5 Reasons Why Your Gas Fireplace Keeps Going Out and The Solutions

You’re finally ready to wind down after a long day, and turn on your gas fireplace to relax by a peaceful fire. Just as you put your feet up… poof! The fire goes out and your relaxing evening suddenly becomes a bit more stressful. 

While gas fireplaces are convenient, easy to use, and typically reliable, there are more intricacies than you’d see in a traditional wood-burning fireplace. Of course, that means there is potential for things to go awry.

Regular maintenance, including cleaning and inspection of the pilot light, can help prevent issues and keep your gas fireplace working properly. If you are unsure about performing any of the following maintenance tasks yourself, we advise you to call a professional for assistance.

Learn about five of the most common reasons your gas fireplace keeps going out, and how to fix them! 

Reason #1: An Issue With Your Pilot Light

The pilot light is a small, continuously burning flame that ignites the main burner when the fireplace is turned on. It’s also an important safety feature of your fireplace, and connects to a thermocouple that detects its presence. 

This is important, because if the pilot light goes out, the thermocouple shuts off the gas supply, preventing potential hazards. Without a pilot light, you’d have to manually light the fireplace with every single use.

Because it is such an important part of your gas fireplace’s operation, an issue with the pilot light can definitely cause the rest of the fireplace to malfunction. 

Here are some common issues with the pilot light and how to fix them:

The Problem: A Dirty or Clogged Pilot Light

The Solution: Over time, the pilot light orifice can accumulate dust, dirt, or other debris, which can obstruct the flow of gas to the pilot light. This obstruction can prevent the pilot light from staying lit or igniting properly. Cleaning the pilot light orifice with a small brush or compressed air can often resolve this issue.

The Problem: An Improperly Lit Pilot Light

The Solution: Sometimes, the pilot light might not be lit properly because of air in the gas line, a faulty igniter, or incorrect positioning of the pilot light flame. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when lighting the pilot. Ensuring that the gas valve is turned to the pilot position and holding down the control knob for the appropriate amount of time can help in properly lighting the pilot light.

The Problem: The Pilot Light is Not Staying Lit 

The Solution: If the pilot light goes out as soon as you release the control knob or when you try to ignite the fireplace, it could indicate an issue like a faulty thermocouple, a malfunctioning gas valve, or improper burner assembly. In this case, further inspection and potentially professional assistance might be necessary to diagnose and resolve the issue

Regular maintenance, including cleaning and inspection of the pilot light and associated components, can help prevent issues and ensure the safe and efficient operation of your gas fireplace. 

If you encounter persistent problems or are unsure about performing any maintenance tasks yourself, it’s advisable to consult a qualified technician or fireplace professional for assistance.

Reason #2: An Issue With Your Gas Supply

Just like your pilot light, the gas supply plays a critical role in keeping your fireplace working smoothly. Any interruption in the gas supply can lead to problems with the fireplace staying lit, as the gas supply feeds those big, warm flames you love to see. 

As another critical component of your gas fireplace’s operation, an issue with the gas supply will inevitably cause your gas fireplace to fail. Here are some common issues with the gas supply and how to fix them:

The Problem: A Partially or Fully Closed Gas Valve

The Solution: If the valve supplying gas to the fireplace is partially or fully closed, it cuts off the flow of gas and your fireplace will not stay lit. Check the gas valve and ensure it is fully open to allow the proper flow of gas to the fireplace burner. If the valve is closed, simply open it fully to resolve the problem.

The Problem: A Gas Line Leak

The Solution: If there’s a leak in the gas line, not only will the gas supply be disrupted, but your safety is also at risk. Leaks in the gas line may occur due to damaged or deteriorated gas lines, loose connections, or faulty seals. Thoroughly inspect the gas line for any signs of leaks. Listen for a hissing sound, the smell of gas, or visible damage to the line. 

If a leak is suspected or detected, it’s essential to fix it right away to prevent potential hazards. To do this, tighten loose connections or seals, or if you’re more comfortable, contact a professional for repairs or replacements.

The Problem: An Obstruction in the Gas Line

The Solution: If there’s an obstruction such as debris or dirt in the gas line, the flow of gas to the fireplace will be blocked and will cause the fire to go out. You can visually inspect the gas line for any visible obstructions and remove them if possible and safe. However, if the obstruction is severe or hard to access, call an expert to ensure safe and proper removal of the obstruction.

It can be unnerving to deal with gas lines, but by addressing these common gas supply issues promptly, you can solve many operational problems while keeping your family out of harm’s way. However, if you encounter persistent problems or are unsure about performing any of the above maintenance tasks yourself, it’s advisable to consult a qualified technician or fireplace professional for assistance. 

Safety is paramount when dealing with gas appliances!

Reason #3: An Issue with Your Venting System

Venting plays a critical role in the performance of your gas fireplace. Proper fireplace ventilation allows harmful combustion byproducts, like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, to exit your home rather than polluting it. 

It’s crucial to vent your fireplace, as it significantly lowers your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Aside from assisting with safety, effective venting makes your fireplace more efficient by allowing optimal airflow; a key factor for a good fire! 

Gas fireplaces are typically equipped with one of two venting systems: direct vent and vent-free (ventless). Direct vent fireplaces use a sealed combustion chamber and a dedicated venting system to draw air from the outside for combustion, expelling combustion byproducts directly outside through a vent pipe. 

Direct vent fireplaces offer efficient heating and keep your indoor air quality safe and clean. On the other hand, vent-free fireplaces do not require dedicated venting systems, and rely on room air for combustion. They are equipped with oxygen depletion sensors to automatically shut off if oxygen levels in the room drop too low. They are a great option for well-ventilated spaces and do a great job heating smaller areas. 

No matter which venting system your fireplace uses, ensuring proper installation and regular maintenance of the venting system is crucial for the safe and efficient operation of your gas fireplace. We recommend routine inspection and cleaning to prevent venting issues and maintain optimal performance and safety standards.

The Problem: An Obstruction in the Venting System

The Solution: Regularly inspect the venting system for any obstructions such as debris, birds nests, or other blockages that may hinder proper airflow. If you notice an obstruction, be sure to properly clear it before using your fireplace.

The Problem: Incorrect Installation

The Solution: Sometimes, the issue is in the installation itself. It’s important to make sure that the venting system is installed correctly according to the manufacturer’s specifications and local building codes, as improper installation can lead to ventilation problems and affect the performance of the fireplace. If you suspect issues with the installation, consult a fireplace professional for assessment and correction.

Reason #4: An Issue with the Thermostat

The thermostat in a gas fireplace operates a lot like the thermostat in your home. It regulates the temperature by signaling when the fireplace should turn on or off. It’s an important part of  maintaining your desired room temperature and ensuring energy efficiency by preventing its use when not needed. 

By accurately sensing the temperature in the room, the thermostat helps reduce your fireplace’s energy usage and prevents it from overheating. Plus, just like your home’s thermostat, the automated operation is convenient for homeowners, allowing you to set your desired temperature without any manual adjustments. 

The Problem: Incorrect Thermostat Calibration

The Solution: Make sure that the thermostat is calibrated correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If it’s not functioning properly, recalibration may resolve the issue. To calibrate your thermostat, follow your user manual or consult a professional technician for assistance.

The Problem: Weak or Dead Batteries

The Solution: If your thermostat is battery-powered, perform a battery check. Check the batteries in the thermostat and replace them if they are depleted. Weak or dead batteries can cause your thermostat to behave erratically or not work at all.

The Problem: Poor Wiring Connections

The Solution: Check the wiring of your thermostat. Closely inspect the wiring connections between the thermostat and the fireplace for loose or damaged wiring, which can lead to internal communication errors and premature shutdowns. Be sure to turn off the main power to the system, then tighten any loose connections or repair damaged wires as needed. Don’t hesitate to call in a pro if electrical problems are beyond your scope.

If the above troubleshooting steps don’t fully resolve the issue, consider resetting the thermostat to its factory settings. If the problem persists, the thermostat may need to be replaced entirely.

Reason #5: An Issue with the Oxygen Depletion Sensor 

An Oxygen Depletion Sensor, or ODS, is a crucial safety component of your gas fireplace. It monitors oxygen levels in the surrounding air to detect when they fall below a certain threshold, which indicates insufficient ventilation or oxygen supply. 

When this happens, the ODS triggers a shut-off mechanism, stopping the gas flow to the fireplace and preventing the accumulation of harmful gasses, such as carbon monoxide. The ODS is a vital safety feature that has a pivotal role in maintaining safe operation and indoor air quality in gas appliances.

The Problem: Improper Room Ventilation

The Solution: Make sure that the room where the gas fireplace is installed is adequately ventilated to maintain safe oxygen levels in the room. Proper ventilation prevents the ODS from triggering unnecessary shutdowns.

The Problem: Obstructions and Damage to the ODS

The Solution: Check for and clear any obstructions around the fireplace or venting system that could restrict airflow and affect oxygen levels. Safely remove any blockages to ensure proper ventilation. If the ODS continues to shut off the gas supply despite proper ventilation, inspect the ODS sensor itself for any damage or malfunction. Clean the sensor carefully according to the manufacturer’s instructions or replace it if necessary.

Because the ODS has such an important role in protecting you and your family from harm, contact a fireplace professional to ensure the ODS is functioning properly. 

Supreme Fireplace & Hearth: Your Trusted Gas Fireplace Experts

It can be stressful when your gas fireplace keeps going out—but don’t worry! Supreme Fireplace is Indiana’s first choice for fireplace installation, maintenance and repairs. 

We’re here to help you understand and solve all of your fireplace issues. Our team of qualified fireplace professionals is ready to assist you 24/7, ensuring your fireplace stays safe, efficient, and cozy all year round. Whether it’s troubleshooting pilot light issues, inspecting gas supply problems, or ensuring proper ventilation, we’ve got you covered. Don’t let fireplace issues cut into your relaxation time – trust Supreme for expert solutions and peace of mind.

Contact us today for all your gas fireplace needs.