Gas fireplace acting up? Without experience and training, it can be hard to tell whether the solution is simple or you need to call in the pros. We can help.

We’ve compiled a checklist of things for you to try when you’re having issues with your gas fireplace, to save you time and money. Ready? Let’s get started!


aj troubleshooting a gas fireplace - pasadena md - clean sweep aa

Disclaimer: Some of these suggestions are simple enough for you to check and troubleshoot on your own. If you are uncomfortable trying to troubleshoot your gas appliance, don’t hesitate to contact a professional. Gas is flammable and dangerous and should be handled with extreme care.

#1 Dead batteries

If everything was going great but then suddenly, your gas fireplace won’t turn on with the remote, the batteries may be dead. You’ll want to check the batteries in the remote itself of course, but many times these remote systems also have batteries on the other end in the remote receiver (typically 4 AAs).

How do you find the remote receiver? Look for a switch that says “on/off remote.”

Depending on the configuration of your system, that remote receiver may be visible right there in the firebox, or it may be near the fireplace behind a little metal piece that opens up.

Sometimes it’s even on the wall as a wall switch that you would never think there are batteries behind. If it’s a wall switch and it says specifically “on/off remote,” it’ll have tiny screws that you can unscrew to pop off the cover, and there should be 4 double AA batteries behind that. Just switch those out and that should fix the problem.

#2 Air in the gas line

You may typically leave the pilot light on over winter. But when you come back to light it the following year, if it takes a while to light, don’t assume there’s a serious problem.

Gas can kind of settle, and over the course of say six to seven months, when the appliance is not being used, air can build up in the line. To fix the problem, you may need to hold the knob just a little bit longer than you think to purge the line of air.

How do you do this?

There are all kinds of setups and systems, but to light a pilot light, you typically have to push in a knob and hold it, and either click a button or take a lighter to it.

Obviously, you don’t want to hold the knob in for long periods of time, but many homeowners get a little weary of holding it in for any more than 3 seconds or so, so the air buildup is never purged and the pilot won’t light.

So if you can’t seem to get the pilot to light after several months of not using your gas fireplace, try holding the knob for up to 20-30 seconds while clicking the button or taking the lighter to it. If it still won’t light, feel free to give us a call.

#3 Valve not in the right position

Another common cause of pilot light issues that are easily remedied is valve position. There are certain types of valves that have a switch that says “on/off pilot.” Many times, homeowners go to light the pilot, but they forget to turn the valve to the “on” position.

So if you’re having issues with your pilot light and it’s the first time you’re using your gas fireplace this season, check to make sure the valve is in the “on” position.

gas line valve

#4 Dirty burners

If the pilot light comes on but won’t stay on, it could be because of clogged or dirty burners.

Obviously fireplaces can get sooty and dusty, and at the beginning of the season, even simple things like spider webs can cause some adverse behavior. But gas fireplace cleaning is something you want to leave to the professionals.

While you could try to wipe things down with a rag to see if it helps, you don’t want to try any other DIY cleaning methods. The reason is that we have the equipment, tools, and training to clean these delicate systems properly, and without getting any dust or soot in your home or air supply.

These are very sensitive appliances with a variety of differently sized orifices. The tools we use to work on them are specific to each brand, which is key to getting the job done without exacerbating an issue or causing damage to the appliance.

gas fireplace burners

#5 Low gas supply

This one’s short and sweet. If you’re using propane gas, it’s always a good idea to check the gas supply. If your gas fireplace won’t work, you may have simply run out of fuel without realizing it.

A quick note on pilot lights

Some issues are indicative of bigger problems outside the realm of DIY. Some indicators of gas fireplace issues that require a certified technician include:

If the flame of your pilot light looks different than it did last year (maybe it’s a different color than blue or it just looks strange)

If there is soot buildup, corrosion, or anything else in the pilot light assembly area

As always, whether you need routine service or you’re having issues with your gas fireplace, you can count on Clean Sweep of Anne Arundel County to take care of it for you. We’re here to help!