Why Gas Fireplace Goes Out After A Few Minutes [Reasons + Solutions]

Your gas fireplace goes out after a few minutes due to a dirty or faulty pilot, damaged thermopile and thermocouple, built-in safety switch, insufficient gas, and airflow.  

To fix the shutting-off issue, very first check the pilot light and find if it’s working fine or not. Then make sure there is sufficient gas and airflow. Plus, investigate the thermocouple and thermopile and ensure they are working fine. 

gas fireplace goes out after a few minutes
Photo Credit: Zac Gudakov on Unsplash

After going through all these fixing methods, if you still find your gas fireplace is shutting off, don’t get frustrated. Go on reading the article, you will find a few more effective solutions. 

gas fireplace keeps shutting off after a few moments
Photo Credit: Robin van Geenen on Unsplash

Why Gas Fireplace Goes Out After A Few Minutes [Reasons + Solutions]

Now, let’s know in detail about the major reasons for going out gas fireplace after a few minutes:

1. Faulty Or Dirty Pilot Light

The defective or dirty pilot is the prime cause behind your gas fireplace going out frequently. You should that the pilot light signals your fireplace’s thermocouple to keep the gas line open & kick starts the gas fire.

faulty or dirty gas fireplace pilot light

But the faulty pilot can’t give that signal for which your gas fireplace’s fire won’t stay lit, or the fire is not catching properly.

The filthy or lousy pilot light creates a lazy flame and affects your fireplace’s main flame, and thus your fireplace fire keeps going out. The main reasons for which the pilot light becomes malfunctioning or filthy are: 

  • Dust, dirt, debris, or foreign object build up in pilot light 
  • Blown out pilot light by an interrupting gas flow 
  • Misaligned, bent, broken, or defective pilot light 
  • Broken or loose gas valve 
  • Low gas pressure 

Solution:

However, whenever your fireplace goes through this problem first, you should check the pilot light and follow the steps below to fix it. 

  • Properly clean and remove the pilot light’s dirt, dust, or foreign objects.
  • Make sure there is sufficient gas flow and that gas flow is facing no interruptions.
  • Ensure the pilot light is in the proper place or properly aligned.
  • Replace the bent, broken, or malfunctioning pilot light and broken gas valve. 
  • Tighten the gas valve and ensure sufficient gas pressure.

Pilot Light Cleaning Instructions

Following the quick steps below, clean your fireplace’s dirty pilot light, and the unit will remain lit. 

  • Turn off your fireplace’s gas supply.
  • Remove the pilot light from its position. 
  • Use a wire brush to clean the pilot light’s dirt or debris build-up. 
  • If you fail to clean the pilot properly, you can also use compressed air to remove its dirt.

Light your fireplace again after cleaning the pilot light. If your fireplace still goes out, then you need to replace the defective pilot light.

2. Dirty Or Faulty Thermocouple And Thermopile

If the thermocouple and thermopile get dirty or faulty, they can’t open the gas valve and thus the pilot light can’t ignite your gas fireplace.

faulty thermocouple and thermopile of gas fireplace

Though sometimes, it can ignite, a few moments later, the gas fireplace shuts off automatically.  

Solutions:

  • Check the thermocouple and thermopile with a multimeter and find out if they are working or not. If you find anyone faulty, replace that one.
  • If you discover the thermopile and thermocouple ends get rusty with carbon buildups, simply clean the carbon buildups.

How To Test The Voltage On Thermopile And Thermocouple

Whether the defective thermopile & thermocouple is the culprit or not for your fireplace’s fire-going issue, you require to test these units’ voltage to determine it. 

test the voltage of thermopile and thermocouple with multimeter

Before testing these units, ensure your fireplace pilot is a strong & deep blue flame. For testing their functionality, follow the easy steps below:

Step By Step Thermopile Testing Guide With Multimeter

Here is the step-by-step procedure to check the current in the thermopile of your gas fireplace pilot unit:

thermopile of gas fireplace pilot unit

Step 1: Set the digital multimeter to DC (Direct Current). The multimeter will not read the voltage if you set it to AC (Alternating Current) volts. The DC volts symbol has three dots with a long line or lines underneath. 

DC volts symbol three dots with a long line or lines underneath

Step 2: Now from the gas control, separate the thermopile’s wiring connection. Your fireplace thermopile is attached to the TP and TH/TP terminals and put the probes in these terminals. 

TP and TH/TP terminals of gas valve

Step 3: Set your fireplace’s gas control at the pilot light setting, and then light the pilot. For warming up the thermopile, keep the pilot on for 2 minutes. 

Ensure that your fireplace on/off switch, remote, wall thermostat, and wall switch is in the Off position. 

Step 4: Now place the multimeter probe on the TH/TP and TP terminals to test the thermopile’s voltage. 

Step 5: Until you get the maximum voltage in the multimeter, hold down the testing probe to the TH/TP and TP terminal. This process may require more than 3 minutes. Decreasing or slowing down your digital multimeter’s reading means the testing process is done. 

Result: Your thermopile’s millivolt reading between 650-850 means the unit is perfectly functioning. Though over 445 mV is also a good read to operate your fireplace.

good volt of thermopile to operate the fireplace perfectly

But the millivolt read below 325 (main burner off) means the faulty thermopile, and you should replace it. 

While the main burner is on, the voltmeter’s minimum voltage reading should be 110V for your fireplace’s consistent operation. However, for your better understanding, you can watch the video tutorial on how to test the thermopile.

Step By Step Thermocouple Voltage Testing Guide

Step 1: First, set the voltmeter to DC (Direct Current) volts. The DC volts symbol has three dots with a long line or lines underneath.

DC volts symbol of multimeter with three dots

Step 2: Locate where the thermocouple is screwed into your fireplace’s gas valve. From the gas valve, unscrew the thermocouple. 

Step 3: You have to take the readings from the thermocouple’s end. Place the red probe to take the voltmeter reading and place it on the thermocouple’s very end. On the thermocouple’s copper wire, place the black probe.

Check the thermocouple with multimeter probes

Step 4: To depress the gas valve knob, you need to free one hand to hold on to the pilot. The best way to get the reading is using the alligator clips on the probes.

Now with the voltmeter probe’s proper placement, keep the knob depressed and light the pilot light. 

gas valve knob

And Your fireplace’s pilot will not stay on since the thermocouple is disconnected from the valve. 

Step 5: The thermocouple voltage should read between 8MV – 30 MV with the attached voltmeter and pilot on. 

Result: The thermocouple millivolt above 25 means a good reading, and the unit is perfectly fine. As for keeping the pilot flame lit, the gas valve requires 25 volts. 

But if the thermocouple’s reading is less than 7MV, that means the thermocouple is defective, and you should replace it. Here you cam also watch the tutorial to check the thermocouple voltage.

How To Clean Thermopile And Thermocouple

Over time for constant use, carbon builds up on your gas fireplace’s thermopile and thermocouple. Thus, these units become dirty and non-functioning. 

cleaning gas fireplace's thermopile and thermocouple

Through proper cleaning, you can make these units functional again. For properly cleaning the thermopile and thermocouple, follow the steps below; 

  • Turn off your fireplace’s gas supply and allow some time to cool the gas first. Remove the pilot burner assembly’s cover or glass. 
  • Properly scrub the thermopile using fine-grit sandpaper & stainless steel brush. Again buff the thermocouple using emery cloth or grit sandpaper to remove the dirt or dust build-up in it. 
  • After scrubbing the thermocouple and thermopile, polish these units to make them shiny. 
  • Also, using the compressed air, blow out the remaining dirt or debris in the thermocouple and thermopile and properly clean them. 
  • After cleaning these two units, properly place them. And then light your fireplace’s pilot light to check whether the flame is staying on or not. 

3. Insufficient Gas Flow

If you are burning a large flame for a long time, then you may notice that the gas fire goes out after 15 minutes. The longer you keep the gas burning, the quicker the gas will run out.

As a result, the fire burns out quickly. Basically, the insufficiency of gas flow causes the gas fire to go out after a few minutes.

Solutions:

The only solution is to ensure the perfect gas flow to the pilot. Adjust the gas flow with the control knob. Here you can read our guide on how to adjust the gas flow and fireplace flame of your gas fireplace.

4. Faulty Gas Valve & Blocked Burner Port

When the parts of the gas fireplace aren’t in the right condition or they aren’t properly placed, then you will notice that your gas fireplace shuts off intermittently.

Mainly a faulty gas valve will result in the type of situation we are talking about. Clogged and dirty burner ports can also prevent fire from lighting up.

defective gas valve of gas fireplace

The burner port is a vital part of the gas fireplace. If it has any fault such as clogging, your fireplace won’t function properly.

Solution:

  • Make sure the fireplace is placed perfectly.
  • Replace the gas valve if it’s faulty.
  • Clean the burner pot

5. Insufficient Air Pressure

It’s a known fact that Oxygen is essential for flames to burn. The absence of it will surely cause the gas fire to go out.

If the air intake to the unit is somehow blocked, then the gas is not getting enough air pressure to use. When there is insufficient air pressure and all the oxygen is burned up, the gas fire automatically goes out. 

Solution:

Check and find if anything is blocking the air into the unit. Here, it’s wise to clean the whole unit to ensure sufficient airflow and oxygen to the fireplace.

6. Built-In Safety Device Oxypilot

You may have a built-in safety device Oxypilot to monitor the insufficiency of the oxygen in your room, shutting off the gas fire and thus saving you from carbon monoxide poisoning. 

safety device oxypilot may stop the gas fireplace

So, when your Oxypilot finds carbon monoxide high inside your room, the device simply shuts off the gas flame. And the total procedure happens by heat reducing from the thermocouple and putting out the gas valve. 

Plus, when your sensing device gets blocked with dirt and grim, flame can’t reach the electrode or thermocouple. And so you will find your gas fireplace is shutting off.    

Solutions:

  • Ensure enough air flow and oxygen inside your room.
  • Check and find if the dust and soots built up inside the oxypilot. If yes, clean the device. 

7. Drip Loop/Moisture In The Gas Line

Moisture in your fireplace’s gas line causes contaminated gas & drip loop as gas and water don’t mix together. And thus your heater fails to create a stable fire & the fire goes out. 

Water can get inside your gas fireplace’s fuel line and create the drip loop mainly for the following reasons: 

  • Faulty gas valve 
  • Improperly sealed gas tank 
  • Leakage in the gas line or damaged fuel line 

Solution:

So, to solve the above trouble and ensure a stable fire in your fireplace follow the resolving ways below: 

  • Replace the defective gas valve and damaged fuel line 
  • Make sure your fireplace’s gas tank is properly sealed 
  • Fix the gas line’s leakage 

Note: To bleed the water from the gas, you need the professional’s help.

4 More Factors Behind The Gas Fireplace Going Out Frequently

Besides the above factors, your gas fireplace may go out due to tripping the circuit breaker. Plus, if your gas fireplace is with a remote receiver, there is a possibility of the battery going dead on the remote or receiver.

So, check and replace the remote or receiver battery. Also, make sure the gas line is on or the propane tank is filled with gas. Further, when it’s windy, you may find your gas fireplace keeps going out. 

Besides the above factors, your gas fireplace may go out due to the following factors also:

1. Tripped Circuit Breaker

A tripping circuit breaker caused by a power surge or too much electricity running through the system is another reason your fireplace won’t stay lit. Open the breaker box, check the circuit breaker, and replace the tripped one.

2. Dead Remote Or Receiver Battery

A convenient way of turning your fireplace’s gas is by using the remote. But the non-functioning or dead remote or receiver with a damaged battery fails to control your fireplace.

And thus the fire keeps going out. Replace the receiver battery or dead remote to fix this hitch.

3. Windy Weather

Windy weather is not safe to use your fireplace, which is another reason the fire won’t stay lit. Avoid using your gas fireplace in the extreme or high wind above 40 mph.

4. Gas Line Might Be Off

Your fireplace won’t get sufficient gas supply if the gas line itself is off or blocked or dirt or debris builds up in it. So, check your unit’s gas line and ensure it is on and the gas flow is also perfect.

Why Gas Fireplace Doesn’t Work Properly [5 Issues To Fix]

You might get irritated because your gas fireplace is struggling with so many issues. Don’t worry. Let’s know from which factors your fireplace is suffering and fix it instantly:

1. Gas Fireplace Stays Lit But Pilot Won’t Stay On

The pilot light is the indicator that helps you to understand the condition of your fireplace. It’s basically a small steady flame fueled by a small stream of gas.

Gas Fireplace Stays Lit But Pilot Won’t Stay On
Photo Credit: Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

It shows that the fireplace still has gas running. This is why a functioning pilot light is very important. If the pilot light isn’t on even when the fire of the fireplace is still running, you will have to take some simple measures.

First, shut off the gas feed and wait for a few minutes. This will make sure that there is no excess gas built up in the system. After a few minutes, the pilot is supposed to light up. If the flame isn’t on yet, repeat this process. 

2. What To Do If Gas Fireplace Goes Out And Comes Back On

Sometimes you will notice that the gas fireplace won’t stay lit but the pilot light stays on. The fire will blow out only to come back on again. What can you do if this happens?

why gas fireplace going out and coming back

You can deal with two things in case this happens. Firstly, test the gas valve at the PV and PV/MV connections. If it seems okay, then the problem is probably with the main burner.

When the burner of a fireplace gets too dirty and has debris clogged in, it won’t stay ignited.

The debris will only allow an inconsistent flow of gas. This can make your fire blow out and light back again.

So, when this happens, closely examine the burner and if you find that it really has dirt, clean it properly. You can use a can of compressed air to blow out the clogged debris from the area.

3. What To Do If Gas Fireplace Won’t Light

If your fireplace won’t light at all, you have to detect the problem first. The fuel is a great factor here. If the fuel is not properly burning, then your fireplace won’t burn.

fireplace won’t light at all
Photo Credit: Nathan Fertig on Unsplash

In this case, refill the fuel tank and check if the gas tank is perfectly fine. Try to look for cracks.

Another major issue that can cause your fireplace not to light is a faulty ignition fuse. In most gas fireplaces, there is electronic ignition.

Its purpose is to ignite the flame that will be the fire of your fireplace. Several issues can damage the electronic ignitor. You may even need to change the fuse.

4. What To Do If Gas Fireplace Smells Like Gas

If you are smelling gas from your fireplace, then you should immediately turn the fireplace off. Smelling gas means there is a leakage. Even a small crack can result in irrevocable disaster. 

Photo Credit: NATHAN MULLET on Unsplash

After shutting off the fireplace, open up the windows of your room to allow the gas to escape. Taking further measures by yourself can be risky. Rather, it’s better to call a professional in this situation. 

5. What To Do If Gas Fireplace Won’t Turn Off

Your gas fireplace may not turn off because of some defects. Even if you turn off the wall switch and close the gas valve, the gas fireplace can still stay on. In this situation, there are 2 things you can do:

i) Rewiring:

Cut off the fireplace from the three-way switch. This way your fireplace won’t have any supply of power to stay on and should turn off immediately.

ii) Installing A Thermostat

You can use a thermostat as a switch. Install a millivolt thermostat if the fireplace doesn’t go off. The thermostat works for two reasons. 

Firstly, it doesn’t function with traditional 120V which can be problematic sometimes. And secondly, the thermostat shuts your fireplace off automatically after it has reached a certain level of temperature. 

It can be annoying if your fireplace goes out after 15 minutes of burning. But you won’t have to spend dollars to solve this issue. If you can follow the solutions we discussed above you will be able to deal with your gas fireplace effectively. Just maintain patience and you are good to go.

3 Ways To Check Whether Your Gas Fireplace is Safe or Not

It can happen sometimes that you think there is something wrong with your gas fireplace but you are not sure. Debris, water, excessive heat, and many other issues can cause problems with your fireplace.

does gas fireplace safe or not
Photo Credit: Francesca Tosolini On Unsplash

Keeping your faulty fireplace the way it is can result in disaster in the future. So, when you feel that there is an issue with your fireplace, it’s always wise to be sure.

It’s even better to check your fireplace every time while lighting it. This way your fireplace will last for a long time.

Here are 3 ways to check if your gas fireplace is safe to use:

1. Check If Everything is in Proper Condition

Clogging is a big issue when it comes to a gas fireplace. Debris usually clogs the path for gas and fire. This results in clogging. It prevents fire from burning properly.

Check the connection between the fuel tank and the burner. If there is any form of leakage or defect it can be problematic.

2. Look At The Flame

A good gas fireplace will have a perfect flame. Take a closer look at the flame quality. It must be clean, bluish, and will ignite instantly. The flame will be upward and will be free from odor or smoke.

If it doesn’t light up the moment you start the gas or the flame is unstable in any way then there are definitely some problems. Check the burner and the gas vault for obstructions or debris. 

3. Examine The Chimney

The chimney is one of the main components of a gas fireplace. To make sure your chimney is ready to be used, you have to observe it from the outside.

Use a ladder to get closer to the chimney or use a binocular to determine if the chimney cap is properly attached to the top of the chimney. 

check the gas fireplace chimney

The purpose of these caps is to prevent animals, trees, and rain or snow from entering the chimney. It is an essential safety measure. If your chimney is blocked then you should fix it before lighting up your fireplace. You can call a professional for this task.

After you have properly checked these points, you can rest assured that you won’t have any problem operating your gas fireplace.

When You Should Contact a Professional

Following our comprehensive guide, you can easily fix your fireplace’s issues if you have previous experience in dealing with and fixing your gas fireplace. 

But if you are a newbie, afraid of dealing with fire, or not acquainted with the fireplace’s right parts, then contacting a professional will be the best decision. 

To save a few dollars dealing with the fire parts by yourself could be dangerous for you. 

Thus don’t take a risk and contact licensed & expert fireplace professionals. But if you are confident enough, you are most welcome to fix your fireplace by following our guide. 

FAQ:

Can I replace my gas fireplace?

Yes, you can replace your gas fireplace. To do that you need to change the inserts.

What is the lifespan of a gas fireplace?

There is no definite life expectancy of gas fireplaces. But, if you use your gas fireplace properly, it can last for 15 to 25 years.

How often should you replace a gas fireplace?

As the lifespan of a regular gas fireplace is around 15 to 25 years, this is the duration you should wait to replace your gas fireplace and install a new one.

How much does it cost to install a gas fireplace?

The cost can vary depending on what type of inserts you are looking for. The inserts cost around $1,200. And to get it all installed can cost you around $500 to $3,000.

Is a gas fireplace worth it?

A gas fireplace is really convenient and it looks very classy as well. There is no hassle of wood-burning or of cleaning the ashes. In addition, it costs very little compared to other options. So yes, a gas fireplace is definitely worth it.

How do you update an old gas fireplace?

To update an old gas fireplace, you can paint the fireplace, brass and mantle surround. Also you can retile the fireplace.

How often should I do maintenance on my gas fireplace?

It’s wise and recommended to go for annual maintenance of your gas fireplace for getting better heat from your gas fireplace.

Is it cheaper to run a furnace or gas fireplace?

Operating a furnace for an hour costs about $1.10 to $1.50. And a gas fireplace costs $0.45 per hour. So it is apparent that a gas fireplace is much cheaper than a furnace.

Can you get carbon monoxide poisoning from a gas fireplace?

Unfortunately, yes. Gas fireplaces are one of the main potential causes of carbon monoxide poisoning.  However, proper maintenance can reduce such effects.

Final Words:

Now you know the reasons why a gas fireplace goes out after a few minutes. Plus, you know the immediate solutions after reading the article. So, we can assure you now you don’t need to spend single money while facing the above troubles. You can solve it yourself.

Just follow everything we have discussed above and get the solution. It surely isn’t hard to do. Now, let us know if we can help you in any way. We will be glad to help you out. 

10 thoughts on “Why Gas Fireplace Goes Out After A Few Minutes [Reasons + Solutions]”

  1. I have had my gas fireplace looked at by a qualified repair person. He said the wiring may cause the fireplace to go out. He replaced the wall switch and tightened the wires. The fireplace continued to go out after a few minutes.

    Reply
  2. I have a gas fireplace that burns for 20 minutes and then pilot goes out. After that we turn it back on and it goes out in 5 minutes, this continues until we don’t use it for a few days, then it goes back to being on for 20 minutes and then goes out, including pilot light.

    Reply
  3. I cleaned my thermopile and thermocouple, then the switch turned on the fireplace (pilot light was lit). Now sometimes turning on the electric switch results in having to turn it on 2-3 times before flames appear. This morning the flames started but went out. Two days ago, I heard occasional puffs, like it was restarting. Is there anything I can do?

    Reply
    • Hi Karne

      Then you may need to replace the thermopile and thermocouple. Find out which one gets faulty and change. Here you can get help from a professional.

      Thanks

      Reply
  4. Thank you for the article. Both my fire and my pilot stay on when the glass is off but go out within seconds when I put the glass front back on and seal it. I think I have an air pressure issue but don’t know where to look to solve it. Chimney cap looks fine. Can you help?

    Reply

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