General Frequently Asked Questions
How can I find the model or serial number of my fireplace?
Each fireplace has a rating plate either inside the operating door or in the lower controls cavity. On that rating plate is your model number and serial number. Wood burning fireplaces have a metal serial/model plate in the upper left side or right side of the firebox, or riveted on the smoke shield behind the screen. Gas burning fireplaces and inserts have a serial/model/rating plate in the lower cavity controls area. Gas stoves have a serial/model/rating plate attached to the back of the stove or inside the pedestal base.
What is zone heating and how can it save on central heating costs?
Forced air central heating systems distribute heated air from a central furnace unit through ducts to various points in the home. The furnace burners cycle on and off as often as 3-4 times per hour depending on the thermostat's setting and sensitivity. Typical furnace gas inputs range from 80,000 to 120,000 BTU/hour and are sized to heat the home in the very coldest weather. During average heating weather, furnace "on cycle" times may be relatively short with the burners shutting down before peak efficiency is even reached. This results in reduced efficiencies through "cycling losses" (like a car's mileage in stop and go traffic). Also, room comfort levels fluctuate along with furnace heat cycles, sometimes warm one minute and cool the next. With central furnace systems, it's often necessary to overheat portions of the home just to get comfortable in the area you wish to spend time.
By contrast, an efficient gas fireplace zone heater puts warmth directly into the space you wish to heat with virtually no cycling losses. Heaters utilize special lightweight steel and ceramic components to heat up quickly and reach efficiency in minutes.
What is a British Thermal Unit (BTU)?
A BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is the amount of heat required to heat 1 pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit. All gas appliances are rated in BTUs/hour input; this represents an approximation of the amount of gas consumed on full fire in one hour as expressed in terms of the heat potential of the gas. Depending on the design and efficiency of the appliance, a portion of the heat generated from burning ends up as useful heat in the room (Heat Output) while a portion is lost to vents and chimneys (Flue Loss).
How many BTUs will I need?
The amount of heat you will require will depend on a number of factors such as room size, insulation levels, amount and type of windows, climate and the type and use of other heating systems in the home. It will also vary from hour to hour, day to day and season to season because of these same factors. To give you a general guideline, studies average winter home heat requirement was between 10,000 and 20,000 BTU/hour. Specifically, a 1300 square foot house in Vermont with average insulation required 14,000 BTU/hour in January and February.
What is the Comfort Zone and how does this relate to BTUs?
The Comfort Zone is that area in your home that can attain an even comfort level using a steady burning efficient heat source like a fireplace Heater. Depending on your house layout and fireplace location, the Comfort Zone may be one room or a complete level or zone. In Fall or Spring, a fireplace may easily provide comfort for the entire home. The amount of BTUs of heat necessary to maintain this Comfort Zone is in the range of 5,000 to 15,000 BTU/hour. This relatively small amount of heat can be very effective, especially when it is constant like a some and not on/off like a furnace. In fact, too large a heat output will overheat your room. Many brands promote large BTU input models playing the old "Bigger is Better" game. With a truly efficient zone heater, this is simply not the case.
Why is adjustable heat output so important?
Adjustable heat allows you to turn down the heat to the comfort level you desire. A good fireplace will offer a wide operating range and ease of heat adjustment.
How does radiant heat figure in the Comfort Zone?
From the warming rays of the sun to the embers of a hot open fire or glowing stove, people have enjoyed the soothing sensation of radiant heat since the beginning of time. Some fireplaces are designed to provide the maximum amount of forward focused radiant heat, up to 40% of total heater output. By comparison, a central warm air furnace delivers no radiant heat. Besides the superior feel of the heat, advantages of radiant heat include - faster heat, warmer floors, walls, and furniture. It is also quieter as there is no fan running. You will also feel more comfortable at lower room air temperature settings, providing further opportunity for energy savings.
How long will the batteries last in my remote control?
Under normal operating conditions the batteries should last 6 - 12 months. Each of the two batteries used in the hand-held transmitters should be producing 1.5V to 1.6V to operate. If the batteries are generating 1.3V to 1.35V or less the batteries should be replaced and can cause intermittent operation.
Should I leave the batteries in my IPI system?
If your system is controlled from an IntelliSwitch wall control, the batteries may be left in the unit. If not, install the batteries only when there is a power outage.
What are the main components of the remote control?
- A hand-held transmitter. This is like a TV remote with which a person operates various features of the fireplace.
- A receiver. This is located inside or near the fireplace and receives the radio frequency from the hand-held transmitter.
What can interfere with the operation of the remote control?
Excessive metal will deflect radio frequency in a direction that may not be in line with the receiver of your remote control. Interference of your radio frequency can cause the remote control to not respond properly to the hand-held transmitter. For this reason the receiver of the remote should not be installed to the very back of the fireplace. Large metal artwork can interfere with radio frequency.
Why should I buy a remote control?
Remote Controls are a consumer convenience. They are great for the busy lifestyles of today and will enhance the relaxing mood created by our gas fireplace by allowing the user to relax in their favorite chair and operate their fireplace while reclining in comfort. They are especially convenient in large rooms where a switch on the fireplace or on the wall is not always easily accessed. It is also an extremely popular option for bed/bath sitting rooms.
Can the frequency of the remote be changed if I have something else activating the fireplace?
No. The frequency of the remote control can not be changed without special equipment, which is not readily available to homeowners and/or service companies.
Can I cover the louvres on my fireplace or insert face?
No. The louvres allow room air to move around the heat exchanger. Blocking this air flow can cause fires and will void your manufacturer's warranty and possibly your homeowner's warranty.
Can I have a hand-held remote control and a wall switch?
Yes! However, there is an operational priority (Pecking order) of the various ways to turn your fireplace ON or OFF. The highest priority goes to the ON/OFF switch located near the valve assembly. For example, if you have the fireplace is turned "ON" via this switch, it will negate the wall switch and ON/OFF feature of your remote control.
Next, the wall switch takes priority over the remote control. In other words, if the wall switch is in the "ON" position and the units switch is in the "OFF" position, the remote control will not be able to turn the fireplace on or off. In either case, the remote functions will work unless the "on-off" feature of the wall switch or fireplace switch is in the "ON" position.
My remote control is not working. Why?
The following are the top reasons why remotes do not function:
- Batteries do not have enough power or are installed incorrectly.
- Misunderstanding on how the remote features operate the fireplace.
- The slide switch on the receiver is not in the correct position.
- The remote hand-held transmitter has not had the “learn” function activated to the receiver.
- For standing pilot units, the thermopile must generate a minimum of 200 Millivolts. The fireplace requires more millivolts to operate via the remote control because it adds resistance to the system.
- Defective component, for which replacement parts can be purchased or replaced under warranty within 1 year of the purchase of the remote.
My remote will not turn my fireplace off. Why?
- The on/off switch on the fireplace and/or wall may be in the on position. This will over ride the remote control feature.
- The remote is in the thermostat mode and the temperature of the room has not exceeded the desired temperature setting by 2 degrees Fahrenheit or 1 degree Celsius.
- Batteries in the hand-held transmitter are old and underpowered. May work up close and will not work a few feet away.
- Hand-held transmitter is outside of the 25' of operation.
- Hand-held transmitter has been dropped and the frequency has been moved off the frequency of the receiver.
The fireplace flame does not turn on and off at the exact desired temperature. Why?
When the remote is in the thermostat mode and the temperature of the room has not exceeded the desired temperature setting by 2 degrees Fahrenheit or 1 degree Celsius the fireplace will not turn on and off. The thermostat is set with a 2 degree F (1 degree C) range to avoid continuous cycling of the fireplace.
How can I avoid accidental operation of the remote control while I am away from home for an extended period of time?
Some remote controls have a manual switch on the receiver that can be turned to the OFF position. This switch is manual and will break the contact with the power source, whether it is battery or 120V power. This switch is just like the main power switch that controls any electrical appliance. It is completely unnecessary to unplug or remove batteries from the receiver.
Taking the batteries out of the hand held transmitter will not guarantee against accidental activation. Remember that each remote is equipped with a safety feature, which turns the fireplace off after 9 hours of continuous usage, when operated in the "manual mode".
Operating the fireplace for longer than a continuous 9 hours is not a safety issue, but can cause the temperature in the room of the fireplace to reach higher than normal temperatures. It is always required to maintain the necessary clearance to combustibles as prescribed in the fireplace installation instructions.
How far away from the fireplace can I be and activate the fireplace with a remote control?
The FCC in the United States and IC in Canada regulate the distance in which a radio frequency from the hand-held transmitter can operate. In optimum conditions, this distance is 90 feet. Since there are many things than interfere with radio frequency the maximum realistic distance from which a hand-held transmitter will communicate with the receiver is 25 feet. Radio frequency will go through normal residential constructed walls (wood, plaster, drywall), but distance will be reduced traveling through walls.
The temperature reading on my hand-held transmitter does not match my house wall thermostat. Why?
Each system is calibrated by the manufacturer and may not match exactly. If the temperature readings are within 3 degrees this is within the specification.
The temperature from one device to another is difficult to determine. The location of the thermostat is very important to the temperature that you are reading at any point in time. The important thing to remember is that you should develop a comfort area and the appliance will keep you at your comfort level rather than the exact temperature read out.
What powers the remote control?
Both the transmitter and receiver are powered by batteries. Others are powered by batteries in the hand-held transmitters. The receiver is plugged into the junction box located in the bottom of the fireplace (Note: this requires an electrical hookup by qualified electrician at time of fireplace installation).
What is a safety pilot?
A safety pilot prevents the flow of gas when the appliance is not in use.
What is required to use a remote control? And what is required to use a wall switch?
A remote control and/or wall switch requires a Millivolt valve system. The wall switch requires low voltage electrical wiring.
I have a fan kit on my gas fireplace, but it doesn't seem to blow much air.
Your fan kit has a rheostat control (like a light dimmer). You can get more air from your fan by making sure the fan control is turned up to the desired level. The fan control can be found in the control area behind the lower louver of the fireplace, or on a wall switch with rheostat. We also provide optional remote controls which can control your fan speed from your favorite chair!