Common Gas Fireplace Issues

Gas Fireplace in Kirkland, WA

Gas fireplaces are a great way to add warmth and ambiance to your home. They’re low-maintenance, convenient, and aesthetically pleasing, which makes them an attractive option for many homeowners. However, as with all appliances, gas fireplaces can experience some issues over time. From pilot light problems to uneven flames, it’s important to know the common problems that can arise to ensure your fireplace runs efficiently and safely. Here are some of the most common fireplace issues.

1. Soot Buildup

You may have noticed soot buildup on the glass front if you have a gas fireplace. While soot is not necessarily harmful, it can be unsightly and difficult to clean. Soot is created when combustion gases do not burn completely. When these gases cool, they condense and form a fine black powder.

There are several reasons why the gas in your fireplace may not be burning completely, including the following.

  • Dirty burner
  • Improper air supply
  • Incorrect fuel mixture

The best way to prevent soot buildup is to have your gas fireplace regularly serviced by a certified technician. They will clean the burner, ensure proper airflow and check the fuel supply to ensure that your fireplace is operating correctly.

2. Gas Smell

If you smell gas near your gas fireplace, it is essential to take action immediately. Gas leaks can be hazardous; even small leaks can lead to fires or explosions. If you smell gas, leave all the doors and windows open to ventilate the area, and then leave the house immediately. Do not turn on any lights or appliances, as this could create a spark that ignites the gas. Once you are safely away from the house, call a professional to inspect and repair any gas leakages.

3. The Pilot Won’t Light

If your gas fireplace won’t light, the first thing you should check is the pilot light. If the pilot light is out, a draft is likely blowing it out. Try relighting the pilot light and holding a piece of cardboard or something similar over it to shield it from drafts.

If the pilot light stays lit, but the fireplace still won’t ignite, there could be an issue with the gas valve. Try opening and closing the valve to see if that makes a difference. If not, you may need to call a professional to replace the valve.

If the professional finds that the valve is not the issue, they may then have to check that the gas flow to the fireplace is not being interrupted in some other way. They will inspect the gas line to determine if there is a blockage in it. They may also have to check that gas is flowing into your house from the source properly.

4. The Pilot Works, but the Burner Won’t Light

If the pilot light is on, but the burner won’t ignite, there are a few possible causes, such as the gas valve may not be open all the way. If the valve is only partially open, enough gas will flow to keep the Pilot lit but not enough to ignite the main burner. Ensuring that the valve is open all the way may solve this problem.

Another cause may be that the thermocouple may not be functioning correctly. A thermocouple detects when the pilot is lit and allows gas to be released into the burners if it is. This device is important because it prevents harmful gas from leaking into your home when the pilot is out. If you suspect that the thermocouple is malfunctioning, you can call a professional to have it replaced.

5. Unbalanced Fire

When your fireplace refuses to light up the way it should, with flames dancing through every burner, it could be due to a few reasons. One possible culprit is a clogged burner orifice, which is the opening where fuel and air mix to ignite the flame. Another reason could be insufficient gas pressure supplying the fireplace, leaving it unable to function as intended. To restore your cozy fireside experience, you’ll need the help of a professional who can clean the orifices or replace the problematic ones, ensuring proper gas pressure is restored to your fireplace system.

6. Cracked Safety Screen

If you have a cracked safety screen, the chemicals intended to be contained may escape through the broken glass, putting you in danger. This thin wall is susceptible to damage from either brute force or the intense heat in your fireplace over time. A crack can also result if your fireplace gets too hot as a result of a malfunction.

A cracked screen is not something you can fix on your own, and the last thing you want is for the dangerous chemicals produced by the flames, such as carbon monoxide, to leak out and pose a threat to you. For your safety, only use your fireplace once you have the glass screen replaced by a qualified technician. During their visit, they can inspect your fireplace to make sure that the crack was not a result of excessive heat.

7. Thermostat not Working

Another common issue with gas fireplaces is that the thermostat isn’t working properly. This can be a big problem because if your thermostat isn’t working properly, the fireplace won’t produce enough heat to warm the room, let alone help warm the entire house. When faced with this problem, trust a seasoned professional to get the job done. They’ll diagnose the issue and restore the warmth in your home quickly.

8. Burning Smells

A burning fireplace’s familiar and comforting scent can quickly turn sour if you detect an unpleasant odor. Various factors, such as overheating materials inside the fireplace system, like plastic, can cause this. Sometimes, inadequate ventilation or incorrect gas pressure can also affect the smell. Keep an eye out for foreign objects that may have fallen into the firebox from the chimney or if you suspect burning wires, as these can also result in an unpleasant odor. If you notice any unpleasant burning smells, call an HVAC professional to inspect and fix any issues with your gas fireplace.

9. Visible Rust

Typically, a rust-resistant coating is applied to fireplaces’ metal components. As the coat deteriorates, so does the protection it offers. A rusty chimney is an indication of aging. As soon as you notice visible rust, call a professional to get your options for a replacement.

10. Chalky White Soot

While white soot on your fireplace may not necessarily indicate the need for repairs, it’s still worth paying attention to. This buildup is a result of regular use and inadequate maintenance, making it a clear indication that it’s time to give your fireplace a yearly tune-up or cleaning. Call a professional to clean and perform the required maintenance on your gas fireplace to keep it looking and working best to keep you toasty all winter long.

Contact the Professionals

Gas fireplace issues can be frustrating, but with the help of Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning, they don’t have to be. Our team of experienced technicians will help you diagnose and repair any gas fireplace issue.

We have been serving the residents of Kirkland, WA and the surrounding areas for over 20 years. We repair, maintain and install heating and cooling systems. We also provide indoor air quality, electrical, and gas fireplace services. Contact Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning today to schedule an appointment.