How to Start a Gas Fireplace
One of the most
convenient types of fireplaces today is a gas
fireplace. With a gas fireplace homeowners need not
be burdened with buying wood, splitting and
stacking it, and cleaning up the ashes after use
not to mention the constant dusting. In addition
there is no foul smelling smoke to deal with. First
time homeowners often do not know how to start a
gas fireplace simply because they do not have the
A gas fireplace is simple and easy and requires
very little maintenance. It is one way to enjoy the
warmth and beauty of a great fire that can be
compared to a traditional wood burning fireplace.
The flame of a gas fireplace is usually a
yellow-orange flame but you can choose a unit that
creates a blue and hotter flame. However, knowing
how to start a gas fireplace the first time or when
the gas has been turned off can be a little tricky.
There are two options available if you choose to
have a gas fireplace. There are vented gas
fireplaces or the unvented. For each of these
fireplaces there are many designs to choose from
such as a stove type, gas logs, or a unit that can
be mounted on the wall.
The gas logs fireplaces are normally vented to
allow any harmful gases produced during the burning
process to be vented out of the house. These are
ideal for fireplaces with chimneys although they
can still be used in homes without a usable
chimney. Gas log fireplaces should not be used in
an old fireplace that was originally meant for a
wood burning fireplace or wood burning stove
because of the hazards involved.
Venting is still possible for homes without a
chimney by installing a special pipe. Another
option is direct venting which entails the use of a
double layered pipe. The pipe runs through a hole
in the wall just behind the fireplace or slightly
above the unit.
Vent free gas log fireplaces are capable of
producing a very hot flame but with low levels of
carbon emissions and soot. They have an oxygen
depletion sensor that turns off the gas before the
carbon monoxide in the room reaches a hazardous
level. These fixtures should be housed in a masonry
structure or in a special firebox that is similar
to a hearth.
Care should be taken when using vent free gas log
fireplaces as they create a great deal of heat in a
confined space. Fireplace doors should remain open
during use and combustible materials should be kept
away from the area.
How to start a gas fireplace:
The most common gas fireplace has a wall switch to
turn the fireplace on and off after it has been lit
the first time.
On the regulator there is a manual on/off selector
knob that has three positions; an off position, a
pilot position, and an on position. There are
detailed instructions placarded next to the
regulator for lighting the unit.
Insure that the wall on/off switch is in the off
position and the gas is turned on before starting.
There usually is a shut off valve in the gas supply
line a few inches before the line connects to the
Turn the on/off valve on the regulator to the pilot
position and hold it depressed while you push the
ignition switch. This may take a few attempts
before the pilot lights.
After the pilot lights you will have to hold the
pilot valve depressed until the thermocouple
becomes warm enough to keep the gas flowing to the
pilot, usually about one minute.
After the pilot light is warm release the spring
loaded valve and the pilot should stay lit.
After the pilot valve is lit turn the on/off valve
on the regulator to the on position. Turn the wall
on/off switch to on and the log should light,
usually with a whoosh.
Once the fireplace is lit for the first time you
can turn it on or off from the wall switch.
That is all there is to staring a gas fireplace. I
recommend that you turn of the gas to the fireplace
during the summer season as the pilot light will
consume a considerable amount of gas.
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