Gas Valve Kit Buying Guide Contents
- What Are Gas Valves?
- What's the Difference Between a Valve Kit and a Replacement Valve?
- Gas Valve Kit Options Available
- Additional Gas Valve Options
- Talk to a Fireplace Expert
What Are Gas Valves?
Gas valve kits are a crucial part of your fireplace or gas log set. These simple components control your gas flow, allow your fireplace to ignite or extinguish safely, and may even be responsible for some of your fireplace’s features like remote operation.
Gas valves are available in a variety of sizes and ignition types. Features may also vary greatly depending on the individual kit. However, no matter what kind of valve you’re looking to install, we recommend working with an NFI-certified professional to service your appliance. Gas can be difficult to work with, and safety is key.
What’s the Difference Between a Valve Kit and a Replacement Valve?
Gas valve kits are similar to gas valves on factory-built fireplaces. However, gas valve kits are intended for gas logs only. These products should not be used to service factory-built appliances. For those installations, you will need a specific replacement valve for that fireplace model.
Gas Valve Kit Options Available
There’s not too much to say about manual gas valve kits. These completely mechanical products are as simple as they come.
As the name suggests, gas flow is manually controlled with a key or a knob. From there, gas is lit by hand with a match, lighter, or another flame source.
Named for the amount of voltage needed to open the valve, millivolt gas valve kits offer a step up from manual valve kits in that they offer added functionality. These gas valves are relatively common in modern fireplaces, so there’s a good chance your fireplace may be utilizing this type of valve already.
Possibly the biggest advantage of a millivolt gas valve kit is compatibility with remote controls. In fact, millivolt fireplace remote controls are typically our top-selling units. Even better, the process for connecting a millivolt remote receiver box to a millivolt gas valve only involves two small wires, and most homeowners with basic technical know-how can make this installation themselves.
Servo valve kits are less common than both manual valves and millivolt valves, but they can still be found on many top-selling fireplace models. This type of gas valve uses a small motor to precisely control the opening and closing of the gas valve, while a constant current holds the valve in the intended position.
The biggest benefit of a servo motor valve is flame modulation. If you’d like to be able to control the height of your fireplace flames, this is the best way to do it. Since the valve can be held in almost any position between fully open and fully closed, you’ll have precise control over flame height.
Additional Gas Valve Options
Gas valve features will vary depending on the model you’re looking to purchase. However, there are some common features and functions you’ll want to be aware of as you look for a valve kit. Here are some of the most frequently mentioned.
Safety pilots offer an added failsafe for your gas valve kit. When the pilot flame is lit, the flame hits directly on a thermocouple or thermopile. This keeps the gas valve open and operational. If the flame is too high, too low, or not present, the gas valve shuts, preventing gas from escaping and pooling.
Safety pilots are not specific to any one type of valve. Manual and remote safety pilot kits are available, so if you’re looking for an added level of safety, these types of valves make a great option for your setup.
Speaking of pilots, there are several pilot types you’ll want to be aware of when purchasing a valve kit. The first option, a standing pilot, is exactly as it sounds. This pilot is on at all times and standing by should you decide to use your fireplace. The second option is often referred to as an electronic pilot, intermittent pilot, or spark-to-pilot system. In any case, this system only turns on when the appliance is to be used.
The better option for your fireplace will depend on what you’re looking for out of your product. While a standing pilot is often simpler and has lower maintenance requirements, this type of setup requires constant fuel, which increases operating costs slightly. Conversely, spark-to-pilot systems are more efficient. However, there are more components involved, and more components present more opportunities for part failure.
Keep in mind, too, that not all valve kits have pilot systems at all. Manual gas valve kits do not have pilots and the gas must be relit by hand every time the system is used.
Product sizing encompasses both the size of the valve itself as well as its performance capabilities. Regarding valve size, be aware that low-profile valve kit options exist. The benefit of these systems is that they’re much less visible in your firebox, creating a more natural appearance.
For performance, always be sure your valve kit can match the potential of your burner system. A valve kit that’s overpowered or underpowered may result in poor performance or safety issues. As we previously mentioned, it’s best to work with an NFI-certified gas specialist to ensure your appliance is working properly.
Talk to a Fireplace Expert
If you’re having trouble deciding if a new gas valve kit is right for you, give our fireplace specialists a call. Our team can help find the best product for your situation.
Give us a call at 877-374-2070 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday. You can also reach us by email at any time. We’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as we can. Or, click the button below to view our best gas valve kits.