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When Does a Fireplace Blower Turn On or Off?

Many fireplaces have blowers, but sometimes I hear it either turn on a bit slow or stay on for too long. I was wondering why this is the case, and if it’s normal. So, I did some research to find out more. Here’s what I found.

You can control fireplace blowers turning on and off, but it takes about 10-20 minutes for the process to complete itself. You can automatically control a fireplace blower’s power setting through a thermostat or a wall switch. To do this successfully, you will need to leave the designated wall switch on.

So you control the fireplace blower, but how long does it take, exactly, for it to turn on and off, and why does it take so long? How can you tell if it’s working, and what should you do if your fireplace blower isn’t? Let’s take a closer look at how fireplace blowers work.

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How Long Does It Take For A Fireplace Blower To Turn On And Off?

Accessing the controls and turning off the pilot light on a gas fireplace

It takes a fireplace blower about 10-20 minutes to complete the process of it turning on and off. A fireplace blower cannot turn on and off instantly like a light bulb. When you turn on your fireplace, the firebox begins to heat up. Once its fan sensor switch detects the set temperature, it will turn on the blower.

A regular fireplace only heats the air that is directly in front of it, but a blower will continually circulate warm air around the room. This will increase the air temperature for the entire area instead of leaving cool spots as a standard fireplace does. It will also greatly reduce the heat loss that occurs with a standard fireplace. 

It will take up to 20 minutes for the temperature to heat up enough to activate the blower. How long exactly will depend on the specific model that you’ve installed, as well as the model of your fireplace. For example, a fireplace with porcelain panels tends to heat up faster than others.

When you switch off your fireplace blower, it will take just as long for it to turn off since the fireplace needs to cool down. Once it reaches a certain temperature, usually around 90ºF, it will switch off automatically. 

Also, if you have your thermostat set to a specific temperature, the blower will turn itself off to prevent excess heat. It will switch itself back on when the temperature drops below a certain level.

Recommended: How to Get More Heat From Your Gas Fireplace

If your blower was installed with Firebrick, the sensor will take longer to start the fan.

This is because Firebrick has a high amount of insulating qualities, making it take a while for the sensor to detect that a set temperature has been reached. The reason the blower doesn’t turn on straight away is to prevent cold air from being circulated around your home.

When your fireplace blower is on, it works by taking air from the room into the fireplace. While in the fireplace, the air warms up and is then pushed back into the room. 

Hotter air rises towards your ceiling, so the blower will continually circulate air by pulling in lower, cooler air and pushing it back out into the room. This will raise the overall temperature of the room over time. 

So, while it takes a fireplace blower a moment to start working, they’re much more efficient than a standard fireplace. Still, how can you tell if the blower is working?

How To Tell If A Fireplace Blower Is Working Or Not

removing the glass door on a gas fireplace

If your fireplace blower is not turning on, blowing air, running loudly, or shutting off early, it’s not working properly. To prevent most of these issues, be sure to clean your fireplace blower regularly. If you’re unable to figure out what is wrong or to fix the fireplace blower, contact a technician.

Several signs will tell you whether your fireplace blower is working or not. Here are a few to look out for:

  • It’s not turning on at all, even if you turn the thermostat all the way up
  • It is coming on but isn’t blowing hot air back into the room, or it’s blowing less air than it usually does
  • Your fireplace isn’t heating up, so it isn’t triggering the blower to come on
  • The fan used by the blower is running louder than it should be
  • Your blower is turning off when you haven’t set it to

There could be several reasons for these issues to start. It’s possible that your thermostat is broken and needs to be fixed.

Another reason could be that there is a loose wire that needs to be replaced. Blowers like to collect dust, which affects their ability to work correctly. 

In these cases, you will need to remove the blower and clean it out manually. A dirty blower can also be the cause of increased noise.

For these reasons, it is crucial to clean the blower regularly. Clean the blower according to your model’s instructions for maximum efficiency and preservation of its parts.

If the blower is turning itself off, one of the simple remedies is to replace the remote. If your circuit breaker trips when the blower comes on, it’s probably a wiring problem. Finally, if you feel your blower isn’t running as efficiently as it once was, it’s probably due for service by a qualified technician.

What To Do If Your Fireplace Blower Isn’t Working

cleaning a gas fireplace components
Cleaning the thermocouple and pilot light.

If your fireplace blower isn’t working, this is often due to dust, broken parts, or dead batteries. In these cases, you can typically solve the problem yourself by cleaning or replacing the troublesome parts. If you cannot figure out what is wrong, or if there is a wiring issue, bring in a qualified technician.

You can follow these troubleshooting tips to try and pinpoint the problem:

  • Your remote isn’t turning on the fireplace: Check the batteries first. Try changing them out for fresh ones. If that doesn’t work, you may need to replace the remote.
  • The blower is making a lot of noise: When your system is turned off, look for any displaced wires that might be hitting the fan blades. If that’s not the issue, the blower is likely clogged with dust and needs to be cleaned. Another issue could be that its bearings have worn out and should be replaced.
  • The blower is not heating up: Try turning up the thermostat. If this doesn’t work, there may be an issue with the thermostat.
  • Your blower or fireplace isn’t coming on at all: First, check the circuit breaker and all fuses to see if anything here needs to be replaced.
  • The pilot light isn’t coming on: This is possibly an issue with wires. Carefully inspect wires when everything is turned off. If you find an issue with a wire, it is best to call a qualified technician to come and fix it for your safety and the safety of running your blower in the future.

If a thorough cleaning doesn’t help, it may be time to replace your blower altogether. If you don’t clean your blower, its motor can overheat, causing it to stop working altogether.

In terms of installing a fireplace blower, first research the models you can use. Even if a blower is available to be installed, they’re not universal. Choose one that’s compatible with your fireplace. 

While it’s possible to install a fireplace blower yourself, the best course of action is to have it installed by a certified installer. This will ensure that all safety measures have been taken and there are no issues with running it.

The installer will also be able to help you with it turning on and off and answer any other questions you have about this process.

If you have a gas fireplace, and you’d like to learn more about fireplace blowers, check out my recent post: Do Gas Fireplaces Need a Blower?.

Need More Help?

You can always ask us here at Fireplace Tips, but you should know the other resources available to you! Here are the resources we recommend.

  • Chimney Safety Institute of North America (CSIA): The CSIA is your BEST resource for fireplace and chimney safety at home. They’re a non-profit governed by a volunteer board of directors dedicated to the education, training, and certification of chimney and industry related professionals.
  • Self-Sufficiency and Off-Grid: If you’re like me and passionate about off-grid and self-sufficiency, see my number 1 resource—Abundance Plus. Check out their Frugal Homesteading Course on growing 90% of your own food. Get 7-days free and 10% off with the code: TYLER10