hand igniting gas fireplace pilot light with lighter

How Do You Light Pilot on Gas Fireplace: A Step-By-Step Guide

When it’s time to kindle the heart of your home, many of us might find ourselves wondering how to light the pilot on our gas fireplaces. We’re here to demystify the process and provide you with a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to safely and effectively get your gas fireplace up and running.

Whether your fireplace operates with a control panel or a key, we’ve got you covered. By the end of our ‘How Do You Light Pilot on Gas Fireplace’ guide, you’ll have the knowledge to light your pilot like a pro.

But what if the pilot light doesn’t stay lit? Well, stick with us to find out.

Key Takeaways

  • Gas fireplaces have different types and components, such as a gas valve, ignition, and control panel.
  • Lighting the pilot on a gas fireplace can be done through a control panel or with a gas valve key.
  • Knowing how to light a gas fireplace and carrying out regular maintenance is crucial for its proper functioning and efficiency.
  • Troubleshooting common issues with the pilot light, such as checking the gas supply and thermocouple connection, can help resolve problems.

Understanding the Basics of Gas Fireplaces

How Do You Light Pilot on Gas Fireplace featuring a Hand igniting gas fireplace pilot light with lighter.

Before learning how to light a pilot on a gas fireplace, it’s important to understand the basics of gas fireplaces, their components, and their operation.

Different types of gas fireplaces exist, including those with a key, a control panel, and others. The components of a gas fireplace include the gas valve, ignition, wall switch, and more. The standing pilot light is the heart of your gas fireplace. It’s a small flame that stays lit continuously, ready to ignite the main burner and create a cozy blaze when you’re ready to use your fireplace.

How to Light the Pilot on a Gas Fireplace with a Control Panel

Hand adjusting gas fireplace control panel with lit pilot light

Understanding the basics of how gas fireplaces come with a control panel, let’s now focus on the steps to light the pilot.

First, locate the control panel, usually situated behind a flip-down or slide-out cover at the bottom of the fireplace. Identify the pilot control knob and turn it to the ‘off’ position. Wait for about five minutes to allow any accumulated gas to dissipate. This is an essential safety step.

Turn the pilot control knob to the ‘pilot’ setting. Then, hold the control knob down. This action allows gas to flow to the pilot light assembly. While still holding the control knob, press the igniter button. This should light the pilot. For this type of fireplace, you may need to press the ignitor button a few times before the pilot lights up.

Once the pilot is lit using the ignitor, continue to hold the control knob for about a minute, or 15 to 30 seconds to ensure a decorative flame. This allows the thermocouple to heat up and start regulating gas flow. Release the knob, and turn it to the ‘on’ position.

Lighting the Fireplace Pilot Light on Gas Fireplaces with a Key

Hand turning key in gas fireplace control panel with pilot light

If your gas fireplace uses a key, the process of lighting the pilot light is a bit different but still quite simple.

First, locate the gas valve, which should be somewhere near the fireplace. The gas valve key, a tool used to control the flow of natural gas in gas appliances, is the tool you’ll use to control this valve. Insert the key into the slot of the valve, ensuring it’s properly seated.

Next, find the pilot position. It’s typically a small button or switch located near the gas valve. Once you’ve found it, turn the key to the pilot position. While holding the key in this position, press the ignition button. You should see a small flame – that’s your pilot light.

Once the flame is stable, slowly turn the gas valve key to increase the gas flow, making the pilot light larger.

Tips for Lighting the Pilot Light During the Summer and Other Seasons

Gas fireplace with glowing pilot light and seasonal icons.

For those homeowners with a gas fireplace, understanding how to safely light the pilot during different seasons, particularly summer, is crucial for maintaining efficiency and safety. Being aware of when and why we need to tweak the flow of gas due to seasonal changes is a game-changer in maintaining gas fireplaces. It’s necessary to consider different weather conditions when turning on the gas. Precautions are especially important during extreme temperatures to prevent any mishaps.

Innovative maintenance methods can help us ensure that our fireplaces and pilot lights function optimally throughout the year. Adapting to the seasons isn’t just about comfort, it’s about embracing change, optimizing performance, and ensuring longevity of our home devices. So, let’s keep our homes warm, safe, and efficient, no matter the season!

How to Troubleshoot Your Fireplace Pilot Light

Understanding how to troubleshoot common issues can keep our homes warm and safe. Here’s a simple table that breaks down the most common issues, possible causes, and potential solutions:

IssuePossible CauseSolution
Pilot won’t lightGas supply is off, control knob isn’t on pilotCheck gas supply, set control knob to pilot
Pilot won’t stay litThermocouple is loose or faultyTighten or replace thermocouple
Pilot stays lit, but main burner won’t lightGas supply to main burner is offEnsure gas valve to main burner is open
Odd flame color or shapeAir shutter needs adjustmentAdjust air shutter; if persists, call a professional
Soot buildupIn gas fireplaces, accumulation of soot can interfere with the flow of gasRegular cleaning of the access panel; if severe, consult a professional.

Can the Method for Checking a Pressure Switch on a Furnace Be Applied to Lighting a Pilot on a Gas Fireplace?

When trying to light a pilot on a gas fireplace, the same method for a furnace pressure switch check can be applied. Start by ensuring the gas valve is in the “on” position. Then, locate the pilot light assembly and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for lighting it.


We’ve walked you through the essentials of lighting your gas fireplace pilot light, whether it has a control panel or a key. We’ve also shared tips for different seasons and troubleshooting ideas to prepare you ready to light your fireplace.

Remember, safety is always paramount. If you’re ever unsure or uncomfortable, always consult a professional. Enjoy the warmth and ambiance of your fireplace.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I light the pilot on my gas fireplace?

To light the pilot on your gas fireplace, start by locating the gas valve and switching it to the “pilot” position. Then, press and hold the ignition button while lighting the pilot with a match or lighter. Once the pilot is lit, continue holding the gas valve in for about 30 seconds to allow the thermocouple to heat up. After that, release the gas valve and the pilot should remain lit.

What are the steps to light a gas fireplace?

First, locate the gas supply valve and turn it on. Then, find the wall switch or use a fireplace key to turn on the gas. Next, access the pilot light by removing the fireplace cover. Once the pilot is accessible, follow the specific lighting instructions provided by the manufacturer. After lighting the pilot, you can turn on your fireplace and adjust the flame to your desired level.

Can I light my gas fireplace if I smell gas?

No, if you detect a gas leak or smell gas near your gas fireplace, it’s crucial to avoid lighting it. Instead, immediately turn off the gas supply at the gas shut-off valve and contact a professional to inspect and repair any gas leaks before attempting to light the fireplace.

How do I know if I need to light the pilot manually?

If you know how to light your gas fireplace after it has been turned off for an extended period or if the pilot light on this type of fireplace has gone out, you may need to light the pilot manually. Refer to your fireplace’s user manual for instructions on how to manually light the pilot to ensure safe and proper ignition.

What should I do if the pilot light on my gas fireplace won’t stay lit?

If the pilot light won’t stay lit, it may indicate a problem with the thermocouple or a blockage in the gas line to the main burner. In such cases, it’s best to contact a qualified technician to diagnose and fix the issue to ensure the safe and proper functioning of your gas fireplace.

Lucy Dearing

Greetings! I'm Lucy Dearing, passionately immersed in the world of home improvement. Together with my husband, Danny, we strive to create spaces that are both delightful and practical. We believe in offering accurate and transparent advice, engaging with our readers on a journey to bring their dream homes to life. Trust us to guide you every step of the way.

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