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Old 11-22-2013, 06:20 AM   #1
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Gas (propane) Fireplace: Pilot OK, full flame goes out


Good morning,

I know this is the HVAC part of the forum but I am hoping its the best place to ask some questions about a problem I am having with my fireplace.

Background: Vexar by Stylecrest Direct Vent Fireplace. FMI Products (fmiproducts.com) Fireplace built in new construction home summer of 2011 - just over 2 years old, just past the 2 year limited warranty.

Usage: Our neighborhood does not have gas lines, so the fireplace uses propane. Some homes have full size propane tanks since they run their heat and/or cooking off the gas too. In our home its all electrical so the fireplace is the only gas appliance. Therefore, we use grill-sized propane tanks and switch it out about once every month (mostly just to keep the pilot lit). We do turn it all off from March - October, and I am sure there is a whole debate with that, but that may be besides the point with this issue.

Problem: For the last three winters, the routine is the same: Hook it up to a tank in Oct, light the pilot. Once a month the tank is empty, I replace, relight, no problems. Same this year: I started the routine in Oct and went through our first tank in about one month. My wife noticed the pilot went out, so I went outside to hook it up to a full tank. I went back inside and relit the pilot using the simple steps of turning the dial to pilot, pushing it in, pressing ignitor, turning dial to "on". The pilot lit as per normal. Then to test it (as I always do after putting a new tank on) I flipped the wall switch to turn on the full flame. It struggled a bit and then the whole light went out. I relit and tried again, same thing. I thought to myself "well, the pilot lights, so maybe I'll let the pilot run all night and try to turn the flame on again tomorrow". The pilot successfully ran all night. Upon trying the flame again, it again struggled to produce barely a full flame and then the whole light went out, pilot too. Next day (yesterday) I tried again. This time when flipping the wall switch no flame appeared other than the pilot. I then turned the switch OFF, saw a super small flame appear and then it all went out. This was odd that even flipping the switch ON didn't even produce anything, but then a small flame puffed on and then off when switching OFF the switch. Finally, I notice when the flame has gone out each time, it makes a sound below the unit like some sort of switch or turn off mechanism. And yet, lighting the pilot itself works perfectly fine. I have tried 2 tanks, but it doesn't seem to be a problem with the tanks.

Summary: Fireplace works fine normally. Propane was empty, so I added a new tank and relit. Pilot lights, but turning the wall switch on produces only a tiny flame, or no flame at all, and after about 10 seconds the whole flame and pilot shut off.

Thoughts: I wonder, could it be air in the line from one tank being empty and me hooking up the next tank? But its never been an issue before between tanks and wouldn't air in the line prevent the pilot from lighting?

Thank you all for your consideration and any advice you may offer. I am trying to ask around before contacting fmiproducts.

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Old 11-22-2013, 09:00 AM   #2
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Gas (propane) Fireplace: Pilot OK, full flame goes out


could be a half dozen problems so you may want to call a fireplace specialty shop and get their tech out. sounds 2 me like the regulator from the tank is not supplying enough pressure. or the gas valve itself is failing. try replace the wall switch. those units work off a 750 millivolt system=.75 volt and a weak switch won't give it enough power to open. usually that prevents any opening but it is worth a try. weak pilot, dirty pilot with poor flame, bad electrical connections, weak pilot generator, dirty burner are other problems so a Pro is recommended.

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Old 11-22-2013, 08:41 PM   #3
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Gas (propane) Fireplace: Pilot OK, full flame goes out


Thanks for your reply. I have emails out to 3 local service places.
I disconnected the outside "hose" connecting the propane tank to the fireplace wall. Found a dead stinkbug in there, but other than that nothing else. I vacuumed out the hose too, still troubles. We shall see.
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Old 11-23-2013, 08:40 AM   #4
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Gas (propane) Fireplace: Pilot OK, full flame goes out


Do U leave the hose to the tank disconnected and open to the atmosphere in the summer? not a good idea as bugs and spiders can get in there and moisture and both could get pushed into the regulator downstream or the gas valve when you turn it back on. mention that to the service tech.
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Old 11-23-2013, 02:32 PM   #5
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Gas (propane) Fireplace: Pilot OK, full flame goes out


chances are if its shutting off with a click, after you go from strong pilot light to power on at the switch. the gas valve is bad. if the pilot wouldn't light I'd think it was a power pile. but it seems the power pile is fine. so its either a switch in line. or a gas valve issue
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