March 18, 2019
Propane Heaters – When They Don’t Stay Lit
Propane heaters are reliable and effective ways to keep any area warm. However, like any machine, they can have issues from time to time.
Unfortunately, sometimes you will find that your propane heater will just not stay lit. What do you do when the propane heater will not stay on?
Here are some tips for troubleshooting your propane heater:
- When a propane heater won’t stay lit, often what is happening is that the propane heater may sense that the flame is defective in some way, triggering the propane heater’s safety functions and causing it to shut off. The problem may be a genuine defect or it could be an issue with the sensor.
To see if that’s the case, check to make sure that the sensor device is ⅔ of the way covered by the flame, or try wiping the device with sandpaper. This may remedy the problem that your propane heater is having.
- Most propane heater problems can be traced to a malfunctioning pilot. If your propane heater has a standing pilot, you should be able to see it through a small window or opening near the control knob. The pilot should be around an inch high and mostly colored blue.
- If it’s flickering, split, small, orange or yellow-colored, then the pilot tube needs to be cleaned. You can clean it out by turning off the gas first then gently poking a needle into the top of the pilot tube.
- A draft could also cause problems with the propane heater pilot, in which case your best option is to eliminate the source of the draft.
- The thermocouple can also be the source of the issue. The thermocouple is the heat-sensitive safety device that prevents the release of unburned gas. The initial flame of the pilot heats the thermocouple, which will signal the valve to stay open and keep the pilot lit and the propane heater functioning.
If the thermocouple is too far from the flame, this can cause the pilot to go out and shut down the propane heater; you can fix this easily by moving the thermocouple closer to the flame.
The thermocouple could also be worn out, in which case it needs to be replaced. Get a new one, unclip the bulb, unscrew the wire from the gas valve, remove the old one, and place the new one in the same spot. Always turn off the gas as a precaution.
- An electronic spark mechanism issues could be the cause. You should be able to see a spark in the burner chamber when the blower switches on. If you don’t, get an electrical diagram of the unit, which usually comes with the owner’s manual, and you can find out where the underlying cause is.
- If your propane heater sparks but will not light, the gas cylinder that supplies it may be empty or the gas may even be shut off. Check to be sure, and if there is still a problem carefully clean the gas valve using a needle.
We can help you with any problems you might have with your propane heater not staying on at Haly Home Comfort and Great Valley Propane.
We have served Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties with expert heating and cooling services for more than 30 years.
We pride ourselves on helping your family live comfortably at a reasonable price. Contact us today to see how we can help you.