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Why Do Gas Fireplaces Keep Going Out?

Keep your fireplace going without it going out on you.

Gas fireplaces are popular today for various reasons. They are easy to use since ignition is with a flip of a switch or the turn of a key, you can regulate the heat, they are low maintenance since there is no ash left behind, there is no smoke or embers, and they will still work even with a power blackout. These fireplaces come in different designs, including the traditional gas stove fireplaces and the more modern linear fireplaces.

If your gas fireplace keeps going out, this can be very frustrating. It denies you the warm ambiance that a fireplace should be providing. So, why would a gas fireplace suddenly go out? As you will see, there are many reasons why this could be happening. Some reasons are straightforward, while others need a professional to pinpoint.

Faulty or Blocked Pilot Light  

The pilot light is one of the major components of a gas fireplace. It is the pilot light that kick-starts the fire. The pilot light is the small blue flame that ignites fire when you flip the switch or turn the key. This flame should be mostly blue, with very little yellow and no red. If the pilot light is damaged or dirty, it will affect how fire ignites, and it can give a lazy flame which can die quickly. The pilot light has to remain lit even when the fire catches. If the pilot light cannot stay lit due to damage, the fire will be impacted.

Malfunctioning or Blocked Thermocouple/Thermopile

Gas fireplaces have thermocouples that are heat sensors that keep the pilot light on. The thermocouple monitors how much gas is used and provides just the right amount to the pilot light. A thermopile is a larger version of a thermocouple, and it works by regulating the gas that flows to the main burner. The thermopile can be used together with a thermostat to regulate heat. A gas fireplace can go off randomly if either the thermocouple or the thermopile is dirty or damaged. A blocked or damaged thermocouple will not supply sufficient gas to the pilot light, causing the fire to turn off randomly.

Faulty or Blocked Oxypilot

The oxypilot is a sensor that monitors the oxygen levels in the room. This is an important feature as it prevents carbon monoxide poisoning. If the oxypilot goes faulty, it will turn off the gas valve, which will switch off the pilot light. The oxypilot should also be free from dirt since clogging can have the same effect.

Damaged Thermostat

A thermostat enables your gas fireplace to cycle on whenever the surrounding air falls below a set temperature. It also causes the fire to turn off when the surrounding air warms up to the level of the set temperature. A thermostat usually comes with a thermostat remote that allows you to adjust the temperature from anywhere in your home. When the thermostat fails, the gas fireplace randomly turns off or does not cycle on at all.

Incorrect Gas Service Pressure

The gas service pressure should be correct for the fire to ignite and to remain lit. If the pressure is incorrect or keeps fluctuating, it will cause the fireplace to switch off or fluctuate.

Moisture on the Gas Line

If there is moisture or water on the gas line, this will dilute the natural gas reaching the pilot light, and it can cause the fireplace to switch off.

Faulty or Blocked Gas Valve

The gas valve is the outlet from which the gas comes out. If the valve does not open correctly, it will affect the amount of gas being supplied to the pilot light and consequently impact the ability of the fire to stay on.

Unclean Burner Ports

The burner ports should be clean to ensure sufficient amounts of gas are released for combustion. Blocking could be due to soot, dirt, or oxidation build-up.

Holes and Cracks in Heating Components

Sometimes components will have holes and cracks due to normal tear and wear. This can cause insufficient gas to be supplied, leading to the fireplace randomly shutting down. This is also a big safety concern because leaks can cause fires.

How Do You Fix a Gas Fireplace That Keeps Going Out?

  • Fixing faulty or blocked pilot light: The pilot light should touch the sensors that surround it (the thermocouple or thermopile). To fix the pilot light, begin by resetting it. If this does not work, replace the thermocouple as it could be faulty or worn out from prolonged use. If this does not work, replace the thermopile.
  • Fixing dirty or malfunctioning thermocouple/thermopile: If the thermocouple is the issue, try cleaning it first. Dirt will prevent it from sending a signal to the pilot light, shutting off the gas. You can use a microfiber cloth and fine-grit sandpaper to clean the parts. To prevent further dirt accumulation, vacuum the fireplace to remove dust and debris. If the thermocouple or thermopile is damaged, you will need a certified fireplace service technician to service and repair it. The thermopile is tested using a millimetre where the TH/TP contact is analyzed to determine how much electricity is produced. The millimetre reading should be 300 millivolts or higher. If the reading is less, it should be cleaned and, if still low, changed. If the thermopile reading is ok at over 300 millivolts, then turn your attention to the thermocouple. The millimetre reading should be 25 millivolts or higher. If the reading is below 25, then you need to replace it.
  • Fixing faulty or blocked oxypilot: Being a sensor, the oxypilot should be free of dirt. Clean it regularly to prevent inaccurate sensing. A faulty oxypilot should be repaired by a professional to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning issues.
  • Fixing faulty thermostat: If the thermostat is not working automatically, you can turn it to manual mode. If the thermostat remote batteries are dead, replace them.
  • Remedy for inaccurate gas service pressure: A professional should adjust the gas service pressure for accuracy. If the professional is not able to resolve this, they will ask you to contact a utility service person.
  • Fixing drip loop: Moisture on the gas line should be diagnosed and resolved by a professional.
  • Fixing faulty gas valve: If the gas valve is faulty or blocked, it will need to be serviced or replaced by a professional.
  • Cleaning burner ports: If the burner ports are clogged and dirty, scrub them clean.
  • Fixing cracks and holes: Whenever you are cleaning your fireplace, be on the lookout for cracks, holes, and broken pieces and fix them immediately.

My Gas Fireplace Goes Out Randomly – What is the Solution? 

If you are asking yourself this, the solution is to keep your gas burner well maintained. With the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, it is important that you are not passive when it comes to gas fireplace maintenance. You should schedule regular maintenance (at least once per year) with a professional. You should also clean all the components regularly to ensure there is no clogging. Follow manufacturer recommendations when it comes to replacements to ensure everything works as it should.

At The Fireplace Store, we are the biggest fireplace showroom in Toronto. We stock a full line of quality and efficient gas fireplaces from reputable brands. We will advise you on the best fireplace for your home. Call us today for 20% off on select fireplaces. 

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