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(ditto on the batteries)

While having a separate switch, the blowers on these are also often thermostatically controlled and won't come on until the whole unit has heated up sufficiently. The purpose, I believe, is to prevent cold air being blown around the room. It is quite normal for it to take 15 minutes or so before the blower eventually comes on. I turn them on and come back to it later to check if the fan is working.

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What do the batteries in this gas fireplace control?

They were corroded very badly. The unit still lit with the wall switch but the blower didn't come on. Is there a different switch for the blower. Any suggestions why the blower did nit come on?

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As stated above the batteries could be for the remote receiver inside the fireplace. I've only seen a few in my days, usually in higher end homes particularly in masters.

But to answer your question, the fireplace doesn't require power for ignition. Instead it relies on the thermocouple generating a millivolt current when it sees heat. The control is wired back to a location of preference, usually a wall switch near the fireplace to turn it on or off. Sometimes, folks will replace the switch with a thermostat, either way is acceptable.

A second switch usually directly under that switch controls the blower.

Blowers are optional and can run around 200 dollars so folks tend to leave them out. I'd say 20% of the fireplaces I inspect have blowers, and 95% are pre wired for them.

The blower is thermostatically controlled to come on when the fireplace reaches a certain temp and shut down accordingly similar to a house furnace. If you observed a fan inside the cabinet and it failed to come on then the following might apply:

The wall switch is off or no power to the fan.

The fan is malfunctioning.

The fireplace didn't come up to temperature to activate the fan.

I view them as an entertainment appliance not designed for heating.

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The fireplace doesn't require power for ignition. Instead it relies on the thermocouple generating a millivolt current when it sees heat.
That's true; unless you have a pilot-less fireplace without a pilot light, in which case you can't light them up without current once the power goes out - ergo, the batteries. They need a source of current to light the pilot because there is no off/pilot/on control knob on the gas control valve.

We see pilot-less gas fireplaces all the time out here. They are equipped with battery holders like that so that when the power goes out owners can still fire them up, but the batteries shouldn't be left in the holder underneath the box.

Though I think they'd be a terribly inefficient way to heat a house, they are perfectly capable of providing a substantial amount of heat to a home and they are safe, as long as they are a direct-vent appliance and the front glass seal is intact. The firebox is completely sealed away from the interior like any direct-vent appliance and they generate a pretty strong convective current.

Out here, I occasionally see new smaller townhomes where they are the only source of heat for the main floor and the rest of the floors are either hydronic or electric heat. One of these is more than capable of heating a small house. Their downside is that the tray underneath the firebox where the control valve is located is usually ignored when the house is being cleaned; consequently, that area accumulates a lot of dust, and animal hair if there are pets in the home, and when it's finally turned on for winter that stuff ends up being pulled up into the area behind the box, gets scorched, and stinks up the joint.

Yesterday, I walked into a brand new 3-story townhome that was heated with a total of 5 Chinese-made electric heaters. One look at those electric heaters told me that it would be hours before that house came up to comfortable temperature; so I checked out the fireplace first and then turned it on and left it on to burn off the new paint smell. Within 20 minutes the temps on the main and third floor were comfortable but that electric heater was still whirring away on the ground floor trying to bring that tiny first floor bedroom up to a comfortable temperature.

Dry cells don't like to be kept warm for long. They are filled with either ammonium-chloride or zinc-chloride paste. Short-term heat will partially revive them but long-term heat causes them to start sweating and then the compounds inside will corrode just about any ferrous metal they touch. It doesn't get hot enough under one of these fireplaces to melt that plastic holder or ignite paper, but it certainly gets warm enough to excite a dry cell so much that it will start to sweat.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Hi Mike,

Would this be what you’re referring to?

http://www.heatilator.com/downloads/brochures/NEVO.PDF

Honestly, I’ve yet to see one in operation and how I know this, is because I’ve never seen the fancy wall switch until yesterday. After a trip to the big city, I was informed that the system has been around since 96’. Their price point made them less affordable and sales were slow initially until after some time when companies discovered that their service/warranty calls were reduced to practically nothing (.2%.). Companies decided to pass on the savings to make them more affordable. A major builder in town here is using the exclusively, so we’ll see more of them on the market as sales improve.

This new technology is defined by some as ‘Intellifire Ignition System’. It incorporates a bunch of stuff that includes an intermittent pilot ignition (IPI) system hence the need for the special wall control. There is a pilot, but it is intermittent i.e. it ignites/proofs a flame rectification (bimetal probe) then lights the burner; it then shuts off when the fireplace is turned off to save energy.

According to the tech guy, a natural gas pilot will burn between 1,200-1,700 BTU/hr which translates, in our market, to approximately $13.00/month.

A second button can ignite the pilot to keep the fireplace warm in very cold weather. It maintains the appliance warm and prevents ice formation on the hood.

The third fan button allows you to choose three speeds that will come on after a preset time of your setting.

With this system there is no power requirement BUT you’ll need to rough in an 18/3 wire or a Cat 5 data cable for the special multifunction wall control.

As you’ve mentioned batteries shouldn’t be left in the backup battery pack. I was told that it has to do with current flowing through the batteries that depletes and runs them down. There is a solenoid (?) on the second generation controls that disconnects the current and switches to battery backup when power is absent. So you can leave batteries in on the new models, not sure if there is a retrofit for the first generation ones.

In a more temperate climate such as yours, heating might be satisfied with a few heaters here and there or a centrally located fireplace that might be on for a few weeks a year. If that works, I don’t have a problem with that although I’d like to see a thermostat for the fireplace.

My fireplace ‘is an entertainment appliance’ comment was directed to bad basement developments that are missing heat sources and have substituted a fireplace to claim that the basement is heated. They’re considered an entertainment appliance and are not part of the heating system. Besides, why would you substitute a 60% efficient fireplace when you already have an 80%+ furnace present?

You can imagine the conversation I have with Reelatours.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Are the blowers in these gas fireplaces controlled by a fixed setting? To put it another way, is there such thing as an adjustable thermostat to control the temperature at which the blower comes on?

The arrow points to a knob that had wires connected to the blower. The blower did not come on. The fireplace was plenty heated. It started to produce smoke.

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Are the blowers in these gas fireplaces controlled by a fixed setting? To put it another way, is there such thing as an adjustable thermostat to control the temperature at which the blower comes on?

If you look at the link below, you can see it's referred to as a thermal switch and the instructions say nothing about adjusting it. That's not to say such a beast doesn't exist at all, but I suspect most are a simple pre-set switch.

http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/yhst-956 ... ui-bkt.pdf

It sounds like you waited long enough this time. I assume there was a second wall switch for the blower. Did you "sniff" the plugged in cord to ensure you had power from that switch? You did turn the rheostat on, right?

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Are the blowers in these gas fireplaces controlled by a fixed setting? To put it another way, is there such thing as an adjustable thermostat to control the temperature at which the blower comes on?

If you look at the link below, you can see it's referred to as a thermal switch and the instructions say nothing about adjusting it. That's not to say such a beast doesn't exist at all, but I suspect most are a simple pre-set switch.

http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/yhst-956 ... ui-bkt.pdf

It sounds like you waited long enough this time. I assume there was a second wall switch for the blower. Did you "sniff" the plugged in cord to ensure you had power from that switch? You did turn the rheostat on, right?

No second wall switch for the blower.

Forgot to check the receptacle under there.

I was unaware that the rhostat needed to be turned on.

I just fliped the wall switch and the burner lit up.

I waited and waited and the blower did not come on.

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No second wall switch for the blower.

I'm kind of surprised. It looks like the type of set-up that I typically find with a second switch. Sometimes, it is on the wall to the other side of the fireplace.

I was unaware that the rhostat needed to be turned on.

Like a lot of these rheostats, they have an off position through a click detente. They usually turn on from there through high to low. So, yes, it could have been left in the off position.

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Thanks for your help Richard. I risk looking uneducated in here for a while but thats ok. It beats being uneducated out there forever.

After reading the pdf you posted and another that I found click here, I realize that most likely the blower speed control(rheostat) was turned off. I also now know that some of these things can be set up for manual blower control and others automatic blower operation, yet others having the ability to switch between manual and automatic.

Look at the picture below and help me identify the parts and tell me what they do.

Red arrow is the rheostat(blower control), correct?

The blue arrow looks like the ignitor but what is the switch for? It looks like a three position toggle. The positions are RS - off - On

Is the device to the left (yellow) a gas valve? What do the knobs on it control?

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Remote switch/off/on - Pretty simple

The gas control valve has a temperature setting valve (left) and an off/pilot/on valve just like a water heater.

Turn it to pilot, push it in and hold it, hit the igniter button a couple of times until the pilot lights, continue to hold it in for two minutes, release it and the pilot should stay lit; if it doesn't, repeat and warm it up longer next time.

Once the pilot stays lit, turn the control to on and turn on the wall switch to light the fireplace. Then adjust the height of the flame with the left knob on the control valve.

Turn the fan knob clockwise until it clicks - that's the high position. Dial it all the way clockwise for low speed position. Wait for the fireplace to heat up and the blower will eventually come on when it reaches its set point.

Unscientific temp recommendation: Tell the client to let the fireplace heat up for about 15 minutes and then place the back of his hand against the surround above. If he can't hold the back of his hand there because it's too hot, reduce the fireplace temp and test again until he can. That will be his maximum setting. Tell him to remember not to exceed that setting.

Show 'em how to open it up and clean the glass once a year, make sure the front is sealed properly, that the logs are properly positioned so that they don't impinge the flame and make sure the blast doors on top are in position and sealed. Tell 'em to keep the dust and animal hair out from under that sucker or when they turn it on in the fall and that blower comes on the house will smell like a crematorium.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Thanks Mike.

Some discussion on the 3 position rocker switch. I'll guess at the positions and you correct me if I'm wrong.

Off - The unit is not going to turn on from wall switch or remote or wherever.

On - If everything is hooked up and ready, the unit will come on and bypass any other switch such as a wall switch or a remote.

RS - This delegates the starting function to another device. It could be the wall switch or it could be a remote.

On the blast doors, can anyone show a picture of them and how they should be positioned?

One more question. On some units I see a screen that is mounted in front of the glass front. There is maybe a 1/2 inch space between the screen and glass. Is this screen to help prevent persons from touching the glass and getting burned?

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It seems that the switches change depending on whether it is a unit that has a remote control or is one that can't be equipped with a remote.

Heatilator's is:

Off - Nothing works

On - It works with the wall switch

Remote - It only functions with the remote

The screens are for decoration to simulate the look of a spark screen. You have to remove them in order to open the front in order to clean the glass.

The blast doors are normally heavy pieces of steel that are hinged to the top of the firebox and have a layer of very dense fiberglass insulation bonded to their face. The weight of the steel keeps it closed.There are only two positioned - opened or closed - you want them closed so that CO isn't being vented into the home. If too much gas accumulates in the firebox and you then light it, they pop up momentarily to release pressure when that gas ignites so that the glass won't shatter.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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