Why You Can’t Get a Fire Going

Have you ever wondered why you can’t get a fire going in your fireplace? The folks here at Chimney Sweeps of America have put together a list of reasons why you might be having trouble–and what you can do about it. Hopefully, these troubleshooting tips will help you get your fire going, and your home nice and toasty, once more.


The Gas isn’t Making it to the Fireplace

Gas fireplaces obviously need gas to function. There are a few reasons why gas might not be making it to the fireplace. The simplest is that the switch may have gotten turned off, so check that first. You may also be out of gas or had forgotten to pay a gas bill. Worst case scenario you have a leak somewhere, and that should definitely be handled by a professional.


The Damper is Blocked or Closed

Sometimes, even though you may have remembered to open the damper, there may be something preventing it from opening up all the way. This could be soot buildup or even water damage. If you can’t find the reason on your own, it may be a good idea to hire a professional to clean the chimney and get the damper functioning properly again.


The Pilot Light is Out

Another reason why you can’t get a fire going is that the pilot light has been snuffed out by a downdraft or other occurrence. Without it, there is no spark to ignite the gas and get your fire started. Simply check the pilot light and light it up if that turns out to be the problem.


The Gas Valve is Blocked

There is a device in your gas fireplace called a thermo-coupling. This device opens the gas valve by using a spark that it generates from the pilot light. The spark here is very small, and even a speck of dust can block the valve and cause a problem with your gas fireplace.


Wood is Wet or Green

For a wood fireplace to work properly (i.e. vent gases up the chimney), there needs to be heat in the chimney. If you try to light wood that is too wet or green, you will simply end up with a lot of smoke and not enough heat to create the venting action. Even if you can get the wood to light, wet wood produces less heat than dry wood and the excess; unvented smoke will suffocate your fire. Ensure that you use properly dried or seasoned wood to get your wood stove or fireplace fire going.


Next time we’ll offer a few more reasons why you can’t get a fire going in your fireplace. Hopefully, these tips from our friendly staff here at Chimney Sweep of America Inc. have been helpful. Our main goal is for our customers to be warm and safe. You can always feel free to call and ask questions. If you find yourself with a problem and don’t know how best to fix it, you can easily schedule an appointment with one of our expert technicians, and we will get you back on the road to success with your fireplace.

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