Are you trying to turn on your gas fireplace but notice your igniter not working or bringing on spark? This isn’t uncommon at all and points to existing issues.
A close look needs to be taken at the problem to find a lasting solution to it.
With the information provided here, you can rest assured that troubleshooting your gas fireplace electronic ignition wouldn’t be a headache.
For a lot of homeowners who use gas fireplaces, problems affecting normal functioning are likely to come up.
These range from dead batteries, gas leaks, burner failure from pet hair and dander, cloudy gas, the air in the gas line, and ignition problems among others.
How To Troubleshoot The Electronic Ignition Of A Gas Fireplace
All of these issues affect normal functioning and have to be resolved before they worsen. Here, we’re looking at one of them which is; a faulty electronic ignition.
What are the causes? How does one troubleshoot such? Can it be repaired?
All these are important questions that need to be answered in the best way possible.
How a Gas Fireplace Igniter Works
The successful ignition of fire rests on an igniter.
This is also known as the direct ignition system. This device or fireplace component holds a spark ignitor which consists of a simple electrode responsible for bringing about the spark required.
The strong spark generated is brought about by the voltage supplied by a control module. Whenever you turn on the controls, the resulting spark ignites the gas released by the fireplace burner.
When this happens, a flame rectifier, also a part of the fireplace igniter is heated.
Such heating of the flame rectifier is necessary to serve as a sensor that relays signals to the control module. The heat is a sign that fire is present.
Having extinguished the flame, such signal is no longer relayed to the control module, thus activating a closure of the gas valve.
This intricate function of the gas fireplace igniter makes it very crucial for flame lighting purposes. However, gas fireplace igniters are no longer common due to more recent fireplace designs having alternative ignitors.
Gas Fireplace Ignition Problems Can be Varied
When it comes to the workings of an electronic gas fireplace ignition, there are several factors to consider. As such when problems occur, all sorts of variables are involved in terms of troubleshooting.
So, what are these problems like?
These could range from a pilot not working, noise but no spark at the pilot burner, and also a pilot light not sparking at all. These are only a few scenarios that point to a malfunctioning gas fireplace electronic ignition.
Without further ado, let’s get to the basics of what troubleshooting entails.
Symptoms, Problems, and Test Solutions
These are the key areas our discussions will focus on. First off, you’ll need to consider the symptoms. These are malfunctions that prevent the gas fireplace from coming on.
You’re likely to find a problem that fits your situation. By following the troubleshooting tips provided, you’re likely to resolve such a problem.
Symptom 1: Pilot Sparks as Usual but Doesn’t Light
Whenever you notice this, it’s a clear sign of malfunction that points to multiple cases such as issues with the gas supply, or a module that isn’t grounded.
The only way to ascertain the causes is by troubleshooting.
What to do
Several actions can be taken to resolve this problem. First, you’ll need to verify that that the ball valve on the incoming gas line is in the “Open” position.
Secondly, confirm that inlet pressure reading is within range of acceptable limits. Ensure that inlet pressure doesn’t exceed 14” W.C.
If all is working properly, the problem may lie in a module that isn’t grounded.
To find out, closely examine the valve and pilot assemblies to be certain they’re grounded to the metal chassis of your log set or fireplace.
Symptom 2: Sparks Continue and Pilot Lights but Main Burner doesn’t do the Same
When this is observed, many reasons can be attributed to it.
These include exhaustion of propane gas, contaminated sensor rod, loose connection in sensor rod, damaged pilot, poor grounding between pilot assembly and gas valve.
What to do
There are many actions to take when it comes to troubleshooting the problem.
One way to find out if it’s out of propane is by checking. Have it filled up and start as usual.
When a damaged dirty sensor rod or damaged pilot is suspected, you’ll need to perform the following troubleshooting actions;
Get the sensor rod cleaned using an emery cloth. This helps get rid of accumulated contamination on the sensor rod.
Now, get your multimeter and test for continuity. Of course, the right settings will need to be set (that is, ohms set at the lowest range).
In the case of poor flame rectification, examine the flame to ensure it’s engulfing the sensor rod. Also, check to make sure the pilot orifice is properly installed and the inlet specifications align with those provided in the manual.
Another possible problem is poor grounding between the gas valve and pilot assembly. To troubleshoot, assess the grip or hold of the wire harness to the module. This should be firm enough.
What more? Check the ceramic insulator. This is located around the sensor rod.
When loose, cracked or damaged, it should be replaced.
Symptom 3: Pilot Light Stops Sparking or Remains Lit without Burner Coming On
Here, there are two scenarios; a pilot light that stops sparking, or one that works but the burner doesn’t come on while the pilot light stays lit.
This could be due to one or more problems ranging from a faulty wiring harness, wiring or connection problem, and the module or valve.
What to do
If you suspect the wiring or connection to be the problem, you can troubleshoot such by inspecting all wires. Here, you’ll need to ensure they’re tightly connected. Plus, they should be installed as specified in the manual.
When the module or valve is suspected to have issues, you’ll need to have such tested.
An appropriate tool is a multimeter. Have the multimeter turned to “DC.” With this done, the red lead from the multimeter is placed on the screw located on the terminal block being examined.
With the black lead of the multimeter, have it placed on the valve body which is ground. When a “zero” reading is obtained, the module or valve may have issues.
For the wiring harness component, you’ll need to have it closely inspected. This should be tightly connected to the module. Plus, all wires should be connected in the right order.
Symptom 4: Pilot Doesn’t Light and also Makes Noise Without Spark at Pilot Burner
If this sounds similar to the problem you’re facing, it could be due to some reasons such as a loose connection, wiring, and an incorrect igniter gap. So, how do you go about troubleshooting such problems? It’s easy!
For wiring problems, you’ll first need to ensure that both the igniter and sensor wires are connected to the proper terminals. In the case of a loose connection, check that there are no loose connections whatsoever.
Also, ensure there is not electrical shorting in wiring. When the igniter spark gap is deemed to be incorrect, make the necessary adjustments.
When Gas Igniter Doesn’t Give Off Sparks
It has been necessary to discuss the functions of a gas fireplace igniter because such knowledge helps with a better understanding of the topic being considered.
When a gas fireplace igniter doesn’t give off any sparks, such problems need to be traced.
Remember we said that sparks are produced or generated from an electrode that receives voltage from a control module. Now, the absence of sparks in your fireplace igniter is likely due to zero relay in voltage from the control module.
This is only a strong possibility and not a definite spark.
Other issues may be discovered as being the reason for the absence of sparks in your gas fireplace igniter. Whatever the case is, an in-depth assessment has to be made as to why your igniter isn’t functional.
What Next After Troubleshooting Fails?
One of the easiest actions to take after noticing an anomaly with your gas fireplace igniter is to troubleshoot likely problems. However, troubleshooting won’t always provide the much-needed result.
Your next logical step will be to call for professional help. More on this will be discussed shortly.
Who to Call; DIY or Professional Help?
One of the first things to do when your gas fireplace develops fault is to establish the fact that there’s a problem.
This is usually obvious when your igniter no longer functions or works as it used to. The next action is usually crucial and involves making a decision.
In other words, you’ll need to decide whether to carry out repairs yourself or seek professional help. The DIY option always seems attractive for homeowners seeking to slash their repair budget.
For others, an interest in technical jobs may be the driving force.
Choosing the DIY alternative over the expertise of a fireplace technician should be influenced by skill possession.
You should have the skill required to fix a faulty fireplace igniter. With this, there won’t be a need to call a technician.
Homeowners having little to no experience in gas fireplace repairs will do well to call for professional help. Having stated the obvious, who gets called for the job? In other words, who’s a qualified fireplace professional?
This knowledge is necessary to enable you to call the right person or service for the job.
There are fireplace repair companies with expertise in all things fireplace. Of course, this covers faulty igniter repairs. Among the popular fireplace, services are Caparo’s HVAC, Ageless Chimney, Inc., Joe T. Carty, and Fire Design. These are only a few of many reputable services to call for your fireplace issues.
An experienced plumber can also fix gas fireplace igniter issues. You only need to call your local plumber to schedule a repair and maintenance service.
You May Need to Make Replacements
Certain components of your gas fireplace igniter such as the sparker or electrode may be defective.
Here, the logical thing to do is replace the defective component. This will require visiting your nearest local fireplace store among other similar areas.
Because lots of gas fireplace igniter types are available, you’ll have to choose the right replacement parts. This is possible when you bring along the make, serial number, and model of your particular gas fireplace igniter.
If the parts aren’t available at your local store, a phone book may be kept that holds vital records or listings such as dealers, as well as appliance part stores within your city or location.
If you find these replacements, you can have them fixed without an issue. Making replacements helps you continue using your gas fireplace igniter without issues.
You May Want a More Modern Fireplace
We earlier said that fireplace igniters are mostly associated with older gas fireplaces. When your igniter frequently develops faults, it may be time you opt for a more recent fireplace.
In modern gas fireplaces, igniters have been completely replaced with better alternatives.
Finding an alternative helps you skip or avoid the frequent issues caused by a faulty gas fireplace igniter.
Sometimes, you’re likely to experience issues operating your gas fireplace as usual. During such times, knowing what to do becomes a huge advantage. Here, we’ve covered one of the questions about gas fireplace igniter failure that people ask.
By explaining how it works, you get an idea of how best to fix the problem when it arises.
We’ve also explained its working principles. With such knowledge, you shouldn’t have much of an issue with a gas fireplace igniter. By now, you should be more informed about the ways to solve such a problem.
With this gas fireplace electronic ignition troubleshooting guideline, you should be able to identify any issues that may arise with your gas fireplace.
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