Let’s talk about your gas fireplace. There are two types of ignition systems, standing pilot or millivolt and electronic ignition. In the millivolt systems, the pilot can be on 24/7; if that’s what you have, you’re all set! However, most new gas fireplaces, stoves, and inserts have electronic ignition systems with multiple pilot modes.

These systems have two modes for your pilot light: Intermittent Pilot Ignition (IPI) and Continuous Pilot Ignition (CPI). For those of you who have an electronic ignition system, it’s time to put your fireplace in continuous pilot mode. Not only does CPI make your appliance easier to start in the cold, there are other benefits:

Benefits of Continuous Pilot Mode


A fire burns in a FireplaceX 6015 gas fireplace with glass burner media and driftwood logs. Installed in Hiwan in Evergreen, CO.


Continuous Pilot Maintains Draft in Your Chimney

Keeping your pilot mode set to continuous during the colder months helps maintain a draft in your direct-vent gas system. Direct vent gas units are sealed systems and do not mix air with your living environment. This means that when it’s cold outside, the firebox of your fireplace is colder than the interior of your home. A hot flue is a happy flue. It is easier for a fireplace to ignite and better for the components when the pilot warms the firebox and creates draft.

Choosing the Right Pilot Mode Reduces Moisture in Your Fireplace

Additionally, when it is cold outside and your pilot is off, moisture collects in your fireplace and venting. This is evident on a cold start when you can see condensation on the glass front. Water vapor is a normal byproduct of combustion. When your fireplace doesn’t exhaust the water vapor using a continuous pilot, droplets collect in your fireplace and venting. The internal electrical components in the fireplace can become rusted and damaged due to this condensation.

Continuous Pilot Keeps Your Chimney Cap Clear of Snow

If it is snowing and your pilot light is on, the warmth from the pilot will melt the snow off your termination so it is not covered in snow.

CPI Increases Fireplace Reliability

Finally, in CPI, your fireplace can start during a power outage. Electronic ignition systems require electricity to light the pilot. If the pilot is already lit during a power outage, your fireplace burner can start right up and heat your home! Although newer units often have a battery backup that can light the pilot during a power outage, keeping your fireplace in CPI mode is the most reliable way to keep your unit up and running in a pinch.


A fire burns brightly in a Kozy Heat Chaska Gas insert that we installed in Evergreen, CO.


Keeping your pilot on during the winter is the best way to ensure your fireplace will start right when you want it to and to reduce wear and tear on the unit. If you need assistance changing your fireplace from IPI to CPI, check your owners manual, watch this helpful video, or give us a call at (303) 679-1601. If you’re looking for a new fireplace, stove, or insert, visit our retail showroom, Mountain Hearth & Patio, at 7001 Highway 73 or visit the Mountain Hearth & Patio website at MtnHP.com.