Some of the most common issues with the propane heaters stem from its regulators. They operate and shift independently with the burners so that it can direct the heat towards the fans.

These regulators or controls are relatively sensitive to manage the warmth within a room. Malfunctions are rare and indiscreet, and they are rooted mainly within the gas or ignition system.

Some of the most common issues include a clogged gas pipe, a flickering standing pilot and the sparking system to ignite the flame on the pilot.

Conventionally the repairs may appear daunting, but they aren’t.

Understanding How Propane Heaters Work

When the thermostat is turned up, a small electrical signal is transferred from the gas valve to the heater, which prompts it to be open and pass on a stream of gas to the burner where it ignites the pilot.

The temperature continues to rise until the moment when it reaches to a state when the thermostat’s value becomes equivalent to the room temperature.

As time passes by, and the room temperature begins to fall again, the gas valve opens again to send down another stream of gas to light up the burner against to match the preset value. However, during the entire process, the pilot needs to be kept lit throughout this time so that it can light up the main burner.

This may result in a lot of gas wastage as well, but since the pilot must keep on running mode, it may also be one of the most significant contributors of clogged gas pipes.

Common Issues with Propane Heaters

The pilot is more often visible in the propane heaters. You can see it through the window or find it under the gas control knob. It’s usually black or blue and not more than an inch and a half. If the flame is too small, or it is multicoloured (like orange and yellow), or split, then the gas pipe needs some cleaning.

This usually shouldn’t be that difficult. You can do it on your own by turning off the gas supply completely, and then poking in a needle into the tip of the pilot tube. This should clear the gas tube, at least temporarily.

If there are issues with the pilot, i.e. it is not able to stay lit up continuously, it may be because there’s a draft. If not, then there’s an issue with the thermocouple, and it might need to be changed.

Troubleshooting The Thermocouple

The thermocouple is quite like a thermostat, except that it is mainly used as a heat sensitive device to control and regulate the gas flow make sure that it is not wasted. When the pilot is lit up, the thermocouple ensures that the steady stream of gas flows through the gas up if it is hot enough.

If the pilot is too far away from the flame, it won’t get hot enough, and consequently, it won’t stay lit up for an extended period. You can control this by pushing the thermocouple closer to the pilot. If this does not help, you might have to replace it.

Troubleshooting. If your propane heating system isn't running properly, please follow these instructions before phoning for service.

You can do this by unclipping the bulb, then unscrewing the wire from the gas valve and then installing a new one by doing the same process in the reverse order.

Issues with Electric Spark

There’s usually a blower in certain propane heaters. You would hear a clicking sound whenever the blower switches on. That’s how you can identify an electronic spark mechanism heater.

You can sneak through the window into the burner chamber to notice the spark. In case there’s no spark, there may be problems with the connection to the ignitor. You can refer to the user manual provided with the heater to look into the electrical connection diagram.

There may be a possibility that the gas might have run out from the cylinder or it is shut off. However, if that’s not the case, then there’s a possibility that the aperture of the gas valve is clogged and may require some cleaning.

Pilot Doesn’t Light Up

There may be instances when the pilot doesn’t light up even though the gas supply is delivering, and the electric spark is working fine as well. There’s a high likelihood that dust might have accumulated inside the propane heater which prevents it from lighting and warming the cold room during harsh weathers.

This indicates that there is a need for a thorough cleaning of the propane heater to keep the heater lit and avoid the hassle of lighting process.

Step 1: Turn Off the Gas Supply

Start off with closing the has supply completely. Give it some time to cool and then proceed with clearing off the dust from the external surfaces with a soft cloth. Also, vacuum the debris from the vent holes and inside the grid of the heater.

Step 2: Use a Brush to Clean

Use a small paintbrush (or even an old toothbrush) to remove dust from clogged surfaces. Shove the dirt gently from the ignitor and the burner on the heater.

Step 3: Cleaning the Heater’s Cover Panel

Unscrew the heater’s cover panel from the top. Brush the dirt from the panel, including its internal boards. Rinse it with warm water and leave it to dry.

Step 4: Vacuum the Internal parts

With a small vacuum, gently clean the dirt from the [arts inside the propane heater and brush the dust from the oxygen sensor near the line tubing.

 Step 5: Putting Everything Back

Replace the parts back to their original state and tighten up the screws. If required, refer to the manual for assistance regarding the original placements of the parts. Finally, turn on the propane gas supply and light up the heater as usual.

Issues With The Thermostat

Under some circumstances, the propane heater may run indefinitely, guzzling up all the gas and delivering little heat. This is likely because of the thermostat which may have issues with identifying the right temperature and adjusting to it.

Try insulating the room by covering up the crevices and wedges near the borders. Make sure that you invest some resources in identifying and making your room “eco-friendlier”. If this doesn’t work, you might have to change the thermostat in your propane heater.

Troubleshooting Propane Patio Heaters

Propane patio heaters deliver an excellent service when it comes to outdoor heating. It’s ideal for small, closed space like lawn or terrace, and is composed of nothing more than a few simple components connected with each other.

Amongst the most common issues that you’ll face is the lack of heat, and this might be since it’s mostly kept outdoors. But in case it doesn’t seem to deliver the way it used to, then you may need to do a simple check with a set of steps.

Here is a video explaining detailed steps

As with everything else, they may have issues from time to time. Unless it’s significant damage to the heater itself, most of the problems can be resolved by yourself.

All you need is a little know-how about the heater itself and how to fix things when things go haywire. We’ll take you through some of the most common issues and how to overcome them.

Issues with the Tank

If you reside in a cold part of the world, there is a possibility that your propane gas tank might freeze during the season. In case you notice that your patio heater is freezing up, then you need to be sure that the tank is level. If this doesn’t solve the problem, then you might need to get a new propane tank.

The tank may also be out of order in case the pilot doesn’t light up. There is a possibility there may be a leak in your tank. Alternatively, the pilot may be clogged.

You can try poking in the needle into the nozzle of the pilot to ensure that nothing is blocking the pathway. But before doing that, also make sure that cylinder valve isn’t completely closed. If it is, make sure that it is not opened completely.

Close the valve entirely if you are attempting to clean the pilot nozzle. Once it’s done, try lighting up the heater manually. If it works, there might be an issue with the ignition system.

To get this fixed, consider getting it repaired, or better yet, getting it replaced altogether.

Issues with Lighting Up the Pilot

There can be two major issues with lighting the pilot in a propane heater: the pilot may light up temporarily or not at all.

In case the lighter lights up but blows off almost immediately, there is an indication that the propane gas cylinder has a leakage or there’s a malfunction in the tank. It could also mean that the burner is clogged.

If that’s the case, you’ll need to ensure that the cylinder is working well and is filled up almost two-thirds of the way.

If you use your heater rarely then there is a high chance that bugs and spiders may make way into your pilot assembly, causing an issue with the lighting up of the pilot. A common symptom to this issue may be pilot blowing off right after it has been lit for a while.

Finally, make sure that all the connections are tight, especially the one between the pilot assembly and gas valve.  If they are, you might want to do a quick leakage check after they have been tightened up. Better yet, clean up the pilot assembly for the best results.

Issues with the Flame Burner

The flame burner is one of the pivotal parts of the heater as they contribute to the most significant amount of heat which is produced. However, if you feel that it’s low, it an indicator of the gas pressure.

When you turn up a heater's thermostat, it sends a tiny electrical signal to the gas valve, prompting it to open and send gas to the burner, where the pilot ignites it. The thermostat stops sending the signal when the room temperature reaches the selected value.

Blue flame – Image credits : https://www.flickr.com/photos/dagoaty/4727813849

Check the valve for gas pressure which is being delivered. If that seems okay, check whether any of the pipes or hose is kinked or bent in any way. If everything looks okay, then it might be time to get a new cylinder. Turn the valve to the ‘off’ position, and then replace it with a new one.

Prevention & Safety Tips

Propane heaters are great to have. They have been around for quite some time and would stay for at least a couple of decades. You can use Propane Patio heaters outdoors and use the regular ones indoors to keep your space warm. However, as with all the household items, a propane heater can be a lifesaver but demands a lot of attention and care.

It is essential that you dedicate some time to its maintenance and care at least every season to keep it up and running. The more you take ownership and responsibility of it, the more are the chances that it won’t let you down when you need it the most. Check the propane tank regularly.

Make sure that you close the gas supply every time you attempt to clean the system. Make sure you burn it occasionally, even when it’s not too cold, just to ensure that it’s up and running. If required, get new parts to replace the old and corroded ones.

Moreover, you may not even need an external professional or a specialist to clean up the propane heater all by your own. But in case if this is your first attempt in cleaning the heater, then you do it under the supervision of a specialist or an expert. Also, make sure that all the components are tightly fitted and there no gas leakage throughout the system.

If you smell propane while running your heater, switch off the gas supply immediately and allow enough exhaust into the room or your location of the propane heater.

We are pretty sure that these tips would help you to sustain and retain your propane heater for a very long time to come. Make sure that you manage your propane heater so that it helps you serve a lot of barbeques for years.

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