Gas fireplace problem

Hi This is a repost with the same problem, but I'll try to dial it in a little better.
I have a gas fireplace that is supposed to light when the light switch is flipped to the "ON" position. It worked fine for the first 10 years. The problem now is that it won't light when the switch is flipped. I have to remove the lower cover and push the red ignitor button several times.
The pilot is burning OK , actually a little high but I'll deal with that later, and the fire burns fine if I light it with the red ignitor. Everyone keeps telling me that the thermocouple is bad. Well if that were the case it shouldn't light at all,,, right? The fire will burn, it just won't ignight with the light switch. And if the switch were bad wouldn't that screw up the circuit and not allow it to light at all?
After the fireplace has been burning for a while, I can flip the switch and it will re-light. Once cold, I am back to using the red button again.
Any suggestions?
thx dave
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Addendum:
I just read that the wall switch is supposed to be a "special" switch, that if a regular wall switch is used they will only last4-5 years.
Any body know anything about this?
dave
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yeah , your dealing with a millivolt system , to confirm the switch is bad , pull it out and clip a test lead between the two contacts , regular wall switch wont work very well

last4-50years.ooAny body know anything about this?31dave
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On Oct 2, 12:28 pm, snipped-for-privacy@-insightbb.com (The Freon Cowboy) wrote:

Where can I pick up a switch that is more approperiate? Wouldn't have a clue as to what I need.
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fireplace store ? Google?
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The problem is likely that the switch switches power from the thermocouple, not building AC. This is nice because the fireplace switch will work even when the building power is out. But the thermocouple puts out only a few millivolts, so the current flow through the switch is only milliamps, and most switches are not designed for that.
In "normal" switches, there is enough current to get a bit of arcing on open and close, and that keeps the switch contacts clean. This doesn't work when the current is milliamps. For this purpose, you need a switch with gold contacts (which don't oxidize), or one where the contacts mechanically wipe past each other each time the switch is operated.
    Dave
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Dave Martindale wrote: <snip>

Fascinating. Would a mercury ("Quiet") switch be a suitable replacement, then?
PB
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That sounds plausible, though I've never heard of one being used in that application. Probably worth a try.
    Dave
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I had the same problem. I fixed it by simply replacing the wall switch. Good luck.

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I had the same problem..I disconnected the wires both in the switch and in the FP and rubbed them back to BRIGHT copper with some fine 400 sandpaper, then reconnected and tightened down terminal screws firmly.. That worked for me

Right, if the pilot light is burning, the thermocouple is OK
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dave wrote:

The wall switch is dealing with very low voltage which means slightest of resistance will affect the circuit it is handling. Just replace tiwh wall switch. Best one might be a hospital grade one. In more than 10 years between two fire places, I had to reeplace the switch just once.
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