There are a few reasons why some gas fireplaces always have a flame. The first reason is that the heat from the fireplace may not be enough to keep you warm, and having a flame will help provide more warmth. Another reason is that sometimes there can be drafts in your home, and these drafty areas need to be heated up as well so they don’t feel cold on your skin.
If you’ve ever seen a gas fireplace, chances are it had an always-on flame. Why do some gas fireplaces have this feature? It makes sense to turn on the flame for ambiance and aesthetic purposes, but why does it stay lit even when there is no one home? There are many benefits to having an always-on flame in your fireplace. Let’s explore four of them below!
Do Gas Fireplaces Always Have A Flame?
Not all gas fireplaces have a flame. Some models are designed specifically to eliminate the risk of actual flames from reaching too high, as this may damage the fireplace and/or surrounding items or combustibles. This is why some gas fireplaces always produce an imitation of a flame without any risks!
Ignition Systems for Standing Pilot Gas Fireplaces
- Standing pilot (SP) gas fireplaces are manufactured to offer efficiency.
- Some do not light without the right equipment installed.
- The standing pilot is a small flame that constantly burns to allow the gas valve to open.
- This allows for continuous operation of the fireplace.
- Industry Standards: NFPA 54, Natural Gas Fuel Systems Code and UL 737 Standard for Safety Valve Performance Test Codes.
- An ignition system is required for the standing pilot to light.
- This equipment includes a spark generator and pilots igniter, as well as thermocouple modules or other electrical components that work together to produce a flame.
- The gas valve will not open unless the proper signal from these components is received.
- NFPA 54 requires three methods of ignition.
- The first is pilot light, which provides constant flame for the burner to ignite properly.
- Fireplaces that do not have standing pilots will still require an electrical or battery operated ignition system even if they are non-catalytic and vented through a sidewall.
- UL 737 Standard for Safety Valve Performance Test Codes is a standard that ensures the safety of gas appliances.
- This includes fireplaces too, and it provides ratings to indicate which standing pilot ignition systems will work with them safely.
Electronic Ignition Systems for Gas Fireplaces
Most gas fireplaces have electronic ignition systems for starting the flames. Typically, these take the form of a wall switch or remote control to start and operate the fireplace. The technology behind this type of system is fairly simple:
- A sensor in a small burner tube detects a flame signal from an igniter rod within the primary burner channel
- When no heat is detected, the system sends a signal to shut off gas flow and extinguish the flame. Electronic ignition systems for fireplaces work by sending an electrical current through two electrodes (electrical contacts), causing them to heat up enough to create a spark between them that will ignite natural gas or propane in the fireplace burner tube. The initial start-up spark ignites a pilot light which heats up the main burner to full operating temperature.
Once the burner is up to temperature, an electronic device sends a signal to turn off the pilot light and send gas flow through the main burner.
- Pilot Light: A small flame that burns continuously before ignition of the main fire. Some models have two pilots which are lit simultaneously while others only have one pilot with both included for safety purposes.
- Igniter Rod: A piece of metal that glows red hot when electricity is passed through it, igniting the natural gas or propane in the fireplace burner tube.
- Electronic Ignition System for Fireplaces: This type of system uses a sensor to detect if there is no heat being emitted from the fire so it can automatically turn off the gas supply. This gives you peace of mind when there are children or pets around as it will not send a constant stream of gas to your fireplace, which could lead to an explosion if any flames ignite this flow.
- Electronic Ignition Systems for Gas Fireplaces: Most models have electronic ignition systems that allow you to start the flames with a simple switch or remote control.
- Electronic Ignition Systems for Fireplaces: This type of system works by sending an electrical current through two electrodes (electrical contacts), causing them to heat up enough to create a spark between them that will ignite natural gas or propane in the fireplace burner tube. The initial start-up spark ignites a pilot light which heats up the main burner to full operating temperature. Once the burner is up to temperature, an electronic device sends a signal to turn off the pilot light and send gas flow through the main burner.
- Manufacturers of gas fireplaces work hard to make sure their products meet stringent environmental protection standards. That’s why they use advanced technology and sustainable materials, such as steel-lined glass instead of plexiglass or fiberglass which can emit hazardous gases when burned.
- Manufacturers of gas fireplaces are constantly looking for ways to improve their product, making sure that the gas fireplace you purchase today is as environmentally friendly and safe as possible.
- Safety Tips
- If you have never had a gas fireplace before, it is important to know all of the safety tips. Not only do these appliances look beautiful but they are very safe as well if used properly. While some people may think that their homes are safer because there aren’t any open flames burning in them, this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you are not careful, a gas fireplace can be just as dangerous and cause some damage to your home if used incorrectly.
- The first safety tip that you should know is to always keep your fireplace doors closed. Even if the fires not lit, it is still important for them to be kept shut as much as possible so no one gets hurt by touching them and burning themselves. If children are around the home at all times of day, this must become a habit and they must be taught not to touch them at any time.
- The next safety tip is that you should always have a carbon monoxide alarm installed in your home where the fireplace is being used. While most homes are required by law to have these alarms, it never hurts to check and make sure yours does before using it for the first time. If you find that it lacks one, now is the time to contact a local plumber and have them install one as soon as possible.
- The final safety tip for those of you who are using gas fireplaces instead of wood burning ones is to never use any sort of lighter fluid on your fires. While this may seem like an easy way to get your fire started, it can actually cause a lot of damage to the overall fireplace and will not allow for any sort of safety with the appliance.
- There is a specific valve on the fireplace that allows you to open it and light your fire without any sort of lighter fluid being used.
- If you find that this valve is not working properly, it may be time to contact a local plumber and have them come out right away. This can cause some major issues with your fireplace if not taken care of quickly enough!
FAQs about Gas Fireplaces
What is a gas fireplace?
A gas fireplace, also called a fake fireplace, consists of an indoor box containing burners that produce heat. They are often used in homes and apartments to create the look of warmth without having any kindling or wood involved. Some units can be connected directly with your HVAC system, which means they can heat your home in the winter and keep it cool during the summer.
How much heat do gas fireplace put out?
They generally produce between 25,000 and 80,000 BTUs. Some units can also be adjusted to create more or less heat depending on the season. During summer months when you want your home cooled down quickly, a simple twist of a knob will cool off your room almost immediately!
How do gas fireplace work?
Most gas fireplace systems come with a remote control and digital display. The heating unit is placed behind the firebox, which creates an updraft of warm air to spread throughout your space. They are very easy to install – one person can complete this task in about half an hour! All you need is a clear space to place the unit. The flames are real, but they are simply an optical illusion created by lighting effects in front of a sheet of glass – no gas is involved!
What makes wood fireplaces better?
The fact that they produce actual heat and can last longer than other models. Wood burning bricks will only need to be replaced every few years while decorative logs may need to be changed out annually.
How much maintenance do gas fireplaces require?
Every year or two, it's a good idea to have your unit serviced by an expert technician who can inspect the system for any issues and perform necessary tune ups so you don't run into any problems.
How much do gas fireplaces cost?
Typically, you should expect to pay about $400 for a standard unit that comes with realistic looking logs and flames. There are also more elaborate models available if you prefer the look of hand painted murals or stone work on your fireplace facade! However, these can be quite expensive and cost as much as $1000 depending on the design.
What kind of warranty do gas fireplaces come with?
Most units will have a one year limited manufacturer's warranty that covers parts and labor. If you run into any issues within this time period, it is recommended to contact the place where you purchased your unit for assistance.
Why do some gas fireplaces always have a flame?
There are three main reasons this occurs: the unit may be in defrost mode, it could need its filter cleaned or there is an electrical issue with your home's wiring. If you see flames when the fireplace isn't on and no heat is being produced then the problem is more than likely with your home's wiring. If you see flames when the fireplace isn't on and no heat is being produced then it may be in defrost mode – this will turn off automatically after 20 minutes.
Are gas fireplaces safe?
Yes, if installed by a licensed professional they are perfectly safe to use in your home. There are a few things to keep in mind when using them though: Make sure you have an adequate air supply for combustion and that the flue is open before operating – this will prevent carbon monoxide from building up! Keep away from any objects or materials that can burn quickly such as curtains, furniture, decorations, etc. Always have your unit inspected by a professional once per year to ensure there are no leaks or other issues that could potentially start a fire – do not attempt to repair it yourself!
When should you use gas vs wood fireplace?
If you don't want the hassle of having to buy logs and deal with the mess that comes along with burning wood then a gas fireplace is ideal. However, if your house gets colder than normal and you need some extra heat during those cold winter months it's best to use a wood fire pit as this will be more efficient at producing warmth.
Are there any disadvantages of having a gas fireplace?
Although they are very efficient at producing heat, gas fireplaces can be quite expensive to run and you will need a dedicated outlet for it. In addition, the flames aren't as aesthetically pleasing compared to real wood burning fireplaces – if looks are important then this is something you should consider before purchasing!
What types of material do gas fireplaces burn?
Gas fireplaces burn natural gas or propane – both of which are considered to be environmentally friendly. Many models come equipped with an option for adding liquid bio ethanol fuel that can be used during the colder months when you need extra heat in your home! This type is often more expensive but it will help keep your house warm and you won't have to worry about running out of gas!
How long do gas fireplaces last?
In most cases, a properly maintained unit can be expected to operate for up to 20 years or more. If you take care of your fireplace and have it serviced once per year by an expert technician there is no reason why this shouldn't be the case!
How do you clean a gas fireplace?
It is recommended that you have your unit professionally serviced by an expert technician at least once per year to ensure everything is functioning properly. This includes having any parts replaced or cleaned as necessary. It's also important to make sure there are no obstructions in the flue which can cause carbon monoxide to build up.
What is the difference between a gas fireplace and wood burning fireplaces?
Gas fireplaces are very efficient at producing heat, however they don't come with any of the mess that comes along with using real logs! Wood burning units produce far more warmth than their gas counterparts so you shouldn't rely on them to keep you warm during those cold winter months – opt for a gas fire pit instead!
While some gas fireplaces are always on in order to keep the flame going, others have a switch that you can turn it off or down if desired. It is important to have a gas fireplace that you can turn off because it will limit the amount of gas being used and your bill for heating. In addition, if there are small children or pets in the house, turning down the flame will keep them safe from harm as they cannot accidentally touch anything hot on top of it.