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TOPIC: Gas fireplace did not work, how far should I go?

Gas fireplace did not work, how far should I go? 12 years 9 months ago #24735

Doing a house last week, I had a gas fireplace that would not operate, as have many others I've run across.  The remote worked, all the gas valves were on, the control knob was in the "on" position, I located the wall switch, but nothing fired.

The realtor who referred me stated he would go back to the house and try to light it.  That made me wonder if I had not gone far enough so I volunteered to re-inspect and amend my report.

I ended up lighting the pilot light and all was well.

NACHI standards of practice do not allow what I did, but, especially as a newbie, as well as all times, I want to make sure I satisfy my customers.

Was I wrong in doing this, or, above and beyond the normal expectations set forth by SOP? ???

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Joe Van Orsdol
Right Home Inspections
"Home Inspections Done Right!"

Re: Gas fireplace did not work, how far should I go? 12 years 9 months ago #24748

It is not that the NACHI SOP does not allow you to light the pilot, it protects you from being required to light it.  You can always go above and beyond the SOP.

I will light the pilot on a gas fireplace if it has the push button starter and if all the valves are open at time of inspection.  If the valves are closed, I do not know why they are closed so I will not light it.  The valves could be off for service or repair and without knowing, I will not open them.

On some of the fireplaces with a wall switch, there is also a small switch located on the control panel where the control knob is located.  I know that in some instances, I have had to lay on my belly ( a task unto itself) in order to see the switch (a black toggle switch on a black cover).  That switch (sometimes battery operated) will control the fireplace or allow the wall switch to control the fireplace.

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There is nothing sweeter than the smell of fresh cut grass on a baseball infield, the click of a wooden bat and the taste of a hot dog at a warm sunny daytime double-header.

Re: Gas fireplace did not work, how far should I go? 12 years 9 months ago #24772

Stephen is correct, NACHI SOP doesn't prohibit you from lighting a pilot. You must decide if you feel that it is in your best interest and comfortable to go the extra for your client or make your observations clear in your report. Remember to put everything back in the same condition and position exactly as you originally found it or repercussions may come from either the seller or the agent. I generally will try to exhaust all possibilities to operated the gas fireplace but if I can't I note it in the report and I don't amend it later. The report stands and states the condition of the house at the time of the inspection not a couple days later because you don't know what else they may have changed.

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Tristar Consultants
URL: www.tristarconsultants.net
Tristar Consultants Home Inspection, providing home inspection services for home buyers, sellers and investors, in Buffalo, Erie County, Niagara County and all of Western New York. Buffalo Home Inspector. Swimming Pool and Spa Inspection, Certified...

Re: Gas fireplace did not work, how far should I go? 12 years 9 months ago #24964

Generally when the fireplace will not initially lite and later does, it is because the gas supply has been off and air has built up in the line.  Sometimes you can fire other appliances such as the furnace or gas cooktop which will get the gas flowing and help clear out the system.  Depending on how long the run is to the appliance, a gas co. rep. will have to break the line and bleed the air to lite the pilot.  This is also a common occurance with a water heater.  These are common occurances in the last 2 years with the foreclosure market and the utilities having been turned off.  I usually spend no more than 5-10 min and if it hasn't lit by then, I indicate it needs to be serviced by licensed technician, but explain during the walk-through. 

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Re: Gas fireplace did not work, how far should I go? 12 years 9 months ago #25039

Lighting FIRES is not part of HI.

Ask your insurance provider!

I blew a chimney flue out of a new construction fireplace because they had an unauthorized fitting that was leaking inside the wall!

The only reason I got away with it was they broke the rules first!

This happened before state laws and NACHI.

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Home Inspector
HVAC Systems Design
ITC Level III Thermography - Building Science Thermographer
Thermal Imaging
Serving Clarksville - Nashville TN and the Mid TN area
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