My house has a traditional, masonry fireplace that was originally designed to be wood-burning. The prior owner converted it to gas, but not with an insert. They basically just ran a gas line into the firebox, installed some ceramic (fake) logs, and an ignition system.
The ignition system works like an outdoor, gas BBQ. There is a knob you have to push in and turn, and an igniter (clicker). You have to turn the know and push it in, while clicking the igniter. This kind of a PIA. It generally takes at least 30 clicks of the igniter before it actually lights. I think there is a thermal coupling or something that has to heat up before the flame will stay light, hence the required number of clicks. In addition, I have to basically crawl in the fireplace to get it to light.
I'd like to explore some options to make it easier to light. I know gas inserts have a simple wall switch, but I'm thinking that would be difficult to install, since I'd have to run the wire. I'd like to install some sort of a kit that uses a remote perhaps to light the fireplace.
I'm looking for some guidance on what my options are. Anyone know anything about this type of stuff?
I can't help with your specific question but I'll add a couple of comments on the set up. Venting a gas fireplace into a masonry chimney can have issues, like easy to backdraft with other exhaust appliances. I would expect to see a much smaller liner run up through to help it stay warmer and produce a better draft. Note, you might not notice it backdrafting but if the burner had a problem then that exhaust could contain CO which is very bad.
The other issue with the larger masonry chimney is the slow moving exhaust can cool and produce condensation that will damage the chimney.
Last, even though it is gas the resulting heat produced is probably a net loss due to the amount of air going up the chimney. Insert units can be sealed using outside air for combustion.