By Todd Feehan and Jack Werner
The gas starter in my fireplace is not working or is not working properly. What’s the fix? The fix is probably going to involve calling a plumber, but let’s check some things first.
We are going to assume that you have a gas pipe in your fireplace with slits in the pipe and you do not appear to be getting gas through it. Possibilities: air in the line that needs to be bled off; a gas valve is closed or partially closed at the fireplace and/or at some other location; the gas to the house is shut off; the gas line is present but not connected or the gas line somehow got clogged with debris or improperly installed. Most of the time, it is one of the first three things, so first, be sure that the gas to the house is on. Second, check for a closed or partially closed gas shut-off in, under and around the fireplace. Even look on the outside or backside of the fireplace for a gas shut off valve. Also, check for “light switches” around the fireplace, some have a pilot that is on but are only “lit” by flipping a switch.
If you do not identify the problem with these steps, it is time to call a licensed plumber. Cost depends on the problem and the access. A bad valve, problem line will probably only be $100 to $200. If the gas was never connected, cost depends on the distance required and how much masonry repair, if any, is required. If gas is reasonably close and you don’t have to tear out the masonry, this can still probably be accomplished for $200 to $400.
Gas can be dangerous. If it gets beyond identifying off and on valves or switches, call a licensed plumber.
Jack Werner owns A to Z Inspections, has a degree in construction from OSU and is President of the Oklahoma Residential and Commercial Inspection Association (ORCIA) for 2013. He was the first Master Inspector in the state of Oklahoma. He can be contacted at (405) 412-7861.
Todd Feehan has over 15 years in the plumbing business and is the owner of Dad’s Plumbing. He can be contacted at (405) 602-2615.