Gas Log and Gas Fireplace Control Types

Question:   What are the different kinds of controls for gas logs and gas fireplaces?




Manual control: manual control log sets are just that; manually controlled. With manual models of fireplace logs or fireboxes from companies like Monessen, Lennox-Superior, or Comfort Glow, you turn the burners on, and can adjust the flame height by a control knob on the gas appliance.This adjusting ability is usually very desirable in a vented log, because the action of a vented log is wider and has more of a range of flame height to adjust. On an unvented appliance, you manually adjust the flame height in order to control temperature in the room.


PLUSES: Least expensive. Adjustable flame.


MINUSES: Cannot use remote control or wall thermostat. Cannot be modified to be made millivolt (or remote-ready).


NOTE: We regularly have customers ask us about changing their manual log sets so that they can use a remote control. This cannot be done, and even if someone had the determination to do it, the cost would exceed buying the same log set new, with a millivolt control. Manual control appliances are not capable of using a remote control or wall thermostat and cannot be converted/retro-fitted


Millivolt control: have control valves that allows for the use of a remote control, a wired or wireless wall thermostat or a simple on/off switch. Because they offer this level of functionality, they are more expensive. Monessen, Superior, Comfort Glow, Vanguard, Empire, and every other major gas log and fireplace manufacturer make millivolt models.


Use of a wall-mounted or hand held thermostat cycles the gas on and off, in order to maintain temperature. Very popular control for logs. Not too expensive, good accessories available. Flame height is adjusted by turning a knob on the gas appliance only. Can also be used manually. Millivolt (or remote-ready) offers the most overall flexibility as more different types of remote units and switches are available than for any other gas system.


PLUSES: Can use a variety or remote-type control systems or can be used manually. Most number of different control systems available.


MINUSES: Cannot adjust flame height via a hand held remote or wall switch. Slightly more expensive than manual control.


Thermostatic control: units offer automatic temperature control. These units utilize a modulating hydraulic gas valve to maintain room temperature via a heat sensing capillary. The Monessen DBX-24 and some Comfort Glow/Vanguard fireplaces offer thermostatic controlled fireplaces .Operation is quite easy. Simply light the pilot, turn the flame up to HIGH until the room is comfortable, then turn slowly turn the knob towards LO until the the flame cuts off.The control is now set and the valve will "modulate" the flame on and off to maintain the temperature you chose. Very simple to use. However, you cannot adjust flame height with this system. To override the system, you must turn the knob fully on HIGH and leave it there .Thermostatic controlled heaters and fireplaces allow temperature setting on the unit, and the fireplace or heater will cycle on and offer to maintain temperature in a room. This can be also be achieved with a millivolt system with some type of thermostat remote.


PLUSES: Allows modulating control over temperature in the room. Extremely easy to use.


MINUSES: Slightly more expensive than manual control. Capillary sensor is usually visible in the room. Does not allow for manual control with adjustable flame height.


Variable, aka Hi/Lo: control offers flame height control by remote only. Monessen and Empire offer most of their log sets, like the Monessen DEB Emberblaze or Empire Charred Oak, with variable control.

You systematically depress and release the "on/hi" switch on a hand held remote (or remote receiver box) until the flame reaches the desired height. If you want to turn the log set off, you depress and release the "off/lo" switch until the flame turns off. You cannot easily control the log set manually, but it can be done. It does, however, allow flame height control via remote.


PLUSES: Flame height control by remote control.


MINUSES: More expensive than millivolt control. You must keep fresh batteries available for the remote since all control is powered by battery. Fewer control options than with millivolt.


OUR RECOMMENDATION: The most popular control type is, by far, the millivolt (also called remote-ready) control. We offer a wide variety of remote controls and recommend contacting one of our sales professionals should you have any questions regarding what system is best for your application. Call us Toll Free: 800-343-6780



Call us Toll Free at: 800-343-6780