Why Does My Fireplace Have Two Switches? [Explained]

  • The first switch generally turns on the electrical power to the fireplace, or might just be lighting up the pilot flame
  • The second switch may or may not have anything to do with the fireplace- though they can often be fireplace fans
  • To figure out what each switch does, turn on the fireplace so the flames are burning between the logs. Wait a bit until some heat builds up in the fireplace and then notice whether a fan may have turned on.
  • If not, then turn on the second switch and observe what happens. If the fan was on and turns off or did not turn on automatically but did turn on when you turned on the wall switch, that switch definitely controls the fan.

When I moved into my New England home, I was excited to finally have a gas fireplace. However, I soon realized that there were two wall switches next to the fireplace and I wasn’t sure whether or not or how they controlled my gas fireplace. One switch turned on a tiny flame, while the other one didn’t seem to do anything at all.

I had no idea what the second switch did, so I started playing around with it. Maybe it turned on some kind of blower? I wasn’t sure. But, I was curious to find out. So, I turned on the fireplace with the tiny flame using the first switch and then turned on the second switch. And wouldn’t you know it…the fan actually turned on!

This video helped me connect the fireplace wall switches

I was so excited that I finally figured out how to turn on the fan! But, then I started to worry about why there were two switches in the first place. What did the other one do? Did it turn off the fan? Or, maybe it controlled the size of the flame? I wasn’t sure.

So, for the next few weeks, I just left the fan on all the time and avoided using the second switch. But eventually, curiosity got the best of me and I decided to try turning off the fan using the second switch. And guess what happened…the fan turned off!

I was so confused. Why did the fan turn off when I used the second switch? Was it supposed to do that? Or, was something wrong with my fireplace? I had no idea.

I started doing some research online to try and figure out what each switch did, but I couldn’t find anything that specifically explained it. So, I contacted a few friends who have gas fireplaces and asked them if they knew what each switch did. But, even they weren’t sure.

Finally, after months of confusion, I decided to call a professional and have them come take a look at my fireplace. And after inspecting it, they explained that the first switch turns on the electrical power to the fireplace while the second switch controlled a fireplace fan that was broken, which was why it wasn’t getting turned on by the second switch. I got it fixed and we were off to the races!

And finally, after months of confusion and mystery, everything made sense!

Many people are often perplexed about why their fireplace has two switches; for the most part, it is out of curiosity. If someone does not know what each button does, it will be a good idea to find out.

It all starts with understanding that one switch controls all of the power going to the fireplace, no matter if you want it on or off. The other switch controls only the blower and if this one will be installed or not if they decide not to use a blower in their fireplace.

Why does my fireplace have two switches?

1. To control the blower

This is the most common reason why you have both switches. The rest of the grounds will be for decorative purposes.

2. To decorate your fireplace

If you do not have a blower and want to decorate your fireplace, then you would like to use this switch to control it so that it looks like other fireplaces in your house. For example, if you have a modern fireplace with stone bricks, it is not essential to turn on the blower.

Knowing which switch will be used in your home would always be helpful since it can help you decide what type of fireplaces you want to install or even which ones you want to remove. You may only know that you want to install one but not necessarily the other switch.

3. To control power to your fireplace

If you only have one switch in your house, it will be used to control power over the rest of your home. This means that if you turn off the switch when you leave the house, no one can turn on any devices in your house, including the heaters or air conditioners, regardless if this is done by mistake or not.

4. To control your fireplace remotely

To control your fireplace remotely

The switch with a capital O will allow you to turn on the fireplace from anywhere in the world so it can be used as a remote. So you can turn it on, even if you are not at home or do not want to use the blower, even if your house has one attached.

However, you will have to remember that this switch is only used when there is a blower, and this may be something that you do not mind, as this will be the case for most people.

5. To control the power to the blower

If you do not want to use a blower on your fireplace, then you can easily switch it off from this switch. This way, it will not be a part of your primary power source, which may be an advantage for some people.

6. To save energy

As we said before, turning off the blower can save energy and provide warmth.

7. To use when you do not want to turn on a blower

Remove the Old Blower Motor

If you do not have the blower on, the switch that controls only the fire can still be used to warm your house. This way, you will avoid wasting energy when someone forgets to turn it on.

8. To show the manufacturer’s name

The white labels that you can see on the switches are made by the manufacturer to show their name and sometimes other information.

9. To allow you to control power to the blower manually

If you would like to use your fireplace without the blower, you can easily do this through this switch since it will turn everything on and off whenever you want.

10. Allow you to choose between two heat sources

This switch will allow you to choose between a blower and another source that is not controlled by the same button. This way, you can use both heat sources to make the house warmer.


You may have a question about why this switch has two switches and not just one, but there are many more reasons why you would have both buttons. The most important is to control the blower, and if you only do not want to use one of them, then this switch is for you.

However, if you wish to use the blower or at least its power only from one control and other sources from another, this switch will be a good choice for you since it can make it possible.

Eugene Duke Pic

Hi, my name’s Eugene Duke and I love sitting by my fireplace reading a book and sipping on an adult beverage. Do you have a fireplace in your house? I’ll help you figure out the best type and style of fireplace for your home.


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