Gas Fire Pit Won’t Light: 5 Reasons & Effective Solutions

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When your gas fire pit refuses to light, it can leave you feeling frustrated and disappointed.

Fortunately, in many cases, common issues can be easily identified and resolved without professional help.

This guide explores five of the most frequent reasons why your gas fire pit won’t light and provides effective solutions to bring it back to life.

A gas firepit.

It’s important to note that while these solutions can address common problems, it’s always best to consult a qualified professional if you suspect a more complex issue.

Now, let’s get to it!

Common Reasons Why Your Gas Fire Pit Won’t Light

Here are some of the reasons why your gas fire pit won’t light.

1: Ignition System Problems

Gas firepit ignition switch set.

If your fire pit has a manual ignition system and is experiencing issues, there may be several reasons:

  • Incorrect Lighting Procedure: Double-check the owner’s manual to ensure you’re following the proper steps for lighting your specific fire pit model. For example, you might need to hold the button down for a certain duration or follow a sequence of pressing and releasing.
  • Dead Flint or Spark Igniter: Manual ignition systems often rely on a flint or spark igniter to create the spark. Consult your owner’s manual to see if yours uses one and, if so, check if it needs replacing.
  • Blockage Around the Igniter: Debris, like dirt, leaves, or spiderwebs, can accumulate around the igniter and prevent proper spark generation.

On the other hand, here are some potential culprits for electric ignition failure in your fire pit:

  • Dead Batteries: If your fire pit uses batteries to power the igniter, they might be depleted.
  • Tripped Breaker: If your fire pit utilizes a connection to the main electricity, check if a tripped breaker has interrupted the power supply. Reset the breaker if necessary, but be cautious of repeated tripping, which could indicate a more significant electrical issue.
  • Faulty Ignition Switch or Module: If the batteries are good and the breaker isn’t tripped, the problem might lie with the ignition switch itself or the electronic module controlling the ignition process. In such cases, it’s best to consult a qualified professional for further diagnosis and repair of your fire pit.


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2. Gas Supply Issues

Here are three common gas supply problems:

A propane tank for a gas fireplace.

1. Gas Valve is Off

This might seem obvious, but it’s a good idea to start by checking the most basic element. Ensure the gas valve that controls the flow of gas to your fire pit is turned on fully.

Look for a knob or lever on the gas line near the fire pit or on the propane tank itself. Make sure it’s turned in the direction that indicates “open” or “on.”

2. Empty Gas Tank

If your fire pit uses propane, the fuel source might be the culprit. Check the propane tank gauge (if your tank has one), or simply lift the tank to feel its weight. A noticeably lighter tank compared to a full one usually indicates it is time for a refill or replacement.

3. Low Gas Pressure

In rare instances, the issue might lie with the gas pressure itself. While refilling or replacing the tank usually resolves low pressure, in some cases, the internal regulator within the tank might malfunction.

If you suspect low gas pressure, especially if you’ve confirmed the tank is full, it’s best to consult a qualified professional to diagnose and address the issue.

3. Blockages in Gas Lines or Burners

Gas fire pits may fail to light due to blockages in the gas lines or burners, often caused by debris, spider webs, or insect nests. It’s crucial to regularly inspect and clean these components to ensure proper functioning.

Debris can accumulate over time and obstruct the flow of gas. Spider webs are another common culprit. Spiders are attracted to the warmth of the fire pit and may build webs in the burner ports.

Additionally, insect nests can form inside the gas lines, leading to restricted gas flow.

4. Safety Features Activation

Here are two common safety features that can sometimes prevent ignition:

Thermocouple Issues

The thermocouple is a safety sensor that shuts off the gas flow if no flame is detected. Malfunctions or misalignments can cause the gas supply to be cut off even when attempting to light the fire pit.

Conduct routine checks on the thermocouple and consider the possibility of realigning or replacing it if necessary.

Overfill Protection Device (OPD) Triggered

Propane tanks come equipped with an Overfill Protection Device (OPD) that automatically stops the flow of gas when the tank reaches a certain fill level, typically around 80%.

This is a crucial safety feature to prevent overfilling and potential explosions. If the OPD has been triggered due to improper filling or handling, it might prevent gas from reaching your fire pit.

It’s important to note that tampering with or turning off safety features is never recommended. If you suspect an issue with one of these components, consult a qualified professional for diagnosis and repair to ensure the safe operation of your fire pit.

5. Airflow and Ventilation

While gas is the fuel source for your fire pit, proper airflow and ventilation are crucial for its successful ignition and continued operation. Here’s how these factors can impact your fire pit:

Improper Ventilation

Your fire pit needs adequate air circulation. This allows fresh air to mix with the propane gas, creating a combustible mixture that ignites easily.

If the fire pit is enclosed in a space with limited air circulation, the gas cannot properly mix, causing ignition failure.

Wind or Drafts

While a gentle breeze can be delightful while enjoying your fire pit, excessive wind or strong drafts can disrupt the gas flow and make ignition difficult.

Wind can blow the spark generated by the igniter away from the gas, preventing ignition. Similarly, strong drafts can disturb the air-gas mixture, hindering proper combustion.


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Gas Fire Pit Troubleshooting Solutions

Before exploring the specific solutions, it’s crucial to address the most important aspect: safety.

Safety First

Always follow these precautions:

  • Turn off the gas supply valve before attempting any repairs or maintenance.
  • Never do maintenance while the fire pit is lit or warm. Instead, allow it to cool completely before troubleshooting.
  • Do not use open flames to check for gas leaks. This is extremely dangerous and can result in an explosion.
  • Keep flammable materials like gasoline, lighter fluid, and aerosols away from the fire pit at all times.
  • Have a fire extinguisher readily available near your fire pit in case of emergencies.

Solution 1: Check Gas Supply

First, ensure the gas valve on both the propane tank and the fire pit itself are fully open and turned in the “on” position. Even a slightly closed valve can restrict gas flow and prevent ignition.

Second, leaks in the gas supply line can prevent gas from reaching the burner and hinder ignition. Here’s how to safely check for leaks using the soapy water test:

  1. Turn on the gas supply valve at the propane tank.
  2. Mix a solution of water and dish soap in a spray bottle.
  3. Spray the soapy water solution on all gas connections, including hoses, valves, and fittings.
  4. Observe for any bubbles forming. Bubbles indicate a leak at the point where they appear.
  5. Turn off the gas supply valve immediately if you detect a leak. Do not attempt to light the fire pit.
  6. Tighten any loose connections if possible. If the leak persists or you’re unsure how to fix it, consult a qualified professional for repairs.

Solution 2: Clean Ignition Components

Here’s how to clean the ignition components to ensure they function properly:

  1. Turn off the gas supply valve: Allow the fire pit to cool completely before proceeding.
  2. Locate the igniter: This is usually a small electrode near the burner. A metal shield or protective cap may cover it. Consult your fire pit’s manual for specific location details.
  3. Remove any debris or dirt: Use a soft brush or compressed air to gently remove any leaves, dust, cobwebs, or other debris that may be obstructing the igniter. Never use water or harsh chemicals.
  4. Check the electrode tip: Look for signs of wear, corrosion, or cracks. If the tip appears damaged, it’s best to replace the entire igniter for optimal performance.
  5. Reassemble any removed components and ensure everything is secure.

Important Note: If your fire pit uses a battery-operated igniter, replace the batteries with fresh ones at least once a year, even if the igniter appears to be working.

Solution 3: Adjust Flame Height

A firepit with high flames.

Once you’ve confirmed the gas supply and ignition are functioning properly, you can adjust the flame height to achieve your desired level of warmth and ambiance. Here’s how:

  1. Locate the flame height control knob or valve. This is usually located near the gas supply valve on the fire pit itself. Consult your fire pit’s manual for specific location details.
  2. Turn the knob or valve slowly in the desired direction. Turning it counter-clockwise will typically decrease the flame height while turning it clockwise will increase it.
  3. Observe the flame and adjust accordingly. Aim for a steady and visible flame that is evenly distributed across the burner. A flame that is too high can be wasteful and potentially dangerous, while a flame that is too low might not provide enough heat or ambiance.

Solution 4: Inspect for Obstructions

Quickly check for obstructions in the gas line or burners. Clear any debris or blockages that may be impeding the gas flow. Ensure all pathways are clear for optimal performance and safety of the gas fire pit.

Solution 5: Battery Replacement

As highlighted earlier, electronic ignition systems rely on battery power to generate the spark needed for ignition.

Therefore, ensure the batteries are fresh and properly inserted to maintain optimal functionality and resolve ignition problems effectively.

Solution 6: Reset or Adjust Safety Features

Check the thermocouple and OPD (Overfill Prevention Device) valve for proper alignment and functionality. Reset or adjust these components as needed to maintain the safety and optimal operation of your gas fire pit.

Solution 7: Seek Professional Help

If you’ve gone through all the previous solutions and your fire pit still refuses to light, it’s best to seek professional help.

A qualified technician can diagnose the issue accurately and perform any necessary repairs or replacements to ensure your fire pit functions safely and efficiently.

How Do You Maintain a Gas Fire Pit? 

Below are some of the best ways to maintain a gas firepit.

  • Perform regular cleaning and inspection: Establish a cleaning and inspection schedule (at least twice a year) to ensure safety and functionality. Regularly check for visible damage, corrosion, or obstruction in gas lines to prevent potential hazards.
  • Cover the fire pit when not in use: Protect your fire pit from the elements with a durable and weather-resistant cover. Make sure the fire pit has cooled completely before covering it.
  • Check gas connections and hoses: Regularly inspect gas connections for leaks or loose fittings. Also, ensure that the hoses are securely attached to prevent gas leaks.


If your gas fire pit doesn’t light, it can damper your outdoor enjoyment. Fortunately, this guide has explored various potential causes and solutions for a non-lighting fire pit, including:

  • Empty propane tank: Ensure your tank is full and the valve is open.
  • Clogged burner or igniter: Clean the debris and consider replacing the igniter if necessary.
  • Faulty igniter: Replace the batteries for electronic igniters or consider replacing the entire igniter if damaged.
  • Gas supply line issues: Check for leaks and loose connections. Tighten connections or replace damaged hoses.
  • Low gas pressure: While uncommon, consider contacting your propane provider if pressure seems insufficient.

Remember, if you’re uncomfortable with troubleshooting or suspect a more complex issue, it’s always best to consult a qualified professional for safe and reliable repairs. We’re always here to help!

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Thomas Green

Thomas has worked in the Chimney & Fireplace field for over 12 years. He is an expert in his trade and loves to help People with their needs. Thomas Write helpful articles so that homeowners can make the most informed decisions about their fireplace and chimney.