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7 Reasons Why Your Patio Heater Is Not Staying Lit

7 Reasons Why Your Patio Heater Is Not Staying Lit

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Over the past few years, the popularity of patio heaters skyrocketed. People from all over the globe are investing in these devices for their backyards.

That’s because these gadgets can help you enjoy the outdoors in the middle of winter. Plus, they can add a rustic flare to any space.

Yet, patio heaters aren’t perfect. Just like any other device, they’re prone to a few issues. For instance, sometimes when you light the burner, the flames will go out in a few seconds.

So, if you’re interested in learning why your patio heater isn’t staying lit, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I’ll walk you through all the possible causes of this problem. I’ll also cover what you can do to resolve them in a flash.

Why Your Patio Heater Won’t Stay Lit

There are quite a few problems that can cause your patio heater flames to extinguish quickly. It may be an issue with the maintenance or a faulty component.

Because of that, it can be a little tricky to narrow in on the culprit. So, to make your life easier, I’ll go over some of the most common causes.

I’ll also cover what you should do to fix each problem.

Yet, before I do that, there are a few safety precautions you need to take. For starters, turn off the gas tank at least 10 minutes prior to your tinkering.

Other than that, make sure you’re working in an open area with plenty of ventilation. This will help you avoid inhaling any toxic gases.

Finally, it’s always a good idea to consult the heater’s user manual as you work. For that reason, you should have a copy of it to reference.

If you no longer have the manual that came with the device, you may be able to find a digital copy online.

Now, with these safety rules out of the way, I can jump into the causes of the issue.

1 – Air in the Gas Lines

A gas hose is a pipe that connects your gas tank to the patio heater. This component is low-tech, but it can still face a few issues.

While connecting the fuel source, chances are air will fill the hose. This can lead to ignition problems.

That’s because patio heaters need a constant supply of pure fuel to burn. So, the excess air will act as a sort of insulator, resulting in weak flames.

The fastest way to resolve this issue is to purge the hose. To do that, turn the gas knob to the pilot and press it down for about two minutes.

As you do that, ensure there are no open flames in the area. Otherwise, you risk starting a massive fire in your backyard.

2 – Faulty Gas Valve

The gas valve is the component that attaches the gas hose to the patio heater. It’s an electromagnetic solenoid gate that controls the flow of fuel.

Before lighting a fire, turn the valve to the on-position. After that, it’s a good idea to inspect the component.

That’s because weather conditions like frost and strong winds can deform the valve. So, if you see any scratches or indentations on the surface, it may be time for a replacement.

3 – Leaks in Heater Connections

To function normally, patio heaters need to maintain a certain amount of air pressure. This will ensure that the fuel keeps flowing into the burner.

Yet, if there are leaks in the system, the pressure won’t be able to build up.

So, when your patio heater won’t stay lit, you may need to perform a leak test. Thankfully, this process is a walk in the park.

Grab a spray bottle and fill it with water and a few drops of dish soap. Next, spray the heater and cover its entire surface.

Once that’s done, turn on the gas valve and wait a couple of minutes. If you start to notice bubbles forming on the surface, then you have a leak.

In that case, you’ll need to grab your trusty wrench and tighten up the connections.

4 – Issues With the Thermocouple

Most new patio heaters will come with a thermocouple. This component can measure ambient temperature and act as a safety feature.

To help you understand that, let’s take a look at how the part functions.

When you turn on the gas knob of a patio heater, fuel will start to flow through the system. This process will also activate the thermocouple.

Then, the component will begin reading the temperature of the heater. If the thermocouple can’t detect heat within a few seconds of turning on the gas, it’ll switch off the fuel.

That’s to ensure that you don’t have free-flowing propane in your backyard.

5 – Blockages in the Burner

The burner is one of the most important parts of a patio heater. This section is responsible for generating flames and keeping the device running.

Over time, the component can get clogged. That may be because of dead leaves, water droplets, or even insect nests.

On top of that, carbon, or soot, will also build up around the burner.

Sadly, this can cause your flames to flicker out. So, to resolve the issue, you’ll need to scrub down the area.

Grab a cloth and a bucket of soapy water and get to cleaning. Once all the dirt and debris are out of the way, allow your heater to air dry for a few hours.

6 – Lack of Fuel

The culprit behind your issue may also be a lack of fuel. Believe it or not, most patio heater owners run out of gas without even realizing it.

That’s because the gas tank is usually out of sight, hidden at the back of the device.

Patio heaters need a continuous supply of fuel to keep burning. So, if you run out of gas, the device won’t be able to generate flames.

Luckily, there’s a quick fix for this problem. All you have to do is head out to the store and buy a fresh propane tank for your heater.

7 – Wind Interference

If you live in an area with strong wind, then the weather may be the reason your pilot light is going out.

That’s because a powerful breeze can simply blow out the flames. So, it’s a good idea to place a wind guard around your heater.

This will take care of any wind interference that may be getting in the way.

Final Thoughts

If you’re wondering why your patio heater won’t stay lit, there are a few common culprits. Right off the bat, you should check for air in the gas lines.

If that’s not the issue, then inspect the gas valve and run a leak test.

Other than that, the culprit may be a faulty thermocouple. Finally, it’s a good idea to replace your gas tank and clean out the burner.


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