How to Light a Gas Fireplace – 2 Recommended Methods

Gas fireplaces are the best alternative to traditional wood fireplaces. They save you from cleaning up the ashy mess, do not ask for the effort of chopping wood, yet provide the same warmth and comfort. However, lighting them for the first time requires following a proper procedure to prevent accidents. 

So, in this guide, we will talk about how to light a gas fireplace the right way. Sit back and continue reading to know all about your newly bought gas fireplace. 

1. How to Light a Gas Fireplace Using a Key 

Step 1: Read the User Manual Thoroughly 

Although a similar procedure is adopted to ignite all gas fireplaces, there may be one or two different features in yours, mishandling which can cause accidents. Therefore, before starting up, skim through the manual. If you do not have a manual, visit the manufacturer’s website or contact customer service to receive a copy.  

Step 2: Locate the Burner  

In most of the fireplaces, the burner is located behind the front panel. The screen serves for giving your fireplace an aesthetic look along with fulfilling safety purposes. However, to access the burner, you will need to either open or tug off the screen. Be careful while doing it, as the front panels are generally made of glass. 

Step 3: Insert the Fireplace Key in the Gas Valve Knob 

A gas valve knob, or simply a metal keyhole can be found on the front, floor, and the left or right walls of the fireplace. Inserting the key in this round slot will enable you to ignite the pilot light. But do not turn the pilot on until you have gotten your lighter prepared or the gas released can result in accidents.

Can’t find a key? Your device may have a permanently installed key. Look for it on the wall or purchase one from a home improvement store. But before buying, make sure to check from the manual the type of key your fireplace takes.

Step 4: Ignite the Burner 

Take a lighter with a head long enough such that you can light the fire pit while keeping your hands at a safe distance. Bring the lighter near the fireplace and move the gas valve key in a counterclockwise direction. Ignite it and get away quickly from the fire pit. 

Wear safety gloves if you are new to operating a fireplace. If the gas valve knob is far away from the burner, ask someone else to turn the key or operate the lighter. In case of unavailability of a long lighter, use a lit match to do the ignition step. 

If you can smell gas, open the doors and windows for ventilation. For a lot of gas leakage, get out of home and contact the gas provider or local fire department for help. 

Step 4: Put the Front Panel Back in Place 

Once you’ve successfully lit the fireplace burner, you need to block any excess gas emission in the room. So, replace the front cover you had pulled off earlier. Now, all you need to do is operate the key to manage heat flow. Turn it clockwise to lower flames and anticlockwise to increase the gas flow. 

2. How to Light a Gas Fireplace with a Control Panel 

Step 1: Read the User Manual Thoroughly 

Although a similar procedure is adopted to ignite all gas fireplaces, there may be one or two different features in yours, mishandling which can cause accidents. Therefore, before starting up, skim through the manual. If you cannot find any, visit the manufacturer’s website or contact customer service to receive a copy. 

Step 2: Find the Control Panel 

Almost all modern fireplaces contain a control panel for adjusting the fixture’s pilot light. Usually, there’s an aesthetic front screen that hides the control panel behind it. Remove this screen to have a view of the control panel. 

Step 3: Turn off the Control Knob 

On the control panel, there is a knob indicating On, Off and Pilot options. If the knob is not set at the off position, switch it off and wait for at least 5-10 minutes. This will allow any leaked gas in the control panel to escape away. 

In case you smell gas, try increasing airflow by opening windows and doors. If the smell is quite strong, get out of home and call the propane dealer or fire department. 

Step 4: Align the Shutoff Valve with Gas Line (Optional) 

The latest models of gas fireplace come with a shutoff valve that controls the gas flow. If you find one at the control panel, twist it until both the valve and gas line are parallel. Once done, the gas will start flowing to the fireplace. 

Step 5: Turn the Pilot On 

Go back to the control knob and switch it to the pilot position. Do this step when you are prepared to light up the fireplace. 

Step 6: Kindle the Pilot Light 

For this step, you need to operate the control knob and the ignition switch simultaneously. First, locate the ignition switch on your control panel, it can possibly be the red color button on the right corner. Now, press the control knob button and hold it in that position. Tapping the ignition switch meanwhile will ignite the light. 

Follow the same step until the pilot light kindles. If you have failed multiple times, contact a professional for help. 

Step 7: Continue Pressing the Control Knob 

Once the pilot light has ignited, stop tapping the ignition button. But do not remove your hand from the control knob for 30 seconds or more. Otherwise, the thermocouple will block the gas flow and you will have to ignite the pilot again. 

Step 8: Switch the Control Knob to On Option 

After you have turned on the pilot light, move the control knob to the on position. This will keep the pilot light ignited permanently. You are done lighting your gas fireplace, replace the front panel and operate it using the wall switch or remote control. 

How to Light a Gas Fireplace – Extra Tips 

Problem Igniting the Pilot Light? Clean the Burner Plate 

With time, the residue buildup clogs the burner plate holes. This hinders the proper supply of gas. To recover the gas supply, turn off the pilot and gas valve. Blow compressed air in holes to remove carbon residue. 

Pilot Light Turning Off by and by? Change Thermocouple 

The thermocouple maintains the gas flow to the pilot light. Therefore, malfunctioning in it won’t let the pilot stay lit for long. Disconnect it from the fireplace and remove using a wrench. You can find a new one at the hardware store. Buy the one that matches your old thermocouple and install it as per the manual guidelines. 

Cannot Light the Fireplace? Replace Thermopile 

Thermopile works to open the gas chamber of the fireplace. With a dysfunctional one, proper gas is not supplied to the fireplace and hence, you fail to ignite. Disconnect it and remove it with a wrench. Find a similar one at the hardware store and replace following the instructions in the manual. 

The Bottom Line 

Following any of these two methods will let you successfully ignite your gas fireplace. Remember, lighting a gas fireplace involves risk factors. In case you are not confident about your understanding, read the instructions manual again or contact a professional.