September 22, 2011

Making Fire

One of the most impressive features to our new home is the amazing fireplace in the Living Room, for us, it was love at first sight.

Dirty Inspection Photo

So when those first cool days of fall started to roll in, we couldn't wait to light the fireplace, curl up on the couch and relax. And that's when the hunt for fire began...

Since the home was vacant for over a year before we moved in, it has been a long time since this natural gas fireplace has seen any action.  The first step was to open the access panel to the fireplace and figure out what we were dealing with.

At first we thought this would be relatively easy.  Find the natural gas valve, and turn it on.

I'm proud to say this took us less than 5 minutes.   Unfortunately, fire no worky.

So next we looked for a way to light the pilot light.  A little Google search on our fireplace model number showed us a very confusing and tricky diagram, which 15 minutes later helped us discover this:

We followed the instructions to turn the Pilot Control to "Pilot" and hit the ignition button repeatedly.  It didn't go well.  No spark, no fire.  I quickly discovered that even though we turned our gas valve on, there was no gas coming to the fireplace.  No sound, no smell.  So I called Super Dad for advice, and he said that he remembered that there was a gas meter down in the Family Room Patio outside, and suggested that I go take a look.  Thank God for that, because I'm pretty sure I never would have remembered that it was there, what with all that tricky camouflage.

I took a closer look, and looky here:

Yep.  Obviously the gas insert for our upstairs fireplace was not original to the house,  so when it was installed, this additional pipe was added to the gas meter sending gas up specifically to our fireplace.  And it was turned off.  I threw the switch in triumph, and headed back upstairs to bask in my warm fire glow.  Not so fast...

This time when I turned the Pilot Control to "Pilot", I heard gas running through the valve (yeah baby), but unfortunately the ignition button did nothing but make an annoying click.  No fire.   I figured that maybe the ignition switch was busted, so I armed myself with a lighter, and went about the business of finding the pilot light.  Not as easy as it sounds.

After a good 20 minutes of searching under the fireplace for a place in which a pilot light could be located, and no pilot light to show for it, I decided to take off the glass of the fireplace and look in there.  Another 15 minutes of searching later...

That tricky little guy was wedged behind a bunch of rocks.  I crossed my fingers, turned on the gas, and switched on my lighter... (Hubs and Ryder- I love you.)

 Surprisingly, no one got hurt.  With my pilot light finally lit, I pushed the "on" button on my fireplace remote, and there was fire!  Glorious fire!  Until...

The glass instantly began to fog up, and that's when I realized that the fan that is installed in the fireplace to push the warm air out into the room, wasn't working.  Awesome.  I followed the cord of the fan back to it's source:

It went to a plug inside the access panel, which should mean that there's always power going to it. Unless... it was connected to a light switch.  And suddenly, like my own personal light switch went off, I remembered this:

Yep, one of those random light switches near the floor that we had no idea what it did.  This one was only a few feet from the fireplace though, so it was a pretty educated guess.  And with a little flick of the switch, we had fireplace magic.  Finally.  All in all our little scavenger hunt for fire spanned 2 days (we gave up frustrated after the first hour.)  It was an adventure, but like anything that you have to work for, the satisfaction of success was totally worth it.  (Which is to say that I was just thrilled that we weren't cursing at the stupid fireplace anymore.) 

Anyone else want to help me out here and admit that they spent way too much time figuring out something relatively simple in their home?  Pretty please?  I'd love to be sharing with you more recent home improvements, but since we wasted 2 days trying to get the fireplace lit, this will have to do for now.  Good thing the weekend is around the corner, and I have a few projects on the list.  Let's just hope I have time to do half of them!

1 comment:

  1. Normally, I'm pretty on top of things and getting it done/fixed right away. My toilet has been clogged for over a week and I have made no real efforts to unclog it or call the plumber. My husband accidentally flushed an empty toilet paper roll in it so I gave him the task of fixing it. Problem is, he comes from a family who has their own handyman for all of those "silly little things" so my husband learned NOTHING about home ownership growing up. I'm about to break down and do something about it now, sigh.
    Anyways, why can't these things be easier?