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How To Light The Pilot On A Gas Fireplace

By Lawrence Macmillan October 25, 2021

A gas fireplace is one of the best methods of heating a modern home. It will give you all the warmth of what would have been a traditional fireplace but without the smoke and the cleanup afterward.

Most houses have switched to electricity, but there are still a lot of homeowners who prefer gas.

If your gas fireplace has gone out, then the most likely reason is that your pilot light has gone out in your control box.

This is the light that is always on that is used to ignite your larger gas fireplace. If this goes out, then you will have trouble lighting your larger fireplace.

However, if you suspect that this might be the case, then you might have trouble even locating the pilot light, let alone where it is kept.

If you find your pilot light, then you’ll easily be able to turn on your ignition again without having to call out an expert.

So how best to turn on the pilot light in a gas fireplace? Where is your pilot light located? How can you find it amongst the myriad of buttons and valves in your control box? How best to turn your gas fireplace back on with complete safety?

Well, if you want these questions answered and a whole lot more, then we would suggest that you keep reading this article.

We’ll give you everything that you need to know regarding your gas fireplace and how to have it up and running again effectively.

Using The Manual

We would always recommend that your first port of call be the user’s manual. This will give you everything you need to know about your particular brand of fireplace.

There are so many models of fireplaces out there, that it will always be difficult to find the right model.

However, most fireplace manufacturers have listed out-of-date fireplaces on their websites, so all you have to do is find the model number of your fireplace (usually located on the side) and punch that into Google.

Then after you’ve done this we would suggest that you locate the control panel of your fireplace. This can sometimes be located on the fireplace itself, although in heating systems it can be located in the main housing of the boiler.

Once you have gained access to this control panel, look for a knob that reads ‘off’, ‘on’ and ‘pilot’. Turn it to the ‘off’ position for at least five minutes, opening a window if you smell a faint whiff of gas.

Once you have left this for a while, then we would recommend that you turn it to the ‘pilot’ dial and press the ignition switch so that you hear a repeated clicking. Make sure that you hold down the ignition as you turn on the pilot light.

If your pilot light refuses to ignite, then restart the whole process until it does. You should keep the ignition switch held down once the pilot light does ignite, as this will give the gas a chance to flow into the flame.

When the pilot light is fully lit, then turn the dial back to the ‘on’ setting, as this will keep the pilot light on indefinitely.

Igniting It With A Fireplace Key

Remove the cover on your fireplace. You will have to check the instruction manual to see how you open the cover of your fireplace in a manner that is the safest.

The casing of your gas fireplace will usually be made from glass, so you should take care when you are removing it.

Put the fireplace key in the valve that controls the gas going to your fireplace. Do not turn the fireplace key again until you’ve finished lighting it, otherwise you will run the risk of releasing a dangerous amount of gas into your home.

Take a portable light and turn the gas knob gently at the same time as you trigger the ignition. Make sure that the key is turned low in the socket.

This will result in your gas coming out slowly which, when ignited, will result in a small flame that you can then turn up gradually.

Make sure that if you’re lighting your fire using this method that you are wearing heat proof gloves. If you want to be extra safe, then we would recommend wearing heat proof goggles.

If you are really concerned about safety, then we would recommend that you have someone else light the fire as you turn the gas key.

Repairing Ignition Problems

The burning plate in your fireplace can often suffer from a buildup of carbon that will really impede the amount of heat that is transferred to the fire itself. This will also stop any gas from getting to the pilot light.

If your pilot light is extinguished after a few seconds of lighting it and ends up repeating that process, then the chances are that you might need a new thermocouple.

If this part of your fire gets damaged, then you can say goodbye to your fire ever lighting again.

The thermocouple is a small node that is located next to the pilot light burner. You’ll need to first disconnect the thermocouple from the igniter and then remove it with a wrench.

You can get replacement thermopiles from most hardware stores.

If you have run out of options and your fireplace still won’t work, then we would recommend calling a certified fireplace specialist.

These engineers can help you to identify what the problem is and order you new parts for your fireplace if you need them.

If you feel unqualified to start tinkering with your fireplace, then we would suggest that you leave it alone and call a professional.


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