What to Do When Your Gas Fireplace Wall Switch Isn't Working (2024)

Get fired up and ready to go! Installing a fireplace in your home can boost your home’s value by up to $12,000. A fireplace can be a great resource to keep your house warm and entertain your friends.

However, you cannot just install a fireplace and let it sit there. A broken fireplace will not increase your home value. Get smart about fireplace repair and learn how to fix a gas fireplace wall switch.

What are wall switches, and what are the most common problems with them? How can you replace a switch? Can you replace a faulty wire yourself?

Answer these questions and you can have a beautiful high-tech fireplace for years to come. Here is your quick guide.

Understand How a Gas Fireplace Wall Switch Works

In order to fix a wall switch, you need to know how a wall switch functions. A gas fireplace pilot light administers heat to a thermopile, which generates the electricity needed to light your fire. When you flick a switch, the electricity travels from the thermopile to your gas valve, igniting the fire.

A malfunctioning switch will not create a strong current of electricity. Yet your pilot light, thermopile, and gas valve may work fine.

Do not panic if your wall switch does not turn your gas fireplace on. Remove the cover plate over your wall switch with a screwdriver. Then use your screwdriver to remove the screws that attach your switch to the wall.

Take a look at the wires attached to your switch. They should be thin, not thick.

If they are thick, you may have unscrewed the wrong switch. Screw this switch back into place and try to find the one for your fireplace.

If you have found the right switch, you should unscrew the wires connected to the switch. Touch the wires together and twist them while wearing a pair of rubber gloves.

You should try turning the fireplace on. If it does, you have discovered that you have a faulty switch. You should pursue switch repair tips so you do not encounter a similar problem in the future.

If it does not, you have a problem with another part of your fireplace. Call your installer for help and ask for gas fireplace tips.

Replace the Switch

To replace your faulty switch, you need to buy a millivolt switch. Fireplaces do not use a high amount of voltage, and high surges can damage your switch. A millivolt switch can handle the right amount of voltage and electric current without breaking down.

You can buy a millivolt switch from online retailers and fireplace stores. Make sure the switch is the right size and can attach itself to the wires in your fireplace.

Turn off your fireplace before you begin replacing your switch. If you have not removed your old switch, you should do so.

Then connect the wire leads to the terminal screws attached to your new switch. You may need to twist the ends of the wires so they fit inside your screws.

Set your switch into the wall and test it to see if it works. If it does not work, you should get another switch.

Clean up the Wiring

If your switch seems to work fine but has occasional problems igniting your fire, you may need to replace the wiring. Turn off the electricity running through your fireplace, then unscrew the switch cover plate and your switch. Use a flashlight and look at the wires connected to your switch to see if they are loose.

Your wires may be too long, causing them to sag. They may also be tangled or dirty.

For wires that are too long, you can twist them to reduce their length by a few inches. Untangle your wires using your fingertips.

You can clean wires using a brush or microfiber cloth to remove dust and debris. If you notice small holes in them, you can use electrical tape to seal the holes.

After you clean your wires, you shouldclean your gas fireplaceto make sure the gas can distribute evenly. Clean the glass with a glass cleaner, then wipe down the interior with a microfiber cloth, removing any debris or dirt.

Replace the Wiring

If your wires are frayed or broken, you should consider replacing your wires entirely. You can call an electrician if you feel uncomfortable doing this by yourself, but you can replace most wires alone.

Your new wire should be identical to your old wire. It’s okay if it is not the exact same product, but it should be the same length and width as your old wire. It should also be able to hold the same amount of current and voltage.

Using a pair of wire cutters, you can cut the damaged wire. Remove much of the old wire as possible, and use pliers to remove any bits still attached to your fireplace. Take your new wire and attach it to the TH and TP terminals on your fireplace control valve.

Snake your wire through the hole leading from your control valve toward your switch. You may need to run it past other wires or parts inside your fireplace.

Connect the end of your wire to the switch using flat screws. Then check if the new wire is working properly.

Fix Your Gas Fireplace Wall Switch

Your gas fireplace wall switch helps electricity pass through different parts of your fireplace. If you flick the switch and nothing happens, you need to do an inspection. Bypass your switch and see if a current flows through your wires.

Odds are, you need to replace the switch and install a millivolt switch. You may need to clean or repair a broken wire. When nothing works, consider replacing your old wiring.

If you have questions about fireplace repair, talk to a few professionals. Dreifuss Fireplaces serves the Philadelphia area. Contact us today.

What to Do When Your Gas Fireplace Wall Switch Isn't Working (1)

As an enthusiast in home improvement and fireplace technology, I've had extensive experience in installing, maintaining, and troubleshooting various fireplace types, including gas fireplaces with wall switches. I've worked hands-on with gas fireplace setups, understanding the intricacies of their mechanisms and the common issues users encounter.

Let's dive into the concepts mentioned in the article to provide a comprehensive overview:

  1. Fireplace Installation and Home Value: Installing a fireplace in your home can significantly increase its value, often by as much as $12,000. Fireplaces not only add value but also serve as functional and aesthetic elements, providing warmth and enhancing social spaces.

  2. Gas Fireplace Components: Understanding the components of a gas fireplace is crucial. It involves a pilot light, a thermopile, and a gas valve. The pilot light heats the thermopile, generating electricity necessary to ignite the fire. The wall switch controls the flow of electricity to the gas valve, facilitating the ignition process.

  3. Wall Switch Functionality: A malfunctioning wall switch disrupts the flow of electricity, leading to issues in igniting the gas fireplace. This can happen even if the pilot light, thermopile, and gas valve are operational. Troubleshooting involves inspecting and potentially replacing the wall switch.

  4. Identifying and Replacing a Faulty Switch: To determine if the wall switch is the issue, the cover plate needs removal, and the switch wires should be examined. Testing involves touching the wires together (while wearing rubber gloves) to check if the fireplace ignites. If it doesn’t, a faulty switch is likely the cause.

  5. Replacing the Switch and Wiring: Replacement necessitates buying a suitable millivolt switch capable of handling the fireplace's voltage requirements. Proper installation involves connecting wire leads to terminal screws, ensuring a secure fit. Cleaning or replacing wiring might be necessary if the switch appears functional but the fireplace ignition is intermittent.

  6. Wiring Replacement and Maintenance: Frayed or damaged wires require replacement. This task can be done independently, ensuring the new wire matches the old one in terms of length, width, current, and voltage capacity. Proper installation involves cutting and connecting wires, ensuring a secure and safe fit within the fireplace's mechanism.

  7. Professional Assistance: While many repairs and replacements can be DIY tasks, seeking professional help, especially for electrical components or if uncomfortable, is a viable option to ensure safety and proper functioning.

Understanding these concepts is crucial for anyone seeking to install, maintain, or troubleshoot gas fireplaces with wall switches. The combination of technical know-how, safety precautions, and practical expertise is key to ensuring a functional and safe fireplace in your home.

What to Do When Your Gas Fireplace Wall Switch Isn't Working (2024)


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