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Cold weather & pilot light starting

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by Bri in Mtl, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. Bri in Mtl

    Bri in Mtl New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2013
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    1
    I have a Valor Legend G4 (propane) and have been having problems with the Electronic Ignition (Pilot on Demand).
    It often takes several attempts to get the pilot light to ignite with the remote. It's especially noticeable in cold weather.
    The dealer states that this is not all that unusual and I should be leaving the pilot light on since we live in a cold climate like Quebec. He used the term negative cold pressure/air makes it more difficult for the pilot to ignite.
    We use the fireplace only once a week or so and am not really keen on wasting gas by leaving the pilot on.
    Thoughts? Opinions?
    Thanks in advance for any and all replies.

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  2. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    Make sure you get spark from ignitor to pilot hood everytime, when it does not ignite gas at pilot. When lit, is the pilot strong to completely engulf thermocouple? When lit, a flame needs to be where the spark was to ignite as well. Showing you have a combustible mixtre at spark area. Gas is probably not reaching the spark. Could be due to many reasons including air flow through unit since cold weather affects it more. Many gas valves have a pilot adjustment screw (some under a cap screw) to adjust pilot while lit. If you turn it up, you only want blue, no lazy yellow tip. You don't want too strong of a pilot either, since it can melt or cut the thermocouple in time.

    You may not be able to allow pilot on in standby mode anyway. From manual ;

    Equiped with Automatic Shut-Off; If the appliance is left continously on STANDBY (pilot mode) for 5 days, it will shut off completely.
    http://www.fireplaces-rochester-ny.com/manuals/VALOR/Gas Fireplaces/Legend G4 785.pdf
  3. A1Stoves.com

    A1Stoves.com Minister of Fire

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    pilots dont waste that much gas- and much of the minute amount of heat the generate is delivered to the home...
  4. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Tell that too my oven that sits at 125 degrees in the summer and my range top that raises bread dough like no other but is too warm to keep the fingers on even when the a/c is running :p
  5. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    The standing pilot in oven works great for stale crackers, chips or pretzels. Prop door open slightly and leave them in the oven all night. They are back to crispy in the morning. Recipes that call for stale bread (stuffing and corn pudding) drys bread out on a cookie sheet fast.

    The gas fireplace in question is also a direct vent that requires a minimum 10 foot vertical exhaust flue to cause the negative pressure in the burning chamber so outside air drops down the intake for combustion air to the burner. So most heat generated by this pilot is going to rise out the vent........ not stay in the building.

    Any air leak around the glass could also be the pilot lighting problem, since the colder it is outside, the more leakage of warm inside air there is leaking around the glass seal. Air movement across the pilot area can be enough to divert the gas away from the spark area of the pilot hood.
    This is another cause of my original theory; Gas is probably not reaching the spark.

    The auto shut off feature didn't exist when I worked on these, and units that were not used on a regular basis benefited by keeping the pilot on to keep spiders out of the pilot mixing tube. In crawl spaces, or basements (floor furnaces) the standing pilot keeps the chamber and air diverter dry too. Was the reason for the auto shut off invention to save fuel??
    Allowing the pilot to stay lit is just masking the problem.

    Another "built in" cause of taking too much time to light, was larger 1/4" pilot tubing. One of the main reasons for smaller 1/8' used today. When shut off, they slowly leak the LP out of the oriface with temperature change. Warm air during the day expands LP in pilot tubing and expells out oriface. Cold night air contracts allowing air into oriface, replacing combustible vapor in line. It takes quite a long time to purge the air from gas valve to pilot burner, and some auto spark boards only spark 30 seconds before going on lock out. (must turn off and try again) Replacing 1/4' pilot tubing with 1/8" causes the fuel to move twice as fast down the line igniting within the 30 second time frame. Dou-Therm furnace manufacturer had many problems with their 900 model furnace I was directly involved with. There was a service campaign or service action (like a recall but not safety related) that was done to all 900 furnaces that included inserting a 1/8" solid aluminum rod into the 1/4" pilot line to take up space in theh line to get the fuel to the pilot quicker. It helped, but the design of burner still didn't alway fire cold, so another "fix" was to install a 3 try circuit board to preheat chamber if it lit poorly the first time. By the time that old furnace had all 3 recalls, they sent a sticker changing the model number to a 901 ! (Duo-Therm was originally Firestone tire and rubber co.)
  6. A1Stoves.com

    A1Stoves.com Minister of Fire

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    yeah, but do you leave you gas heater's pilot on all summer? (i doubt it you seem very smart)
  7. Ironhorse74

    Ironhorse74 Member

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    Here is a different way of thinking about leaving the pilot on. Most quality direct vent gas fireplaces are using neo- ceram glass. The reason they use neo-ceram is for heat transfer (and thermo shock resistance). If it would s below 50 degrees Fahrenheit and the pilot is not running the insert is full of cold air. The neo-ceram glass is now transferring heat from the room to warm the cold air inside the unit. What happens to cold air? It goes up the flue and is replaced by more cold air. The insert becomes a heat-sink. You save money by running the pilot.

    Peace

    Brad
  8. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    Let me add to that that a cold firebox will also give you the impression that it is leaking cold air from the outside of the home. There IS a cold draft coming out of it, but it's coming from INSIDE the home. Warm air hits the cold metal of the heat exchanger & drops down the back of the unit & exits the bottom, using the reverse path of cooler air drawn in by a blower & forced up across HOT metal before it exits into the room. Basically, running the pilot in the winter months is a good idea.

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