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Fireplace gas control unit for interface with control system ?
This thread has 11 replies. Displaying all posts.
Post 1 made on Friday November 10, 2017 at 14:14
Regular Member
February 2017
Ive got a project where there is a "classical" style fire basket specified which will be running on gas, similar to this one :

The gas is controlled via a thumb turn and lit with either an electric start / spark device or a match.

I want to integrate the fire as part of our control system, which can speak RS232, IP, Relays, GPIO and IR.

Does anyone know of a unit which can control the gas and starter, which could be retro fitted into a "classical" firebasket like the one above and allow it to be controlled via the control system.
Post 2 made on Friday November 10, 2017 at 14:24
Ernie Gilman
Yes, That Ernie!
December 2001
Your best local fireplace sales and installation company will know exactly what should be installed to control this, just as the fireplace company should call one of us to integrate a TV into a living room with a fireplace.

Be sure you approve what's bought and installed. A client once had something like this installed. The fireplace company sold it with an RF control. Cool, but we had to remove the RF control to put control onto our remote. Of course the fireplace company didn't want to buy back the RF control, so the client lost some money.

It seems RF control is an easy solution for many things, but it's also not expandable.
A good answer is easier with a clear question giving the make and model of everything.
"The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." -- G. “Bernie” Shaw
Post 3 made on Friday November 10, 2017 at 14:25
Long Time Member
September 2010
Yes...a human being....

Cant tell of of all of the contingent liability that is simply not worth any amount that you would get paid for this integration.
Post 4 made on Friday November 10, 2017 at 15:20
Long Time Member
April 2012
No way in hell would I ever offer control over a client's fireplace.

Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.
Post 5 made on Friday November 10, 2017 at 15:32
Super Member
March 2008
Do fireplace integration all the time but they're fully enclosed with no access to the flame. Take to your lawyer about how much extra in liability insurance you need to add for this. It will be a a LOT.

Actually, don't talk to your lawyer, just don't do it.
"Quality isn't expensive, it's Priceless!"
Post 6 made on Friday November 10, 2017 at 18:45
Loyal Member
September 2003
Generally we control fireplaces via a contact closure. I was at a house today where we control 2 indoor fireplaces and an outdoor fireplace. I've heard the argument about the fear of controlling a fireplace the entire time I've been on RC and then some. Never an issue and I've probably controlled 100 of them by now.

Last edited by roddymcg on November 10, 2017 19:30.
Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued.
Post 7 made on Friday November 10, 2017 at 19:06
Super Member
August 2006
I think the liability is that now someone can log in remotely using [insert favorite control system here] app on their phone and turn on the fire. The fear is that maybe something happens and the house burns down because someone forgot they turned it on, or no one was there to realize there was a problem and the house was about to burn down. Anything can happen.

We do not control pool covers either...there is a reason they normally are a keyed switch. You just do not want to accidentally drown a baby raccoon or the neighbor's toddler because you thought it would awesome to be able to close the pool cover from your phone while you are in singapore.

I have no problem turning a fireplace on and off via a contact closure as roddy mentioned. Gas valve? No thanks.
"When I eat, it is the food that is scared." - Ron Swanson
Post 8 made on Friday November 10, 2017 at 20:29
Loyal Member
July 2009
I do them, I tie them to the remote or a keypad in the room. Never on an app. I also will only do them if they are sealed, never a open fireplace!
The Bitterness of Poor Quality is Remembered Long after the Sweetness of Price is Forgotten! - Benjamin Franklin
Post 9 made on Friday November 10, 2017 at 20:32
FP Crazy
Super Member
June 2003
I've controlled a few here and there, and my own on my last place. I always put them on a 40 min timer, so they shut off.
Chasing Ernie's post count, one useless post at a time.
Post 10 made on Friday November 10, 2017 at 23:26
Long Time Member
January 2003
I have controlled multiple different types over the years, both sealed and open, but I would not attempt to control the type pictured, assuming gas lighter wood burning fireplace.

All the fireplaces that I have controlled are millivolt controlled. These all have pilot lights that heat up a thermocouple. The pilot can always be lit, or can be lit with an ignitor. The thermocouple once hot enough produces a voltage that when sent through a contact closure opens the gas valve and lights the fireplace. No pilot flame, no voltage, no gas, no fire. This is the same way that a water heater is controlled that cycles on and off unmonitored.

The problem with a wood burning fireplace is that it creates too much heat and coals that would destroy any electronics that are in place to control it.
Post 11 made on Saturday November 11, 2017 at 01:44
Regular Member
January 2015
Maybe I'm being naive here, but assuming a sealed unit, how is it any different than controlling a gas furnace via thermostat?
Post 12 made on Saturday November 11, 2017 at 07:39
Super Member
May 2003
On November 11, 2017 at 01:44, ErikU said...
Maybe I'm being naive here, but assuming a sealed unit, how is it any different than controlling a gas furnace via thermostat?

I'm not keen on being able to start a fireplace from offsite, or even from out of sight.

A furnace is completely sealed and not very accessible. Also, parents are not observed fussing with the furnace. An unsupervised child might put something in the fireplace -- emulating parents who stoke the fire -- or just out of curiosity.

If the fireplace is truly sealed, then it becomes more like a furnace in terms of safety, but I'd like some over temp protection. And, what happens if the cleaning person moves the sofa in front of the fireplace then the unknowing owner stokes the fire from the airport?

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