New resident, can get pilot lit, but fireplace won't turn off when switched on


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Old 11-03-13, 07:59 AM
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New resident, can get pilot lit, but fireplace won't turn off when switched on

Hi everyone,

My wife and I just moved into our new (20 year old) house yeesterday. The gas fireplace is original, though it looks like an electronic wall switch was installed some time afterward. I can't find a model number (the control box and burner are all pretty solidly anchored in place), but it does have a Superior FAK-1500 blower. I'm attaching a picture of the guts to see if that helps.

I figured out how to get the pilot lit. Wall switch must be in one of the two positions (presumably 'on', though the switch isn'l labeled), then with the knob on the control box turned clockwise all the way, I depress the knob, apply a flame to the pilot thermocouple for about a minute, and voila. It appears that the pilot stays lit at this point regardless of the position of the wall switch (which makes sense). I guessed that at this point I could turn the knob on the control box counterclockwise a bit to adjust the flow rate to the burner, and I got a flareup unexpectedly. Nevertheless, the fireplace was lit at this point. The problem is, whether I turn the wall switch on or off, the burner seems to stay lit at the full flow rate. I didn't let it burn for more than a minute or two after determining the wall switch apparently wasn't working properly, then shut it off at the gas key to start over.

From looking at the attached picture, can somebody let me know what the proper lighting procedures are for this 20-year-old gas fireplace? Am I missing a step? Thanks so much!

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Old 11-03-13, 08:24 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

From looking at that picture I can't tell much of anything.

Is the burner under the rear of the pan ?
What does the white knob say on it.

It looks like the flame can directly contact the control valve.
 
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Old 11-03-13, 08:40 AM
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Thanks for the reply!

The white knob doesn't say anything, but it's got markings to indicate its orientation.

The burner is indeed under the rear of the pan, while the control box is offset to the right of the burner. When the flame is on, it does seem the box is far enough away to withstand the heat. Everything looks like it's been heat hardened to some extent or another (lots of metal). This looks to be an original setup, back before the controls were put on a separate panel outside the main chamber.

I looked a little closer (see attached picture), and the control box has 'on' (counterclockwise), 'pilot' (12 o'clock), and 'off' (clockwise) indicators. What I can't figure out is how the electronic switch interfaces with the 'on' setting to allow the gas flow to start and stop.

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Old 11-03-13, 08:56 AM
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In the pilot flame is a thermocouple or pilot generator. It has two wires that go to the gas valve. When you first light the pilot, the knob must be turned to pilot and pushed in for gas. Light the pilot and hold the knob in for a good minute. When you release the knob the pilot should stay lit.

That pilot generator generates a small voltage to keep the pilot active and allow the main burner to light. At the back of that valve is probably a place for a second set of wires for remote control of the burner. Those wires may be under the ashes and have melted together. The terminals for the remote may also be connected together so that no remote was needed. Looks like it's going to be tough to see behind that valve.
 
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Old 11-03-13, 09:15 AM
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Hope these help. I only see two wires, though the junctions for both at the control box look different. Neither of them seem to lead out the right side of the fireplace, where the main gas line comes into the fireplace. Both seem to connect to the pilot itself (for the reasons you mention, I imagine). So this wall switch is a little vexing. I double checked, and I can in fact light the pilot no matter which position the switch is in, though perhaps that's by design. But I don't hear any sort of mechanical switching any time the switch is flipped, like a valve being opened, etc.

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Old 11-03-13, 09:26 AM
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I see the pilot gas line and the pilot generator wires but no remote wiring. If there was a remote wiring connection it would be under that cover.


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Old 11-03-13, 09:56 AM
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Thanks a lot for your help! I guess we bought the home a little misled...weird there would be a switch next to the fireplace that wasn't connected. (It's not a light switch or anything.)

Best wishes,

Paul
 
 

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