Gas fireplaces are increasingly common, especially with colder and more intense winters. It’s a great idea to have a fireplace, but you need to know how it works!
A key thing to know is how to tell if your gas fireplace’s valve is on or off. The gas valve is open when the handle’s long side is parallel to the gas line. The gas valve is turned off when it is turned only a quarter of the way and is perpendicular to the incoming pipe.
Do Gas Fireplaces need a Shut-off Valve?
Gas fireplaces require a shutoff valve. These are required by law and it must be located outside of the firebox. The law goes further, stating that each appliance is required to have shutoff valve separate from the appliance that must must be installed “upstream” on the walls other rooms from the device it serves. If you are a fraid on accidentally turning on the fireplace, you could turn the gas shutoff unit for the fireplace.
How does a Gas Fireplace Valve Work?
Gas fireplaces use a thermocouple to monitor the pilot flame. They also use a thermopile to enable control via a thermostat or any other remote control. The thermocouple uses heat from pilot light to keep the gas flowing while preventing flow to the stove’s main burners when inadequate heat ignites it. If the pilot light goes out, the thermocouple will shut off the gas supply for safety.
A gas fireplace pilot light also known as pilot in a gas fireplace is a small part of ignition system that create flame used to light the main valve. It is an essential part that help the fireplace flame to start efficiently and quickly. Some pilot lights models have standing pilot while others are intermittent pilot ignition. With the standing pilot light, once the pilot flame is lit, it remains on even between fire and uses miniml fuel. Always use a clean fuel source to heat your room.
Thermocouples are passive sensors. These sensors generate an electrical current when a thermal gradient can interact with an exposed open circuit. First, the sensor senses this heat from the pilot light. The thermocouple then induces an electrical charge, which affects an electromagnet inside the valve that allows flow to the stove’s main burners.
Propane fireplace usually fail due to the pilot light igniting but not staying lit. If this occurs, it means there is an issue with the thermocouple. Additionally, a loose connection or natural corrosion can cause a thermocouple to fail. However, the most common problem is that the junction is covered in soot and needs to be cleaned or replaced.
Fireplace Shut-Off Valve Types
Numerous shut-off valve types are being used in the industry. Some of them are listed below:
- Control Valves: This valve controls the burner’s flow, pressure, and temperature. This is used widely because it has an automatic operation: it sends an electric signal to the controller through hydraulic pneumatics.
- Ball Valves: These are equipped with a tight seal with low torque and can easily be located and moved on or off in high-pressure situations. This is not automatic and thus is becoming obsolete now.
- Check Valves: These prevent reverse flow from the pipes. Primarily, they are used coupled with some other valve systems.
- Globe Valves: These are the most widely used valve systems in fireplaces, the reason being they can be installed easily due to their easily machined seat systems. They have a tight shut-off ability and have a simple linear motion which allows easier access when turning the valve unit on or off.
Many fireplaces use a combination of Globe valves and Check valves as their primary shut-off valve systems.
Where is the Gas Valve for my Fireplace?
This control panel is located either behind the front screen. This is where a knob that controls gas flow can be turned on or off. Typically, the gas valve for a fireplace is found on the control panel.
Other fireplaces have a round slot for controlling the gas valve. This is usually located near the fireplace. In this setup, the gas flow is controlled with a fireplace key. This fireplace key is also called a hex key.
Another way of controlling your gas valve is with an electronic wall switch. Most modern fireplaces come equipped with a wall switch control panel located in the room to activate the fireplace and adjust the height of the flame.
How do you tell if the Gas Valve is On or Off?
As previously stated, natural gas fireplaces have a valve that controls the gas flow. To tell if it is on, check if the valve is either parallel or turned a quarter unit, so it is perpendicular. If the gas valve is parallel to the incoming gas line, it is on. If you want to stop the gas flow, turn the gas valve a quarter turn, perpendicular to the incoming gas line. In this position, the gas valve is off.
To check and reset your gas valve:
1. Ensure all gas appliances are turned off
2. You should turn off the service valve for fifteen seconds
3. Now, open the valve only one-sixth of a turn. Ensure you hear gas flowing through the pipes.
4. When the flow stops, this means that the gas has pressurized the system. Now slowly fully open the service valve.
How do I Turn on my Natural Gas Fireplace Valve?
If the gas valve is parallel to the incoming gas line, it is on. Turn the gas valve on the propane tank by pushing ignitor to verify spark at pilot area if it is not in this position. If you do not see a red or black spark ignitor button, you do not have a manual ignition system. If power is actively supplied and gas enters your fireplace, simply turn the on/off unit, wall switch or remote control to “on” to ignite your main burner.
Also, read – how to light a gas fireplace with electronic ignition.
How to Turn off a propane or Gas Fireplace Valve?
You can turn off the gas fireplace valve by locating the control panel first. Inside the control panel, there is a safety valve that you can open to gain access. Next, you will find a knob. Try to turn the knob to the off position for at least 5 minutes or rotate counter clockwise until ON unit is in 6 o’clock position.
Most fireplaces also come with a shut-off valve, and you can locate it by following the procedure already mentioned above. After locating it, you need to twist the handle until it’s perpendicular to the gas line to turn it off.
These were some of the basic steps or operations for using a gas fireplace valve. However, it is recommended to be extra careful while handling gas fireplaces.
Is a Faulty Gas Fireplace Valve Dangerous?
Yes, a faulty gas fireplace valve is dangerous. Gas leak in your house is dangerous and can cause fire, so you should never repair a gas fireplace problem yourself. This can be very dangerous. You should immediately call a professional and have them deal with the issue.
If you’re having problems with your gas fireplace, first check to ensure the gas valve is on! If there is no ignition and no gas smell inside the house, the issue may be as simple as a closed gas valve.
Here are a few signs that your gas fireplace is not working correctly and may need some maintenance. First, if your gas fireplace pilot light refuses to stay lit, that’s a sign of a big issue. The cause of this can be a broken thermopile. A more severe cause of this issue is faulty wiring.
The second sign of an issue is a rotten egg smell. If you smell this or hear a hissing sound, it means there is a gas leak. If you think there is a gas leak, stop what you are doing and leave your home. Do not attempt to fix the issue yourself. Instead, call a professional to deal with it.
The third sign of issues with your gas fireplace is soot buildup. Too much soot means something is wrong. If there is too much soot, call a professional immediately.
How do I know if my Gas Fireplace Valve is Bad?
If the pilot light of your gas logs stays lit, yet the main burner fails to work, then there may be an issue with the thermopile. If your gas valve is turned on yet, no gas is flowing, that means there is a serious issue. You may be wondering, why do gas valves fail? They can fail due to a variety of issues. These include contamination, misuse, and simple product deficiency.
How much does it Cost to Replace a Gas Fireplace Valve?
Replacing a gas valve can cost anywhere between $350 to $595. It depends on the issue, the price of the part(s) required, gas bill, and the rates of the gas company you use. Never attempt to fix a problem with your gas logs by yourself. It can be perilous. Always leave it to the professionals.
Wrapping It Up
Gas fireplaces are a great way to stay warm during the wintertime. All vent free gas fireplace require a shut-off valve. These are required by law to be in the same room and within six feet of the gas appliance. The best bet to deal with a broken gas fireplace is to call a repair person than try to replace the broken system yourself. The gas valve is open when the handle’s long side is parallel to the gas line. The gas valve is turned off when it is turned only a quarter of the way (pilot position) and is perpendicular to the incoming gas pipe. Overall, you will find it isn’t as difficult as you initially thought once you research it.