Before we get into anything else, it is important to find out what type of gas fireplace you have. Most gas fireplaces in the same category function the same way. Also, many gas fireplaces use the exact same components, but just have a different brand name on the front.
Gas Fireplaces fall into 3 main categories
DIRECT VENT (DV)
NATURAL VENT (NV or B-Vent)
If you still have the owners manual, it should tell you if it is either a direct or natural vented appliance. But if you are like 99% of fireplace owners, you most likely do not.
Because of this, that are some rules of thumb we can follow. In general, if your fireplace has a sealed single-pane of glass on the front of it (where it requires clamps or screws to be removed to access the area where the flame usually is), you have a DIRECT VENT fireplace:
Conversely, if you have Bi-Fold type doors, or the fire is open to the room, you have a Natural, B-Vented, or vent free unit. These types of fireplaces rely on natural draft, a process that involves creating an updraft in the chimney by heating it up. These will use air from inside your home to fuel the fire.
There is another way to determine this as well. Most fireplaces have a rating plate that looks something like this:
It will tell you the brand and model number, which you usually do a quick Google search and find out what type of fireplace it is. The make and model of the fireplace is essential to know if you ever need to order replacement parts. The rating plate can be located in many places:
1.) Most commonly, underneath the lower louver of the appliance (in most direct vent fireplaces):
2.) On the upper baffle of the fireplace (in natural drafted fireplaces):
3.) Bolted to the back side of a freestanding fireplace or stove:
4.) Behind an access panel
Feel free to view the video below to help assist you in finding the make and model of your fireplace:
Sometimes, your fireplace may have been a wood burning fireplace that has been converted to gas by adding a gas log insert to it. In this case you may not have a rating plate, or the rating plate will tell you that it is a wood burning fireplace. All gas log inserts are considered Natural Vented appliances. This type of fireplace will fall into two categories:
For repair purposes, we will categorize vent free fireplaces in a separate category. Vent free units are open-door style units that do not have a chimney. If you look inside a vent free unit (there should not be a single pane of glass on the front) you should not see an exit at the top to the chimney.
Once you have at least determined what type of fireplace you have, please keep both your fireplace type, make, and model handy.
You may also want to look up your fireplace owners manual. This may also help answer many questions specific to your fireplace as well as help you find correct parts if you should need them:
May 26, 2012
i have never heard anything like this before, it is beautiful. best of luck with your posts.
May 27, 2012
Oh my goodness! a tremendous article dude. Thanks Nonetheless I’m experiencing problem with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting equivalent rss downside? Anybody who is aware of kindly respond. Thnkx
May 28, 2012
Sorry, I’m experiencing technical difficulties with the RSS feed right now. This should be up and running tomorrow night.
May 28, 2012
Thank you for another great article. Where else may just anyone get that type of info in such a perfect manner of writing? I have a presentation this subsequent week, and I am on the search for such info.
April 17, 2013
My gas fireplace starts by turning on a
Light switch. Now I have to go down to the fire place turn on by pumping,holding it and use a match to start a flame. How do I fix the wall switch?
October 26, 2013
my flame keeps going out. had a tech out and he can’t figure out why. pilot light stays lit. if i turn it on, it will go on, then go off, then later, on again. maybe off, then 30 seconds later, back on. and so it goes until i finally give up and turn it off at switch. other gas fireplace works fine. vent on masonary to outside. paid money, got no service. i have fireplace like one in ad, and it was new, 9 years ago. help, please. can’t afford to call another tech to have nothing fixed. thank you.
October 27, 2013
Replace the switch. This sounds like a classic case of bad wall switch/bad toggle switch.
January 19, 2016
With an IPI system you will have a self igniting pilot flame. Chances are, if it hasn’t been used in a while, there could be air built up in the gas line and it may take several attempts before it will finally light. Just make sure all your gas shutoffs are turned on and you see a spark at your pilot assembly when you try to turn it on. Eventually it should light.