Troubleshooting a Direct Vent Fireplace

Many homeowners make use of a direct vent fireplace for home heating. This fireplace is one of the more energy efficient types available. It has an enclosed chamber and vents through a sidewall onto the roof. This fireplace doesn’t make use of a chimney. Unlike the ventless fireplace, which is associated with oxygen depletion, the direct vent doesn’t infringe on oxygen supplies indoor.

It makes use of a pipe-within-a-pipe to carry out combustion. This piping is installed in a sidewall, either vertically or horizontally and connects to the roof. The outer pipe draws in outside air into the fireplace while the inner pipe discharges combustion air to the outside. The fireplace is fuelled by a propane or natural gas line. It may also utilize special logs meant for this type of fireplace. If yours is a direct vent fireplace, it helps to know how to troubleshoot.

Smoking and Fumes Indoors

This is usually linked to the venting. A certain clearance must be observed during installation of the fireplace. This contributes to venting efficiency. Check with your manual or manufacturer to confirm if you have the correct clearance height for your fireplace. In most cases, it ranges between 11 and 18 feet. If you have an improper height, this must be rectified to improve fireplace efficiency. Smoking may also be caused when the fireplace isn’t fed fuel properly. If logs aren’t stacked in the correct position or are stacked too high, the fireplace won’t vent properly. It helps if you clean and inspect your vents regularly. This prevents creosote build-up and smoky conditions.

Spark Ignitor Doesn’t Work

Check that the electrode at the pilot unit is in the right position. If it is misaligned, it will be unable to create a spark to catch the gas. Make the necessary readjustment. Check the wiring at the back of the unit to confirm if it is properly connected. You may also want to check your gas supply if you use propane. If you’ve run out of gas, make arrangements for a refill. Low gas pressure can also hinder the activity of the spark ignitor. Examine the gas line for any bends. Straighten the line if necessary. Call your supplier to find out about low gas pressure in the supply.

Gas Burner Doesn’t Light in Fireplace

Sometimes, the pilot light is lit, and the gas is turned on, yet the gas burner fails to light up. Check the wall switch and thermostat. Make sure that both are turned on. If the burner still doesn’t light, check the switch. Position the jumper wires across the switch terminal. If the burner lights, you have a defective switch. Arrange for replacement. If the switch checks okay but the burner doesn’t light, check the wiring to confirm proper connections. Position the jumper wires across the gas valve switch wires. If the burner lights, this indicates faulty wiring.

Pilot Light and Burner Extinguish in Operation

If your fireplace is fueled by propane, check the tank to confirm gas availability. If gas has run out, make arrangements for a refill. Excessive draft can extinguish both the pilot light and burner. Adjust the shutter to restrict draft into the fireplace. Check the vent piping to confirm that there are no leaks of combustion gases into the fireplace. Repair vent leaks if found present.