Because we live in New England where temperatures drop down below 50 degrees pretty early in the fall and stay there until spring, it is recommended to leave the pilot on.  The reason for this it because  a natural draft needs to be established in gas units which allows the warm exhaust air to travel up and cooler outside air to travel down into the firebox which is needed to light the burner.  If you do decide to keep the pilot off, you may need to turn it on and wait about a half hour for the flue to warm up before turning on the burner.

In the summer time, it is recommended to leave the pilot on to prevent "spider mites" from clogging up the gas line.  These little insects are attracted to the gas smell and will make nests in and around the pilot and gas line. This then prevents the fireplace from lighting correctly in the fall.

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