Gas appliances are an energy efficient means to heat your home and are considered a clean, eco-friendly energy source. Depending on the type of gas appliance, homeowners have some added benefits and features to choose from depending on their heating needs. There are two different types of gas electronic ignition switches used on fireplaces and gas log sets manufactured in the U.S. These are the IPI and Milivolt ignition systems.

Millivolt Quick Notes:

  • The system has been in circulation with fireplaces, furnace, hot water heaters, for 50+ years. Most installers and technicians are familiar with it. Should anything fail, it is very easy to diagnose.
  • All appliances using a millivolt gas ignition system can use an on/off switch or a remote control. This allows you to use the appliance in a power outage with a flip of a switch or from your comfy recliner.
  • The safety it provides, gives you piece of mind knowing that in the rare occurrence there is a failure that the unit will mechanically shut down.

Intermittent Pilot Quick Notes:

  • Without a standing pilot light you are not using fuel when not using the appliance.
  • Most intermittent pilot systems have a battery back up feature that can operate the system for several months or more. This allows the unit to be used in a power outage.
  • Because the system is a little more complex, an experienced tech will be need on site should the unit not work properly.
  • If the pilot sensor does not sense the pilot light, the system will not work and no unwanted gas will pass through the system

The Milivolt (standing pilot) and the IPI (intermittent pilot ignition) systems can both turn the pilot flame on and off with the flip of a wall switch or a remote. The difference between the IPI compared to the Milivolt system is that a Milivolt has a standing pilot light that stays on 24/7. The IPI system does not use a pilot light and instead relies on an electronic ignition switch to light the pilot after flipping on the wall switch or using the remote.

Each gas pilot ignition system has slightly different advantages and it really comes down to a customers’ individual preferences. Anytime you utilize a remote or wall switch, it requires an electrical current to light the gas appliance. If your power goes out, the Milivolt system could be manually turned on to heat your home. The IPI system would need a battery backup (normally a 9v) to ignite the pilot light during a power outage.

The IPI switch would not consume gas unless you flipped on the wall switch or used the remote control. The Milivolt system would use approximately 600 – 800 BTUS of fuel an hour, with 24/7 usage.