How to

22 December 2016

What to Do if Your Gas Fireplace Stops Working


We’ve covered the different types of fireplace you can use to turn your home into a cosy den of warmth, and even some of the more extravagant options for those who like to show off. Some of those lovely fires are gas fires, a more low maintenance alternative to traditional log fires. But what to do when your gas fire breaks down, and it suddenly becomes high maintenance? In this article, we’ll look at how to respond. Here are some troubleshooting steps to follow:

  • First things first, check the main gas valve to make sure the gas is turned on. Pilot light system problems are the most likely reason that your gas fireplace is failing to start. There are many reasons for this, so it’s best to leave your pilot light on. If you don’t, the pilot tubing can be blocked, sometimes even by spiders and other insects making their nest there.
  • If the gas is on, and the pilot hasn’t been lit for a while, you may need to get rid of any air stuck in the pilot tubing. You can do this by holding down the pilot button for about 1-3 minutes until all the air has bled out.
  • If gas is coming out of the pilot but it still refuses to light, there may be an issue with the spark igniter. Inspect the area and clean any junk from between the igniter and the thermocouple.
  • Alternatively, if the pilot is lighting but not staying lit, it could mean that the thermocouple is worn out.
  • One potential quick fix to many of these issues is to blow compressed air through the whole pilot light area, wait a couple of minutes, then try again. This could dislodge any blockages and getting everything flowing again.
  • Different fireplaces pose different problems. New fires with electric igniters are more sensitive, and you need to work out whether the fault is with the electronic ignition or the pilot. Some electronics have a backup battery that can be switched on.


But what to do if none of these steps work? There can be problems with your gas fireplaces that are difficult or impossible to fix yourself, such as loose connections, defective valves, or bad modules in electronic units. If things get to this point, it’s worth calling in the experts. If you don’t have much experience with gas appliances you can make things worse, and a small repair can become a bigger, more costly one.

It’s tempting to go for the cheapest general handyman you can find, but the same is true here: if their expertise isn’t high enough, they could turn a relatively insignificant problem into a mammoth one. It’s generally best to hire a fully qualified technician, and a full service will often include inspection, fixing, repairs, and cleaning.

So there we have it. You may have fixed it yourself, or you paid someone else to do so, but either way the flames are roaring once again. Put your feet up and grab a hot chocolate.


Sam Franklin

With a master’s in Literature, Sam inhales books and anything readable, spending his working hours reformulating the info he gathers into digestible articles. When not reading or writing, he likes to put his camera to work around the world, snapping street photography from Stockholm to Tokyo. Too much of this time spent in Japan teaching English has nurtured a weakness for sashimi, Japanese whisky, and robot caf├ęs.