Your Guide to Lighting a Gas Fireplace Pilot Light

There’s a reason gas fireplaces are becoming more and more popular for homeowners today. The joy of having a gas fireplace is truly in the ease it brings to everyone. Who wants to go out in the cold to chop wood, haul it inside and get messy while doing it?

Most gas fireplaces have a standing pilot light, which is a small flame that burns at all times. This makes the fireplace easy to start when it’s cold outside, but when the weather gets warmer, it’s a good idea to know how to shut it off for energy conservation. When that happens, you’ll also need to know how to restart come the next cold season. The procedure isn’t exactly the same for all models but for most, the steps are the same.

First Steps

Remove the decorative cover from the fireplace to reveal the gas controls at the bottom of the unit. There, you should be able to see a gas shut-off valve. Turn the handle parallel to the direction of the gas pipes to turn the gas on. If you don’t see the valve, it is probably behind the fireplace. Follow the same process. Be sure to then pull the fixed glass assembly off of the fireplace. This is an important safety precaution that prevents the buildup of gas should the pilot be difficult to light.

Turning it On

Locate the gas control knob. Just above it, you should see a red or black push button, which means that the unit has a piezoelectric spark mechanism. Press the button once or twice to verify that there is a spark at the end of the pilot tube. If you don’t see this button, you might need to light the flame manually. Turn the gas control until the “pilot” setting lines up with the hash mark on the outer rim of the control. Push the button in while you push the starter. If the pilot doesn’t light, wait 10 seconds and push again. Continue doing this until it gets started.

Getting it Lit

Now comes the part that makes the gas fireplace so convenient, lighting the flame. Light the flame with a match or long-barreled lighter if there is no piezoelectric control. Hold the gas control button down while you hold the end of a lighted match or lighter at the end of the pilot tube. The pilot should start as soon as the flame becomes close enough.

Hold the pilot button down for about 20 seconds to give the thermocouple time to heat up, and then release. If the pilot doesn’t stay lit, relight and hold in the button a little longer. Turn the button on, and then replace the fixed glass assembly and the decorative cover.

Helpful Reminders

If the fireplace is new or the pilot hasn’t been lit for a long time, there might be air in the pilot tube. This can sometimes make it difficult to light, but should light after a number of attempts once the air is removed. If you find that you need to consistently re-light the pilot, the tube may be blocked with debris. If this is the case, cleaning out with a small pin should do the trick.

If the pilot is particularly hard to start, and you begin to smell gas, stop and wait for the gas to disperse before trying again. Lighting it while there’s a strong gas smell could be dangerous in an enclosed space so be sure to ventilate the area before trying to light again.

Here at Aspen Fireplace, we pride ourselves on knowing all there is to know about fireplaces of all kinds. If you have questions about installing or replacing your fireplace, or simply need to have questions answered around basic use, fill out a contact form or give us a call and one of our technicians would be happy to help.