Lighting Gas Fireplace Pilot Light Troubleshooting Guide

Apart from heating the room, a fireplace is also used to create a warm ambiance and to add aesthetics to the house. But sometimes the heating device gives you trouble by not working properly. For example, the pilot light is on but wouldn’t ignite.

To deal with a gas fireplace pilot light problem, you need to check the fuses and breakers first. It can also occur due to overloaded fuses or breakers, an obstruction, moisture in the line, and a few other reasons.

If the fireplace still doesn’t ignite even if the supply power is stable, you probably need to replace the fuse or repair the ignition system.

There’re lots of other problems that you need to encounter with a gas fireplace. This article regarding lighting gas fireplace pilot light troubleshooting comes intending to discuss them in detail.

So, let’s get started!

Before starting with the rest of the article, have a look at the most common reasons and their possible solutions to the pilot lighting of a gas fireplace.

ReasonHow to Fix
Fuse/Breaker overloadInstall the fireplace on a single breaker
Faulty spark ignitorTighten the stuck valve
Faulty vent capEvacuate the air inside
Damaged thermocouple/thermopileRepair or replace the damaged one
Insufficient gas pressureIncrease the pressure up to the required amount
Obstacles in the tubeClean the pilot tube and gas line

Reasons Why Your Gas Fireplace Pilot Light on But Doesn’t Ignite

As I have already mentioned that a gas fireplace pilot light may be on but doesn’t light for several reasons. Here are some of those:

1. Fuse/Breaker Overload

When the circuit breaker is overloaded, the gas fireplace will not ignite. Even though the fireplace is fueled with gas, its ignition system is electronic which produces the spark and fire. The electronic ignition doesn’t ignite without electricity.

2. Faulty Electrical Ignition

If the breaker or fuse isn’t the problem, you should check if the electrical ignition is faulty. If the electrical ignition is faulty or dirty, you have to clean the components or at worst, need to replace them.

3. Gas Valve Isn’t Turned On

Even if the pilot light is on, the fireplace will not ignite if its gas valve isn’t turned on. That’s why it is recommended to check if the gas valve is on or not before starting the fireplace.

If the fireplace doesn’t ignite even if the gas valve is on, the valve is probably faulty. You need to call an electrician to repair or replace the valve.

4. Clogged Burner Ports

Another possible reason for the pilot light not igniting is that its burner ports may be clogged. Even if the fireplace ignites, you probably would have uneven flames that go off frequently.

5. Damaged Thermocouple/Thermopile

The most common cause for lighting gas fireplace pilot light not igniting is a damaged or worn-out thermocouple.

A thermocouple is a sensor that provides gas to the pilot light to make sure the gas flows through the valve.

Some people often get confused by matching thermocouples with the thermopile.

The truth is, they are completely different from each other. The thermopile opens the gas valve when the fireplace is turned on.

6. Gas Pressure

A certain amount of gas pressure is required to light up the fireplace. If the exact amount is absent, it won’t ignite.

7. Obstacles in the Line

Sometimes, insects or other particles get accumulated in the pilot tube causing the fireplace not to ignite. Again, moisture or water droplets within the gas line restrict the fuel to ignite the fireplace.

Lighting Gas Fireplace Pilot Light Troubleshooting

So, we have been discussing the common reasons why your gas fireplace pilot light is on but it doesn’t ignite. As there’re various reasons for that to occur, there are different ways to troubleshoot them as well.

1. Troubleshooting Circuit Breaker

The first place to start troubleshooting if the pilot light is on but the gas fireplace isn’t on is with the circuit breaker and fuses of your house. When the fireplace is not connected to a lone breaker, it becomes overloaded circuitry.

To deal with this, you should keep the fireplace on a single breaker if possible. It will make sure the breaker will never trip or you won’t blow the fuse.

2. Troubleshooting Spark Ignitor

To troubleshoot the faulty spark ignitor, you need to check the gas regulator first. Look for a stuck valve then. If there’s any, make sure to straighten the valve. Then, try to light the pilot light.

If it doesn’t still, bypass the electrical ignition and try for manual pilot lighting. You need to call a professional to fix this problem.

3. Troubleshooting Faulty Vent Cap

Check the air draft of the vent cap. Evacuate the air and try lighting the pilot light. If the fireplace’s ignitor still doesn’t ignite, replace the vent cap. While installing a new vent cap for the gas fireplace, make sure to attach a draft stopper to get rid of the problem again.

4. Troubleshooting Pilot Tube and Burner Ports

Look for any dirt or debris that is clogged within the tube. Clean the tube properly so that the debris is removed.

In the same way, you should clean the burner ports and see if the pilot light is on.

5. Troubleshooting Thermocouple/Thermopile

A common problem that can keep the fireplace from igniting is any issue with the thermocouple and thermopile.

Unfortunately, when the thermocouple or thermopile goes bad, you need to call a professional to repair them.

The components should last for a couple of years before burning out. See if they fall into any warranty and if so, call the customer service immediately.

How Do You Reset The Pilot Light On A Gas Fireplace?

In some cases, you need to reset the pilot light on a gas fireplace to make it work again properly. The process is straightforward and you can do it in two steps only.

Locate the Gas Control Button

Press the gas control button while holding down the lighter towards the end of the pilot tube. The gas fireplace should catch fire instantly if done correctly as soon as the lighter gets close to the pilot tube.

Hold for 20 Seconds

Hold like this for 20 seconds more that will give enough time for the thermocouple to heat up.


Lighting gas fireplace pilot light troubleshooting isn’t a difficult task to do. However, as described above, the reasons for the fireplace pilot light on but doesn’t ignite are not one. You need to check everything if luck isn’t with you.

If you’re not good at mechanical things, it is better to call a trusted professional or technician to troubleshoot the problem. It will cost you somehow but save your time and effort. Also, it saves your money in case you ruined any component.

I hope you will be able to troubleshoot gas fireplace pilot lighting problems after reading this article. Thanks for reading up to this.

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