The pilot light seems to work fine.

Additional context:
- Our landlord's handyman came two weeks ago for a similar issue. He cleaned up the ignition mechanism (pilot light + sensor), and the fireplace was good as new. At the time he also confirmed that everything was good from an electric point of view
- I've tried to clean up like he did, but that didn't help
- The fireplace worked perfectly fine yesterday, and just stopped all of a sudden (this is different from the last problem we had that the handyman fixed. In that case, the fireplace progressively became harder and harder to turn on)
- I found some broken glass close to the pilot light. I have no idea where that glass can come from. The glass panel protecting the fireplace is intact, and I have no idea why the pilot light or sensor would need glass. Any suggestion of what this might be (attached)?



Suggestions on my next steps?

Uturn

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Re: gas fireplace won't start. Help!
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2015, 10:51:12 AM »
I'm not sure why there would be a pilot light and an ignition system. Ignition systems provide a spark when the gas is turned on, a pilot light is the spark. 

My fireplace has neither.  I turn on the gas, then light with a stick lighter.  Have you tried that?

The glass might be from a previous tenant breaking the glass door, and you have just not noticed it before.

Murr

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Re: gas fireplace won't start. Help!
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2015, 10:59:53 AM »
For some reason our gas with ignition system won't start when it's real windy.

dragoncar

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Re: gas fireplace won't start. Help!
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2015, 02:51:24 AM »
I'm not sure why there would be a pilot light and an ignition system. Ignition systems provide a spark when the gas is turned on, a pilot light is the spark. 

My fireplace has neither.  I turn on the gas, then light with a stick lighter.  Have you tried that?

The glass might be from a previous tenant breaking the glass door, and you have just not noticed it before.

Some gas fireplaces have a pilot light that stays lit, and a thermocouple that detects whether the pilot light is lit (I'm guessing this is the "sensor").  When you flip the switch, if the sensor detects the pilot light is lit, the main burner turns on.

Some have a pilot light that does not stay lit, plus a thermocouple.  When you flip the switch, an ignition spark lights the pilot.  If the sensor detects this flame, the main burner turns on.

OP, I'm not sure why it doesn't work but there are some resources online to test the thermocouple.  I'd google that and try the tests they suggest.

StockBeard

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Re: gas fireplace won't start. Help!
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2015, 11:51:33 AM »
Thanks all and sorry for the late reply:
I had to learn a bit more before coming back.
What I call the "ignition system" was actually a thermocouple + a thermopile. Because the pilot light was on, I concluded that the thermocouple was doing fine.
The next step was figuring out if the problem came from the thermopile or the gas valve.

I made the bet it was the thermopile, and bought a bunch of tools to verify my guess (a multimeter, some wrenches, etc... yup, I did not own those before...). Turned out I didn't know how to open the fireplace in the first place (this probably sounds crazy to many of you DIY people, but I'm not from the US and had never owned/used/seen a gas fireplace in my life before), I procrastinated, and ultimately my landlord sent some company to have a look.

They opened the fireplace and verified, their verdict is that the gas valve needs to be changed. They'll charge my landlord $200 for that verification which took them 15 minutes, and then they'll charge much more for replacing the valve. Oh well... At least next time I'll know how to open it myself. 

The broken glass in the fireplace was either some old decorative element (intentionally broken glass that reflects the fire light), or some glass that got broken before. It had nothing to do with the problem.

dragoncar

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Re: gas fireplace won't start. Help!
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2015, 01:03:34 PM »
I'm all for diy, but I'd always let the landlord handle a broken appliance in a rental.... That's what you are paying them for!

StockBeard

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Re: gas fireplace won't start. Help!
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2015, 01:16:29 PM »
Yeah, you're right... I thought it would be a good learning experience for me though, to try and investigate the issue myself