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pilot light out--is this dangerous?

bethievtbethievt Registered User Posts: 6,759 Senior Member
edited February 2008 in Parent Cafe
We have 2 new gas fireplaces. One was on and then turned itself off. The pilot light is also off, though the pilot light of the other one is still on. What does this mean, magic 8 ball? I tried calling my builder but just got voice mail. Will we die in our sleep of fumes? Or what?
Post edited by bethievt on

Replies to: pilot light out--is this dangerous?

  • ErewhonErewhon Registered User Posts: 441 Junior Member
    Can't you put a match near the pilot to relight it? It needs to be fixed now if it's releasing gas. You should be able to smell it.
  • ldmom06ldmom06 Registered User Posts: 5,564 Senior Member
    bethie - I'd find the gas valve and turn it to the off position. In direct vent fireplaces, there is a red or blue valve under the fireplace. In the meantime, if you don't smell gas you should be okay.

    Sometimes, the pilot light and the fire in my direct vent fireplace in the master just mysteriously goes out too. In fact, I just had it serviced yesterday and they discovered the electrical wires that kept the gas on was loose. In other words, the pilot light and the fire went out because there was no gas to fuel them.
  • midmomidmo Registered User Posts: 3,720 Senior Member
    A buildup of natural gas is explosive. Erewhon is correct, you should be able to smell it if the gas in on and the pilot is out, and you should be able to relight it with a match. However, if it is going out on its own regularly, it needs to be looked at.
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 21,014 Senior Member
    I have a natural gas fireplace, the pilot goes out all the time, it's been like that for 10 years, so far so good.
  • astrophysicsmomastrophysicsmom Registered User Posts: 4,326 Senior Member
    When the pilot light goes out on our gas fireplace (real windy days kill it), the gas then shuts off. If these are new fireplaces, and you don't smell gas, you're fine. One HVAC guy told me he never leaves the pilot going, because it does use some amount of gas. H re-lights our pilot light, but I'm too much of a wimp to do it...
  • bethievtbethievt Registered User Posts: 6,759 Senior Member
    This is propane. We don't smell anything and I have a good sense of smell. I'm not sure I can even open the glass thing to get to where the flame should be.
  • midmomidmo Registered User Posts: 3,720 Senior Member
    When I was a kid, everything was fueled by natural gas--the oven, the water heater, the space heaters. I became very sensitive to the smell of natural gas because the pilots were always going out. Once my mother stuck her head in the oven while she tried to relight the pilot (at the back of the oven) with a match, and the gas had already built up to such an extent that the mini-explosion burned off her eyebrows, eyelashes and her bangs.

    Don't worry, Bethie, it won't build up that fast in your house!
  • midmomidmo Registered User Posts: 3,720 Senior Member
    ^^^X-posted. I don't know much about propane, except that I use it when camping.
  • ldmom06ldmom06 Registered User Posts: 5,564 Senior Member
    apmom - I hate relighting the bedroom pilot light because I have to lay on my belly on the cold floor with my arm stuck in a black hole (Lord only knows what sort of critters are in that hole) holding one button down and clicking another at the same time...all the while trying to avoid having the grate slam me in the head.

    But with a husband overseas for weeks at a time, I have no choice but to handyman it...lol!!
  • bethievtbethievt Registered User Posts: 6,759 Senior Member
    Well thanks you guys. I can't open it up. It probably won't kill us overnight. If it does, mythmom and great lakes mom, you're inheriting our son. But not his tuition bills. Thanks you guys for responding so fast.
  • ldmom06ldmom06 Registered User Posts: 5,564 Senior Member
    bethie...if the front is sealed with a glass, it may be a direct vent. Do you have a grate along the floor that flips up? If so, look in there (the black hole) and see if you can locate a fuel cut off valve. I think you are fine, but if you turn it off you will have peace of mind.
  • bethievtbethievt Registered User Posts: 6,759 Senior Member
    midmo that happened to me once in West Virginia. My hair and eyebrows were singed and then I went to Cornell Nursing School in NYC and decided I needed a haircut so I went to Vidal Sassoon and the person was so snobby. I mean, a stove had blown up in my face! How am I going to look?
  • bulletandpimabulletandpima Registered User Posts: 9,826 Senior Member
    Bethie, Bullet here. We just built a house that also uses propane. Same set-up for the furnace (glass front, no visible sign of a pilot light). Sounds like you have a similar system to mine, where you have an electric ignitor system that automatically turns on and lights the propane on demand (i.e. when the furnace turns on.) We had a similar problem, fan would go on, you would hear the furnace running, but we only got cold air blowing out of the vents, and when you open the front of the furnace it was obvious that the propane wasn't lit becuase you didn't see the flames.

    Called my HVAC guy in. He looked at the system for 5 mintues and just pressed the reset button on the electric ignition system, then showed me how to troubleshoot this myself for future reference.

    My advice: call an HVAC or plumbling / heating guy to come over and reset your system. They can then show you the proper maintanence for your system and how to trouble shoot it. Call your builder first, and if you can't reach him leave a voice mail saying either he gets his HVAC guy there to fix it and give you this service, or you will be forced to get your own and you'll see him in small claims court for the costs.
  • bethievtbethievt Registered User Posts: 6,759 Senior Member

    there WAS a grate along the floor and I turned it off. You guys are unbelievable! Let me know if you have a psychological crisis someday. Or need a good recipe for pies or popovers.
  • somemomsomemom Registered User Posts: 10,441 Senior Member
    You should totally smell leaking propane, very distinct smell!!
This discussion has been closed.