How to Bypass a Fireplace Switch

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Some gas and electric fireplace models are equipped with a wall-mounted switch to control operation of the appliance. On gas models, the switch is typically built with a dial-type thermostat to adjust the heat output and control the intensity of the flames. If your fireplace does not start normally when the switch is activated, try running a bypass to determine whether the switch is defective. This is only a troubleshooting procedure and should not be a substitute for repairing or replacing a defective switch.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver set
  • Cone-type wire connectors
  • Shut off the circuit breaker that controls the fireplace switch. Both gas and electric fireplace models use electricity to operate the switch and ignition system.

  • Close the gas valve by turning the handle on the valve clockwise. If you have an electric fireplace, you will skip this step.

  • Remove the screws holding the cover plate on the switch, if it is wall mounted. If the switch is adjacent to the fireplace, it might be secured by two screws without a cover plate or trim.

  • Loosen the screws holding the two wires to the switch terminals. Unwrap each wire from each screw. Make a note of which terminals attach to the wires.

  • Twist the ends of the two wires together and cap with a wire connector. The connector twists onto the wires.

  • Open the gas valve, if you have a gas model. Light the pilot on the fireplace using the procedure for your particular model. This typically involves pressing and twisting the gas control knob to release fuel to the pilot while pressing the igniter button.

  • Switch on the circuit breaker for the fireplace. Switching on the circuit breaker serves the same purpose as turning on the fireplace switch. If the fireplace ignites normally while bypassing the switch, the switch is defective and should be replaced.

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