How to Use a Gas Fireplace

Having a gas fire can add coziness, convenience and a visual focal point to any room or home.

But, how do you use it?

I’m afraid there is no one-size-fits-all answer here, but hopefully, this article will help to give you a better idea.

How to Use a Gas Fireplace

What is a Gas Fireplace?

As the name probably suggests, a gas fireplace is a fireplace that runs on gas. Traditional fires will usually require either wood or coal as a fuel source to generate heat, but with a gas fire all you need is a steady gas supply. Many homes already have this. If you have a gas cooker, you have a gas supply. You will also have a gas supply if you heat your home with a boiler.

Unlike wood or traditional fireplaces, gas fireplaces do not produce smoke. Because you are not burning wood, there is no carbon or organic matter to create the smoke. As a result there is no need for a chimney, as the pipework will already be in place for excess gas to escape.

You may notice some gas fireplaces feature logs or coals but the truth is, these logs or coals are only there for purely aesthetic reasons. They don’t burn and simply give the illusion of a traditional fire.

Types of Gas Fireplace

There are several different types of gas fireplaces, and some individual models could fall into more than one of these categories. But, by knowing the different types, you’ll have a better idea of how they operate and what they often require.


Uses air from inside the home to fuel the fire and vents it outside via a chimney

Direct Vent:

Uses a single exterior opening to both expel waste gases, and bring in clean air.


It burns so cleanly that there is no need for waste gases to escape


Boxes that slide into existing fireplaces


They do not need to slide into an existing fireplace


The flame is visible from multiple sides. Not just at the front


Gas fires built and designed for outside use.

Benefits of a Gas Fireplace

Some people may prefer gas fires to wood fires. Obviously each has its own pros and cons, but let’s look at the benefits of a gas fire below.


With a wood fire, the temperature is inconsistent. With a traditional fire the temperature will rise and fall depending on the type of fuel you burn, the volume you burn, and also the oxygen supply. With a gas fire, the heat is constant. It will only rise or fall if you make the relevant adjustments.

Lack of Maintenance

Another benefit of a gas fire is the lack of fuel, and as a result the lack of labor required to stock and restock the fire. Most wood fireplaces require you to know how to set it up, organize the wood correctly, adjust the valves properly, and make sure the chimney is ready. But with a gas fire, generally all you need to do is turn it on.

Cosy Effectiveness

It’s also generally cheaper to run as gas bills are traditionally lower than the price of firewood and easier to clean as there is no smoke to stick to the walls.

Greener Option

Gas is generally considered the cleanest of all fossil fuels, and this is pretty visible when comparing a gas fire with a traditional fire. One produces a clean flame with very little smoke waste. The other (traditional fire) will produce large volumes of smoke, gas and black reek depending on the fuel source.

Why “How to Use a Gas Fireplace” isn’t the right question

“How to use a gas fireplace” is a bit of an odd question as, unlike with normal fires or wood burning stoves, each gas fireplace can operate in a slightly different way due to different manufacturers, designs etc.

However, every gas fireplace will have an ignitor of some kind. Most gas fireplaces will come with a user manual, which will tell you how to use your specific brand of gas fireplace.

If you don’t have a user manual, find out what kind of ignitor your fireplace uses. Use Google to find how to use a fireplace with that kind of ignitor.

But, if your gas fireplace uses a “piezo spark ignitor”, the following instructions will be helpful to you.

How to Use a Gas Fireplace

The three main types of gas fireplaces are a control panel, a key, or a remove/wall switch. Here is how to set up each of them.

How to set up a gas fireplace with a control panel:

1. Remove the control panel screen to view a contraption made of knobs and pipes.

2. Look for one knob that has the words “On”, “Off”, and “Pilot” on it. This knob is called the “Control Knob”. If it’s currently set to “On”, move it to “Off”, and leave it for five minutes to allow the lingering gas to escape. To change the setting like this, you will need to simultaneously push down and twist.

3. Next, look for the “Gas Shut-off valve”, which looks like a lever. Make it parallel to the pipe so that the gas flow is open.

4. Then twist the control knob, so it’s set to pilot, and hold it down to start the gas flow.

5. Press the ignition until the fire lights up. It might take 5 or 6 pushes before you notice any fire. But don’t let go of the knob just yet. Keep holding it for another 45 seconds to keep the gas flowing.

6. After 45 seconds, let go of the knob and turn it, so it’s set to “on”.

How to set up a gas fireplace with a key:

1. Remove the outer cover to access the burner.

2. Find the keyhole. It should be a small, round slot, either in front of the fireplace or on the wall.

3. Place your fireplace key into the slot and push it until it locks.

4. Turn the key counter-clockwise to start the gas flow.

5. Light the pilot burner. The pilot burner looks like a tube with an opening. Check your fireplace’s user manual if you’re unsure what that looks like.

How to set up a gas fireplace with a wall switch or remote:

Fireplaces that turn on via a wall switch or remote work similarly to a gas oven. They use electricity to light the flames. All you need to do here is press the “on” button or turn the switch on.

How to adjust the flame size of a gas fire with a control panel:

If you use a gas fireplace with a control panel, you can adjust the flame size using the control knob. If you want to make it bigger, turn it to the left. Or, turn it to the right to make it smaller.

Make sure you only twist and don’t push. It will go from “On” to “Off” if you push”.

How to adjust the flame size of a gas fire with a key:

A gas fireplace that uses a key works similarly to one with a control panel. Left for bigger. Right for smaller.

How to adjust the flame size of a gas fire with a wall remove:

With wall switches or remotes, controlling flame size varies from model to model. Sometimes, there is a dimmer by the fireplace. Sometimes, you control it via the remote. Sometimes, you simply can’t. Check your user guide or manufacturer instructions.

Gas fireplace safety

As we’ve said, gas fires can be excellent additions to any home but they can also be dangerous and a potential fire hazard just like traditional wood fires.

Generally, they’re much safer but remember to make sure to have a clearance zone free from combustible or flammable materials. Generally this zone will come in the form of a hearth, and avoidable materials will include wood, paper, aerosols and electrical goods. Despite the more controlled nature of a gas fire, they are still fires, and they can still prove dangerous without the proper respect and preparation.

Remember as well to ensure the screen barrier (usually made of glass) is adequately attached to the unit and always remember to install carbon monoxide detectors, so you’ll know if there is a gas leak.

Gas fires can be safe, accessible and compact alternatives to traditional fireplaces or wood burning stoves. We hope this helps and for everything else home heating, stick with