A commonly asked question among fireplace owners centers around proper protocol in terms of turning off the pilot light on your gas fireplace, since homeowners are not likely to use their fireplaces during the approaching summer months. There is generally concern focused on safety, finance and overall care of the specific unit. Although each unit and situation is different, there are a few common particulars that universally address these concerns. If your pilot light is still on in the dead of summer, that’s okay, but it’s not too late to reap the benefits of turning it off. Here are three reasons why timing is critical to turning off your pilot light:
This overall concern is usually prompted by a general apprehension regarding safety. Fireplace and homeowners want to ensure they are properly using their unit to avoid injury, mishap or property damage. Common concerns include: When the unit is not in use, is the continual expenditure of gas safe? If I shut down the pilot light, are trace amounts of gas still being emitted into the air of my home?
Although gas fireplace units do not require a period of rest, making the decision to completely shut down your unit has its advantages.
- The amount of gas emitted into your home by a unit with a standing pilot (a set of gas logs, or open gas fireplace), is by no means dangerous; however, that assumption is based off of proper ventilation. When shutting down this type gas appliance for the season, it is recommended that owners leave their dampers open for proper ventilation. Shutting down the gas completely allows gas unit owners to close this damper avoiding the minor pitfalls of an open damper (leaks, critters becoming roommates, and drafts).
- Second, some consumers have concerns for gas leaks and other gas related issues (such as explosions) surrounding the downtime of gas fireplaces. There is no need for such concern, since gas products are completely safe even with a pilot burning; most sets are equipped with safety pilot systems, which completely stop the fuel flow if the pilot goes out. Even so, turning the unit off completely eradicate these issues from being a concern.
Gas fireplace products that meet industry standard and are installed properly by professionals are completely safe. Individuals who choose to keep the pilot lit for impromptu use of their unit over the summer months can rest assured that doing so is completely harmless with regular system checks and inspections to ensure the unit is operating properly.
Finance is the second overall concern. Home and fireplace owners want to know if there is a financial obligation associated with the continual operation of a gas unit. Technically speaking, the answer is yes. As long as the unit is in operational mode (whether it is being used or not) there are small amounts of gas and even smaller amounts of electricity (in some cases, depending on the unit type) being used. However, on a general scale this amount is very minimal. The amount you save can range from pennies to dollars depending on the particulars of your device.
Lastly, owners worry about the overall upkeep of the unit. Will turning my gas on and off damage my unit in any way? Does the unit need a moment of reprieve when it is not being used? Rest assured, modern fireplace units are sturdy devices. Where it is not advised to shut the unit off and on, on a daily basis, shutting the unit off for an extended period of time will not cause harm. They are built to last and withstand wear and tear. However, turning off the device during the off-season can prolong the life expectancy of certain parts of the unit. For example, the thermocouple, which measures temperature and works with the activation of the pilot’s flame, has a limited life expectancy. Continual operation of the unit decreases its life span. Turning the pilot off at the end of the heating season will prolong the life expectancy of the thermocouple, saving money in repair and/or replacement costs.
Overall, there is no mandatory time to turn off your gas unit. However, if there is an extended period of time where you are not using your unit (i.e. the summer months), it can be beneficial for safety, savings and the overall maintenance of your device.
Chadds Ford Fireside Shop can help you determine the best products for your situation and is centrally located between Glen Mills and Chadds Ford, PA. We are on Route 202 close to the Delaware/PA state line. We service the Main Line, Montgomery County, Delaware County, and Chester County. Call Chadds Ford Fireside Shop at (610) 358-9355 or stop by today.