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Basic Inspection Tips

  1. Before you turn on the unit (before you light it)

  2. If the unit has not been used in 2 or more years

  3. If the unit doesn’t come on (doesn’t light)

  4. Once the unit is turned on (lit)

 

1. Before you turn on the unit...  
  Inspect the ceramic logs for excessive soot.

Perform a White Tissue Test:  take a white tissue and, with 3 fingers, swipe across the entire length of the front log.  If the tissue becomes a dark-grey-to-black color where you wiped and/or if you see small clumps of a black, powdery, ash-like substance on the rest of the logs, then one of two conditions probably exist:

The ceramic logs are positioned improperly -- this will manifest itself in an ‘incomplete burn’ (which also causes abnormally high levels of carbon monoxide) and an abundance of soot on the logs.  Resolution: have the logs cleaned and then either position them exactly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations or call The Gas Fireplace Service Company to position them for you.

The ceramic logs’ burner ports are clogged -- this will manifest itself in either an incomplete burn or an unbalanced burn and an abundance of soot on the logs.  This will also negatively impact the appearance of the fire.  Resolution: have the logs cleaned and then either position them exactly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations or call The Gas Fireplace Service Company to position them for you.

Inspect the glass doors for excessive build-up.

Perform a Tissue Test:  take a tissue and simply wipe the inside of the fireplace glass.  If a black, powdery, ash-like substance comes off the glass and your wipe leaves a streak across the glass, then one of the two conditions described in the gas log-soot problem probably exist. Resolution: clean the glass and have the logs cleaned.  Then either position the logs exactly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations or call TheGas Fireplace Service Company to position them for you.

Inspect the glass doors for scratches, chips and tightness/snug-ness.

If the unit has glass doors and the glass is either scratched or chipped, the glass should be replaced.  Some gas fireplaces have actually blown up because of such glass imperfections.  If the glass doors are not adhered to the frame as tightly as they can be, poisonous carbon monoxide can escape into the home.  Resolution:  Tighten the glass to the doors (each model is slightly different in how it holds the glass in place.)

For vented models, inspect the area directly above the vent on the exterior of the house. 

If there is soot or a ‘scorched’ look on the homeowner’s brick or siding, then one of the two conditions described in the gas log-soot problem probably exist.   Resolution:  In addition to having the logs cleaned and re-positioned properly,  wash down the outside wall of the house with soap and water. 

For vented models, inspect the outside vent itself.

Leaves, spider webs, birds’ nests and tiny particles of loose brick mortar can block critical air passages in the vent affecting the units’ air/gas mixture and/or the unit’s ability to stay ‘lit’.  Resolution: clean out the outside vent as best you can and replace any torn or loose screening/webbing.
 

Inspect the unit’s pilot light.

Usually located inside of the unit between the front and rear ceramic logs, the pilot light should be burning well enough to fully wrap around and cover the top 3/8” of the unit’s thermo-pile or thermo-couple.  The thermo-pile or thermo-couple is a small metal rod that sticks up and is usually located to the left of the pilot light.  If the pilot light isn’t covering the thermo-pile or thermo-couple properly, then one of three conditions probably exist.

The pilot light’s gas orifice is clogged -- this will manifest itself in a less-than-needed amount of gas going into the pilot light which in turn affects the thermo-pile or thermo-couple’s ability to function.  Without the thermo-pile or thermo-couple operating properly, the fireplace will not start.  Resolution: Have the pilot light’s gas orifice cleaned or repaired by The Gas Fireplace Service Company.

The pilot light’s gas orifice is either the wrong size or the wrong type --  this will also manifest itself in a less-than-needed amount of gas going into the pilot light.  In one case, the orifice may be smaller than the one required by the manufacturer.  In the other case, an LP-gas orifice may have been installed instead of a natural-gas orifice or vice-versa.  Resolution:  Have the pilot light’s gas orifice replaced by The Gas Fireplace Service Company.

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2. If not used in 2 years or more...

 
  A thorough cleaning and “tune-up” BEFORE you test the unit is highly recommended. 

A unit that has been dormant for 2 or more years will have dirty ceramic logs and dirty burner ports.  Over time, dust, dirt and other particles will make their way into the unit, clogging the ports and negatively impacting the efficiency and appearance of the fire.

On vented models, leaves, spider webs, birds’ nests and tiny particles of loose brick mortar can block critical air passages in the vent affecting the units’ air/gas mixture and/or the unit’s ability to stay ‘lit’.
 

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3. If the unit 
doesn't come on... 

 
  Check to see if a fuse has blown or if a circuit breaker has been thrown  (Many gas fireplaces require 110 volt circuits to initiate the fire.) 

Check to see if the master gas valve has been turned off.  Not having gas could be a major factor to the unit not working!

If you’re using a remote control, change the battery.  Enough said.

Check to see if the pilot light is out.  If the gas is turned on and the pilot light is out, there may be problem or maybe the pilot light simply needs to be re-lit.  See Inspect the unit’s pilot light.

If the unit still fails to light after you’ve checked these areas, a thorough testing from The Gas Fireplace Service Company is highly recommended.
 

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4. Once the unit
comes on...

 
  Check the color of the flame.  If the flame is too yellow or too blue, the unit’s air-to-gas mixture may not be right.

If too yellow -- the unit may not be getting enough fresh air.  This results in an ‘incomplete burn’ and unhealthy levels of carbon monoxide.  Owners of direct vent gas fireplaces do not have to be as concerned since all of the bad fumes in these units are dispersed to the outside.

If too blue -- the unit is getting too much fresh air.  This results in excessive amounts of gas being used (higher than necessary fuel bill) and a gas-range look to the fire (quite unappealing).

Inspect the glass doors, again.  If, after the unit has been burning for a 1/2 hour to an hour, the glass turns black and you can’t see the fire, the gas logs are probably dirty and/or need to be positioned properly.

Resolution: clean the glass and have the logs cleaned.  Then either position the logs exactly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations or call The Gas Fireplace Service Company to position them for you.
 

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