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Stuck with a gas fireplace that wants to keep the party going all night, even if you don’t want it to? Don’t worry, it’s a more common issue than you think.
If it does not work correctly, a gas fireplace can present a hazard and use more fuel than average. Sometimes a gas fireplace won’t turn off. Fortunately, your gas fireplace has few moving parts.
Troubleshooting the problem will be easy for any of you who have messed about with gas stoves or furnaces. However, if you are not so handy, then calling a professional may be your best option.
Having an idea of what is wrong with your gas fireplace is good information for future reference. In addition, whether you need to call a repair person or do the job yourself, you will have a better idea about the problem in a very few minutes.
It’s important to note the difference between liquid propane gas fireplaces and natural gas fireplaces. One can’t be used in place of the other without adapters, which could be the cause of your issue if the wrong type of fireplace has been installed.
Read on for what to do if your gas fireplace won’t turn off.
Step 1: Turn the remote to your gas fireplace on
If you use a remote control to turn your gas fireplace off and on, check that the on-off switch is in the on position. If that does not work, put fresh batteries in the remote and try again.
The answer to a problem is often the simplest. However, if the remote control is not the problem with a gas fireplace that won’t turn off, move on to the next step.
Step 2: Turn off the power switch if your gas fireplace won’t turn off
If your fireplace is connected to an outlet, check the switch to make sure the unit is on. The controller may be on the side of the fireplace or behind a panel in its front. If there is no switch, it could be on the wall near your fireplace or elsewhere in the room.
If there is no switch, you will need to turn off the power to the fireplace in the breaker box. (Note this only applies to fireplaces with blower motors or electric pilot lights).
If turning off the power in your gas fireplace does not stop the flame, or if it isn’t connected to electrical power, then move on to the next step.
Step 3: What to do if the gas fireplace pilot light won’t go out
If the flame continues after checking the on-off switch, the remote control, and the breaker box, you have one option left. You must turn off the gas that supplies your gas fireplace. It is the safest measure to take.
The gas for your fireplace runs into your home via a pipe, just as it would for a gas furnace, gas range, or other gas appliance in your home. There is generally a gas valve installed near your fireplace that turns the gas on and off.
In the absence of such a valve near your gas fireplace, you can turn the gas off in the gas tank if you use propane. Natural gas comes into your home via a meter that should be outside of your house near a wall. The meter should have an emergency cut-off that will shut off the gas to your home. Shutting it off will likely require a wrench, depending on your meter.
Once you cut the gas off at the meter, get the gas company to turn it back on after you or a technician repair your gas fireplace.
Step 4: Pilot lights and how they can stop a gas fireplace from turning off
Gas fireplaces use two types of pilot lights to start their flame.
- Standing pilot lights are always on and are common on older gas appliances. Since they are always on, they continually use a minimal amount of fuel.
- More modern gas fireplaces and appliances use electronic ignition to fire off your gas fireplace. This type of pilot light is opposite to a standing flame pilot, as it is only on when the fireplace is on. If it continues to flame after you turn the unit off, then you have a problem that you may be handy enough to fix or not and need to call a professional.
- Faulty pilot units are common, and they are not difficult to replace if you find bad ones. There are also basic fireplaces that use push button ignition, which can have it’s own issues.
Knowing which type of pilot light your gas fireplace uses will help you know if there should be a constant flame, even when the fireplace is off. In addition, this knowledge will help you determine if you have a problem.
Step 5: You could have a bad regulator
Suppose your log fireplace uses a regulator to moderate the pressure of the gas that flows into it. In that case, it could cause a flame to continue after you turn off your gas fireplace if it is faulty. If you think for a moment that the regulator is bad, turn the gas off and call a professional.
Designed to sense when there is a flame, it could allow gas to leak into your home if it is not working correctly. The pilot that stays lit is a good indicator that this may be your problem. However, even if not lit, a pilot with a bad regulator can emit a small stream of raw propane, or natural gas, into your home. That is not a good scenario.
- A faulty gas regulator can cause the gas pressure to fluctuate, which gives an uneven burn that can cause soot.
- The smell of gas in your house could be the sign of a regulator that needs attention.
- If your fireplace’s flame goes up and down, it could be due to a faulty gas regulator.
- Gas regulators are dated, and you need to replace them every ten years, whether it is faulty or not.
- If the regulator has been subject to moisture, replace it immediately.
What to do if the gas fireplace pilot light won’t go out:
Even though gas log units are relatively simple and have few moving parts, the parts they do have are critical. Playing around with a gas leak is never safe, and if you think that you have an unsafe condition for a minute, turn off the gas and look at your fireplace. If the repair is beyond your skill level, call a technician and have it fixed.
If you suspect a leak and are waiting on a technician or planning to fix later, make sure there’s good ventilation until the leak is repaired to avoid exposure to gas.
The pilot light of your gas fireplace is where the gas enters. A standby pilot is supposed to be on continuously and does not require electricity to work. An electronic pilot, however, is only supposed to be on when you light the fireplace. If it stays on once you turn the unit off, you have a problem that may require a technician.
If you think you have a problem because your gas fireplace won’t turn off, use this list to check the items that could be problematic, and then roll up your sleeves. Alternatively, you can call a technician who likely has the parts needed for the job and get the job done quickly. Whichever choice you make, do not wait to do repairs if your gas fireplace won’t turn off.
The best practice for furnaces and gas heaters and gas fireplaces of any type is to have them serviced before the cold season and in the spring when you shut them down. You will be less likely to be without heat when you need it most if you do so.