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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    24

    GEM 42 Questions

    I have a GEM 42 and I'm a bit confused about its operation. When reading the manual and also the Heat&Glo website FAQ it seems like the IPI should turn the pilot off when the fireplace is not in use. However, my pilot stays lit all of the time.

    On the control panel (located under the fireplace) I have a pilot light switch with two options (on/off). On is labeled as normal use and Off is labeled as energy saver. The panel also has a switch for the flame as well as 2 dials (one for the flame and the other for the fan).

    So, is this unit supposed to turn the pilot light off when the flame for the fireplace is turned off?

    The other question is about odors when burning. I've had this unit for 2 seasons now. The first season we did the 4 hour/clean the glass/12-hour break-in and then used the unit, but maybe only 10x. Last season we only ran it once for maybe an hour because it was smelly (like when it was new) and I didn't feel like going through the burn-in cycle again. I turned it yesterday to see what would happen and sure enough I had the burn odor again. I let it run for 4 hours and today I'm going to get in another 8 or so hours. Is it normal to have the strong burn-in type of odor at the beginning of each season? If so, what causes this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    1,078
    The GEM42 had a retrofit kit for it and it sounds like you have it. It added a pilot ON / OFF switch which makes the pilot be on all the time to use the unit. The burn off smell should go away after one really long burn and few more shorter burns. Every season you will get that burning dust smell like when you first turn on the furnace but it goes away quickly. E-Mail me at "pagej at fireside dot com". I will be SUPER busy tommarow, but I should get back to you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,228

    Cool GEM odors

    You ought to have a qualified technician inspect and service that unit. It should be done annually. Any time you associate odors with a Fp, I think you need to have a tech rule out leakage of combustion gases, esp. carbon monoxide. While you wouldn't smell the CO, you would smell aldehydes.

    The unit should be closely inspected for loose glass clips, gaps in the gasketing, cracks in the firebrick matrix and the connections in the exhaust manifold.

    Then, vacuum and wipe down the unit with citrus solvent cleaner. You can also use Febreeze. If you still have odors after a nice 12-20hrs of straight burning call your dealer.

    If your unit is just 2 yrs old, you should have the new style GEM with the improved manifold. Regardless, you should contact HG Tech Services and get this entered into their database.

    HTH,
    Hearthman

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    24
    Quote Originally Posted by jtp10181 View Post
    The GEM42 had a retrofit kit for it and it sounds like you have it. It added a pilot ON / OFF switch which makes the pilot be on all the time to use the unit.
    Now that you mention it I recall a tech coming out to do something safety related.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    24
    Quote Originally Posted by hearthman View Post
    I think you need to have a tech rule out leakage of combustion gases, esp. carbon monoxide. While you wouldn't smell the CO, you would smell aldehydes.
    I have a CO meter and it is reading zero parts per million. If I had a leak wouldn't the CO be escaping too?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    manitoba canada
    Posts
    153
    check this out was it built during this time, http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml05/05162.html

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    1,078
    Quote Originally Posted by fireplaceguru View Post
    check this out was it built during this time, http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml05/05162.html
    From the way he described the operation of his unit, he either has a GEM-42B (fixed unit) or a GEM-42 with a retrofit kit on it most likely. As hearthman said, might be a good idea to have a tech come check out the odor issue and while hes there he can give you a refresher on the functions and explain why the pilot is on all the time. My offer to email me still stands, its in my first post. Basically I was going to email you my phone number back, its easier to talk about this kind of issue over the phone.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,228

    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by zappy View Post
    I have a CO meter and it is reading zero parts per million. If I had a leak wouldn't the CO be escaping too?
    Not necessarily for several reasons. First, how long has it been since your CO analyzer was calibrated?

    Is it a sensor or a pump-type analyzer that draws air in to be analyzed? Sensor units such as a Bacharach Snifit50 are ok as long as you hold it in the gas cloud. Analyzers draw air from several feet away so if there are any fumes nearby, it will analyze them.

    Where are you sampling? In the room a few feet away or 1" from the glass gasket and upper plenum?

    Where in the burn cycle are you sampling? startup, mid cycle or shutdown? Some units will leak at different stages in the cycle.

    Is there forced air ventilation in the home?

    How tight or leaky is the house?

    Keep in mind if a unit is burning cleanly, you will produce very little CO but you will always make CO2. That's why I use a CO2 analyzer in addition to my combustion analyzer. You can also use a combustion analyzer held near the floor. While it won't read CO2 since that is a calculation from flue gases, it will read room O2. If the O2 near the floor starts dropping from 20.9%, you may have CO2 displacing O2.

    The name of the game with odors is to rule out as many causative factors as possible. First, verify the unit was properly installed and operating to mfrs. specs. Always start there. Next, clean the unit. Third, survey the combustion appliance zone (CAZ) for odiferous compounds or items. One of the last things you want to do is open the chase but at this point, it may be indicated. If you don't want to do full surgery, you can take a peek with a fiberoptic endoscope first. Look for trash and foreign matter on top of the fireplace. Inspect the venting from one end to the other.

    Some mfrs. have odor checklists to follow.

    HTH,
    Hearthman

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    24
    Thanks for the excellent responses. So, when operating properly will these units burn odor free?

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