Never fails – as soon as it gets cold enough to turn on the stove or fireplace that worked just fine last spring, you find that something changed and there’s no fire…. could be something as simple as a set or two of batteries. Changing out batteries in your heating appliance control system once each year at the beginning of heating season is a good habit to get into – like changing the smoke detector batteries when the time changes – a small thing can prevent a great annoyance.
If your gas stove or fireplace has a standing pilot (“millivolt” in the industry) and it has a wireless thermostat or remote control, there are batteries in two places that now need to be changed. (If it has a wired thermostat, there are no batteries – just wires that a mouse or vacuum might have chewed on.)
If you have an electronic or intermittent ignition appliance, there are batteries in the remote that now need to be changed.
The device that has the up-down button for the temperature is called the remote or transmitter – it transmits the air temperature to another device called the receiver. The photo below shows a very common set up.
The receiver is wired to the appliance gas valve, so it’s located where the pilot knob and gas valve are – usually underneath. It can have a 3-position switch: set to ON the appliance will operate until you reach in there and turn it to OFF. Set to REMOTE, the appliance will automatically operate to meet the set point of the remote/transmitter (or thermostat). Note the LEARN hole – sometimes after changing batteries you must resync the system by setting the switch to REMOTE, bring the remote close to this black box, and use a sharp point like a pen to press in the LEARN button, which is recessed. You should hear a beep.
The batteries in the black box receiver in this photo are 4 AAs; the transmitter/ thermostat take 2 flat round CR2032.
These are remotes from two different brands of electronic or intermittent ignition appliances. Check the back of your remote for a battery compartment.
If you always have to light a pilot light at the beginning of the heating season, and it stays on all the time, there’s a good chance you have another box in the system with a set of batteries.
If this seems all too daunting or you’d rather not be groping around the guts of your appliance, just call us, we’re here to help!