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Are All Fireplace Keys The Same? (Answered)

We recently lost our fireplace key and we were wondering if any replacement key would work, or if we needed a specific one. After not finding a good answer out there, I did some more research to find out more. Here’s what I found.

Original fireplace keys come in specific valve stems and lengths with their fireplace, so using another key on a fireplace might not work. However, most universal keys will work with just about any fireplace and can be found at most hardware stores. To be safe, consult your fireplace manual first for key sizes.

So, while universal fireplace keys can start your fireplace, where can you get one, and can you use your fireplace in the meantime? Let’s take a closer look.

Need a universal fireplace key? Here’s the fireplace key I recommend on Amazon.

our fireplace key

Where To Get Universal Fireplace Keys

The best place to find a universal fireplace key is at your local hardware store. Home Depot, Lowes, and Ace Hardware are safe bets for universal keys in different lengths and styles with prices starting as low as five dollars for a replacement.

Luckily, finding universal keys has become a lot easier and more convenient with online shopping and in-person stores. Be sure to double-check your fireplace manual before shopping to ensure there aren’t any special requirements, but a universal key is always a good choice. 

If you don’t mind waiting a few days for shipping, Amazon has a wide selection of different metal finishes and designs to match your decor and they also carry two packs in case you lose the replacement.  

When purchasing a universal key it’s important to keep in mind how accessible your gas valve is and what length key you will need to open your gas line. 

The main difference in universal keys is the length that may be required for your fireplace. A universal valve key length can vary from three to twenty-four inches depending on how reachable your gas valve is. Three-inch keys fit most gas valve stems, but if you have a valve that’s out of reach then an extended key will be needed to turn on the gas supply.

Your fireplace has either a 1/4″ or 5/16” gas valve stem that can be fitted with any universal key. This means less stress about buying the right key and more peaceful evenings by the fire. 

If you’d prefer the manufactured design then purchasing through your fireplace’s manufacturer is another good option. You’ll likely find the specific key you need in your fireplace manual.

What To Do If You Lost Your Fireplace Key

There are many options to replace your fireplace key, as well as start a fire without the key until you have a new one. If you have misplaced your key just follow these few simple steps:

  1. Make sure your gas valve is completely closed and shut off, ensuring there is no hissing noise and your house isn’t being exposed to fumes from gas
  2. Check your user manual for any specifications on the fireplace or key model
  3. Go online or to a hardware store near you and purchase a universal key that fits your gas valve
  4. If you ordered a key online, or want to start a fire without one, gather your tools and follow the three steps listed below

Remember that since you might not have the trusty key to turn your fireplace on and off, double-check that your gas valve is on and off when you want it to be. If you are uncomfortable with any part of this process, call a fireplace expert for experienced assistance.

Can You Turn a Gas Fireplace On Without a Key?

If you have lost or misplaced your fireplace key, there is no need to worry! You can still turn on a gas fireplace without a key and enjoy the same warm ambiance with a few safety measures in place.

The most important thing to remember is safety. If you don’t feel safe or have limited experience working with gas, call a fireplace technician near you. They may be able to educate and guide you through it or come to your house and assist. 

Always be sure that the gas valve is completely closed before attempting to work on your fireplace as well as check the control knob to determine your pilot lights status. Not every gas fireplace has a standing pilot light that is always on, so you may have to manually turn it on before attempting to start your fire.

If you smell gas and don’t hear hissing from the gas valve this could be a sign of a gas leak that requires attention from the fire department and evacuation of your home until cleared by professionals. 

Turning on a gas fireplace without a key is a fairly easy process with only three simple tools and steps.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • a lighter
  • paper or kindling
  • a wrench

Once you have your supplies, start by hand turning your gas key valve flange counterclockwise until it comes off the wall or floor and exposes the key valve. You may need to use pliers to take off the gas valve if it is on tightly.

Once off, take your paper and tuck it into the middle of the fireplace near the pilot light. When the paper is placed, light it with your lighter and take your wrench and slowly turn the gas knob counterclockwise until you hear a slight hissing noise and the fire catches. The fire and warmth can be managed by using your wrench to open or close the gas line. 

A good rule of thumb to remember when opening and closing the gas knob is righty-tighty, lefty-loosey. Turning to the left will open the valve turning on the gas while turning right will shut off the gas by closing the valve.

Final Thoughts

Your fireplace’s original key will often come suited to your fireplace’s exact needs, and some older fireplaces even have permanent keys that can still break or need to be replaced after wear and tear.

However, replacement keys are universal and can be used on any sized valve stem for modern or older fireplaces. The most important thing to keep in mind is how long your key must be to turn on your gas supply and control how big or small the flame is. 

Universal keys are an easy and affordable option providing all fireplaces with the same key that can be used with any required specifications.

Need More Help?

You can always ask us here at Fireplace Tips, but you should know the other resources available to you! Here are the resources we recommend.

  • Chimney Safety Institute of North America (CSIA): The CSIA is your BEST resource for fireplace and chimney safety at home. They’re a non-profit governed by a volunteer board of directors dedicated to the education, training, and certification of chimney and industry related professionals.
  • Self-Sufficiency and Off-Grid: If you’re like me and passionate about off-grid and self-sufficiency, see my number 1 resource—Abundance Plus. Check out their Frugal Homesteading Course on growing 90% of your own food. Get 7-days free and 10% off with the code: TYLER10