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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Will my gas log turn on without electricity?

During the last big ice storm here in Cary, North Carolina, we lived in a different house, which had a regular fireplace and a 2-story great room.  We found that our previous house was impossible to heat during a power outage, which was one reason we moved to our current house.

We had some friends back then, who had a gas log.  We remember going to their house during the ice storm, and they were toasty and warm.

Ever since, I have wondered, how in the heck does a gas log work without electricity?  Doesn't the wall switch (which looks just like a light switch) work using electricity?

Today we found the answer.  Since I am not an engineer or electrician, you'll have to read the links for a better explanation.  Here is the best I can do:

This link has a picture of a Millivolt Wall Switch.  The wall switch has to hook to your gas log, and it can only be a maximum of 15' away.

Because the wall switch is connected to the gas log with that contraption, it does not need electricity to switch it on.  (Note: Our gas log also has an electric fan, but of course the fan wouldn't work without electricity.)

And here is another website where a guy goes into extensive explanations as to how the gas log gets turned on and off, and how the gas burning creates the electric volts needed to switch it on and off.

In this way, the fire place can be turned on, turned up, turned down and shut off with just the turn of a switch even without external electric power being supplied to it.

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