How Do Gas Fireplaces Work?

lit gas fireplace

Many homes now have a gas fireplace installed instead of a traditional wood fireplace. Gas fireplaces have gained popularity in light of concerns about air quality.


A gas fireplace has a metal insert that holds log replicas. Underneath these logs is a pilot light that is connected to a gas line. In many cases, this pilot light is constantly lit, similar to a pilot light on a gas stove or on a gas water heater.

Usually, there is a key to the side of the fireplace that controls the flame inside. Twist the key and the flame turns up, increasing the heat that radiates from the fireplace. When you are finished reading, warming yourself, or otherwise enjoying the fireplace, use the key to turn the flame back down until only the pilot light is burning.

Small homes with contemporary gas fireplaces can use them as a primary source of heat, although it is recommended that a thermostat also be installed for safety.


Gas fireplaces are considered a safe and energy efficient alternative to traditional wood fireplaces, especially since they have a lower impact on air quality.