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Old 2010-01-15, 01:57 PM   #1
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Question Gas Fireplace Electric Start

We have two fireplaces (new house) controlled by wall switches. Is there anyway to turn on the fireplaces during a power outage.
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Old 2010-01-15, 02:38 PM   #2
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those switches are millivolt switches, you will have flame with or without power. IF you have a fan kit then you would not have those working during a power outage..
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Old 2010-01-15, 03:09 PM   #3
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Thanks TKG26. If I am not mistaken though, the control at the fireplace is in the on position, so how do I override the electric switch?
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Old 2010-01-15, 03:12 PM   #4
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Our fireplace has spot for 2 "D" cell batteries in case of a power outage. This allows for the fireplace to work - of course no fan. We just put the batteries in when needed, we don't leave them in there all the time.
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Old 2010-01-16, 06:18 PM   #5
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SLAMMER:If your fireplace is being controlled from the switch on the wall there is nothing else you need to do. ITs not a 120V circuit. All that switch is doing is acting as a remote switch doing the same job that the switch on the actual fireplace is doing. So in a power outage your fireplace will run just as it does now. nothing to over ride.

dabell: Do you have a hand held remote that you can control your fireplace with? IF so that is a receiver under the fireplaces holding those D cell's
Some fireplaces come with the receiver (ON-OFF-AUTO) and if they include the remote you set it to AUTO to have remote control. Again your fireplace should operate in the event of a power outage as fireplaces use a self generated millivoltage to control the burner.
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Old 2010-01-16, 10:42 PM   #6
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Slammer, I had a Napoleon fireplace installed in a house I built 6 years ago. It had a wall switch, but it also had a piezio-electric start button hidden behind the bottom grill, just like the ones used to start BBQs. Check your manual, or open the grill to look for it.

Mine could not be turned on from the wall switch during power outages. I had to use the manual start.

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Old 2010-01-16, 11:11 PM   #7
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my post above are under the assumption that you have your pilot already lit.
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Old 2010-01-17, 01:16 PM   #8
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To expand on what TKG is telling you. Your fireplace pilot burner is always on, it's heating a Thermopile which is just a thermocouple that produces a higher voltage than a thermocouple. The thermoplile is producing approximately 750 millivolts. This is all the power needed to activate and run the gas valve. All they have done is wired in the wall switch you're referring to in series into that circuit so you have a more convenient way of turning off the flame other than going and opening up the control panel on the fireplace. As stated, the wall switch has to be rated for a millivolt circuit, otherwise you can have issues due to the higher resistance of some switches. The only thing that is wired into a 120v circuit is the circulation fan if you have one installed.
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Old 2010-01-17, 05:25 PM   #9
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Could also be the case with the one I had. But I turned off the fireplace pilot light April through October because we could tell it cost us approximately $4.00 per month to have it on. Normally, you wouldn't know this, but the only gas appliances we had were the fireplace and the cooktop, no gas hot water, and no gas furnace. It was pretty easy to estimate the cost by doing a month-by-month comparison of the year we left it on vs. the year we turned the pilot off during the warmer months.

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Old 2010-01-18, 08:10 PM   #10
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My fireplace has no pilot - electronic ignition, thus the need for the battery.
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Old 2010-01-19, 10:01 AM   #11
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Thanks for the responses but I am still confused.

First, to confirm, the pilot is on and lit. I am assuming from the responses that I would be able to manually turn the flame on. The part that I don't understand is that the control at the fireplace is already in the on position thus I can't manually turn the flame on.

Hopefully this makes sense.
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Old 2010-01-19, 10:17 AM   #12
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SLAMMER: By the control do you mean the actual gas valve? IT will have a knob that reads OFF-PILOT-ON if your pilot is lit and the gas vavle is ON then all you need to do to control the actual main burner is turn on the light switch on the wall. This will work with or without power to the house..

The burner operation of your fireplace does not require any power to the house(similar to natural draft water heaters)

dabell: what make and model do you have. I have actually seen such a model once in the field. a very rare model im sure.
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Old 2010-01-19, 10:17 AM   #13
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If the pilot is on and the fireplace valve is "on" at the fireplace, there is usually a switch on the wall to turn the fireplace on or off (that's what you stated in post 1). What we are saying is that this switch will still work during a power failure.

We also stated that, if there is an electrically powered fan to force air through the unit, this will not function, so the only heat will be radiant heat.

(Some people have thermostats in place of wall switches and those would function if they are manual or have battery backup.)
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Old 2010-01-19, 10:48 AM   #14
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OK thanks for all your help; I am sure I tried the wall switch when the power was out last time but maybe not.
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Old 2010-01-19, 10:53 AM   #15
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Light switches are often an issue. See the topic discussed in the following thread:

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/show...60#post1003160
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