5 Common Gas Fireplace Repair Problems

washington dc gas fireplace

Many homes in the Washington DC area have gas fireplaces.  When you own a gas fireplace, it’s important to know about some of the more common repairs. Some gas fireplace repairs can be done on your own while others require the help of a professional chimney sweep company like ours.

Fireplace Burner isn’t Turning On

You may find that when you go to light your fire, the burner isn’t turning on. If the pilot light is still working, it’s likely a problem with the thermostat. The good news is that you can often fix this on your own by checking that the current room temperature is below the thermostat setting.

If the problem isn’t in your thermostat, you may need a professional to help you with several other aspects:

  • Faulty wiring
  • Dirty orifice on the pilot light
  • Thermocoupler needs to be replaced

Once a professional comes out, they can troubleshoot the issue and make the necessary repairs so your fireplace burner can begin working once again.

Fireplace Doors Not Sealing Properly

Often, the glass doors to your gas fireplace might not be sealing properly, which is a relatively simple fix. The first sign that will tell you that your seals aren’t in place is that you will smell the gas coming out of your fireplace. The clips and glass fasteners both have to be in place firmly.

The Ignition Isn’t Working

If you try to start a fire and the ignition isn’t working, you will need a repair of some sort. You may want to check the breaker box first to see if there has been a trip. Otherwise, it may be that you need to open the gas valve to restore the flow. If neither of these issues is the problem, you will want to get a professional in to check on the natural gas lines or the propane supply and to check the function of the wiring.

Soot Buildup

Gas fireplaces leave soot that can build up over time.  You should be cleaning your fireplace on a regular basis so that you don’t get significant soot buildup.   Residue can affect the oxygen flow within your unit.  There may not be enough oxygen flow, or there might be too much gas flow. Additionally, you should consider getting a professional chimney inspection to find out if any blockages could be causing the problem.

A few other things that you can do for soot buildup 

  • Adjust the air setting
  • Adjust the damper
  • Align embers and logs according to fireplace instructions
  • Clear off the combustion screen
  • Remove leaves and debris from the chimney

When you can get soot buildup under control, it will help your fireplace to last much longer – and look its best, too.

Blower Problems

A blower can create a grinding or shrieking noise. It may be an indication that the blower needs work.  Loud blowers can be deceptive.  Some older models are always louder than newer units.  Newer technology has come out to provide fans that barely make any noise. You may want to call in a professional to see what they can do about your existing blower.

The type of gas fireplace you have may determine the kinds of repairs that you will have over its lifetime. For example, there are ventless and vented fireplaces. Unvented fireplaces shouldn’t produce soot.at all. In ventless fireplaces, you may experience odors as a result of such things as dirt, dust, and pet dander that get into the burner and the other components that are responsible for combustion.

Potential gas fireplace problems are the reason gas fireplaces should be cleaned every year.  By keeping your fireplace clean, you can keep the unit in better condition. You can also catch problems at their early stages.  Do the basics yourself and hire a chimney sweep every year to do the rest. 

Want to learn more? Read this article from the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).

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