Any household fireplace experts?

Tiras25
Tiras25 used Ask the Experts™
on
Hey guys,
Any gas fireplace experts here?

Currently I have this fireplace:
http://www.kirklandfireplace.com/TechInfo/Manuals/Fpx_36dv.pdf 

It has a manual pilot.   So every season I got to manually fire it up and is not easy.  Also throughout the year the pilot it burning and creates some heat.  
Can someone recommend another valve or kit to replace with an autopilot?  Just like a regular range stove in the kitchen.  Whenever you turn it on, it produces a spark that fires up a flame.  
That should be compatible to what I have right now.

Thanks in advance.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
It is GAS fireplace. Ergo, you need a licensed GAS technician to install an auto pilot. That is what I have in my gas fireplace. But it is not a do-it-yourself proposition (against the law where I am).
The same problem since 2012?
http://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/27978945/Can-anyone-recommend-a-good-home-repair-fixit-repair-forum.html

Last year too?:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/28587931/Construction-forums-Fireplace-pilot-conversion.html

None of the suggestions really help?

Then, is it so expensive to call a professional service?
Or, are you a real hobbyist, tinker?

I would definitely go with a professional service if the problem was not solved since so long time.
Or, just get rid of that system, seems that makes more troubles than give heat.

Author

Commented:
well im looking for the part to replace a pilot this time.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
It is probably cheapest overall to get a good professional who you would select, and then let them source the part. It likely is not expensive, but needs to be wired in, and connected to the gas .

Author

Commented:
I know how to do it.  Hence looking for the part.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
We have three kinds of local businesses where I am that could help. There are fireplace shops, furnace shops and barbeque shops. More of the latter than the former. Any one would be able to tell you how to source a pilot. My fireplace has a constant on pilot, my furnace has a piezo electric start pilot, and my barbecue has a piezo electric start pilot.

All of these shops can help you. I did not see anything on Amazon (probably not a big seller).

Author

Commented:
Got it.
thanks John.
Why don't you contact directly the manufacturer and ask for spare parts, direct replacement of your flame pilot:
http://www.travisindustries.com/contacts.aspx
or some dealers in your area:
http://www.fireplacex.com/Dealers/

Author

Commented:
Good point.  Done that.   The response was
  >>  sorry but there is no way to modify that unit to be an electronic ignition unit>>

Hard to believe that.  

But then they answered >> we would have to go through the testing and listing process which is very expensive.  It is cost prohibitive.  >>

Seems like a bunch of BS.   I'm sure it's possible to put a valve with electrinis ignition.  Just need to find a part.
For sure is possible, technical speaking.
The problem is always safety tests, authorization of use, issue of certificates.
It is similar with making your own house electrical installation.
You may be a pro, use the best materials and respect all the standards, but an authorized company must come, check and issue a certificate of use. And that always costs enough money.
It seems similar for the gas, so you do not blow up your house and maybe the neighbors. At least this is the official side.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
At least this is the official side.   <-- Gas explosions are normally spectacular and level one or more houses.

Tiras25 - You DO have to get installations tested and certified so I am not sure what you gain by sourcing the part. However, you can get your own part as we have noted above.
Well, let's be practical a bit.
In fact is not so dangerous, because she does not play with the gas valve adjustments.
We speak here only about ignition.
Each gas system sold on the market is made in such way that in case the gas does not ignite, then a confirmation signal, as feedback is sent back to the valve and stops the gas. In the end is only a bit of gas released. No chance to blow up a house.
I said official side, because nobody will issue for you a safety certificate on parts, unless you are the manufacturer of the system, but for end user is always about the safety of the entire system. That's why they have to check all and is costly.
Practical if Tiras25 can find and install such ignitor in local store and I see no danger to install one. Just look in the datasheet and see the gas valve system. For sure she does not need to touch that.

@Tira25
Where are you located?

Author

Commented:
Thanks Viki.  This is in N. Cali
 I assume this should be a different valve that would a spark an ignition.  Thermocouple and thermopile stay the same.  I just need to find that valve or the kit for that.
On page 6 says Optional Remote Control. How would that be possible without autopilot? Unless the pilot flame is already on. The manufacturer should be able to sell some optional parts.
The page 39 tells how the system works and the safety behind.
Try to call these guys and ask them for such kind of kit:
http://www.efireplacestore.com/gas-log-valves-and-safety-pilots.html
http://www.gaslogguys.com/category_path_10523.html
http://www.hansenwholesale.com/gas-logs/remote-gas-logs.asp

I cannot tell yet which fits for you.
I think I did not understand what you want from first time, maybe because you used the word autopilot.
I will try to say it in my own words.
If you read through the links that I provided, then you will notice that are different gas systems and yours is millivolt system. The IPI system (Intermittent Pilot Ignition) being an electronic system makes sense for my mind the notion of autopilot or automatic pilot.
To have an automatic pilot implies a different control valve and everything must be changes as you see in the kits from here:
http://www.efireplacestore.com/gas-log-valves-and-safety-pilots.html
http://www.gaslogguys.com/category_path_10523.html
You do not want that for sure.
And if you want it, I would not recommend it. It would imply to transform your millivolt system into an IPI system.
It is only for pro.

Here are few more general info:
http://www.southwesthomeandhearth.com/faq/faq_gasfireplace.htm
http://blog.kozyheat.com/2015/10/how-gas-fireplaces-work-with-ipi-vs.html
and why some people do not recommend IPI:
http://friendlyfires.ca/why-dont-ipi-fireplaces-work-properly/

So, let me understand it right, you want to maintain the same millivolt system with pilot flame present all the time (you do not want a IPI system without pilot flame), but when you start first time the pilot flame you have difficulties to start it and you need just a better igniter.
Did I understand it right now?
What did you mean by autopilot anyway? because it misled me.

Author

Commented:
Yes, that's correct Viki.  I want it to work just like a regular gas stove in the kitchen.  
Whenever I start the fireplace, the pilot starts too follow by the main burner.  I don't want the pilot flame burn all the time.   Only when when fireplace started. That what I mean by autopilot.  Sorry for confusing here.
No.
Will not work.
Your system, the gas valve control, works based on the pilot flame.
You can only replace the ignition of the pilot flame in case is damaged or use another electronic system to make the sparks of high voltage. But the way how is designed your system, even if it is difficult to startup the pilot flame, was thought with the idea of using it without external source of electricity. You generate the electricity when you push the start/ignition of the pilot flame.
Everything works, except the fan blower, without electricity.
If you want an autopilot, meaning to start the pilot flame and then the burner, then the entire gas valve control system must be changed, so everything. And that is done only by a pro.
Your system works based on pilot flame. If the pilot flame is not on long enough then the safe valve closes the gas. It is an emergency to prevent gas without flame accumulating in your fireplace.
If you imagine a system to push a button and then to start the burner without pilot flame or using only for some seconds the pilot flame, then the entire system must be changed with an electronic one as IPI for instance.
So, bad news for you.
At least this is my understanding of your system.
I am not an expert in fireplaces or gas systems, but I have behind 10 years of industrial experience in automation, various systems, including ,in some projects, gas burners more complex than a fireplace.
Just ask another gas or fireplace expert, not online, and see if I am right or not.

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