The ignition system is a vital component of a fire pit's mechanics. It's the piece that starts the entire flame process, and without a proper ignition system, starting your fire pit can be a challenge. There are a few different methods for proper ignition of your fire pit available on the market—but the electronic ignition system is by far our favorite. In this article we’ll discuss why electronic is the best option, and why we’ve developed our own electronic system.
Types of Ignition Systems
The most straightforward and commonly used method is the match lit system, in which a long lighter or matchstick is held over the burner while the gas valve is turned to the ON position. The match lit method is simple, reliable, and the most affordable of all ignition types, but requires manual effort and tends to be inconvenient.
The next level in the fire pit ignition systems hierarchy is the push-button, sometimes referred to as the spark ignition system. These operate by pushing and holding down the ignition button, which produces a clicking sound as it generates a spark to ignite the gas. These systems are usually powered by a battery concealed within the push button unit. This method takes out the trouble of igniting with a long lighter or matchstick, but does still require the gas be manually turned on.
The third, and by far the most convenient method, is the electronic ignition system. This process ignites the flame via remote control, timer, an app on your smart device, or a switch located in your house. Imagine the ability to light your fire feature from inside the comfort of your home! An electronic ignition system doesn't just bring a level of convenience—it also provides an extra level of safety. Electronic ignition systems utilize flame sensing technology that constantly monitors the fire. If the system detects that the flame has been accidentally extinguished, it will make several attempts to relight the fire feature. If unsuccessful at relighting the flame, the system will cut off gas flow as a safety measure. This is a particularly important safety feature ensuring that you don’t end up with potentially dangerous gas buildup.
Development of the PowerGlow Electronic Ignition System
Closeups of a fully installed PowerGlow Electronic Ignition System.
Although electronic ignition systems offer a variety of safe and convenient ways for igniting your fire feature, there are still a few areas that can benefit from some fine-tuning. We listened to customer feedback and tracked industry trends to initiate the research and development of an electronic ignition system that not only offers the features of standard electronic ignition systems, but also fixes the common complaints installers and homeowners have expressed. After countless hours of research and development the PowerGlow Electronic Ignition System was born, which offers the same convenience and safety features of other electronic ignition systems in a more user-friendly package.
User Friendly Installation Process
One key area we decided to focus on was reducing the time-consuming and often complex installation process experienced with standard electronic systems. The install of a typical electronic ignition system can take upwards of an hour—by a licensed professional, no less! Installation is complicated with these systems because of the transformer connections, hardwiring, lack of outlet compatibility, and inability to adjust between fuel types and voltage—more on that later.
Our desire to bring customers an electronic ignition system that is user-friendly and straightforward enough for everyone to install has led to significant simplification of components. No more complex transformer configurations and hardwiring for the required electricity! Our electronic system requires fewer connections and can be plugged into an outdoor electrical outlet.
Another area we commonly heard concerns about with other electronic ignition systems was the voltage limitation for usage around bodies of water. According to current National Builders Association's National Electric Code (NEC) standards, any fire pit installation utilizing an electronic ignition system within 5 feet of a pool must utilize a 30v DC (Direct Current) system as opposed to the more common 24v AC (Alternating Current). When ordering other electronic ignition systems, this difference in voltage must be identified beforehand and purchased correctly. When customers ordered a 24v but were installing it 3 feet from their pool, they quickly discovered that it was the wrong voltage when their system stopped working.
We produced a solution to this that we think is quite clever. The PowerGlow Electronic Ignition System utilizes 12v AC with the included transformer, which still complies with NEC 2014 Article 680 for electrical applications near bodies of water. This means the PowerGlow Electronic System can be used in fire features regardless of their proximity to a water source—no more worrying about ordering the wrong voltage for your specific setup. The PowerGlow system works for fire features close and far from water.
The PowerGlow system being installed onto the underside of a Starfire Designs burner pan.
The final area of concern that we focused on was field serviceability. With other electronic ignition systems if a component of the system goes bad, the entire system must be removed to repair the problem. The PowerGlow Electronic Ignition System eliminates that problem by using specifically designed components that are removeable and repairable on site without having to uninstall and replace the entire system. We’ve even included the fittings for natural gas and propane fuel, so you can easily switch between them as needed. The design of the PowerGlow Electronic System makes for easier troubleshooting and repair.
In addition to general improvements, the PowerGlow offers other great features. It provides up to a whopping 260,000 BTUs of heat, depending on the type of fuel used and fuel line capacity. That's enough heat to provide your family, friends, and guests with a warm ambiance all throughout the night. The system is weatherproof with stainless steel construction and waterproof connectors, and is pre-wired with a 3-prong power cord, allowing plugging in to your outdoor electrical outlet for power. We do always recommend installation by a licensed professional, but we’re proud of the effort we’ve put in to make our PowerGlow Electronic Ignition System practically plug and play.
The PowerGlow can be installed on both Starfire Designs and non -Starfire Designs fire features, but some modifications may be required when installing with a non-Starfire Designs burner or burner pan. This system is backed by our two-year warranty, and the internal electronics in the PowerGlow are CSA Certified—a testament of our devotion to both safety and convenience.
The PowerGlow is the best option for those searching for an electronic ignition system with user-friendly and convenient features. If you would like additional information about the PowerGlow Ignition System, please contact our team of experts by phone at (866) 578-8538, via live chat on our site, or by filling out our contact us form.
Main Image: Diagram of the components of an installed PowerGlow Electronic Ignition System.
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