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OT: gas fireplace problem

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  • jeremy13
    replied
    I'll chime in since I work on this sort of thing. First off yes a bad connection will interfere with it working. Now this system works on a millivolt system around 750Mv max. A dirty connection will cause problems. Since you said the piolet stayed on when the control was moved to ON. I'm going to say you have 2 thermocouples. One supplies power to the piolet safety system and one to the ON/OFF system. The larger 750Mv thermocouple could be getting week. and not supplying enough power to over come a dirty connection.

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  • J Tiers
    replied
    Well that was the nest place to look, as several mentioned, so good on you.

    Not that I grudge the repair folks their money........ But I saw once a saying (someone's sig line elsewhere) that said "If you can't fix it, you don't own it". I totally agree with it.

    If you can't fix it, you are totally at the mercy of others, who may do something as underhanded as what Boslab reported.

    Example: Used to be that repair folks for a certain brand furnace, one that started with an "R" as I recall, were notorious for doing a "fall clean" on the furnace.... and if the house was inhabited by a "little old lady", they would take the furnace apart, and then announce that it was unsafe, and they were forbidden to put it back together, it had to be replaced. Well, with it cold out, and the furnace in pieces, guess what? It worked a lot of the time.

    I understand that has been stamped out, and the company is now entirely reputable, by the way.

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  • Abner
    replied
    Great news! Plus big points with the wife, gotta love it!

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  • gellfex
    replied
    Gotta love that! We forget about the simple stuff. When I'm working on a boiler I short the thermostat wire to make sure that's not the problem.

    BTW, not all water heater thermocouples are those generic $10 ones. Bradford White uses these fancy ones that generate a microcurrent to run their control electronics and costs like $80.

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  • metalmagpie
    replied
    Fixed! Wiggled the wire that goes to the wall switch. Thanks! My wife really wanted to call a repair guy.

    metalmagpie

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  • metalmagpie
    replied
    The pilot is lit. The pilot stays lit. I don't hear a click or smell gas. The wall switch is not connected to 117V power; rather, it switches the thermopile voltage (about 1.5v). I replaced the thermopile last year with one from HD, about $15. The gas valve has 3 positions: OFF, PILOT, ON. It is in the ON position.

    metalmagpie

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  • boslab
    replied
    Originally posted by Circlip View Post
    Would cost at least $75 in the UK for a Gas fitter to tell you "It can't be fixed, obsolete, you will need a new fire at $600 fitted". Theoretically, pain of death if you try to fix your own gas faults over here.

    Regards Ian.
    I have witnessed a gas fitter taking the main board out of a combi boiler, telling the homeowner it was dead, going out to the van, sticking it in a bag, taping it bringing it back in and trying to charge for a new board, it was disgusting, I was there to measure up for drawings for an extension, so I was walking about, and saw the event from the garden, I asked the lady for a word about the extension and told her, she didn't know what to do so I told her to tell the plumber to refit the broken board and she would talk to her husband about a new boiler, he went back to the van and pulled the "duff" board out of the bag and brought it back in, fortunately he didn't have a matching dud board in the van as refitting the existing one was the scam, he plugged it back in and left, I gave a mate a ring, he came and fitted a universal thermostat tube for £35, inc labour, the rouge plumber was trying to squeeze her for £600 plus labour!, for her own part! it turned out a universal thermostat tube was about £5.
    There are some dodgy people about.
    In the uk I get parts from these, very good service
    https://www.bes.co.uk/index.asp
    Mark

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  • J Tiers
    replied
    Also....

    No idea if those have any sensors like the "rollout" sensors on furnaces. Those are thermal trips that open if fire is anywhere it should not be. They are not immortal, nor is the wiring to them. If open, the power to the main valve is blocked.

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  • Jim Williams
    replied
    The circuit breaker supplying the wall switch may be tripped.

    Jim

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  • Abner
    replied
    You need to dig a little deeper and give me more information for me to help you. I fix Green house gas unit heaters every year for the last 35 yrs. In the green house environment working when turning off doesn't mean they will work again when you go to turn them on the next year.

    You can rule out your thermo couple. If you ever have issues with it, like someone mention before, unscrew it from the valve and rub the end on your flannel shirt or a paper towel and put it back in. This fixes 99% of thermo couple issues. I find they rarely go bad.

    Do you normally hear a soft 'click' when the valve opens? Do you hear it now? Stick your ear down by the valve and listen while someone else flips the switch.

    If the valve clicks -Do you smell gas? Spiders can raise all kinds of hell inside dormant gas piping. They can plug the closest part to your pilot light while the other area fills with gas. This is dangerous. Clean your burner manifold or hire someone to do it for you.

    There must be a power supply to your valve. Here (US) they are 24v. Make sure that you have voltage to your valve.

    I find gas valves that have sat around for a period of time get sticky. Sometimes all I have to do it turn the switch on and off several times. You should hear a click when they open. Other times they get permanently stuck and need replacing. This requires shutting off the gas, changing the valve, bleeding the system, leak testing, and firing it back up. If you have never done this, or have been shown how by a professional I would call someone. Replacement valves come usually come with extra parts for LP and NatG. Some have internal gas pressure regulators and pilot flame adjustments, not to mention the ability to fit the space and have places to hook up all the safety devices.

    Another thermo-couple related issue which I don't think you have but here goes for anyone else. ECO - Emergency cut out - An extra safety device you will find on some valves. It sits between your thermocouple and your gas valve. I find them to be extra sensitive and a bit fussy. They have 2 leads that go to a sensor. I find the two leads where they connect to the valve to be the trouble spot. You can test this by jumping across the contacts. If your pilot light works you have to trouble shoot that circuit.

    You will need to get your hands on a wiring diagram. Depending on the age of your system there should be safety circuits. Overheat shut down, CO, and maybe one or two more, it just depends. Safety circuits, (EDIT)- if 'open' ( a short circuit could bypass the safety device) will prevent your valve from opening. This is a good thing like cars that can't start are better than cars that can't stop.

    Gas is serious if you don't know what you are doing. There was a downtown building here locally that blew up due to a gas leak last week. 2 1/2 stories and now a pile of rubble. Took out most of the windows of the buildings around it too. 8 people injured no deaths.
    Gas guys have some really terrifying stories. If you can't find a simple fix call someone.
    Last edited by Abner; 10-25-2016, 09:59 AM.

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  • Circlip
    replied
    Would cost at least $75 in the UK for a Gas fitter to tell you "It can't be fixed, obsolete, you will need a new fire at $600 fitted". Theoretically, pain of death if you try to fix your own gas faults over here.

    Regards Ian.

    Leave a comment:


  • J Tiers
    replied
    Most of 'em are 5 to 12 bucks, at least for my furnace or water heater.

    http://www.homedepot.com/s/thermocouple?NCNI-5

    But first we need to be sure

    that the pilot has been lit for sure when the thing won't light

    That power is on for the valve.

    Whether or not he smells any gas (seems like he would mention that)

    If that stuff is OK, it's pretty much down to the valve unit or a blockage.

    Leave a comment:


  • CalM
    replied
    Originally posted by J Tiers View Post

    You can try moving it, or just replace it. They are not expensive, and the box stores have them.
    80 bucks or so for some. Half that for others. I suppose that is not expensive, but more than I care to spend on a guess.

    Leave a comment:


  • Arcane
    replied
    Well, metalmagpie did say "The pilot light lit and burns fine. The fireplace is controlled by a wall switch. But when I switch it on, nothing happens. That is, the pilot is lit but the main gas valve doesn't seem to be opening."

    Seems like he made sure it is lit and stays lit.

    Leave a comment:


  • J Tiers
    replied
    Originally posted by A.K. Boomer View Post
    Yup
    As noted ONLY if it is observed to still be burning when the thing won't light. Refer to my post above....

    It appeared that he lit the pilot OK, but I am not certain he observed it to be still lit later.

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