What are my options for gas fireplace controls?

When purchasing a gas burner system for your fireplace, you will find that you have an abundance of options for ignition and controls. These options may seem confusing at first, but the choices essentially come down to your ignition source and how much control you will have over the flame.

Match Lit (Only available for Natural Gas): For manual match lit burner options, there is no standing pilot light (a standing pilot light is a flame that stays lit while your fireplace is not in use). Every time you want to light your fireplace, you will need to manually turn up your gas (usually with a manual key valve or other handle), and light the burner with either a match or long lighter. The only control you will have over your flame is to manually control how much gas is getting to your burner by turning the key (or handle), thereby roughly controlling the size of the flame and allowing you to turn off the gas and flame completely.

Safety Pilot System or Standing Pilot (Available for Natural Gas or Liquid Propane): A safety pilot kit is a type of standing pilot light. If for any reason your pilot light is extinguished (due to wind, a draft, etc), the safety pilot system will automatically stop the flow of gas from your fireplace pipes. This safety mechanism will prevent gas from flowing into your house. Some automatic safety pilot kits come with a remote and receiver to allow for wireless control of your flame height, heat output, and pilot light. Basic safety pilot kits have three settings:

OFF: Turn the knob to this setting to extinguish your pilot light.

PILOT: This setting will keep your pilot light lit for ease of use (this setting is also used to light your pilot).

ON: Turn the knob to this position when you would like to use your fireplace, and gas will be sent to ignite your burner.

Electronic Pilot System or Non-Standing Pilot (Available for Natural Gas or Liquid Propane): An electronic pilot system does not have a standing pilot. Most electronic pilot kits have flame-sensing pilot activation, and allow you to light your fireplace burner with the touch of a button from your wireless remote. Because there is no standing pilot, the pilot is only lit when your fireplace is in use.


Katrina McBreen