What Is A Fireplace Key For? Why You Need One

Gas fireplaces have been used to provide a warm and cozy feeling in many houses. The reason is that they burn in a cleaner way than the traditional wood-burning fireplaces. Smoke is produced in small amounts and you have a clean interior 


Modern gas fireplaces have a switch or ignitor used to turn them on. Older versions of gas fireplaces have keyholes where you insert a key. When the key is turned, it allows for gas flow in the fireplace before the fire is started. 

How Do You Start A Fireplace With A Key?

Here is a step by step procedure to help you ignite a gas fireplace using a key. With these steps, you will ensure there are no accidents and you are safe.

Step 1

Look around the gas fireplace especially at the bottom to locate the keyhole. Usually, you will find the keyhole at the floor just in front of the gas fireplace. Some houses have the keyhole on the lower part of the nearby wall.

Step 2

Grab the long key handle and try to insert the square end into the keyhole. Push the handle into the keyhole until it stops. Jiggle the key slowly until you feel it has locked into place.

Step 3

You can proceed to turn the key counterclockwise about ½ turn. This will release the flow of gas into the fireplace logs section. 

Step 4

Take a long long butane gas lighter and insert it at the gas center. Press the lighter’s trigger while the flame points where the gas tube is. The flame produced will ignite the logs in the chamber.

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Step 5

Use the key to control the size of the flames to whatever you desire. To increase the flame, turn the key counterclockwise. Turning the key clockwise reduces the height of the flame.

Are Fireplace Keys Universal?

Are you looking for a replacement for your gas fireplace key. Yes, fireplace keys are universal. They can work for both ¼ inch and 5/16 inch sockets. You can replace an old or damaged fireplace key by getting a new universal key. The universal key has a chrome finish, making it strong to last many years. 

What Size Is A Fireplace Key?

Fireplace keys vary in size and you can find the different options in the nearest household shop near you. Variations in lengths include 3, 8, 12, 18, and 24-inch sizes. 

You can choose whatever length suits you and your family. Different finishes are also available. You can go for a finish that matches your home’s decor. Universal key extenders are also available with an 18-inch stem. 

How Do You Start A Fireplace Without A Key?

What do you need? You will need to have a lighter or a matchbox, a piece of paper, and a wrench. 

Turn the key valve cover counterclockwise to remove it. This will expose the inner part of the key valve. Next is to light a piece of paper and place it over the logs of wood in the gas chamber. Turn the inner part of the key valve using a wrench to unleash the flow of gas into the logs section. The logs will then light. 

Another way includes turning the inner part counterclockwise to release the gas into the logs. You can then proceed using a lighter to light the logs. This is risky as there could be accidents. It is thus advised to light the logs before releasing the gas. 

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Use the wrench to increase or decrease the size of the flames. After you are done, you can place the top part of the key valve back so that your house looks neat.  

How Do You Replace A Key Valve On A Fireplace?

Key valves can get old or damaged on a fireplace and need replacement. You can add a new valve flange and a decorative trim ring. So, how do you go about it? You will need the following tools;

  • Decorative flange
  • Decorative trim ring
  • Universal Gas valve key
  • Channel locks or a large socket wrench


  • Using a universal gas valve key make sure there is no gas flow by turning it off
  • You can then use channel locks or a wrench  to loosen the original flange
  • Use your hands to remove the flange completely.
  • Replace the flange but this time add a trim ring. A trim ring adds a decor effect to your home.
  • Rotate the flange clockwise to fit the flange in position and make sure it is not crooked. You can use a channel lock to tightly fix it in position.


A fireplace key is an important part of a gas fireplace. Without the key, it would be a hard task lighting up your gas fireplace. Follow the precautions provided when lighting a gas fireplace using a key. Otherwise, you will have a cozy and warm home with an efficient key. 

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