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How To Install A Gas Log Lighter In Your Wood Burning Fireplace

Learn how to install your new fireplace log lighter!

 Dec 9, 2016    Do It Yourself, The Great Indoors

                                                                                           

                                       How A Gas Log Lighter Is Installed In Your Wood Burning Fireplace                             

With a Gas Log Lighter you can take the hassle out of starting a fire in your wood burning fireplace. You may have been considering adding this home convenience for sometime. We understand that changing your fireplace setup and anything GAS can cause hesitation.

Adding a Gas Log Lighter to a fireplace is one of the most popular upgrades for fireplace owners. It really does save you time so you can spend more time just enjoying the fire. Here we explain the facts about adding a Gas Log Lighter to your Wood Burning Fireplace, so you can have peace of mind in adding this easy home feature. This information may seem like a lot of work but for an experienced Certified Installer this is a pretty easy home improvement project.

                                                        neat fireplace firebox image

 

We give you some basic pointers on how the installation is carried out, as an accompaniment to your product install instructions and to give you an idea of what your Certified Gas Technician will do. We understand that this may seem like a DIY'er project, BUT IT IS NOT.

It is always recommended and in most places required that you consult with and hire to install a Certified Gas Technician when working with gas lines and drilling into your fireplace. Most places require that at least a Certified Technician work on gas lines, but many also require a permit to alter those gas lines and an inspection after the work has been completed. Which is a good thing we think given both how safe gas products can be when done properly and how volatile they are when something goes wrong.

                Before you purchase or have installed your new Gas Log Lighter be sure you know the following:

                                                                          1. I have a wood burning fireplace approved for a Gas Log Lighter.

 

                                                        A mix picture of fireplaces for reference

                                                       2. I know which type of heating gas I will use for my Gas Log Lighter.

                                                        Link image of a fireplace with roaring fire

                                                        3. I have a fireplace grate with the proper clearence to install my Gas Log Lighter.

                                                        Mix image of fireplace grates for link reference

 

 

Now that you are sure this product is right for your type of fireplace we walk you through the steps you can take to help your Certified Gas Installer, quick tips and helpful hints, and general safety guidance while using your new Gas Log Lighter.

                                                                         ;                  Under the Grate

All Gas Log Lighters are designed to work under a grate. Not under a pile of wood. So, you’ll need to have a grate or choose one for your fireplace to work with your new Gas Log Lighter.

                                                            A fireplace grate link

If you plan to buy or update your fireplace with a new grate too, there are differences in which grates can be used for different fireplaces. And some safety concerns with the zero-clearance fireplaces if you aren’t using the correct size grate. You can learn about choosing the correct grate for your type of fireplace here.

                                                                                      The Gas Log Fire Starter Pipe

The second choice is the Gas Log Starter Pipe, the main function pipe. You will choose which Gas Log Starter Pipe based on which type of gas you will be using. On our Gas Log Fire Starter Pipe page you can check the side choices, shown here below, and all of the correct units for your gas type will be shown. So, you don’t need to look around for the correct Gas Log Starter Pipe gas type once you are on the correct page.

                                                                                    liquid propane graphic for reference Natural gas graphic for reference

       

                                Fuel type graphic for shopping reference

 

 

The other choices shown for construction pipe type are steel, cast iron, and stainless steel, all work the same and are all personal preference choices.

Your Gas Log Lighter Pipe should be no longer than the grate in your fireplace. It can be shorter than your fireplace grate, keeping in mind that along the pipe is where your flame will be, so even a pipe that sits mostly from the install side to half your grate will start your fire fine.

The Gas Log Lighter can’t ever be longer than your fireplace grate. It also must be installed centered under the grate. Right in the middle of your grate - under the grate. See the picture:

                                                                                         wood grate with centered gas log lighter for reference image

Please reach out if you have questions about which length of Gas Log Lighter Pipe to choose or your new fireplace grate. We can explain the options and send you several choices from our product catalog.

The Hardware Choices

 After you find the perfect for your fireplace Gas Log Lighter you’ll have other choices of hardware that work with your unit. They are your key, your escutcheon, a quarter turn ball valve, and the pipe sealant. Each of these options are matched to work with the Gas Log Starter Pipe you choose on our pages. And are offered as add-ons for those who just need a new Gas Log Lighter Pipe.

                                                                                                    Where should it all go?

You already know now that your Gas Log Stater Pipe should be installed directly under and perfectly centered under your fireplace grate. But we have more hardware that needs to be installed.

So, the choice of a wall install or a floor install will depend on first your fireplace and your home layout. You may not have a choice, and your installer will explain the best place. But if you do have a choice, then there is no difference other than your personal preference as to where the escutcheon is installed.

The Turn Offs

Make sure everyone who uses your Gas Log Starter Feature knows that they must shut it off once the wood fire is lit. Show them the two shutoffs. The ¼ turn ball valve will be within 6 feet of the fireplace. Then find the throttling valve that controls the burner flame nearer the fireplace to shut off.

YOUR SHUT OFF KEYS:

 

Choose a place within 6 feet of your fireplace to keep your shutoff keys. Make sure anyone who uses the gas log lighter features knows where they are. And make sure everyone understands that they need to always be kept in the same spot for easy access, always.

                             YOU MUST TURN OFF YOUR GAS LOG STARTER UNIT ONCE YOUR FIRE HAS STARTED

                                                      An easier Way to a Rolling Fire

Your new Gas Log Lighter will take the down on your knees in front of the fireplace trying to get the logs going ordeal out of your life. These Gas Log Lighters are a super popular home feature because they really work, saving you time and frustrating energy when you just want to relax in front of the fire.

You should know though, that you do need to light the gas on your new Gas Log Lighter. As of now, there are no approved electric or spark starts for these. And we get many questions as to if this is a feature or when it will be a feature.

We are keeping our ears to the wind and can let you know as soon as we hear that these functions are approved. You can sign up for our All Things Fire and Home Newsletter and when this happens it will be headline news from us to you.

                                                                         Newsletter link image

 

As with most pilot light or fire lighting actions, it is recommended that you use a long, very long match or a hand held long battery operated lighter. The battery operated hand held lighters are very inexpensive and most allow you to purchase a refill without having to buy a new unit. You will need to keep both away from your fireplace, hearth, or firebox. A good rule is to keep them with your key since you have found a great place six feet away for that important tool too.

                                                   A very long wooden match

                                                  A reference graph showing an battery powered hand help lighter

                                                                                                                       HOW TO:

 

Light either your match or hand held lighting device holding them near your ON ports. Then turn on the gas. DON’T turn on the gas and then light your device or match. Here again, it is important that everyone who will use your Gas Log Lighter knows the correct order. And we want to add that as with any fire started in a fireplace, you want to be caddy corner to the fireplace or leaned away from the fireplace when your fire starts. Never leaning into it.

                               How Much Maintenance Will My New Gas Log Fire Starter Unit Need?

The number one thing you can do to keep your new Gas Log Lighter healthy and in operation for a long time is cleaning out the ashes and debris that will fall under the grate. The ashes fall directly onto your fire ports, so this easy step is recommended for after every fire, which we know only the most dedicated may do. But, don’t go more than a few burns without cleaning the firebox. And read the care instructions that will arrive with your new Gas Log Lighter, they supersede any information here, which is given as in general information.

You should visually check over your new Gas Log Lighter at least once a month, just to see that everything looks in order. If you use your fireplace a lot or say through the winter then this check could be once a week. These are minimums, you can certainly check more often.

If in the use of your Gas Log Lighter you feel the turn is different or something else is working in a way it wasn’t before, then it would be good measure to have your technician back out to check it out.

                                                                                                                    Who Ya Gonna Call?

                                                                No DIY reference image for working on liquid propane lines                    No DIY reference image for not working on natural gas lines

Below we outline the basic steps that are taken in installing your new Gas Log Lighter. While we are outlining this for you we want you to know that many localities require a Certified Gas Technician, an NFI Gas Certified Installer, or other credentialed professional in your area to do this work.

As we have mentioned some localities require a permit to work on or install gas lines. So, with that we will lay out what you need to know with pictures too and what you can source in on hand materials for the Certified Gas Professional you choose.

                                                                                             Some basic safety instructions:

We recommend a certified gas technician install all gas components. Each city and state has different requirements from none to very strict. And you should consider hiring someone who is licensed as it could affect your home insurance if they are not covered or licensed to work in your area.

Make sure to use a natural gas log lighter if you'll be using natural gas, and a propane log lighter if you will be using propane. It is imperative that you DO NOT interchange these two. We hope you choose one of our new units and that you know that you have the right Gas Log Starter for your gas type.

But, if you found this page after picking one up at a yard sale or auction and aren’t sure if it is correct, you can try to find a maker's name or number and search the type. If in the end you still aren’t sure we would recommend buying a new unit since they are low cost and there is no price to the peace of mind you’ll have.

A log lighter should only be used in a wood-burning fireplace. We know most of you know now exactly what kind of fireplace you have. But if you are someone who skimmed on all those words up there, now would be a good time to give them a pursuing.

A log lighter is not meant to be used as a gas burner, it can not run continuously as a fire for your fireplace. It is only to light the logs on fire, then to be turned off. Be sure everyone in your home knows this. And if you or someone forgets, for a few moments simply turn it off as you normally would. Some people who are new to the Gas Log Lighter have bought noise or egg timers to be sure they don’t forget to turn it off, only until turning it off becomes old habit.

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. As we said several times, you’ll want to be sure everyone knows where the key is and that the key must stay in the same exact place. And be sure your installer is licensed and insured.

Gas controls should never be installed inside the firebox. Your Certified Gas Installer will know this, but just to repeat, the controls are not heat resistant and can not be placed near the heat, flame or inside your fireplace.

Some people have noted that gas fireplaces have turn valves inside the firebox, gas powered fireplaces do not generate heat in the same way or volume that wood fireplaces do. The full gas fireplaces set the controls away from the heat and flame, even though they are closer than your unit can be to the firebox.

All piping MUST be hard black pipe - NOT flex line. There are safety concerns across all gas construction with flex line. You need a hard black pipe. This will be easy to differentiate from the garden hose like flex line.

                                                                               A reference image for not using flex pipe with a gas log lighter

Always use a log grate over your log lighter, keeping the logs and main fire off of your gas starter pipe.

                                                           wood grate with centered gas log lighter for reference image

Your burner ports should be checked often, which can easily be done as you stack your firewood now and then. Cleaning your firebox of ash is a good habit to start for both the Log Lighter and your quality of wood burn. You can also extend the life of your Gas Log Starter dramatically by cleaning out the ashes after each burn.

                                                                                        Burner ports reference image for a gas log lighter

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.

This really isn’t as complicated as it sounds, but I created a picture because pictures really do explain things easily. You will quickly remember where your Gas Log Lighter ports are and you will want to add your wood so there is enough space for air to feed the fire into the wood while the flames are able to reach the wood pile. Not packed in thick like sardines, but carefully laid in wood for a good and easy fire start.

Once you know how your fire starts best with your fireplace-firebox, your grate, and your new Gas Log Starter, you can add the logs the same way each time for an even quicker fire start up.

 

The burner ports should be located such that the burner ports are facing inwards at 30-45 degrees, with the air shutter facing out towards the front. (The shutter is the little silver "flap" on most models that indicates the fuel type - NG for natural gas; LP for propane.)

This again, is something that your Certified Gas Installer will automatically do. So you are in the know too, you want the ports facing inwards at those degrees so they are directly hitting the logs with the fire points more pointed toward the inside firebox, not out toward you. Since you centered your starter directly under the grate holding the logs the ports can both get air and directly contact the logs safely.

Make sure the flue is open before you start the lighting process. Adjust the air shutter until you have sharp blue flames with yellow tips. Fire is often described in living terms because the environment and outside forces, like you, control how a fire reacts while burning. This is true for your Gas Log Lighter too, one day you may need to adjust the air shutter a lot to achieve the blue flames with yellow tips, other days the flame is correct as soon as you start it.

                                                      Blue flames with yellow tips reference image for a gas log lighter

What you don’t want and never need are huge blazing fire flames from your Gas Log Lighter, this isn’t how it works to start the fire. It works on the bottom wood up. A large flame will willy-nilly catch the wood on fire and you will have a fire but not a good constant burn from your log pile. Making adding wood a little harder, and something you would need to do more often.

Wood stoves and wood inserts (a prefab unit that slides into a pre-existing fireplace) cannot have log lighters installed. Gas Log Lighters can only be installed in zero clearance or masonry wood-burning fireplaces.

Yes, here is this information again. Because we know as often is the case, someone may tell you that they did something that was not allowed or recommended and it has been fine.

We say, it may not have caused a problem yet, but that doesn’t mean it is okay. And if there is an issue their home insurance will most likely question what happened or something much worse could happen. Here again are our best picks for a quicker starting fire for those who can’t install a Gas Log Lighter.

                                                         You can view our extensive Gas Log Lighter parts and units page at the image link below.

                                                            Image of link to gas logo lighter page

                                    Supplies Your Certified Technician Will Need To Install Your Gas Log Starter:

You can keep on hand for you Certified Gas Installer some basic home items, like a small drill, pencil, notepad, and metal measuring tape. This list is most likely not everything they will use but are good items to have handy and to let them know you have purchased already. Along with your Gas Log Lighter parts which are shown below and offered with the option to include when you choose your Gas Log Starter Pipe. So your installer can confidently know everything works together and your installer will choose the gas nipples, length of piping, and the connecting elbows as needed for your specific fireplace install.

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

                                             The Hard Work Side to Many Easy Fire Starts

Below we line out each of the steps the installer will take to properly install your new Gas Log Lighter.

This is just an’ in general’ install layout and your unique firebox-fireplace may have more or less steps.

1.Before your installer arrives you should sweep out all ash and gather any debris from your fireplace so it is ready for your install. You should also have ready your fireplace grate.

2. The installer will start by mapping out how and where your new gas line will run and will also need to drill a hole big enough to fit a 1/2" pipe through the interior side of your fireplace.

3. Then they will start by turning off the gas to your home.

4. Then they will 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 drilled. (All other work will be done outside the fireplace).

5. The burner ports should be located such that the burner ports are facing inwards at 30-45 degrees, with the air shutter facing out towards the front. (The shutter is the little silver "flap" on most models that indicates the fuel type - NG for natural gas; LP for propane.)

6. Then they will connect the male nipple to the female elbow. For the floor mount, here is where they will turn the elbow to face downward. For the wall mount, turn the elbow facing toward the wall.

7. The next step is the connection to 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 the application.

8. The next connection is the male threaded pipe to the female elbow. This will now turn your gas pipe so it is headed in the direction of your mainline.

9. Then the next connection is the female elbow to the male nipple.

10. And the last nipple connection is the male nipple to the straight ball valve.

11. Your install is almost finished with the connection to the other side of the straight ball valve to the gas pipe going to your mainline.

12. The last addition is your valve flange to your straight ball valve.

Once everything is installed standard install practice is for the installer to test out the working functions with nothing in the fireplace. But first they will check each connection and the lines with either a leak detector product or other approved leak check solution which will create bubbles if there is a leak. Once it is all squared to safe and a go, then you can add your grate and fire wood and operate your Gas Log Lighter for the first time. Since this is a new added life convenience, your first start and shut off should be while your Certified Gas Installer is still present. They will go over everything you need to know about your unique fireplace and Gas Log Lighter.

                                        Image graphic of how a gas log lighter can be installed

                                                  Important General Use Information For Your Gas Log Lighter

This is not an all inclusive list and does not supersede or replace the directions in your product manually. This is a general, but important guide, only.

If you have read this far, and we hope you have, then you know we repeat some of the information just so you will know how important it is. Some of this below is new information and some that we touched on above we explain in more detail here.

YOU MUST TURN OFF YOUR GAS LOG STARTER UNIT ONCE YOUR FIRE HAS STARTED

Turn the gas valve off after your fire has stated. THEN - Use your key in the escutcheon to turn off the gas.;

           Do not leave your key in the escutcheon.

Use the 5 seconds - 5 minutes rule from one of our manufacturer’s: If the burner does not light within 5 seconds, turn off the gas, wait 5 minutes. Then try again.

Close the MESH SCREEN on your fireplace after you light the Gas Log Lighter.

YOU MUST TURN OFF YOUR GAS LOG STARTER UNIT ONCE YOUR FIRE HAS STARTED

          Keep your glass fireplace doors open while the Gas Log Lighter is catching the wood on fire.

Your Gas Log Lighter may POOF on as all the ports light with gas. Anyone who has lit a stove top with a tiny delay in the fire starting knows this sound. If you haven’t experienced this it can be very surprising.

If this occurred while you lit your new Gas Log Lighter under the supervision of your Certified Technician they also may have said it is a common occurrence. It is a common lighting occurrence with Gas Log Lighters and why leaning out and away from where you are lighting the ports is so crucial.

But if your unit was not doing this and suddenly your Gas Log Lighter is poof-ing all the ports on then you should have your Certified Technician out to look it all over. Turning your gas valve on gradually can sometimes reduce this phenomenon.

      The burner pipe should be made of steel or cast iron piping only, and will need to have an air shutter.

    You must be sure the pipe penetration is properly sealed through the side firebrick or refractory.

      For Parents, Grandparents, or anyone with small children at home or visiting often.

Keep your Gas Log Lighter key in the same designated place all of the time. If you have small children, this space should be out of their reach for both the key and the matches or battery operated hand held lighter.

Fire is, well fun, we should know selling all things fire. But if your home does have small children it is best not to show them any of the matches or the hand held lighter. The quickest words and actions can spark a child's imagination and curiosity.

And we’ve seen many a grown man find a lot of joy in clicking the flame off and on with a battery operated hand held lighter. (Do women do this too, perhaps but we haven’t seen it around here. No need to write to us if you have. We believe you from here.) For everyone it is best not to do that when the little ones are under foot and to treat all fire with the respect it needs and deserves. Also, they are never too young to learn that the fireplace is a no play zone.

We are here if you still have questions about your new Gas Log Lighter. We can answer all product questions and material we offer.

Because all fireplaces are a little different and each home is unique, we can’t offer much in specific help on your unique install or other fireplace usage problems. We can, though, give you our advice if buying something new is the right course or if you need to contact a local professional for your issue. We also have a photo form if you want to be absolutely sure on the type of fireplace you have.

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Last updated on March 12th 2021.

Comments

I moved the log lighter a few feet I used copper designed for natural gas. The gas line going into the fire box is still black iron. It is only copper at the valve. Will this be OK? I tested it and it works

FDO SUPPORT:
As long as you have rigid black pipe come into the fire you will be ok. From there you can use copper, or stainless flexpipe to the gas log valve.

I have a Temco fireplace in my home. It was installed when we bought the house in 1997. I believed it was a gas only fireplace. Speaking with a neighbor the other day, she said that she had the same fireplace and that she only used the gas to start the fire. I was amazed! I said, "You mean I can burn wood in my fireplace"? She said, "Yes"! How can I be sure, and won't burn down my house?

**********

Log lighters are very safe to use in a wood burning fireplace. A gas line can be installed in this fireplace style, which allows you to connect a log lighter to the hard pipe gas line that enters your firebox. You can then utilize your starter pipe to ignite your logs. Once the wood is burning, the gas must immediately be shut off. Log lighters are not meant to run continuously - only to start a fire. Allowing the log lighter to stay on will definitely cause serious damage.

Please make sure that your Temco Fireplace is indeed a wood burning fireplace, and NOT a gas burning fireplace. A Temco fireplace is a zero clearance fireplace, meaning it was factory built and not constructed with your home (which would have made it a masonry fireplace). Factory built fireplaces can be either wood or gas burning. While you neighbor has good intentions, he/she may have a fireplace that is completely different and just assume that yours is the same. To be on the safe side, we recommend having a gas contractor come to your home and evaluate the firebox.

Have a masonry wood burning fireplace with a ceramic fire starter, valve with key and pipe installed to outside. Before I purchased the house, remodeling was done and the piping to the outside wall was capped off. I would like to reconnect, but only to a small BBQ propane cylinder (this is because of limited usage in Florida winters). First, is it ok to do this and second, what materials would be needed (elbows, pipe and hose connectors)? 
***********
Anything with gas should be handled by a licensed installer or plumber. There are different codes that need to be followed. It shouldn't take a plumber long to run a new line to where you want it.
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