Our gas fireplace has a switch on the wall as well as a gas control valve that needs an external key.

We had not used the fireplace in 5 years and called a plumber to get it to light. He put valve inside fireplace to pilot position then pressed red button no pilot came on. He repeated process multiple times.

Finally lit pilot with butane light with same valve in pilot position. Pilot is on and switch on wall turns fireplace on and off. Pilot stays on.

Should Pilot stay on?

  • 1
    You'd have to tell us something about the fireplace model. There are many types. Could be that the ignitor has failed. Could be that there's an electrical problem on the circuit.
    – isherwood
    Dec 8, 2020 at 15:47
  • Unfortunately we bought our condo 5 years ago and did not get any information on fireplace. I know the configuration. The fact that toward the front of unit there is a valve knob with the settings - on off pilot next to that is a red button that should send to the pilot unit that has what appears to be a tiny spark plug. One attempt when plumber was pressing red button a spark came out of the small spark plug. Could it be that components need cleaned of have I not given you enough info. We thought a plumber would have the correct knowledge.
    – Mary
    Dec 8, 2020 at 16:07
  • You may consider cleaning the fixtures and grate to see if there is any manufacturer info at all. Baring that, some pictures would at least help out. If you can't get an answer from the fine folks here for free, you may end up having to call a local gas fireplace retailer/service place - they'll have more in-depth knowledge of fireplace mechanics than a plumber, though kudos to him for giving it a go.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 8, 2020 at 16:25
  • 1
    Would you add a picture of the knob and button to your question? Dec 8, 2020 at 16:25
  • 3
    It does seem to make sense, in general, that if there is a pilot light, that it would stay lit all the time. That's usually what pilot lights are for - a small flame that's used to light the main flame when the time comes.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 8, 2020 at 18:51

2 Answers 2


In almost every case you have a gas valve with “pilot” and on yes the pilot stays on. This is normal, the quantity of gas is very small. The air in the line had to be purged and because the flow is low it took a while so none of what you described was out of line. If it’s summer and you don’t plan on using the unit turn the gas to the off position with the yet and save a little and no additional heat from the pilot.

  • "turn the gas to the off position with the yet" yet what? :) With the valve?
    – FreeMan
    Dec 17, 2020 at 17:57
  • That was supposed to say key , the gas valve had a key , big fingers and spell check when using my phone.
    – Ed Beal
    Dec 17, 2020 at 20:14

Yes, the pilot light should stay on. That's what it's for. It might cost you about a dollar to leave it on all year since it uses such a small amount of gas.

You can turn it off in the summer, if you don't plan on using the fireplace.

However, when you light it in the fall, keep it running until the end of the season. The reason for this is that it produces a small amount of heat that keeps the airflow running out of your chimney.

If the chimney gets too cold in the dead of winter, it can take a while for the airflow to reestablish itself when the fireplace is on. This means your exhaust can potentially stagnate in the chimney and enter the room, possibly causing Carbon Monoxide poisoning. [Source: Gas Fitter who installed my fireplace when I told him my wife wanted me to restart the pilot every time instead of letting it run]

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