What to Do When Your Gas Fireplace Won't Turn On

Margaret Wack
Written by Margaret Wack
Updated July 20, 2022
Gas fireplace
Photo: constantgardener / E+ / Getty Images

Let’s shed some light on the issue

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Failing fireplaces can ignite your anger, especially on chilly days when you just want to curl up in front of a warm fire. If your gas fireplace won’t turn on, don’t lose your cool. Here’s what you should do.

Why Gas Fireplaces Don’t Turn On

If your fireplace is one of many appliances on a circuit, you might have an overloaded circuit that’s stopping your fireplace from lighting. Try flipping the breaker on and off to reset it, but you may need to rewire your unit onto its own circuit to keep it functioning properly. If your fireplace operates on batteries or a remote start, double-check the batteries are still in good condition.

If your fireplace doesn't light, but you still have a spark, check your pilot light. Downdrafts or a worn-out pilot light will prevent your gas fireplace from turning on. You’ll need a repair pro to install a new pilot light. 

How to Troubleshoot a Gas Fireplace

Here are some steps to take if your gas fireplace is on the fritz.

1. Make Sure the Gas Is On

The first thing you should do if your gas fireplace won’t turn on is double-check that the gas is actually on. Yep—it happens! Without any gas, your fireplace won’t be able to light. Check the main gas valve to see if the gas is fully operational.

2. Purge the Air out of the Pilot Tubing

If the gas is on and the pilot hasn’t been lit in a couple months, you might need to purge the air out of the pilot tubing. To do this, hold the pilot button down for about one to three minutes while the air bleeds out. If the pilot is lighting, but not staying lit, it could indicate that you have a worn-out thermocouple.

3. Check the Spark Igniter

If gas is coming out of the pilot but it still won’t light, the spark igniter could be the problem. You should clear out any debris between the igniter and thermocouple. Blowing compressed air into the pilot area, waiting a couple minutes, then trying again could help to fix the problem.

Logs burning in fire place
Photo: ryasick / E+ / Getty Images

When to Call a Professional

If your own troubleshooting fails to solve the problem, you should call a fireplace service company near you for help. Most service calls for gas fireplaces cost about $100, and repairs for pilot lights cost $150 on average. Other gas fireplace repairs include loose connections, defective valves, or bad modules in electric ignition units. A pro will be able to pinpoint your problem and get it fixed, stat.

FAQs About Gas Fireplaces

How do you light a gas fireplace?

How to light a gas fireplace depends on the particular model of gas fireplace you have in your home. In most cases, you can light gas fireplaces using a control panel, remote, key, or switch. You should reference your fireplace’s manual to see how your unit operates.

Do gas fireplaces increase your home’s value?

Gas fireplaces can help to increase your home’s value by as much as 12%. While wood-burning fireplaces are even more valuable, gas fireplaces are still a sought-after feature in many homes.

Do you need to clean gas fireplaces?

Yes. While gas fireplaces don’t make as much of a mess as wood-burning fireplaces, you still need to clean them on a regular basis. Cleaning your gas fireplace can help ensure your fireplace works properly and is free of debris. You can get in touch with a fireplace cleaning company near you for a personalized quote.

How much does it cost to convert a wood fireplace to gas?

The cost to convert a wood fireplace to gas is about $3,000. Both types of fireplaces have pros and cons—gas fireplaces are easier to clean and maintain, while fires in wood-burning fireplaces are especially warm and cozy.

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