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How to repair a gas fire if it won't turn on

Jane

Can't switch on your gas fire? Don't panic! Issues with domestic gas fires are often easy to fix. Here we'll share some of the simple checks you can attempt to get your gas fire going.

Our top gas fire repair tips

Check your home's main gas supply

The first thing to check if your gas fire won't turn on is your main gas supply. Someone in your household may have switched it off accidentally. Simply switching your gas supply back on will solve the issue. However, if the problem is more extensive, you may need to contact a Gas Safe engineer to look at the issue as soon as possible.

Refer to the gas fire's manufacturer's instructions

If you have recently had your gas fire installed and aren't quite used to it yet, it's a good idea to refer back to the manufacturer's instruction booklet. There you should find step-by-step instructions on how to turn on your gas fire or troubleshoot any issues.

Check the positioning of the coals and logs

Have you recently cleaned or replaced your gas fire coals or logs? You may find you have accidentally put them back in the wrong place. Believe it or not, this could stop your gas fire from turning on! If you're not sure where the coals and logs should go, take a look at the manufacturer's instructions for guidance.

Reignite the pilot light

The pilot light on your gas fireplace needs to ignite for your appliance to turn on. If the pilot light isn't firing, your gas fire won't switch on. Open the vent, and you will be able to see if the flame is out. If the pilot light is out, re-light the pilot by following your manufacturer's instructions and attempt to turn your fireplace back on.

Does the flue need warming up?

If you have a B-vent fireplace (as opposed to a direct vent), you may find that your gas fire won't turn on if the flue is cold. This is a common issue if it's been a while since you lit your fireplace, i.e. over the summer months when you don't usually need a fire.

Clean and service your fireplace

The build-up of soot and other debris can clog the valve on your fire, preventing the necessary flow of gas for it to work. Cleaning your fireplace regularly and booking in a gas fire service can prevent this from occurring and save on the cost of expensive gas fire repairs.

A gas fire service cost can be anywhere from £45-£60 and will usually include a full gas fire safety check and cleaning. If you have gas fire insurance, it may be included in your package. Some companies also offer boiler and gas fire service packages, so you can get both appliances inspected at the same time, for a cheaper cost.

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Gas fire thermocouple issues

The thermocouple on your gas fire is the small piece of metal found between the gas valve and the pilot light. Its purpose is to act as a temperature sensor and generate electricity to ignite the gas when required.

If your gas fire doesn't turn on, it may be because the thermocouple isn't quite in the right place and therefore, can't interact with the other components as it should. If the pilot flame sparks but doesn't stay lit, the thermocouple has likely worn out.

If you're not sure where the thermocouple is on your gas fire, it's best to get in touch with a qualified heating engineer. It could just be a case of screwing it in securely or repositioning it slightly, but at least, with their expertise, you can have peace of mind that your gas fire will be in safe hands.

Inadequate or loose wiring

In newer domestic gas fires, a thermopile is sometimes used in place of a thermocouple. They're very similar in that they work as a sensor and generate a voltage.

If your gas fire is sluggish or won't turn at all, it could be down to loose or inadequate wiring. You will need to have the thermopile tested to see how much energy it is providing and whether or not the wiring in your gas fireplace is adequate. Checking and replacing thermopiles and wiring is a complicated process and will require the skills and knowledge of a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Still can't get your gas fire working?

If you have conducted the checks above and still can't get your gas fire to turn on, there could be a fault on your appliance. Below, we've shared some of the potential problems that can arise on domestic gas fires, along with details of the necessary gas fire repairs. Please keep in mind that only Gas Safe registered heating engineers should carry out gas fire maintenance. If you attempt to do it yourself, you could endanger those living in your household and potentially void any gas fire insurance you have.

As a reminder: Gas fire repairs, gas fire maintenance and replacing gas fires should only ever be carried out by qualified heating engineers who are registered with Gas Safe (the official gas registration body for the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Guernsey.)

It is okay to carry out basic checks on domestic gas fires, providing you feel comfortable in doing so, however, under no circumstance should you ever take apart or tamper with parts of your gas fire. Leave inspections, servicing and remedial work to the experts.

Why a gas fire service is important

The majority of gas fire problems can be avoided by simply getting your appliance annually serviced. A gas fire service requires a Gas Safe heating engineer to strip down your appliance, inspect each part and ensure everything is in good working order. They will also test the safety devices on your appliance, make sure gas is being burnt correctly and give it a good clean.

If there are any faults on your appliance or general wear, a gas fire service will highlight this, so you can arrange the necessary remedial work. Doing so could prevent costly repairs or even the need for gas fire replacement in the future.

A gas fire service will give you peace of mind that your appliance is operating safely and therefore does not pose a risk to those living in your household. Servicing your appliance annually may also be a requirement of any manufacturer guarantees or warranty.

One way you can save money on gas fire servicing is with home care. Our boiler, central heating, home care and landlord packages include a free annual boiler service, with the option to add gas fire protection from just £9 per month.

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