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5 Signs Your Gas Fireplace Needs Professional Maintenance

Published on: February 21, 2019

IMPORTANT NOTE: . Our company is located in British Columbia, Canada. If you are reading this article in another location, we hope you enjoy the information, but unfortunately we cannot service you. 

There’s nothing quite like staying warm and comfortable in the middle of a cold winter’s day. That’s why having a fireplace in your home can help. Add a cup of hot chocolate and you’ve got a cozy evening.

That being said, if you don’t check up on your fireplace often enough—especially if it’s a gas fireplace, which we’ll focus on in this article—you could be looking at some trouble down the road. Here are the biggest signs your home’s fireplace needs maintenance as soon as possible (and in some cases, the sooner the better!).

1: Pilot light issues

Just as if you would use a gas furnace, there’s a pilot light built into your gas fireplace as well. Your gas fireplace’s manufacturer should have instructions for you about how to troubleshoot the pilot light if something goes wrong, but if your pilot light refuses to stay lit, even after following the instructions, that’s one sign of something gone very wrong.

Usually the cause is due to a broken or worn out thermopile, which is a component that does need to be replaced occasionally. Another more serious cause is faulty wiring, which you should not attempt to fix by yourself. If your pilot light won’t stay lit and you’ve already followed the manufacturing instructions to no avail, calling a professional for help is the only best solution.

2: A rotten egg smell

Anything that smells like rotten eggs means danger! If you hear a hissing sound or see anything else out of the ordinary, it means there’s a gas leak. The only reason you can smell anything is because of mercaptan, a harmless chemical added to natural gas which gives it its rotten egg or hydrogen sulfide smell.

If you see, hear, or smell any signs of a gas leak, stop what you’re doing immediately and evacuate your home. Don’t attempt to fix it yourself, or call about the leak on your cell while you’re in the house, or smoke, or light matches or even operate any light switches. Go outside ASAP, and call 911 or you can call Fortis BC’s 24-hour emergency line at 1-800-663-9911.

3: Too much soot

Unlike wood-burning fireplaces, soot buildup is not a sign of a healthy gas fireplace. In fact, it means something is very wrong, especially if there’s soot on the glass doors. It’s either because of the logs, the interior of the fireplace, or the outside venting (or maybe all of the above) contain buildup. However you look at it, if soot is what you’re seeing right now, then your fireplace needs professional attention immediately.

4: It switches on and off

This is one of the most frustrating common signs of a gas fireplace malfunctioning, and it is also the most difficult to solve without a professional technician’s help. Multiple causes can be the culprit as to this scenario:

  • The millivolt generator, usually placed in the path of the pilot light and the size of a AA battery, is old and worn out
  • Dirt and carbon have built up in the vicinity of the pilot light
  • Too much of a breeze is coming down the chimney, and the doors are open
  • There’s a jamming issue with the burner
  • A bad thermocouple or thermopile—the thermocouple being the sensor that senses heat and allows the pilot light to stay lit, while the thermopile allows gas to pass through the burner system and heat and light

Whatever the cause, this is another one where you shouldn’t DIY the fix yourself. Call in a professional.

5: Wear and tear

Just like your furnace and A/C, your gas fireplace is considered to be a mechanical unit and therefore it needs regular maintenance just like every HVAC system out there. Components can and will wear out, especially when you operate the fireplace between periods of no use at all to very high use in the span of a year.

Valve and gas connections are where the most dangerous leaks can occur. The thermocouple and thermopile should both be regularly cleaned, as should the ceramic logs that usually come with a gas fireplace. The logs should be placed properly in order to allow the fireplace to work at its best too. Never neglect to look after your gas fireplace, because that’s where some of the most frightening accidents and tragedies can occur, including explosions and fires if a component malfunctions or leaks, meaning house fires and serious injuries can happen.

In any event that these problems may arise, the safest thing you can do is to turn off the gas fireplace and call a professional for assistance. The last thing we want to find out is that you’ve put yourself and your home and family at great risk!

Do you need fireplace maintenance done? Does your gas fireplace need a tune-up or specific maintenance performed? Let us know—HVAC is not our only qualified service! We offer gas fitting and fireplace services too. At Rep-Air Heating And Cooling we provide our customers with many options that will best suit your needs from heating and cooling to refrigeration. Contact us today for your complimentary quote: 1-778-728-1476 or and don’t forget to take a look at our website: Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for free giveaways!

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