Having trouble lighting a second propane gas fireplace for 2 reasons.
1. The spark is bouncing all over the place (see short video).
2. The propane is coming out too fast for the pilot to light (see video).
If I hold a long-necked butane lighter to the pilot, I see the propane is
moving at a high velocity:
Eventually (couple of minutes of flame), the pilot ignites, allowing the
rest of the fireplace to light up:
My questions are twofold:
1. Is there a way to adjust the spark so that it hits the same spot twice?
(Where is it supposed to strike anyway?)
2. Is it possible to lower the velocity of the pilot light propane so
that lighting the pilot light is easier?
Note: This procedure below worked on the good fireplace which is built
exactly the same - so I don't think it's a procedural error on my part.
If you can't light it with a flame, fixing the spark won't help.
There oughta be a pilot adjustment somewhere that lets you turn the pilot
flow down to the point it doesn't blow itself out. Instruction manual?
When the house was inspected for a new propane delivery company, it
passed inspection. That's all I know. The fireplace does not appear to
have been used more than once or so because of the almost total lack of
Here is a high resolution photo of the fireplace in question:
Oh. Chimney. Yes. There is a chimney that goes three stories up through
the roof. So it's a "vented fireplace" I guess.
The two problems I'm having are:
1. Where is the spark supposed to hit anyway?
2. How can we slow down the velocity of the pilot light propane gas?
I have only one reason for inconvience with a gas space heater - I have to
use a match.
Has anyone retrofitted a sparker - like you'd find as a replacement for an
outdoor grill - to an ordinary gas space heater or, for that matter, a
I've actually installed automatic pilot re-igniters in rooftop HVAC
units that had their standing pilots frequently blown out by gusts
of high winds. The units are quite easy to install and a skilled DIYer
could figure it out with no problem. I would install one for a hard to
reach standing pilot and switch it on when lighting the pilot. When the
device doesn't detect a flame, it will spark every half second until a
flame is detected. It can be left on as long as the pilot is on. ^_^
Glad you got the other one working for Christmas. You were not getting
gas to that fireplace. How did you correct that?
With this new fireplace you seem to complain of too much gas pressure. It
seems unlikely that everything else in your home is happy with the gas
pressure except for this fireplace. Something is out of adjustment. Any luck
with getting a manual? Do you know who manufactures these gas units? I'd
really recommend a service visit if you can't get your hands on the manual.
Have all fireplaces serviced.
In the meantime let's try a quick fix. Does this fireplace have a main
valve? Let's turn that valve down to lower the gas pressure. This will take
a little experimentation.
Two fixes. The first was the proper procedure (slaps head), which I only
learned from the first fireplace.
The second was to give up on the piezo igniter and to just light the pilot
with a brand new (lots of flame) long-necked butane lighter.
I don't think I used the word "pressure". If I did, I meant "velocity".
The Bernoulli thing is that the gas is coming out way too fast to light
easily at the pilot. Once the pilot is lit (and warmed up so it stays lit),
then the gas fireplace works just fine.
So, the two things broken are:
1. I don't know how to adjust the piezoelectric sparker
2. I don't know how to adjust the pilot flame
Yes. Both the sparker and the pilot flame are out of adjustment.
Nope. The company who made the fireplace says I should find a tag
chained to the gas apparatus - but I haven't found it yet.
I did try that but I concluded that even though the main gas valve takes
about a dozen or so turns, after the first quarter turn, the gas is on
full (sort of like with a garden hose).
To summarize You do not have a manual and can not get one. You do not
know what you are doing.
I think it's time to make a service call. You need 3 things, a manual,
instruction on the care and operation of these fireplaces, and any necessary
cleaning adjustment and repair to the fireplaces. So plan on being home for
this service call. With luck the service guy will recognize your gas log
unit and have a manufacturer name or can supply a copy of the manual.
You might get the gas company to come out and service it. Ours would
do an annual service and inspection for about $50. For the money,
they'll find the make and model and teach you how to operate it. For
a couple of bucks more, my gas company redid the fire bed (some small
lava-rocks under the "logs" that glow like a bed of embers).
You sure about that?
Turning down the main valve has zero effect on the pressure.
And it will have zero effect on the pilot flow until it's more restrictive
than the pilot adjustment.
At that point, even if you get the pilot going, there's not nearly
enough flow for the main flame.
Your video shows that your spark lighter is busted, but it's too dim
to see why. The spark has to happen in the path of the gas that's
The other location is faulty insulation or a non-insulated wire too
close to some other metal part.
If you can get it lit by any means. And if there is no space
between the flame and the pipe it's coming out of, it's probably ok.
Follow the pipe back to it's source. Gotta be some kind of adjustment
What happens if you push the knob less than all the way in while
you're trying to ignite it? The adjustment might be a spacer
behind the knob that sets how far you can push it.
You can do the experiment in your head.
Don't confuse pressure with flow.
For the nitpickers, I should have used a lot of words
like "for all practical purposes" and "almost". I should have
said "pilot flow typically managed by a restriction created
with an adjustment needle valve" , but the message
is the same.
If you can't get your head around it, try this.
Hook up your garden hose and an adjustable nozzle.
Turn on the water with the nozzle open and see how much
flow you get.
Now, adjust the nozzle for a fine mist at low volume.
Start closing the main water valve until you get about half
the mist flow.
Now, open the nozzle and compare the flow you get with the flow
you had with the main valve wide open.
You can change the pilot flow by changing the input gas PRESSURE
and still have the system work.
You cannot change the pilot flow by restricting gas FLOW at the
main input and have the system work. About all that does
is reduce the aerodynamic effects to the point that the gas
puddles is places it shouldn't be. When it ignites, you'll know it.
Wear safety goggles and a dust mask.
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