Solved! My Gas Fireplace Won’t Turn On—What’s The Problem?

When your gas fireplace won’t turn on, these steps can help fuel the flame and get the fireplace back in working order.

By Melissa Graham | Published Oct 28, 2022 3:26 PM

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

Gas Fireplace Won’t Turn On


Q: I tried to get a fire started in my living room, but my gas fireplace won’t turn on. Any idea what’s causing this? Is this something I can fix myself?

A: Gas fireplaces are a convenient alternative to traditional wood-burning ones that allow homeowners to enjoy a fire’s warmth and ambience without needing to start a fire from scratch. But when the temperature drops and you’re ready to warm up, it can be alarming if the gas fireplace won’t turn on. The good news is that the issue is likely one that can be fixed relatively easily, especially if you enlist the help of a professional fireplace repair technician. This guide can help get you on the path to a warm and cozy night by a burning fire.

Gas fireplace won't turn on?
Leave it to the pros. Get free, no-commitment project estimates from top-rated repair services near you.

An overloaded circuit can keep a gas fireplace from turning on. 

A gas fireplace may share a circuit with other electrical wiring in a home, which means there’s a chance the circuit could get overloaded from time to time. When this happens, the circuit breaker might “trip” or stop supplying power to prevent it from overheating. In this instance, a homeowner can check their circuit box and reset any tripped breakers to get power restored to the gas fireplace. If the breaker is frequently tripping, the homeowner may want to reach out to an electrician to see if this problem can be resolved more permanently.

Ensure the gas and pilot light are turned on. 

Before examining the inner workings of a natural gas fireplace, it’s best to make sure the gas and pilot lights are on. The gas fireplace pilot light is a knob that usually has the word “pilot” on it with the ability to turn it to the “on” and “off” positions. Homeowners can ensure the pilot light is turned to the “on” position before troubleshooting other issues. The gas valve will also need to be open for the fireplace to operate. Some fireplaces might require the use of a fireplace key to control the flow of gas.

Gas Fireplace Won’t Turn On


If the pilot light doesn’t stay lit, the thermocouple may have a problem. 

The thermocouple, which is a straight, small pipe near the pilot light, is a key element that helps ignite the gas in the fireplace. A good indicator that the thermocouple is causing problems is if the pilot light won’t stay lit.

It’s wise to double-check that the thermocouple is screwed in tight. The thermocouple may also have accumulated dirt and soot and could benefit from a quick cleaning. If these tweaks don’t get the fireplace running and a homeowner is still wondering how to turn on a gas fireplace, it can help to contact an expert fireplace repair technician to fix the problem. They’ll know why the furnace is not turning on and be able to provide an estimate for how much it will cost to repair it.

Gas fireplace on the fritz?
Leave it to the pros. Get free, no-commitment project estimates from top-rated repair services near you.

If the pilot hasn’t been on in a while, you may need to purge air from the tubing. 

If the gas for an indoor gas fireplace is on, but the pilot hasn’t been lit in a while, it may be time to get rid of any stale air inside the tubing. For this step, the homeowner will need to press and hold the valve control knob, then repeatedly press the ignitor button until the pilot turns on. Allow up to 10 minutes for the air to fully bleed out of the tubing. Once the pilot is lit, the homeowner can continue to press the valve knob for about 30 seconds. If the pilot is ignited, it’s time to turn the gas valve to the “on” position. Purging the air from the tubing allows gas to flow through it and produce a flame more easily. If these steps seem too complicated, this is an easy fix for a fireplace repair technician.

A broken spark igniter could keep the gas fireplace from turning on. 

The culprit of a malfunctioning fireplace could be the spark igniter. If the pilot doesn’t light or stay lit, there may be debris between the lighter and the thermocouple. Any debris should be cleared to get the spark igniter in working order. A homeowner can use compressed air to blow any debris out of this small area, and they’ll want to wait for a few minutes before trying to turn on the fireplace again.

A professional gas fireplace repair technician can solve any manner of issues. 

Maybe you’ve tried all the steps above without any luck or prefer to have a professional handle gas fireplace repair. An experienced repair technician will know how to light a gas fireplace by taking a careful look to determine what’s causing the problem. Plus, many licensed technicians will offer a warranty if the fireplace continues to experience problems after it’s turned on. Services can cost anywhere from $100 to $150, depending on the problem and how much time or new parts it takes to fix.

Find trusted local pros for any home project