Should I Turn Off My Gas Fireplace’s Pilot Light In Summer?
Many homeowners opt for gas fireplaces over wood-burning models because they’re easier to use, more efficient, and require less maintenance. If you’re new to owning a gas fireplace, you may wonder whether you should leave the pilot light on or turn it off during summer. Here’s our answer.
Understanding the Pilot Light
Before diving into whether to turn your pilot light off, let’s look at what the pilot light is. The pilot light is a flame that constantly burns in your gas fireplace. This acts as an ignition source for the main burner, allowing you quickly start a fire. Many new gas fireplaces feature intermittent pilot lights, but most have continuous ones.
Reasons to Turn the Pilot Light Off
The best reason to turn the pilot light off during summer is to conserve energy, especially now that prices are rising. Leaving the pilot light on consumes more gas, and it doesn’t make sense to pay for it when you’re not using it. Depending on gas prices in your area, the monthly savings may seem insignificant, but they add up.
The last thing you want in your home during summer is more heat. When the pilot light is on, it generates heat that can warm the surrounding area, including the fireplace’s glass doors. The added heat can make your HVAC system work harder, consume more energy, and run less efficiently.
Glass Door Maintenance
Leaving the pilot light can cause a white sulfur-based film to form inside the fireplace’s glass doors. This film can become etched into the glass if you don’t clean it and may require a professional to remove it.
Reasons to Leave your Fireplace Pilot Light On
It’s More Convenient
It’s safe to say that the weather is unpredictable, and you might want to light a fire on a chilly summer evening. This is easier and faster to do if you keep the pilot lit.
It’s common for spiders to build webs in burner tubes and pilot assemblies. The webs can obstruct the gas flow and cause the fireplace to malfunction. Some homeowners prefer to leave the pilot light on year-round to avoid this problem.
It’s easier to turn the pilot light off than to turn it back on. If you decide to turn the pilot light off, it’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to relight it. However, you can avoid this by leaving it on.
Gas Fireplace Maintenance Tips
While gas fireplaces don’t need as much maintenance as wood-burning models, they’re not a set-it-and-forget-it appliance. Here are a few tips to keep your system running efficiently and safely.
Perform a Visual Check
Once a month, inspect the unit for cracks in the glass doors or other damage that could cause harmful gasses to leak into the house.
Clean the Glass
Use a soft cloth and manufacturer-approved cleaner to clean the inside and outside of the glass doors.
Check the burner and Logs
Ensure the gas logs are positioned correctly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to avoid uneven burning or increased soot.
Check the Ventilation
If you have a vent-free system, ensure the room is adequately ventilated by cracking open a window to provide enough fresh air. If you have a direct vent system, check the outside vent to ensure it’s free from obstructions like bird’s nests, leaves, or trash.
Call a Professional
Even with routine inspections, it’s wise to call a professional to check the system and perform maintenance to keep it safe. Experts recommend annual inspections to check for gas leaks, faulty pilot lights, or other malfunctions.
About Fire N’ Stone
Whether you have a gas or wood fireplace, stove, or insert, you can count on our professionals for maintenance, repairs, cleaning, and more. Our technicians are fully certified and trained by the Chimney Safety Institute of America and the National Fireplace Institute, and we don’t subcontract any of our work.