Gas lights are loved for not only their beauty, but also their ability to last for years without needing replaced. When properly installed, gas lights should last for years without giving you very much trouble. Just like your trusty car, however, every gas light will need some minor maintenance from time to time.
Fortunately, there are not very many issues that can arise with both indoor and outdoor gas lighting. Much like a car engine, gas lights need two elements to run properly – fire and fuel. When troubleshooting gas lights, these are the two basic areas you should look:
Gas lights run off of two main fuel sources, natural gas and propane. When properly installed by a licensed plumber, your gas lights should not give you very much trouble. It is possible for parts of the gas light to become obstructed from time to time. Following are areas of the gas light to commonly become obstructed and are easy to clean:
- Burner Tip – Gas lights with mantles are equipped with burner tips which the mantles are attached. Burner tips can easily become obstructed by foreign objects, such as lint and spiderwebs. To clean the burner tip, ensure the gas is turned off and remove the gas light mantle. Use a pipe cleaner to clean the gas light burner tip and use a new gas light mantle every time.
- Bug Screens – All gas lights have bug screens to do exactly what it sounds like they should do. If the bug screens become obstructed, the gas light will not get enough oxygen and the flame will become smothered. Remove the bug screens if they are obstructed and clean the using air (your breath should be powerful enough for cleaning) If you cannot remove the obstructions, replace the gas light’s bug screen.
Here are areas of the gas light that may require the assistance of a professional:
- Gas Light Regulator – If your gas light does not have a gas light regulator installed in the gas line, it could cause too much fuel to flow through to the gas light, making the air.fuel mixture too rich. Have a professional plumber install the gas light regulator. If the gas light regulator is already installed, have it inspected by a professional using standardized testing equipment.
- Gas Lines – For gas lights to work properly, the gas line should be no less than 3/8 inch in diameter. If a smaller, 1/4 inch gas line must be used, the gas lie can be no longer than eight feet in length. If your gas line measurements are incorrect, have them corrected by a licensed plumber.
If your gas light is not equipped with an electronic ignition or a safety shutoff valve, an extinguished flame can be very dangerous, especially for interior gas light – allowing the gas to slowly fill the room. For exterior gas lights, while it may still be dangerous, it can also be expensive due to wasted fuel.
- Manual Ignition – Many modern manual gas lights are equipped with a push button ignitor – similar to a gas grill – that will emit a spark over the gas to ignite the flame when pressed. I spoke to a service technician from Gas Light America and they informed me that the manual igniter is not known to stop working. If it does stop working, however, you will need to have it replaced because modern gas lights have safety device that will not allow the flame to be ignited using a lighter as you would with a gas grill. if installed properly by a licensed plumber, the igniter will usually be covered under the warranty and you should contact the manufacturer for replacement.
- Electronic Ignition – If the electronic ignition module has stopped working, you can still relight the gas light manually as stated above. Unfortunately, while they are much easier to use than manual ignition gas lights during normal operation, if you want your electronic ignition gas light to continue to work properly, it can be a little more complicated if the electronic ignition module has stopped working. Have a certified electrician inspect and replace the electronic ignition module if it is required.
It is important to remember that all major repairs to gas lights, such as gas line replacement, installation of a gas light regulator and repair of both electronic and manual ignition modules should be performed by a licensed plumber or electrician. Performing the repairs on your own could void your warranty.