The Great “Pilot” Debate


Most fireplaces, free-standing stoves, and log sets have a standing pilot. The great debate is whether to leave a standing pilot on all year or turn it off for the months that the appliance is not going to be used.

For the Pro argument, leaving the standing pilot on all year means that whenever you feel like using your fireplace, it’s ready to go at the press of a button. Whether you lose power, or just feel like taking the chill off, it’s ready when you are. From the maintenance perspective, it’s recommended to have the pilot on all the time. By keeping the pilot on, it keeps moisture out of the firebox. Moisture can be attributed to corrosion of the burner, pilot assembly, thermocouple and thermopile. Also, the amount of heat generated keeps insects out of the firebox during the “off’ season.

On the Con side, by leaving the pilot running, you are using between 5 – 7 gallons of propane per month. The savings however, may be offset by any maintenance issues caused by turning the pilot off for months at a time. There is a higher risk of corrosion in the firebox area, including the burner and pilot assembly, i.e., pilot flame, thermocouple and thermopile.

There is no right or wrong answer of course, it’s up to you to choose what is best for you.

filed under: General, Service