Gas fireplaces are ideal for home use, as they are more convenient and environment-friendly. But when the power goes out, they may do too. Thankfully, you can use a battery to turn the fireplace on even without electricity.
A battery backup turns on a gas fireplace by creating a spark that lights up the fireplace’s ignition system. It functions the same way as electricity in this regard. Not all gas fireplaces come with built-in batteries, but a battery pack can easily be installed.
In the rest of this article, you will learn more about how a battery backup works in different kinds of gas fireplaces, how to use these battery packs properly, and how to keep your fireplace in top shape.
The Different Types of Gas Fireplaces
There are two types of gas fireplaces: the ones with a standing pilot ignition system and those with an intermittent pilot ignition system. Knowing how both work will help you understand how to properly use a battery backup for each.
Standing Pilot Ignition
A standing pilot ignition (SPI) system is one where the fireplace has a steady flame (known as a pilot light) that ignites the burner when the fireplace is switched on. This ignition system is common among older fireplace models, perhaps because it does not need electricity to work.
Despite not needing electricity, the pilot can go out 一much like when a candle is blown out一 when exposed to enough wind or water. When it does, the fireplace will no longer be able to turn on without outside intervention.
Another major disadvantage to this type of gas fireplace is that since the pilot is always lit, it uses up a lot of gas and is more expensive in the long run. And if your standing pilot fireplace does not have a system that automatically relights the pilot, you will have to do it manually.
How To Use Batteries in a Standing Pilot Fireplace
Generally speaking, you don’t need batteries to run your standing pilot fireplace. So even if you’re in the middle of a power outage, you shouldn’t have any problem if this is what you have at home.
However, you may need to wire in batteries to your fireplace if you don’t want the trouble of having to light your pilot every time it goes out manually. You may be surprised at how often that can happen.
Installing batteries into your standing pilot fireplace can also power up the blower if your fireplace has any. The blower can help spread the heat around the room faster, which is helpful on very cold winter nights.
But if you don’t mind having to wait a little or if your room is pretty small, you can actually do without a blower, as heat from the fireplace radiates quickly from the furnace.
A gas fireplace with an electronic or intermittent pilot ignition (IPI) system requires heat from a spark of electricity (specifically with the flicking on of the switch) to ignite the fireplace.
This type is common among newer furnaces, as it uses a more advanced ignition system and is more cost-effective and efficient. But unlike the standing pilot ignition, it cannot work without electricity. That’s the biggest concern among IPI system users.
Also, though most of these fireplaces are fitted with blowers and (sometimes) lights, these accessories will not work on battery power. And since they use more advanced technology, these fireplaces are typically more expensive than fuel-ignited ones.
Because of the power concern, most fireplaces with an electronic ignition are fitted with a built-in battery backup. There are still some, however, that need to have a battery backup installed.
How To Turn On an Electric Fireplace With Batteries
Most electric fireplaces are fitted with a battery tray that can be used to turn them on when power is out. If yours isn’t, or the battery pack needs replacement, this HeatnGlo battery pack (available on Amazon.com) would make a solid purchase. It’s compatible with Dexen units, reliable, and reasonably priced.
These battery trays are often located behind the access panel and at the bottom of the furnace. Most of them are fastened in place, but some are not; and you can simply pull them out when needed.
To use batteries to power your fireplace, you need to do the following:
- Open the furnace door to expose the access panel. Then, detach the access panel from the furnace. Do not force the access panel off. Check your fireplace’s manual to know how to detach it.
- Locate the battery tray from underneath the furnace and pull it out. Do this gently; do not yank the wires out.
- Fill the battery tray with required batteries. Most of the time, fireplaces equipped with a battery tray also come with batteries. Be sure to use only those that are compatible with the tray or are provided by the manufacturer.
- Pop the battery tray back inside. Putting the battery tray back in will typically create a beeping sound to confirm that it’s correctly placed and ready. Check your manual on how to know what mechanism your fireplace is equipped with.
- Put the access panel back and close the furnace door. The furnace is a fire hazard, so be sure to always close the door when the fireplace is switched on.
- Switch the fireplace on as usual. Enjoy the warmth of your crackling fire.
Remember to use batteries for your electric furnace only if power is out. When power comes back on, turn off your fireplace and remove the batteries from the battery tray before turning your fireplace back on. Leaving the batteries inside can significantly shorten their service life.
A battery backup works to support an intermittent pilot ignition fireplace by allowing it to function even when an electric source is out. It works by mimicking the trigger created by an electric spark to ignite the main burner of the fireplace.
In a standing pilot fireplace, however, a battery backup is not necessary because such fireplaces don’t depend on electricity to function. Still, installing batteries can help make relighting the pilot more convenient.