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The Pros & Cons Of Using A Fireplace Log Lighter

 Jun 1, 2017    Fireplace Safety and Maintenance Guides, Gas Valve and Log Lighter Maintenance

The Pros & Cons of a fireplace log lighterIt's a satisfying feeling to see flames dance across fresh cut logs in your fireplace - especially if getting those logs lit was a quick and easy chore.  Those of us that burn wood, though, know that building a good fire can take time, patience, and a lot of kindling. Fireplace log lighters can be a convenient alternative to the classic fire starting practices. We've compiled a list of the pros and cons of log lighters to let you be the judge if one is right for you.

Before we continue, we have to ask - are you considering a log lighter but not sure what size you need? CLICK HERE to check out our blog article for log lighter sizing and installation!

 

Hearthmaster Cast Iron Log LIghter

Pro #1: The Prep

No twisting, crumpling, and stuffing papers between logs.

No splitting slivers of wood from your logs for kindling.

No need to make little fire starters from dryer lint and candle wax. 

Con #1: The Prep

In order to have a log lighter in your wood burning fireplace, you'll need to install a gas line to your fireplace. A natural gas or liquid propane hard line will need to be installed by a certified gas technician, adding to your initial prep costs, along with the materials for the installation: gas line, elbows, nipples, valve, key, flange.

Dante Liquid Propane Fireplace Log Lighter

Pro #2: Starting Your Fire

Just set the logs on the wood grate over the log lighter, turn the key to open the gas line, toss in a lit match, and the fire lights around your logs. After the logs have caught on fire, turn the valve key to close the gas line, and enjoy the crackling wood fire before you.

Con #2: Starting Your Fire

As with any gas product, we must caution you to carefully follow the operating instructions. For your safety, ensure that the gas line is fully shut off when not in use.  A fireplace grate is needed to hold your logs above your fire starter, preventing the logs from damaging it.

Dante Natural Gas Log Lighter

Pro #3: Using Your Fire Starter Pipe

Lighting fires the old way could take a long time. Just when you'd think your fire was finally lit, it would fizzle out and you'd have to start over again. With a fireplace log lighter you'll get strong flames immediately that will easily catch your logs on fire.

Con #3: Using Your Fire Starter Pipe 

Misuse of this product - by using it as a gas burner instead of a fire starter, can cause permanent damage to a zero clearance fireplace. It is unsafe to use the log lighter as a fireplace burner. It is intended to only be used for a short period of time - creating the flames needed to fully light the logs in your fireplace.

Stainless Steel Log Lighter

We hope we've helped you come to a decision whether a log lighter is right for you and your home. These are just a few of the pros and cons that we came up with. Do you know of any others? Let us know in the comments.

Last updated on September 10th 2019.

Comments

My NG log lighter pipe rusted through in less than 2 seasons. Can I replace it with a stainless steel pipe so it last longer? It’s 3/8” pipe and is 16” long.

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Hello Rick! Sorry to hear about your log lighter. Yes, it can be replaced with a stainless steel log lighter. Unfortunately, we don't currently carry the size you are looking for as all of our stainless log lighters have a 1/2 inch pipe. But if you contact our sales team, they may be able to help you find the size you need.
Please feel free to contact us with any other questions you may have at 1-877-373-6677!

How far should the fire starter be from the grate. If my grate is 3 1/2 from floor of fire place would about 2”s work?

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Hello Robert! We're so glad you asked us this important question. You have a great amount of clearance between the floor and your fireplace grate. Generally, hard pipe fuel lines are installed within an inch of the firebox floor, which is perfect for gas log lighters. These starter pipes, ideally, should be about 1 inch below your fireplace grate.

A couple more things to keep in mind: your log lighter should as close to the front of the grate as possible (depending on hard pipe configuration, this may difficult to achieve in some situations). Burner ports should be directed inward at a 30° to 45° angle. The air shutter on the mixing chamber should be facing outward.

For more safety and installation tips on how to properly install a gas log lighter, we have another terrific blog article to help you! Copy the link below and paste into your browser:

https://www.fireplacedoorsonline.com/how-to-install-a-gas-log-lighter-in-your-wood-burning-fireplace.html

I purchased this item a couple years ago.
Recently I noticed flame coming from the air/gas mixing valve when I light the unit. Is this a problem?

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Hi Nick! Thanks for asking your question. Sounds like the ports may be clogged and the entire lighter needs a thorough cleaning. It can sometimes be hard to visually detect any soot or ash build up that exists within the pipe. We have a great article called "7 Easy Steps for Proper Log Lighter Maintenance" that will walk you through the process of cleaning your fire starter pipe. Copy the link below and paste into your internet address bar:
https://www.fireplacedoorsonline.com/7-easy-steps-for-proper-log-lighter-maintenance.html

Per your recommendation, I purchased a replacement burner pipe which is 30" long vs the one I had which was 17". I used the same propane mixer. When installed, I got very little flame out of the holes in the longer pipe. Never a problem with the 17" one. It appears that the holes in the longer burner pipe are slightly larger (1/8" vs 7/64" - not exact). Is this normal and is this the problem?

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Another outstanding question, and thank you for asking, Jamie!

In this case, since your new log lighter is almost twice the size of your former one, we recommend double checking the gas pressure in your fuel line. With a longer fire starter that is running on the same amount of pressure as the smaller pipe, once the gas reaches the end of the pipe farthest from your fuel connection, it gradually decreases. When you light the gas, you'll notice a smaller and more uneven flame pattern than you are used to seeing. We highly recommend asking a certified gas professional to help you determine how much of an increase in fuel pressure you'll need for your new log lighter. Thanks for coming to Fireplace Doors Online for your gas log lighter concerns!

Thanks for the pros/cons list. How do I know what size of log lighter I should use for different fireplace sizes?

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Thank you for the excellent question, Jason! We recommend getting a gas log lighter that is as long as your fireplace grate is wide. Let us explain a little deeper.

Masonry fireplaces do not have a specific clearance from the edges of the log grate to the inside walls of the firebox. This means that the width of the log grate is up to the homeowner's personal preference. If their masonry fireplace opening is 37 inches wide, the homeowner may have a grate that is 36 inches wide, and it is perfectly acceptable to have a gas log lighter that is 36 inches long.

For wood burning zero clearance fireplaces, however, there is a rule of thumb when installing a fireplace grate and log lighter. If the opening is 36 inches, for example, the fireplace grate can only measure a maximum width of 24 inches. The gas log lighter must be no longer than 24 inches as well.

We hope this answers your question, Jason! For more information, please check out our blog article on how to install a gas log lighter: https://www.fireplacedoorsonline.com/how-to-install-a-gas-log-lighter-in-your-wood-burning-fireplace.html

Why aren't these required to have a thermocoupler to prevent someone from turning on the gas either by mistake or not knowing?

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Hello Butch!

Our log lighters are meant to be used solely as a fire starter. They are not designed to be run continuously. They must be installed by a certified gas professional in a wood burning fireplace (masonry or zero clearance) only. As a homeowner, one must be hypervigilant in making sure that the gas valve is turned off after starting the fire in your fireplace. A key is inserted into the wall or floor plate (also called an escutcheon) and maneuvered a quarter turn to allow the gas to flow into the log lighter. The gas is lit with a match. Once the logs that are suspended on a fireplace grate above the log lighter pipe are ablaze, the gas must be shut off.

Thermocouples are sensors that are used to measure temperature and are consistent with gas logs, fire pit burners, and other continuous running gas devices. Since gas log lighters are not meant to be used as a consistent fuel source, they are not equipped with this sensor.

Please feel free to contact us with any other questions you may have at 1-877-373-6677!
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