How To Light Gas Fireplace Pilot Without Ignitor

Gas fireplaces are cozy and warm, and beyond just providing heat, they can also increase the ambiance of any room. Unfortunately, most gas fireplaces operate through the use of an ignitor, but if this breaks, you may be wondering how you can still use your fireplace.

If your ignitor breaks, you should err on the side of caution and wait to use your fireplace until it is fixed. However, if you do need to light it still, you can do so by using a match and adjusting the settings.

Using a fireplace can be fun, and it can also provide necessary qualities such as light and heat if you face a sudden power outage.

Keep reading to learn more about how gas fireplaces work and some strategies to make sure that you are lighting them safely, even without an ignitor.

Why Do Gas Fireplaces Need an Ignitor?

Almost all gas fireplaces operate through the ignition of gas using a control system called an ignitor. An ignitor starts the fire without using matches or getting close to the gas or flame. 

The ignitor protects the user from burns they may receive from manual lighting, making the fire lighting process much safer. The owner only has to turn a switch or use a remote to start the fire most of the time.

However, these ignitors can sometimes do not work. When this happens, you should call a technician. Do not try to light a fireplace that is broken, as this can have very dangerous results.

In the case of a power outage or if you do not wish to use your ignitor, it is possible to light the fireplace on your own. 

How To Light Gas Fireplace Pilot Without Ignitor – Using a Match

If you choose to light your fireplace without an ignitor, you can do so by using a match to take over the function that the ignitor would traditionally do. To do so, you must carefully adhere to the following steps.

1. Read the Owner’s Manual

Your fireplace most likely came with an owner’s manual that gives you guidance on how to operate your fireplace. Before doing anything else, first, check to see if your owner’s manual has any guidance on how you can start your gas fireplace without the use of an ignitor.

If your manual does have instructions, prioritize these above any others. They will be specified to your fireplace and produce the most successful and safe results, minimizing the risk of damage to your fireplace or yourself.

2. Carefully Remove Faceplate and Glass

Gas fireplaces are nearly always protected with glass and plating that is known as the faceplate. These barriers serve as a heat control system, helping your fire burn better and protecting the fireplace’s area in the process.

Before attempting to light the fire, remove the plate. This will allow you to have access to the gas mechanisms that you need to start the fire. Place the glass in a safe area where it will not be scratched or damaged, and take some time to clean it, if necessary.

Many faceplates are easy to take off and can be done so through the removal of some screws. However, please check your owner’s manual to make sure that you are removing the plate correctly.

3. Test for Malfunction and Breakage

Before proceeding to light anything, make sure that there are no serious damages or breakage in your fireplace.

  • If you have a circuit breaker, double-check the circuits to ensure they are all operating correctly.
  • Check for any apparent damages to the pipes.
  • Check to see if the ignitor switch is working. If it clicks, this means it is probably working, and you can light your fireplace using the ignitor instead of a match.

If at any point you smell gas, immediately stop and evacuate the house. In this case, you might have a gas leak, which can be fatal. If you suspect a leak, call the police immediately, as they will help you take care of the leak and make sure your house is safe for reentry.

As a general rule, you should not light your fireplace manually if there are any damages that you can detect. However, taking the time to make sure all is working properly will help you stay safe at every step throughout the process.

4. Light the Flame

Adjust the gas switch to the lowest setting possible and then press the pilot button down to start the gas flow to start the pilot light. You should be able to hear that the gas has started.

You can ignite the fire once the gas is flowing by lighting a match near the piping while holding down the pilot switch.

Your safest option may be to use a long-stemmed match or utility lighter. These will allow you to keep your distance from the gas and protect yourself if the fire starts rapidly.

5. Turn on the Fireplace

Once the flame has been lit, you can turn the pilot switch to the “on” setting. This will keep the pilot light burning so that the rest of the fire can follow suit. Once this is accomplished, you can increase the gas to get the fire burning steadily.

6. Put the Faceplate and Glass Back On

Once your fire is burning, you may replace the protective plating carefully. Reverse the process that you did to remove the faceplate or follow any specifications in your user manual.

Be cautious as you do this, as the materials may heat up quickly when close to the flame, and you could run the risk of being burned.

How to Start a Gas Fireplace With No Ignitor if there is No Electricity

If your gas fireplace is not working because the power has gone out, you may still be able to start a fire. The pilot flame in modern gas fireplaces is typically ignited through a small spark of electricity that activates when you press the switch.

If you run out of power, your pilot switch could still access power through backup batteries. If this is the case, follow the same rules as above to start your fire and keep it burning.

How to Light an Older Gas Fireplace

If your fireplace is an older model, it may not have the same electric and gas controls as the new one. If this is the case, carefully read an owner’s manual or research your specific model to find out how to utilize gas valves and light the flame manually safely.

It is best not to proceed with lighting your fire until you are fully aware of how it operates and which safety procedures you must follow.

How to Fix the Ignitor on a Gas Fireplace

Unless you have training on fixing gas fireplaces, you should contact a fireplace repair service if your fireplace stops working. They will be able to provide expert repairs.

Finding a Repair Crew

Your fireplace manufacturer may be able to provide a repair crew who can fix any issues that have arisen with your fireplace ignitor. If you are not sure of the manufacturer, you can also call a local company specializing in fireplace installation and repairs.

The Cost of Repairs

Unless specified in a warranty or protection plan, it will probably not be free to fix your fireplace. How much you spend on repairs depends on the following factors:

  • Any basic service fee charged by the repair crew.
  • The extensiveness of the breakage.
  • The need to purchase new parts, if applicable.
  • Hours spent by the repair crew.

If cost is a concern, spend some time looking into different repair services to compare pricing or consider adding a warranty to your fireplace when you purchase one. 

The most important thing to remember is not to attempt to light your gas fireplace if you believe that your fireplace is damaged, as this can cause further damage to the fireplace or its surroundings, as well as the potential for injury to yourself.


Whether there is a power outage or you are just feeling up to the challenge, owners of gas fireplaces may wonder how they can start their fireplace without having to use an ignitor. However, if you wish to use a match, you can carefully do so, provided that there is no breakage or damage within the fireplace itself.

If you are lighting your fireplace on your own, be sure to follow the instructions in the owner’s manual for your fireplace first and foremost. These will be the most accurate and safe. However, if you suspect your ignitor is broken, you should not attempt to light your fireplace at all.

Although you probably should not try to light a gas fireplace without an ignitor, you may still choose to do so. Research your fireplace model and invest in long-stemmed matches or a lighter wand. Then, follow instructions carefully to make sure that the fire you create is safe and long-lasting.