Gas fireplaces are the best. Clean, reliable heat with very little maintenance is a great thing to have. That said, eventually, you might have some issues that you’ll need to deal with yourself or engage a pro to help you with. In this article, we will talk about why your gas fireplace has no gas flow.
We’ll discuss the most common reasons, give you an overview of what you can do if you are the DIY type, and even give you some preventative maintenance steps to keep your gas fireplace clean. Without further ado, let’s talk about your fireplace and gas flow!
How Gas Fireplaces Work
Gas fireplaces typically come in 3 varieties, and this determines how they function. The 3 varieties and their functionality are as follows:
- Gas logs– Activated with the touch of a button, ‘gas logs’ are simply a ceramic assembly designed to look like wood that can look realistic (vented varieties) or work more like a stovetop (ventless)
- Vented fireplace– These fireplaces employ a specific vent or pipe that goes through your walls so that they may provide heat without actually using the air in the heated room for combustion. Outside air is used instead and pumped back outside, meaning no gassy smells go to your rooms, only heat.
- Ventless fireplace– Much like a stovetop, these gas fireplaces don’t use vents, but rather the air into the room and push the heat directly inside the room where they are located. This is quite warm and efficient, and oxygen sensors will shut it down if the air starts to get thin.
How to Tell if your Gas Fireplace has no Gas Flow
Typically, your gas fireplace will have a quarter-turn valve, so the first thing to do is to make sure that it’s on, and it will be visibly apparent if that is the case. If it’s on, check the pilot light and see if the pilot light is lit.
However, these are just quick things to check, but diagnosing the issue is going to take a little more troubleshooting. Let’s take a look at the most common reasons why your gas fireplace has no gas flow so that you can have a better idea of what might be going on.
Reasons your Gas Fireplace has no Gas Flow
Several things can affect the gas flow in your gas fireplace, but we’ve narrowed down the scope to provide you with the 4 most common issues that occur. If the gas flow is not constant in your fireplace, then it is likely due to one of the following 4 reasons:
- Thermostat setting
- Pilot light issues
- Gas supply problems
- Thermocouple or thermopile issues
1. Check your Thermostat Setting
First off, take a quick peek at your thermostat. Sometimes, when you get up and chilly, it is easy to panic and overlooks this simple step. If the thermostat is currently set at a lower temperature than the room, adjust it to the temperature that you want and see if the fireplace kicks in.
2. Check for Pilot Light Issues
Next, you’ll want to check if the pilot light has gone out. If so, try to relight it. If you get a nice, clean blue flame, then a draft may have blown it out, especially if the previous night was windy. If you get a sickly-looking yellow flame that seems to be struggling, then you might have some dirt or debris in the pilot light orifice.
This can be dealt with by disassembling the pilot and cleaning the orifice with a wire brush. Still, if you aren’t confident with looking up the steps and giving it a go on your own, a professional can do it for you quickly and keep you from accidentally voiding your warranty in your panic to warm up the house.
If you can light the pilot and it’s a healthy blue, but you still aren’t getting any precious heat, then it might be an issue with the thermopile or thermocouple, depending on your particular fireplace. We’ll address those shortly, but there is one more obvious culprit that we want to check.
3. Check your Source of Gas
Your gas fireplace will be supplied with fuel using a propane tank or by a direct gas connection from the gas company. The valves for flow are typically divided into quarters, so it is generally easy to see if the gas is set to ‘off’ or turned on.
You can also increase gas pressure, and if you get ignition, sometimes you can see if the flow is sporadic. If turning up the gas one notch doesn’t seem to do anything, then you might need a propane tank refill, but if it’s a direct gas line, then it could be the gas regulator on your meter outside, or it could be a peak use period.
For the gas regulator, the telltale sign will be other gas appliances like your water heater are misbehaving as well. If it’s a peak use period, then gas companies sometimes turn down the pressure sporadically, and this generally shows as all of the pilots going out. Either issue will require a call to the gas company to fix or to confirm.
4. There could be Thermocouple or Thermopile Issues
Your thermocouple is designed to check if the pilot light is lit and, if it isn’t, to shut off the flow of gas to keep your gas fireplace and other appliances safe for use. This prevents gas buildup and comes standard in your gas-powered appliances.
Sometimes a little soot gets into the thermocouple, and it needs to be cleaned out. Just a little can stop it from functioning, so Googling’ clean soot from my thermocouple’ can teach you some useful preventive maintenance. You can also get an expert to clean it if you don’t feel comfortable with the process. If it is out of alignment, it will also stop functioning.
Some newer gas appliances don’t use a thermocouple but instead rely on a thermopile. A thermopile employs a temperature sensor and generates electricity to help regulate ignition and gas flow.
In this case, it could be a problem with wiring or the thermopile itself, and you’ll likely need to engage a professional to get it resolved.
How to fix a Blocked Gas Fireplace
If you’ve ruled out the previous items, it might be a simple case of properly cleaning your gas fireplace burners. We’ll outline the steps you need to do this, and if you are still having issues, then it is time to contact a professional.
How to Clean Gas Fireplace Burners
Cleaning fireplace burners is a breeze, be sure that any cleaning products you employ are NOT flammable. Cleaning your gas fireplace burners require the following simple steps:
- Turn off your gas valve and wait for the burners to cool down sufficiently. If you aren’t sure, give it half an hour to be on the safe side.
- With a vacuum fitted with a hose attachment, vacuum, and loose dirt or debris from the burners in preparation for the next step.
- With a soft brush, scrub down remaining residue from your burners until you’ve gotten all of that debris off of them.
- Vacuum up what is left, and your burners are now ready to go!
Today we’ve explored reasons why your gas flow is being interrupted or completely stopped in your gas fireplace. We’ve also talked about what you can do and when it’s a good idea to call a professional. If you’ve checked the items on this list and still have problems, don’t hesitate to take the next step and get a pro to look at it.
This protects your warranty and ensures that your heat will be back in record time, and isn’t that what’s important?
Until next time, we wish you a warm and toasty winter!