Project Guide

How to Light a Gas Fireplace

Preparing to Light a Gas Fireplace
A person removes the glass screen from in front of a gas fireplace.

Before you light a gas fireplace, make sure you’re familiar with the unit. If the system involves opening a gas valve with a fireplace key, you’ll probably need a long match or lighter. When learning how to turn on a gas fireplace without a key, confirm that the unit has a control panel with an igniter switch. 

  • Remove any fireplace decoration that’s in the way. Control panels can usually be found at or around the base of the fireplace, concealed by a decorative screen that should be moved. 
  • If you’re using a fireplace key and your fireplace has a front cover, remove it completely and set it aside to access the burner. 
  • If the control panel’s pilot knob is not already in “Off” position, turn it off and wait about five minutes to allow lingering or excess gas to clear out. 

Tip: No matter what type of gas fireplace you have, open the chimney vent before starting a fire, just as you would with a wood-burning fireplace. 

Lighting a Gas Fireplace With a Control Panel
A gas fireplace control panel includes a red igniter knob and a control dial.
  • Confirm that the control panel is accessible. 
  • Find the pilot knob, which should have the options “Off,” “Pilot” and, in some models, “On.” 
  • Turn the knob from the “Off” to the “Pilot” position. 
  • Push in the pilot knob, which manually sends gas into the system. 
  • Push the igniter button once every second until it lights. Depending on how long it’s been since the gas fireplace was last used, ignition may take multiple attempts. 
  • After the pilot lights, keep the pilot button held down about 15-30 seconds to warm up the thermocouple and ensure that the flame stays lit. Different units may recommend slightly different durations for how long to hold down the button. 
  • Release the pilot knob. If the flame stays lit, rotate the knob to “On” position. 
  • Adjust the flame to the desired position with the “High/Low” switch or knob, if available. 
  • Reattach the cover or screen over the control panel. 

Tip: Make sure the unit’s emergency gas valve is open. It should have a knob or switch that can be turned on, usually by turning to be in line with or parallel to the gas line. 

Lighting a Gas Fireplace With a Key Valve
A product shot of a gas fireplace key and decorative slot.
  • This type of fireplace has a round, decorative slot for controlling the gas valve. Locate it near the fireplace, usually to the immediate left, right or on the floor. 
  • Get the matching fireplace key (sometimes a hex key). You should store this either close to the fireplace or a convenient location with the rest of the fireplace accessories.
  • Place a long lighter next to the burner and pull the fuel trigger. (You can also use a lit match.) You may need an assistant if the slot is out of reach from the burner.
  • Turn the key in the slot to open the gas valve. You may hear the hiss of gas entering the burner. The pilot should light immediately. 
  • Replace the cover. 
  • Use the key to control the height of the flames. 
Using a Wall Switch to Turn On a Gas Fireplace
A person pushes a wall switch to control a gas fireplace.
  • It’s easy to know how to turn on a gas fireplace with an electronic ignition wall switch. Many gas fireplaces come equipped with a wall switch control panel for activating the unit and adjusting the level of the flame. Simply push the “On” button and the pilot should ignite. 
  • If the flame does not ignite, you may need to ignite the pilot at the fireplace itself using one of the above methods. Check the instruction manual. 
Turning Off a Gas Fireplace
A person turns off a gas fireplace at the control panel.

After winter has passed, you may not need to use your fireplace for months. Even without a fire going, a standing pilot light uses a minor amount of fuel. Knowing how to turn off a gas fireplace valve can reduce your gas bill. 

  • If the fireplace has a control panel, turn the control knob to “Off.” The emergency gas valve should be closed or turned off as well. 
  • If the fireplace has a key control, insert the fireplace key in the slot and turn it until the valve closes and the pilot goes out, cutting off the gas supply.

Knowing how to light a gas log fireplace is a matter of following the instructions for your hearth products while being as safe as possible.