Know Your Gas Fireplace and Its Issues

Gas fireplace repair can be daunting!  While a gas fireplace is a simple to use solution for providing the beautiful, illuminating glow that a fire provides, there are some issues that are less-than-simple. Finding the source is the usually what makes it so daunting.  One issue could have any number of root sources, so it’s a matter of covering your bases.  Covering your bases can take a lot of time, and you may not quite have the expertise to troubleshot or repair anything we are going to review.

There are three primary areas that we are going to focus on in this article.  They are the pilot light, the thermocouple, and the thermopile.  We need to reiterate that you are working with gas, and gas is obviously very combustible.  Please, please make sure to turn off your gas line before proceeding with anything we are going to discuss.

Pilot Light

The pilot light is an ignition source. If your fireplace won’t turn on, it may be a simple matter of the pilot flame having been blown out. Reigniting a pilot light can be done in a matter of minutes, and you can simply troubleshoot by opening the vent and taking a look.  Re-lighting a pilot light is as simple as igniting it with a match or lighter.  After lighting it back up, see if you are able to turn on the fireplace.  If the pilot won’t stay lit, you may be facing a bigger issue that would require professional assistance.

The Thermocouple

The thermocouple is a small metal rod that intersects the gas valve and the burning pilot flame. It acts as a temperature sensor and generates electricity to ignite the gas when needed.  The thermocouple is small!  It also interacts with many components, so it really can impact your fireplace in myriad ways.  It can be something as simple as the thermocouple not being screwed in tightly or having been knocked out of place.  When inspecting the thermocouple, make sure that the wiring is also correctly placed.  If anything looks awry and cannot be simply adjusted, professional intervention will be required.

The Thermopile

Similar to the thermocouple, a thermopile is a sensor that generates voltage. The thermopile has replaced the thermocouple in many newer gas fireplaces. A thermopile is much more complex than the aforementioned pilot light and thermocouple.  Repair and diagnosis are much more complex, so proceed with utmost caution when looking at troubleshooting and potential repairs.

As a thermopile has a generator function, utilize that to check how much energy it’s providing.  That can be a good way to figure out if your current wiring is adequate. Loose or inadequate wiring can be the root cause behind a burner that won’t come on at all.

Even though these three components can comprise a lot of the issues with a gas fireplace, but there are many, many other issues that can arise.  Gas valves malfunctioning, or the scary possibility of a gas leak can be other culprits, both of which are difficult to diagnose without the assistance of a professional you can trust.

Ignite Fireplace is the company of professionals that you can trust.  As a locally-owned and operated company with an emphasis on family-oriented service and reasonable prices, we want to take care of your needs.  No job is too big, and we provide the best service in the state for your Heatilator and Heat & Glo fireplaces.  Our Heat & Glo fireplace service in Utah, Salt Lake, Utah, Davis, and Summit Counties.  Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.  See the Ignite difference.

A Dirty Chimney Is More Dangerous Than You Think

Everybody knows what a chimney is, but few people understand its components or how it works.  Furthermore, few people understand how important those components are in making sure your fireplace is properly vented.  One of the most critical components of a chimney is a flue.  A flue vents the smoke and components of a fire as they rise through the chimney.  A flue also consolidates the heat given from a fire to rise up and out of your home safely.  It is ultimately designed to protect you, your family, and your home from fire and the harmful byproducts of a wood-burning fire.

The more you use your fireplace, the dirtier your flue can become.  Over time, without regular maintenance, a flue can become blocked or restricted, which leads to insufficient venting.  Insufficient venting can come from either debris falling into the chimney, such as nests from birds or wasps, or can come from a lack of adequate cleaning, as the soot from fires can accumulate over time.

In the event of a flue becoming damaged, its crucial purpose in keeping excessive heat away from combustible materials can be compromised.   If the flue liner gets cracked, the heat of a fire can seep into brick or wood on your roof or in your chimney, potentially leading to a catastrophic fire.  You will also want to be aware of creosote, which is a natural byproduct of burning wood.  It unfortunately happens to be highly flammable and accumulates on the inner walls of the flue under certain burning conditions.  It’s important to make sure that it is cleaned properly.

Maintaining a Chimney Properly

Now that we have reviewed some of the heavy and even scary scenarios that can play out, let’s see what can be done to keep your fireplace burning bright for years to come, and your family safe!  A fireplace is a wonderful tool that is to be cherished by your family, certainly not feared.

The most critical thing is to have a qualified chimney professional clean and examine your chimney annually.  Ignite Fireplace has a team of qualified, friendly professionals the Salt Lake Valley who will come to your home and perform a thorough examination of the chimney, flue, and fireplace to look for and repair signs of deterioration or weakness.  An annual cleaning and inspection will save you a LOT of money from costly repairs down the road.

Once your fireplace is in good order, there are a few steps you can take to make sure you have peace of mind in your home:

  • Have working carbon monoxide detectors in your home and check them regularly.
  • Close the dampers in your fireplace to prolong burning. Slower, cooler burning wood fires lead to creosole accumulation
  • Opt to burn your fires hot, when possible
  • Visually inspect your fireplace to make sure everything looks right. If anything appears questionable, call Ignite Fireplace for an inspection

Ignite Fireplace offers the pinnacle of fireplace repair in Salt Lake City.  We service the Salt Lake Valley, Utah County, and Summit County.  No job is too big or too small.  We pride ourselves in providing a world-class experience in a company that knows the importance of family values.  Give us a call today to schedule an appointment!