Gas Heating Appliances: Should I Turn the Pilot Light Off?
It’s Summer: Should I Turn Off the Pilot Light of My Gas Heating Appliance?
Unsure how to best handle your gas heating appliance in the warmer months? As it turns out, the solution to whether or not you should turn off your pilot light off-season is not a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. The decision to turn off your pilot light should instead center around your goals, frequency of off-season use, and capacity to re-light the pilot when cool weather sets back in.
Reasons You May Want to Leave Your Pilot Light On
- Quick Access On Cool EveningsWhen nights are cool, you can more quickly and conveniently take the bite out of the air by leaving your pilot light in play.
- Pest PreventionSpiders are drawn to the chemical in gas companies add to give it odor (for safety). Unfortunately, even when the pilot is turned off, this odor remains. While spiders alone may not be a big deal, their nests can be, blocking burners to create difficulties with ignition later. If clogged bad enough, professional maintenance may be necessary, resulting in a service charge.
- Operator IgnoranceLet’s face it, we’re not all Tim the Tool Man. If you’re one of the many who doesn’t know how to relight your pilot, you may want to leave the pilot on. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying the gas company a minimal service fee annually for a re-light.
Reasons You May Want to Turn Off Your Pilot Light
For those committed to the annual fall maintenance to ensure proper operation – and a spider free environment – you may want to consider turning off your pilot light for a variety of reasons…
- Energy SavingsTurning off the pilot light off-season can save a substantial amount of gas – and money. Some 3-4% of fuel costs. Depending on the efficiency of your fireplace, this could add up to around $7-10/month for gas models, and as much as $24/month for propane.
- Cooling EfficiencyWhen your pilot light stays on, it continues to generate heat, albeit a smaller amount than your fireplace. Nonetheless, this is counterproductive to cooling needs, adding to HVAC use and expenses.
- Glass Door DamageThe flipside of spiders….. When pilot lights remain on for an extended time without running the main fireplace burner, a white (sulfur) film can develop on the inside of the glass. If not properly cleaned per manufacturer instructions, it could cause etching.
Do I Even Have a Pilot Light?
Unsure if you have a pilot light? Some newer fireplace models, such as the Napoleon Galaxy and the Regency Horizon, use an electronic ignition in favor of a pilot light for energy savings. If you don’t see the word ‘pilot’ on the control knob, you may not have a pilot light to turn off.
Have You Completed Annual Fireplace Maintenance?
Fall weather is closer than you think! Luckily, whether you need help replacing, installing, or maintaining your fireplace, Fireplace Warehouse ETC has you covered. Learn more about our convenient and affordable fireplace maintenance services today.