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My builder installed a fireplace that has a pilot that is on all the time. I cannot get natural gas so I burn propane. It seems to burn a lot of gas. Can I change out the burner mechanics and upgrade it to an automatic pilot that will only burn gas when I turn on the fireplace? I also read on your site that most gas fireplaces have the always-on pilot. Why is this?
on November 9, 2012
Depending on the manufacturer and model of the fireplace, it may indeed be possible to swap out the millivolt valve for an electronic version. In regards to the standing pilot, the reason this is used so often is twofold. Standing pilot systems are reliable. Electronic valves require the use of several flame sensors and a circuit board. Because of this, they do not have the life expectancy of a millivolt valve. The other reason is that standing pilot valves use the pilot to generate their own electricity. As such, the unit does not require outside voltage to operate and will still function in a power outage. Only a few electronic valves have battery backups and these will only offer limited lighting capability.