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Re: propane will not flow through adjustment valve.
Your regulator has a thermocouple that senses the pilot before allowing the valve to open. It is sensitive to the miniscule amount of energy that is produced from the flame. Your thermocouple is bad or covered in soot and needs replacement/cleaning/adjustment.
Locate the thermocouple, and sometimes it can be cleaned with fine sandpaper. If it is not in the line of the pilot flame, make an adjustment. You cannot keep the pilot lit if the thermocouple does not sense the flame. It will go out when you release the button.
Clean or replace the thermocouple to fix.
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I purchased this heater second hand - I have fitted a brand new regulator and gas hose - gas is flowing as far as the burner assembly but I cant hear or smell gas flowing to the pilot or the main burner. Is there a section of pipe between the gas hose and the burner that could be missing? Does anyone have a diagram of all the parts - exploded view?
I'm going to assume your fireplace has a pilot light.
Follow the little holes in the burner that lead to the pilot light.
Make sure the pilot flame is pointing directly at the closest burner hole. (adjust if necessary).
Often, you will need to sprinkle a layer of "glowing embers" in this area. The embers will help the gas travel to the pilot light and ignite.
Always start your propane appliance on "High" never "Low". Cold propane likes to drop to the bottom of the firebox and accumulate until it reaches the pilot (this is called delayed ignition). Keeping it on "high" will help the fuel travel over to the pilot without buildup.
There should be instructions on the inside of the heater access door. Make sure you are comfortable working with gas heaters. Make sure the shutoff valve supplying gas to the heater is on. Turn the gas valve to "pilot", press and hold it while attempting to light the pilot. Once the pilot is lit, continue holding the gas valve knob down for about 30 seconds. The pilot should stay lit once you release the knob. If the pilot stay lit, turn the gas valve to "on". Replace the heater access door and make sure you have proper water flow and attempt to light the heater. If it will not light, or the pilot will not stay on, you will probably have to replace the pilot generator. It provides voltage to run the heater and after time it wears out and produces less and less voltage. A millivolt heater runs on less than one volt so any power loss can be a problem. If you are able, test the pilot generator with a multimeter to see if you are getting at least 500mv when the pilot is on. If not, you should replace the pilot generator or even the entire pilot assembly. Hope this helps...
Possibly a flow switch not closed, or a limit switch open. May even be the pilot generator not producing enough mili-volts to operate the gas valve. Safest way is to have it serviced by a heating contractor. You dont have to call a pool company unless you wish.
Your problem is the pilot generator where the flame is by the burners. This needs to be repalced. That is what is causing the pilot to go out and not start. It is a flame sensor and also tells the gas valve when to release more or less gas.
Remove the burner and clean all holes ,typically at the end of the burner is a cheep sheet metal valve.This valve adjusts the air to gas mixture by rotating it to increase or decrease the combustible air intake.Air must be sucked into the burner as natural gas is injected into it, this makes for a clean flame,The flame should be blue with small yellow tips.If the flame is long and yellow and sooty increase the air intake on the burner valve.