Miranda recently wrote in, asking another great question:
Miranda is back with a new question. As the gas light guys had told me, everything is quite fine with my interior gas lights ;0) Homeowners insurance had no issues, and PG&E came out and was really excited. No, really. He thanked me for allowing him to see the house and thought it was really cool.
So now that we are less panicked, we are easing towards actually using the lights. Problem is, they just don’t put much light out. The flame is blue and no matter how high it gets it just doesn’t really give out light, even at night. On one of the little rings (where the flame comes out) we noticed some residual something… maybe porcelain or ceramic…
What could be the issue? Is there a piece missing? Is a mantle a possibility?
Thanks in advance for any assistance, I saw fun little accessories but wasn’t sure what piece would fit my gas light, if any ;0)
I will take a picture soon, I promise.
There are actually a number of things that could cause your gas light’s flame to flicker and/or not give off the light you desire. One of the most important things to remember, however, is that open flame gas lights naturally have an ambient, low-light flame. If your gas light is only offering a blue flame like Miranda’s, however, there are a couple of things you can check.
- Bad Regulator – If your gas lights, whether they are for indoor or outdoor use, may be equipped with a regulator. If this is the case, there may be a chance that the gas light regulator has malfunctioned causing either too much or not enough fuel into the mixture. Check to see who installed the regulator if possible and have it inspected. If, as is the case for Miranda, that you are unsure who installed the gas lights, find a local service technician to make the inspection. It is Important to note that gas lines should only be checked by a licensed service technician.
- Bent Wall Plate or Gas Lines – Another thing that could cause insufficient gas flow is if the gas lines or gas light wall plates were bent during installation or inspection. You can try loosening the wall plate but it may have to be replaced. If the line is bent, then you will need to have it replaced by a licensed service technician.
- Gas Light Obstructions – The most common cause of insufficient flames on a gas light – and what certainly seems to be the case here – is a residue buildup around the gas light’s burner tip. If the gas light is older, or if the fuel mixture is too high, it can start to build the “residual something” (which is buildup from the burning gases.) around the burner tip on a gas light with mantles or rings on an open flame gas light that Miranda is referring to (the bug screen may also become clogged with spiderwebs, or lint). The best thing t do is to try to clean the obstruction, or in the worst case, replace the bug screen or burner tip.
If a bug screen has become clogged, you can use a pipe cleaner to remove the “residual something” (sorry, I like that phrase), or in the case of the bug you can use light forced air. Remember, however, that your breath should be all the pressure you need as gas flow is very light and too much pressure can ruin a perfectly good gas light part.
As far as your question about the possibility of a mantle: While gas light mantles will definitely provide a stronger light, if there is not enough fuel getting through you may not even notice the difference. Also, switching from an open flame set up to a mantle set up can be difficult and costly and may void any warranty you have. I would try for the fix first and you may be very happy with the way things turn out.
I hope this helps, Miranda, and anyone else who has a gas light issue. Keep those questions coming!