Gas Fireplaces – Should You Turn Off the Pilot Light in Summer?
Many homeowners who have gas fireplaces are unsure whether to turn their pilot light off for the summer. The decision is not without its pros and cons.
When a pilot light is turned off, residual gas molecules remain in the pilot tubes. These molecules contain mercaptan, which gives the gas its pleasant smell. Spiders are attracted to this smell and tend to build webs in burner tubes and pilot assemblies. This can clog the heating system and require professional help.
Many homeowners don’t use their fireplaces in the spring, summer and early fall. For them, turning off their pilot light is a good option. It can save money and it doesn’t cause any problems.
Gas fireplaces produce a small amount of heat when the pilot light is on. This extra heat can make your air conditioner work harder to keep your house cool. The cost of this extra heat can be a significant portion of your energy bill.
When a gas fireplace’s pilot light is turned off, there are still trace amounts of gas molecules in the burner and pilot tubes. This is because the gas companies add Mercaptan to their natural gas to give it that distinctive odor. Spiders are attracted to this smell and may build webs in the pilot tube of your fireplace. These webs can clog the flow of gas and require professional cleaning to get the system working again. This is another reason why some people choose to turn off their gas fireplace pilot light in the summer.
Leaving the pilot light on in summer can use up energy. While the small flame only produces a little heat, it still uses up some gas and causes your air conditioning to work overtime to cool the house.
Many homeowners believe that turning off the pilot light in summer can help to save money on their utility bills. While the pilot light only consumes a small amount of gas, it can add up over several months of not using your fireplace.
The small flame in a pilot light can create moisture inside the venting system, which can lead to rust and corrosion over time. Additionally, if the pilot light is left on, spiders can build webs in burner tubes and pilot assemblies, which can clog the system and cause it to malfunction. This is also a problem when you are trying to turn the pilot light back on in cold weather. The process can be difficult and may require the assistance of a professional.
Keeping your pilot light on generates a small amount of heat that can warm the glass doors and other parts of your fireplace. That extra heat can cause your air conditioning to work harder and cost more to cool the house.
Leaving the pilot light on can also create a filmy-white residue on your gas fireplace’s glass. This sulfur-based residue can become etched into the glass and require professional cleaning to remove.
Moisture can build up inside your pilot tubes, causing rust and corrosion in the gas system. This can occur during a humid summer or a rainy spring. This can cause a rotten egg odor that may require you to call a professional for gas fireplace repair. This can be prevented by turning off your pilot light during the summer. This will keep the moisture from accumulating.
It’s a good idea to turn off the pilot light when you aren’t using your fireplace in summer. Spiders love the eggy, sulfuric odor of gas and are often drawn to the pilot tubes and burners where they can build webs that block the flow of gas and make it difficult to ignite your fireplace when you need it.
When you shut off the pilot light, there are still trace amounts of gas molecules in the burners and pilot tubes. These molecules emit the same smell as mercaptan, a chemical that energy companies add to their gas to give it its distinctive odor. Spiders are attracted to the Mercaptan and will sometimes build webs in the pilot tubes and burners, which can lead to your fireplace not working when you want it to.
If you’re concerned about turning off the pilot light in your gas fireplace, consult with a professional and follow the instructions for your specific model. Depending on the model of your fireplace, it may be as simple as pushing the pilot knob to the “off” position.