Over the years, various enterprises across the world have come up with a miscellany of extensive heating solutions to combat the icy caress of the chilly winds gusting during winter.
One of these solutions has presented itself in the form of the Reddy heater – a unique innovation that provides warmth for long periods of time in multiple areas of differing sizes.
Some of these heaters include portable kerosene-forced air heaters, propane-forced air heaters, blue flame outdoorsman heaters, garage heaters, tank top heaters and even the staple convection heater.
With a variable heating range tailored exquisitely to each indoor or outdoor area, Reddy heaters have indeed proved their worth in being one of the top space heating devices used to keep your fingers and toes toasty and warm at all times.
However, just like any other equipment, Reddy heaters are susceptible to problems or even overall failure, especially if used incorrectly or maintained improperly.
What Are the Most Common Problems Associated with Reddy Heaters?
Although Reddy heaters are highly useful for both outdoor and indoor use, there has been several lingering issues that tend to crop up from time to time such as:
- Pump Pressure
- Dirty Photocells
- Fuel Contamination
- Nozzle Leaks
- Defective Unit
In the case of pump pressure, it is crucial for you to check the specifications of the heater unit you have purchased.
Each unit operates using different pressure ranges, and in order to maximize the heating efficiency of your Reddy heater, you must ensure that you utilize the correct pump pressure settings.
As for the photocells, there is a slight possibility that it might be defective in your heater.
In some cases, the photocells are simply slathered with dirt and grime, and you will need to manually remove the stains using a damp cloth.
Fuel contamination is another common issue which is usually the result of human error.
For example, if you are using a kerosene-type Reddy heater, you will need to ensure that the fuel source consists purely of kerosene, and not a kerosene-mix which has been diluted with either water or gasoline.
An impure fuel source or contaminated fuel will not only alter the flame color, but can render your heater liable to burning up or exploding, thus turning your device into both a safety risk and fire hazard.
Nozzle leaks are not uncommon when a Reddy heater has been worn down to the bone.
Overuse of a heater without proper rest, maintenance or surveillance will usually result in undetected holes or tears along the nozzle, air lines or even fuel pickup lines.
Sometimes, the nozzle could be worn down and cause the fuel to be ‘sprayed’ out as opposed to being released in a fog-like fashion.
In this case, you will need to use a compressed air can to blow some compressed air out of the nozzle to loosen any trapped dirt or obstruction clogging the nozzle line.
If you are unsure about how safe it would be to use your presently leaking nozzle, then it is best to replace the damaged nozzle with a new one.
In some cases, the Reddy heater you are currently using might simply be a defective unit, and would need to be returned to the store for either a complete overhaul or replacement with a brand new heater.
This is especially true for hot surface ignitor (HSI) heaters and spark plug-type heaters.
What Are the Common Issues of Hot Surface Ignitor (HSI) Reddy Heaters?
Hot Surface Ignitor (HSI) Reddy heaters are notorious for several problems, such as:
- Water Contamination
- Air Leaks
- Wrong Pump Pressure Settings
- Defective Nozzles
- Incorrect Fuel Source
In the case of water contamination, all you have to do is drain the tank of your heater.
Using a small flashlight for a clearer view, take a peek into the tank and look out for any lingering water droplets or even obstructive particles that might have gathered at the sides or the bottom of the tank.
Make sure the tank is free of any water or debris before starting the heater back up. As for air leaks, you will need to listen for a small hissing noise along the air line, fuel line or even nozzle.
Air leaks will need to be patched up with some sealant, or if the crack in the tubing is too severe, the entire line might need to be replaced.
As discussed earlier, setting the pump pressure wrongly will cause the heater to be unable to generate any or enough heat.
You will need to refer to the guidance manual that comes with the purchase of your heater to find out the ideal pump pressure settings required for your heater to function at optimal capacity.
Using an incorrect fuel source can also prove to be an issue. Propane-forced air heaters strictly require propane to run, and likewise, kerosene-forced air heaters require only kerosene.
How Do I Fix the HSI-Type of Reddy Heater?
The first sign of trouble from an uncompliant HSI-type of Reddy heater is usually when the heater fails to switch on, or when it switches off automatically after five seconds.
In this case, you might want to quickly check the power cord of your heater and see if it has been plugged in properly.
A cord that has been jostled loose from the electrical socket will usually cause the heater to fail to start due to the lack of proper electrical supply.
If the heater goes into auto-shut down mode, then you might need to remove the top cover first to see if the problem persists.
Most modern heaters come with a built-in auto-shut down switch which functions as a safety feature if a heater exceeds its core operating temperature or if the device malfunctions in any form or manner.
The photocell or control board will also usually detect the slightest discrepancy from an ‘off’-colored flame, or if the flame is not turned on.
If the photocell detects any abnormalities or irregularities, the internal monitoring system configured inside the heater will automatically switch the heater off.
But before you slip on your protective gear and run off to tackle a larger problem, you must sort out the simpler ones first by nipping it in the bud.
Here is a small bucket list of things to check, and how to troubleshoot those incidents, should they occur with your HSI-type heater:
1. Pump Pressure
When in doubt, always check the air pump pressure settings of your Reddy heater.
Each heater has been designed with a specific pump pressure setting in mind to operate optimally.
The slightest deviation from these settings could result in fuel starvation.
For example, a drop of only half a psi in pump pressure could result in a total reduction of 30% of fuel delivery in your heater.
Since all the pumped air siphons fuel directly from the fuel reservoir in your heater, you can imagine how reduced the flow rate of fuel would be if your pressure settings are adjusted too low.
Likewise, too much pressure will cause too much fuel to be drawn out of the tank, thus leading to spillage and wastage of fuel. In severe cases, the excessive burnout of fuel can cause the heater to overheat and even catch on fire.
2. Fuel Source
The fuel source is critical in running a heater. A contaminated or even diluted fuel source can result in a malfunctioning heater, or worse, cause the device to present as a fire hazard.
In the case of kerosene-based Reddy heaters, you must use grade 1-K kerosene as a fuel source at all times.
Do not mix the kerosene with gasoline or purchase kerosene from non-reputable dealers or middlemen.
Always ensure your kerosene cans are kept on a different shelf from your gasoline cans, and do not reuse old gasoline cans to store any kerosene that you intend to use for your heater.
Gasoline has a tendency to adhere to the internal surfaces of a can or container despite being washed out thoroughly, and these residual molecules will mix with your brand new kerosene and corrupt its purity.
Likewise, do not use water or thinner to dilute your kerosene or propane, or any fuel source that you intend to use for any of your heaters.
Diluted fuel does not combust as easily as concentrated fuel in its pure form, and will therefore generate far less heat.
Diluted fuel might also damage the internal sub-components of your heater, thus causing your unit to be damaged or malfunction.
A broken heater that is forcefully run on diluted fuel will then serve as a safety risk towards you or any of your loved ones who intend to use the device to keep themselves warm and comfy.
If the pressure pump indicates zero psi, then you most likely have a broken rotor on your hands.
However, if there is even the slightest bit of pressure trickling through the heater, then the rotor is most probably working normally, and you will need to adjust the pressure settings to the specifications outlined in the owner’s manual you have received with your heater.
If you are having extreme difficulties checking the air pressure yourself, then you might want to contact an experienced heater serviceman to look it over for you.
The rotors are only able to function optimally if the pressure is accurate.
You may always order a HA1181 or HA1182 if you do not have a low pressure gauge with you.
Try to look out for gauges that come with all the necessary fittings so that you need not hop from store to store to search for the correct parts. Do take note that a standard low pressure gauge must be between zero to fifteen psi.
The thermostat basically regulates the internal temperature of the heater to prevent its components from overheating or melting during a malfunction.
A faulty thermostat however, can cause the heater to automatically switch off after being switched on.
If you suspect your thermostat is spoilt, you will first need to disassemble your current heater by undoing all the clips, screws and fasteners that holds the external casing from the internal components.
Once the exterior housing has been removed, you will then need to locate the thermostat and check it over for any signs of melting or charring.
A damaged thermostat will need to be replaced with a new thermostat with the exact same size and specifications as the older thermostat.
5. Air Leaks
Even the smallest air leak can cause a reduction of air pressure in your heater, which can be noted by observing the discoloration of the flames produced by the device.
At this point, the heater would usually just automatically shut down for safety reasons.
You can detect air leaks by running your fingers along the air line tubing or fuel line to test and feel if there are any cracks, breaks or holes along the surface.
It is also important to bear in mind that prolonged use of a heater can result in stress-damages – or simply put, wear and tears.
Listen carefully for any unnatural sounds of fizzing or hissing. That is usually a major sign there is an air leak in one of your lines.
Once you have discovered the exact location of the air leak, you may either patch it up with sealant, or to be safe, replace the entire line which has sustained the leak.
You may very easily order replacement parts online or through your store to get a new airline.
Nozzles can be worn down or even broken over time. It is highly recommended that you replace the nozzle of your heater on a yearly basis, regardless of whether it is fully functional or not.
One quick way to ascertain if your nozzle requires an urgent replacement is by checking the pressure of your heater.
If you remove the top cover and the heater runs with the correct pressure, but stops when the cover is repositioned over the heater, then there is a high possibility that the nozzle has been damaged.
Likewise, you must also check the nozzle adapter for any breaks, cracks or signs of damage. Replace any part you find damaged or faulty immediately.
7. Ignition Control Board
A defect within the ignition board would also require a quick fix. If you sense that your ignition control board is not working properly in any way, you may test it out using a HA1170 diagnostic first.
However, if this venture proves too costly for you, you may simply replace the faulty ignition control board with a new one.
Any defects in the photocell need to be addressed immediately. Sometimes, these defects are a result of manufacturing issues sustained during the production of the unit itself in the factory.
In other cases, your photocell might simply be encrusted with dirt and is in need of a good clean up.
Using a damp cloth, wipe down the photocell and remove any stubborn stains with a small spritz of warm water.
Once all the dirt has been removed and the photocell is clean, wipe it once more using a dry cloth to rid the surface of any residual moisture.
What About the Spark Plug-Type of Reddy Heaters?
Some Reddy heaters utilize spark plugs to run. The principle behind its operation is simple enough – the moment the motor begins to kick into gear, a fan will blow air currents through a combustion chamber and fuel will be sucked in from the fuel reservoir to the nozzle.
This will trigger a venturi effect which is ideal for atomization. The transformer will then generate a small spark on the spark plug and the photocell will attempt to detect the presence of a flame within the chamber.
This overall process will then create a combustive effect that produces heat.
Ideally, a spark plug-type of heater should operate without any issues, but you may occasionally run headlong into some problems down the road, one way or another.
If that is the case, here are some quick fixes you might want to look into:
As covered earlier, setting the pump pressure to its ideal level is critical in ensuring that the heater operates without a hitch. Checking your pump pressure must be the first thing to do on your long list of safety-checks, since a reduction in pump pressure can result in fuel starvation due to incomplete fuel delivery.
If you notice your pressure rests at zero psi, then there is a high chance your rotor is damaged or broken.
If there is a slight raise in pressure detected, then you will most likely have to tweak your pump pressure settings to bring the pressure level back up to normal.
However, if the pressure level remains stubbornly at zero, immediately check your fuel line and nozzle line for any signs of leakage.
Even the tiniest pinhole along the line can cause a major drop or even absence of air pressure in your Reddy heater.
If you have traced the source of the leak, you will need to replace the faulty line with a new line or tubing.
Always keep your eyes and ears peeled for any signs of cracks, tears or odd ‘hissing’ noises along the lines.
It is recommended that you check your lines thoroughly at least once a month, especially when the heater is put to full use.
Steal a quick peek into your fuel tank/reservoir with the aid of a tiny flashlight to help you see better.
Look around for any signs of water droplets or moisture gathering on the insides of the tank, or any debris lingering at the bottom.
Be wary of fuel contamination as well. Do not attempt to mix or dilute fuel with water, gasoline or thinner in an effort to salvage a few green notes.
Fuel mixes are highly dangerous and can sometimes release toxic vapors if left to burn, and can even combust uncontrollably.
This would then convert your Reddy heater into a deadly dual combination of both a health risk and fire hazard.
If you suspect your fuel has been contaminated or has become impure, you might need to drain your fuel tank and refill it with new fuel.
Worn Spark Plug
Your spark plug needs to ‘spark’ in order to work. If you cannot detect any sparks produced by your spark plug, quickly check your transformer (also known as your ignition device) and make sure it is grounded correctly. Also take note of the plug gap.
The gap should have the relative thickness of a coin at the very most. If you notice your spark plug is charred, discoloured or worn at the very tip, then you will need to replace your spark plug with a new one from the store.
If all the above checks out fine, and you still have an uncompliant heater sitting quietly in front of you, then you will need to check your nozzle for any signs of breakage, dirt or damage.
Nozzles usually wear down in time and this will result in the production of a ‘spray’ instead of a ‘fog’.
Fuel that is not fogged, and sprayed instead, will usually trigger incomplete combustion which will force the photocell to switch off your heater.
In this case, you might have to replace your nozzle with a new piece.
Usually, an annual replacement of nozzle pieces is recommended for Reddy heaters, regardless if they are completely worn down or not.
Thus, if you find yourself in a jam with your Reddy heater with no idea of what to do next, give the above solutions a quick try to see if you can resolve your heater dilemma.
However, if you find yourself still unable to tackle the issue at hand despite going through the troubleshooting steps above, you may always request the aid and expertise of an experienced heater technician to help you out.
Remember, always wear a set of gloves and even a small face mask whenever you are attempting to fix your heater. Pride yourself on safety first, at all times.