I have a gas fireplace with a remote control plugged into an electrical outlet hidden below the fireplace unit. The remote control is old and not working, and I had thought about wiring up a switch instead by wiring the switch in place of the remote's leads. According to a fireplace tech, the remote box just acts as a short circuit between the leads.

Also there are other questions that mention needing specific milli-volt type switches.

Can I use normal romex/wire and 120V switch or is there something specific to high-heat situations and/or small currents?

2 Answers 2


A couple of alternatives to a 120V light switch:

  1. A good quality sealed gold plated electronic toggle switch. There's a lot of different kinds.
  2. A smart relay switch. EG ZWave or whatever you want. About $40, which is more than a bit of wire and a cheap light switch, but much less than a new fireplace remote and you would then have remote control from your phone and would not need to install a wall box as it would all go under the fireplace instead of the existing remote. Not a regular smart light switch, that would zap your fireplace with 120V but a "relay" or also called "dry contact" switch.

And ... by FAR the best thing about Option 2 is that combined with a taught Alexa skill you could simulate The Clapper. Instant romance!


Maybe. It really depends on the switch, old mercury silent switches I would say absolutely, why is there a difference?

Some snap switches have a contact resistance is two high to work on millivolt gas valves. So it is possible that a quality switch will work but some may not work. Now the even worse thing to warn you it may work today but not work in 2 weeks or when you really need the heat.

There is a trick that may clean the contacts if it works then quits or doesn’t work the first time, try turning the switch on and off a dozen times this may clean the contacts enough to work.

So a light switch may work but not all will and the reason they don’t work is usually high contact resistance.

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