Heatilator insert - valve sticking?

homeagainDecember 8, 2010

Our home is 5 years old and has a heatilator gas fireplace insert. We had to have the thermocoupler (?) replaced two years ago. January 2009.

Then last winter, when it started getting cold enough to use it, (about December) we had some problems getting it to work. If you turned it on at the switch it would come on and run for a few minutes and with a "woosh" sound, it would go out. Sometimes it would re-lite if you flicked the wall switch several times and sometimes it wouldn't re-lite at all that day.

One day, while I had the access door open at the bottom, I flicked the switch to turn it on and it came on. And stayed on. If I shut the door it went off, but as long as the door was open it stayed lit. Sooooo, all last winter we kept the little access door open and it worked whenever we wanted it to.

Now, this year we couldn't get the pilot to stay lit and haven't been able to use it. You would have a flame as long as the igniter was held in but as soon as you released it, it the pilot went out.

So, I called for service. I just had a visit from the repair guy, who said the thermocoupler was bad and replaced it. Second one in two years. After he finished, the fireplace still wouldn't work correctly. He said he thinks the valve is sticking and will need to be replaced. He has to order one and come back.

The valve will cost in excess of $300 not including whatever they charge me for today's visit.

Could there be anything else wrong? Is it normal for a fireplace that is only 5 years old to have this many problems?

Any advice would be appreciated....

Bren

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