When it comes to home improvement and repair, handling gas can make even seasoned DIYers nervous. We can show you some basic plumbing instructions for fireplace gas log lighter installation, but please remember that improper installation can be very dangerous. We always caution our customers to consult with a certified gas technician when working with gas lines. It is always safer to leave it to the professionals, ladies and gentlemen!
"How do I know which size log lighter to get?"
Before installing your gas log lighter, it’s important to know which size you need for the job. Usually, the gas log lighter should be the same length as the width of your fireplace log grate. However, even a smaller starter pipe will do the trick since its sole purpose is to light your fire wood. Remember: once the logs are burning, the gas flow should be shut off.
Depending on the type of fireplace you have, clearance from the log grate and starter pipe to the walls of the firebox play a role in determining what gas log lighter size you need.
Masonry fireplaces do not require a minimum clearance. This means that the width of the log grate is up to the homeowner's personal preference. For example, if the opening of your masonry fireplace is 37 inches wide, you may choose a log grate that is 36 inches wide and so technically your gas log lighter can be 36 inches long. Typically, though, we recommend a 3 inch clearance on all side of the fireplace log grate, so it’s better to go with a smaller gas log lighter in this case.
For wood burning zero clearance fireplaces, the distance between the grate and the walls of the firebox is important! For example, if the back width of the fireplace is 37 inches wide, the fireplace grate can only measure a maximum width of 31 inches. The gas log lighter must be no longer than 31 inches as well. If you aren’t sure what size you need, use our chat with us feature! We’d love to answer your questions and help you pick the perfect gas log lighter.
If you aren’t sure what kind of fireplace you have, check out our guide on fireplaces and fireplace doors!
Now you’re ready to install your gas log lighter!
We get a lot of questions from our valued customers about installing log lighters - from contractors to the regular homeowner, so we made an infographic to help with gas starter pipe installation in a wood burning fireplace. We’ve also created detailed instructions for both a wall mount and floor mount for your gas log lighter installation.
Whichever installation method you choose depends on your own preferences and the layout of your fireplace. For some homeowners it’s easier and neater to do all of the plumbing in the floor.
- We recommend a certified gas technician install all gas components.
- Make sure to use a natural gas log lighter if you'll be using natural gas, and propane log lighter if you will be using propane. It is imperative that you DO NOT interchange these two.
- A log lighter should only be used in a wood burning fireplace.
- A log lighter is not meant to be used as a gas burner, running continuously as a fire for your fireplace. It is only to light the logs on fire, then to be turned off.
- Fireplace code states that all shut off valves must be within 6 feet of the opening of the fireplace. The reason for this is if there is a gas issue within the fireplace, you can quickly reach the gas shut off valve. Have your certified contractor evaluate your home to determine pipe lengths.
- Gas controls should never be installed inside the firebox.
- All piping MUST be hard black pipe - NOT flex line.
- Always use a log grate over your log lighter, keeping the logs and main fire off of your gas starter pipe. We recommend installing the log lighter within 1 inch below the log grate. Floor clearance should be similar to minimize the change of ash accumulation that could lead to blocked burner ports.
- The log lighter should be installed on the front of the grate to minimize flame impingement, meaning the logs resting on the grate should not be resting directly over the flames. The burner ports should be directed inward at a 30° to 45° angle with the air shutter on the mixing chamber facing outwards. (The shutter is the little silver "flap" on most models that indicates the fuel type - NG for natural gas; LP for propane.)
- Wood stoves and wood inserts (a prefab unit that slides into a pre-existing fireplace) cannot have log lighters installed. Log lighters can only be installed in zero clearance or masonry wood burning fireplaces.
- Universal Log Lighter - Has a hole on the end and on the side, so if your gas line comes up from the bottom or from the side of the fireplace, this log lighter will be able to attach to it easily.
- 1/2" Straight Gas Ball Valve (Angled Valve Could Work Too)
- Escutcheon (Flange) & Key
- 2 1/2" Male Threaded Gas Nipples
- 2 1/2" Male Threaded Gas Pipes
- 2 1/2" Female Threaded Gas Elbows
- Pipe Tape
For this weekend DIY project you’ll also need some basic home tools, like a drill, pencil, notepad, and measuring tape. The length of your pipe and nipples will be determined by you or the contractor and depends on how far from the wall your fireplace sits, how far from the fireplace your valve will be, etc. You will need a long pipe going from the valve to your main gas line in the house as well as a gas valve kit.
You'll also need to map out where you will be putting your gas lines. When you install the gas lines you'll need to drill a hole big enough to fit a 1/2" pipe through the interior side of your fireplace.
From this point, we will assume you know the basics of running line through the floor or wall.
We won't go through a step by step of how to get to these areas and how to drill holes through studs, etc, to hold your pipe. If you aren’t sure how to run line through your floor or wall, it’s best to pause your DIY fireplace project to avoid doing any damage to your home. If you have experience in this, keep reading!
- Start by turning off the gas to your home. Make sure your firebox is completely free of any debris.
- Connect the log lighter starter pipe to the 1/2" male nipple and slide the nipple from the inside of the fireplace through the hole you drilled. (All other work will be done outside the fireplace). Remember to make sure the burner ports are facing inward at a 30° to 45° angle, and that the air shutter on the mixing chamber is facing outward.
- Connect the male nipple to the female elbow. For the floor mount, here is where you will turn the elbow to face downward. For the wall mount, turn the elbow facing toward the wall.
- Connect the female elbow to the male threaded gas pipe. This pipe should be long enough to take you down through the floor or all the way into the wall, depending on application.
- Connect the male threaded pipe to the female elbow. This will now turn your gas pipe so it is headed in the direction of your main line.
- Connect the female elbow to the male nipple.
- Connect the male nipple to the straight ball valve.
- Connect the other side of the straight ball valve to the gas pipe going to your main line.
- Add your valve flange to your straight ball valve.
Once you’ve completely finished installing your gas log lighter, it’s important to have a certified gas technician check your work! After all, for the safety of your family and to avoid damage to your property, it’s important to ensure that the installation is correct. Once you’ve got the okay, turn on the gas and enjoy your new gas starter for your wood burning fireplace!
Check out our blog post, ‘The Best Fireplace Accessories and Log Lighters’ to see what else you can do to make your fireplace spectacular!