Fireplaces can be a chic centerpiece to any home, or a rustic addition that both adds to the appeal of a room and provides a source of warmth and comfort during colder weather. Regardless of what it's for, there are different types of fireplaces. Some are meant to be used with dry wood and are lit manually every time they're used.
Gas fireplaces however do not have to be lit manually every time they're used. Instead, gas fireplaces have a pilot light that is usually lit when the fireplace is initially installed. If it is blown out by heavy winds it does have to be re-lit. Fortunately, most modern gas fireplaces have an electronic pilot light that are easily ignited with the right steps.
Locate the Gas Control Valve
To light the pilot light, find the gas control valve. It is usually red or blue, but the location will vary depending on the type of fireplace you own. It might be behind the lower louvers, behind an access panel or in a compartment beneath the firebox floor. If you have trouble finding it, consult your homeowner's manual since it will likely indicate where the gas control valve is. Once you have found the gas supply valve, make sure your gas supply is on. When it is on, the handle should be parallel to the gas line.
Find the Igniter Button
After you have turned on the gas control valve, look for the igniter button. It is typically red or black and is located behind or below the logs in the fireplace. Push the igniter button. You should hear a noise as the igniter creates a spark at the pilot burner.
Examine the Gas Valve
After you have pushed the igniter button, return to the gas control valve. It should have one knob labeled "on," "off," and "pilot." Push the knob in, and then twist it counter-clockwise to the "pilot" position. Keep holding the knob in. Then, using your other hand, begin pushing on the igniter once every 10 seconds until a flame is visible. If your pilot does not initially light, wait five minutes and try again.
Once the pilot is lit, continue holding onto the knob for 30 seconds to make sure that the flame will continue to stay lit. Next, twist the knob counter-clockwise and return it to the "on" setting. Leaving the valve in the "on" position will keep your fireplace ready for being turned on quickly the next time you want to use it.
Fireplaces should be cleaned regularly after use. Too much soot and buildup can cause extra there to be extra smoke in the room when a fire is lit.
Not carefully cleaning or having a fireplace inspected regularly can also cause house fires if there's excessive buildup of flammable residue. Building from after a fire can be acidic which shortens the lifespan of the fireplace itself. And if it's not durable, any fire inside of it can eventually spread to other parts of a house.
Based in Phoenix, Ariz., Alison Miller has been writing news and feature articles for the past three years. Her articles have appeared in local publications such as the College Times, the Valley Sports Ledger and The Zonie Report. She is currently finishing her degree in journalism at Arizona State University.