Although gas fireplaces are now a common feature in homes and other places, lighting them is still a problem for many people.
This article will give you a step-by-step guide on lighting your gas fireplace with an electronic ignition system. We shall also discuss the two standard methods of lighting a gas fireplace.
The two methods of lighting a gas fireplace are using ignition or pilot light. We shall then discuss what you need to do when the pilot fails to ignite.
Lastly, we answer a few frequently asked questions about the techniques of lighting gas fireplaces.
What is Electronic Ignition on a Gas Fireplace?
The electronic ignition on a gas fireplace is a system that lets you quickly switch your gas fireplace on and off using a remote control.
The unit remotely triggers the gas fireplace to start burning gas when you switch on the button. When you switch it off, the gas fireplace automatically stops burning the gas.
Do All Gas Fireplaces have Electronic Ignition?
Not all gas fireplaces have an electronic ignition system. It is only the modern brands and designs that have this form of the ignition system. The electronic ignition system requires electric power.
Traditionally gas fireplaces have a non-electronic ignition system. This system, which is also known as the piezo igniter, does not require electricity to function.
Starting your gas fireplace using the pilot light ignition system is a long process. We shall discuss it step by step later in this article.
Can I Convert my Gas Fireplace to Electronic Ignition?
Yes, you can convert your gas fireplace to an electronic ignition system; however, you should remember that this is a costly and highly technical process. You will need an experienced technician to complete the procedure for you.
For starters, you will have to replace your gas fireplace’s pilot assembly and gas control valve components. You will also have to purchase a new ignition control module and a transformer. These components are necessary to operate your fireplace remotely instead of using the pilot line ignition system.
Electronic Ignition vs. Pilot Light
The electronic ignition system is a type of ignition that allows the user to switch the gas fireplace on and off at will. It comes with a remote control device that you can use to press a button to light the gas fireplace or switch it off.
This ignition system is more convenient and more accessible to use than the standing light system. It has solid-state systems that are used to ignite the fire on the gas fireplace. It also has flame sensors that detect and measure the microamps to control how the gas fireplace burns.
The pilot light ignition system is found in traditional gas fireplaces. This system comprises a little burner, a gas valve system, and thermocouples. These components work in sync to control the flow of gas and the burning rate of the fireplace.
When the flame heats the thermocouple in the ignition system, it sends a small electric current to the solenoid. The solenoid is a unique component that expands when it is exposed to an electric current. Its expansion triggers the valve system to open.
This allows the gas to flow freely, and the gas fireplace keeps burning. When there is no current in the solenoid, the valve closes, and the gas fireplace stops burning.
The Different Ways to Light a Gas Fireplace
There are two broad ways of lighting your gas fireplace: electronic ignition and non-electronic ignition.
Under these two broad categories are additional methods that are unique because of the techniques that are used.
- Electronic Ignition: There are two types under the electronic ignition system of lighting a gas fireplace: proflame 1 and proflame 2. Both proflame 1 and proflame 2 are found in modern gas fireplaces. They are convenient and easy to operate because one needs to press a button and the gas fireplace ignites or switches off in a matter of seconds.
- Intermittent pilot ignition: Intermittent pilot ignition occurs when the ignition system has first to relight the pilot light before the valve systems open and allow the gas to pass and keep the ignition going. This means that the pilot flame does not have to be kept on throughout the time when the gas fireplace is on.
- Continuous pilot ignition: This ignition mode occurs when the pilot flame does not go out when the gas fireplace is burning. This means that the pilot flame remains on and keeps the surrounding air equally warm. This mode of ignition helps prevent cold-start difficulties, which generally occur during icy weather conditions.
How to Light a Gas Fireplace with Electronic Ignition
Here is how you can successfully light a gas fireplace with electronic ignition. Remember that every fireplace has some unique features and components.
It is wise to refer to the manufacturer’s manual to understand how to handle all your gas fireplace’s unique features and components.
- Open the control panel of your fireplace: This panel has all the controls that you need. It is usually located at the front bottom part of your fireplace.
- Set the control knob to the off position: This allows for all the gas that may still be around to disappear. You may have to leave your gas fireplace off for about five minutes to achieve this objective.
- Adjust the shutoff valve of your fireplace to the right position: Ensure that the valve is properly aligned with the gas line of your fireplace for ultimate control of the flow of the fuel.
- Reset the knob to the pilot position: Remember to do this when you are ready to ignite the pilot light of your gas fireplace.
- Ignite the pilot light: While pressing down the control knob in the pilot position, press the ignition switch. The ignition switch is usually a red button found on the right-hand side of the control panel.
- Give the thermocouple time to register the pilot light by holding down the control knob for about 30 seconds: This step is essential to ensure that the pilot light is fully on. If the light is not on, the thermocouple will indicate so. Remember that if the pilot light does not come on after repeated attempts, you may have to troubleshoot your gas fireplace.
- Turn the control knob to the on position: Once this is done, you will now be able to easily switch your gas fireplace on or off using either a remote control device or a switch on the wall. The pilot light will remain on to allow you to do this. Remember to close up the control panel compartment that you would have opened to at the beginning of the procedure.
What to do if the Pilot Light doesn’t Ignite
If your pilot light does not ignite after repeated attempts, you will have to troubleshoot. Here are a few things that you may do if this happens.
- Try cleaning the thermocouple to remove all the buildup that may have accumulated on its surface. Over time, the buildup may block the sensors and interfere with the way this sensitive component functions.
- Increase the strength and intensity of the pilot light flame. This flame should be bright and blue. If it is not, you may have to adjust it using the screw.
- Clean the tip of the pilot light. Soot usually accumulates at the tip of the pilot light. If this happens, the pilot light may fail to ignite because the soot obstructs gas flow. Use a simple brush to clean off the soot and try igniting the pilot light again.
Frequently Asked Questions About Lighting a Gas Fireplace
What happens if the pilot light goes out on the gas fireplace?
When a pilot light goes out frequently, it means that there is a technical problem with the components of your gas fireplace or the weather is not conducive.
The pilot light is supposed to remain on for as long as the gas fireplace is running. However, occasionally, this small light may go off. When this happens, no carbon monoxide leaks to the outside, contrary to popular belief.
One of the reasons for the pilot light to go out is when your device runs out of natural gas. Also, the pilot light will go off if powerful winds are blowing across the place where your gas fireplace is situated.
However, if the pilot light goes off repeatedly, it means that there is a technical problem with one or more of the components of your gas fireplace.
Usually, there may be a problem with the valves or even the thermocouples. Therefore, it may be necessary to get a technician to troubleshoot and fix the problem accurately.
How much does it cost to keep the pilot light on the fireplace?
It may cost you between $8 and $20 to keep a pilot light on at your gas fireplace. This cost varies with the type of fuel that you use. Natural gas is relatively cheaper than propane.
If you use natural gas on your fireplace, you may have to pay about $8 for keeping the pilot light on for a month. However, if your gas fireplace runs on propane, you may have to pay as much as $20 per month for keeping the pilot light on. Remember that the pilot light consumes a very minimal amount of fuel to remain on.
Can I add a remote starter to my gas fireplace?
Yes, you can add a remote starter to your gas fireplace by making several adjustments to the components. You will need to have a millivolt gas valve installed as well as other essential components.
The entire process of adding a remote starter is slightly complicated; you may need a technician to help you complete it successfully and correctly. It may also cost you a small amount of money to purchase additional components and the technician’s labor.
How much does it cost to relight a pilot light?
It may cost you between $80 and $100 to relight a pilot light in your gas fireplace. This rate is what the technician may charge you for an hour or so of work.
Typically, the process of relighting a pilot light takes under an hour. The technician will adjust the knob to the ‘pilot’ setting before lighting a match and holding it for a while as the gas flows.
If you are not confident enough to do it yourself, then it would be nice to get a technician to do it for you at these rates.
Modern gas fireplaces come with electronic controls. The controls are usually hidden at the front bottom part in many brands. This makes it easy to reach and use them to switch the gas fireplace on or off.
Lighting a gas fireplace with electronic ignition is a straightforward process. First, you must understand how the different components function and follow the correct procedure when lighting a gas fireplace using an electronic ignition system. Using a remote control is the easiest way of lighting a gas fireplace.