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How to Light a Patio Heater (Step By Step)

How to Light a Patio Heater (Step By Step)

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If you’re spending a lot of time outdoors, investing in a patio heater is a great way to stay warm and comfortable when the weather is a bit chilly.

Patio heaters come in a variety of types, but gas-powered options are the most common ones. While they’re more powerful, turning them on can be a little confusing at first, which is where this guide comes in handy!

Today, I’ll show you how to light a patio heater properly along with other safety aspects you need to keep in mind. Let’s jump right in!

A Step-by-Step Guide to Light a Patio Heater Safely

In this section, I’ll walk you through every step you need to do to light up standard patio heaters safely.

The exact process might vary slightly depending on your heater’s model, but the general outline is similar across different brands.

1 – Take Safety Precautions

For starters, you should take all the necessary precautions to ensure your safety as well as the patio.

Make sure that the patio heater is placed on an even surface and that it’s away from any flammable materials like wooden furniture, trees, patio curtains, fabrics, etc.

Additionally, if you’re using a portable patio heater, keep it in a safe spot where it can provide warmth without getting in the way.

If you’re planning to upgrade your heater, consider going for a quality patio heater with plenty of safety features like tip-over switches and auto-off timers.

2 – Lift the Decorative Cover to Expose the Base

The patio heater comes with a large base container where you can store the propane tank. This one typically doesn’t have latches, so you can lift it up directly and rest it on the protective frame.

If your patio heater is already connected to the fuel source (such as propane tanks), you can skip ahead to step 5.

3 – Install a Properly Sized Propane Tank

Now that the base of the patio heater is exposed, it’s time to install your propane tank. Make sure you pick a properly-sized tank that will fit inside the reservoir.

You can do this by measuring the height and the cross-sectional diameter of the heater cover and making sure that the propane tank is at least a couple of inches smaller. This is also necessary to give room to the regulating valve and connection lines.

4 – Connect the Heater to the Tank

After putting the tank in place, you’ll need to connect it to the patio heater through the hose. First, remove the valve cap on the tank if it has one, then connect the pipeline to the tank by twisting the rubber fastener on the hose.

Make sure the connection is pretty tight to avoid any leakage or problems in the future, so you might need a wrench to give you more leverage while tightening it.

5 – Open the Valve and Adjust the Regulator

With the patio heater connected to the fuel tank, you’ll need to open the valve to allow the fuel gas to flow through the hose and into the heater.

You can do this by twisting the regulator knob on the top of the tank a few turns (around 4 to 5) in a counterclockwise direction.

6 – Turn On the Pilot Light for a Minute

Most modern patio heaters have a pilot light, which is a small flame that stays lit inside the heater to ignite the main burners.

To light it on, you’ll need to locate the large control knob on the patio heater. Push the knob inside then turn it towards the side labeled “pilot” or “low”, and hold the knob while depressed for 60 to 90 seconds.

This will allow the main connection line to push the air out and build up gas pressure inside the pipeline, which is known as “purging the line”.

7 – Ignite the Pilot

Once the time has passed, you should light the pilot light by pressing the “ignite” button, usually located near the main control knob.

To do this, hold down the igniter for a few seconds while you’re still pressing the control knob. You should hear the ticking sound of the igniter lighting up the pilot.

This technique is actually a safety feature to prevent the patio heater from lighting up accidentally.

8 – Light Up the Main Burner

After lighting up your pilot flame, keep holding down the main knob for a few more seconds to allow the filament to heat up. After that, you can release the knobs, and the pilot flame will stay on.

Next, you can finally light up the main burners by switching the knob (no need to depress it) to the “On” position.

This will light up the main heating unit, and you can adjust the heat level through the same knob.

Now that the patio heater is lit, you can put the decorative cover down and enjoy the warmth while staying outdoors!

9 – Turning Off the Patio Heater

Whenever you want to turn off the patio heater, switch the main knob to “Off”, lift the tank cover, and turn off the tank’s valve by rotating it clockwise until it’s tight.

Can You Manually Light a Patio Heater?

If the ignite on your patio heater doesn’t work, you can light it up manually using the same steps as mentioned above.

The only difference here is that instead of pressing the igniter for a few seconds, you’ll use a match or a lighter (preferably a kitchen or a candle lighter) to light up the flame.

Remember that you’ll still need to hold down the main knob after lighting it up for a few seconds.

Important Tips to Keep in Mind While Lighting a Patio Heater

Lastly, here are some essential tips to consider while using your patio heater.

  • Test the Pipeline for Leaks: To avoid dangerous leaks, you can test the connection by spraying soapy water over the fittings and valves. If they bubble up, you need to fix or replace them immediately.
  • Clean the Heater Regularly: This helps the patio lighter last longer and prevents the burners from clogging up.
  • Cover the Heater When Not in Use: This also prevents the heater from clogging up with dirt and protects the heater’s body from elemental corrosion
  • Seek Professional Help If the Heater Isn’t Working Properly: If there are no leaks or clogs but the heater is still not lighting up, seek the help of a professional technician instead of tampering with the heater yourself, as they have the experience and skills necessary to troubleshoot and fix it safely.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! With this comprehensive guide, you now know how to light a patio heater properly, whether automatically or manually.

As you can see, the process is simple, and you’ll be able to do it immediately by following the steps above, especially the purging and holding down steps.


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