There is nothing quite like sitting around a cozy outdoor patio heater, sipping a glass of your favorite tipple, and watching dusk roll in. It’s the type of memories that seem to stay etched in our minds for a long time, and for all the right reasons. Well, that is the case if you can get your outdoor patio heater to light! Unfortunately, even the best models sometimes decide they don’t want to play along and can leave you all set up for an evening outdoors, only to find that your plans are annoyingly foiled! Of course, not all is lost. All you need to do is understand what type of gas patio heater you have and how you can manually light it. Then it’s time to relax, unwind and get back to your plans for the evening.
To aid you in your plans for relaxation, allow us to provide you with a go-to guide on how to manually light your patio heater by discussing the following topics:
- How can you tell the difference between patio heaters (related to the presence or absence of an automatic / pilot ignition)
- How can you manually light a propane outdoor patio heater (without taking half of your hair off in the process)
How Can You Tell The Difference Between Patio Heaters?
It’s actually very simple to tell the difference between a patio heater that has an automatic ignition and one that does not, as follows;
With An Automatic / Pilot Ignition
These models will feature both a control knob and an ignition button. Usually, they can be lit with the flip of a switch or by pressing the ignition knob. Most standing and mounted patio heaters use this system.
Without An Automatic / Pilot Ignition
These types of propane patio heaters can only be lit manually. They do not have an automatic valve control system. Models that are tabletop or hanging often will feature a non-automatic ignition system.
How Can You Manually Light a Propane Outdoor Patio Heater? (without taking half of your hair off in the process)
Even if you are dying to get your evening started, there is one vital element to manually lighting a gas patio heater that should not be put to the bottom of the list. What are we talking about? Safety! Here is how to keep yourself and others safe:
- Check the device for leaks, if you see anything that resembles a leak, stop in your tracks and take the evening indoors (or put an extra coat on). You will need to have your heater professionally looked at and likely repaired or replaced. Maybe consider getting a fire pit instead.
- Ensure that your product is in good condition. If it has been lying at the back of your garage for years and you have suddenly had the notion that tonight is the night you want to make use of it, you could be looking at risk to you and your family or friends. In such cases, it is best to have the heater checked first before attempting to do a manual light-up.
- Put any flammable materials at a safe distance, including anything you may be wearing. It’s also a good idea to take off any items that could get trapped while you are leaning over the heater, for instance, a long dangly necklace could be a lethal combination when it comes to manually light a patio heater!
- Check for any local rules or fire protection policies in your area.
If You Have A Patio Heater With An Automatic Ignition
If you have already identified your model as one that has an automatic ignition then the process is a simple one, as follows:
- Hold the control knob in and apply force to it so it stays pressed in.
- Carefully using a lighter ignite the flame. You will need to put the lighter into the match lighting hole on the patio heater.
- Once a flame appears gently release the pressure you have been applying on the control knob.
- Sit back and enjoy the warm glow.
If You Have A Heater Without An Automatic Ignition
If you are the owner of such a model you will need to do the following:
- Using the control knob set it so that it is at the minimal setting and apply force.
- Use a candle lighter or match to ignite the flame.
- Get on with your evening in the warmth of the gas heater.
Troubleshooting – When The Heater Just Doesn’t Want To Play Ball!
Do The Obvious
Often, when faced with an issue like a patio heater that does not want to light we can search everywhere for the answer to our predicament (Google, YouTube, your neighbor three doors down, you get the idea!), but we may very well be forgetting to look in the most obvious place; the owner’s manual! Of course, it may not furnish you with the instructions you are looking for, but it also may do! Before you go scouring around for information, grab your owner’s manual and check any troubleshooting guide that is provided in it. If you have no idea where you placed the owner’s manual when you purchased the product you can normally find a copy online. If your heater remains unlit and looking sorry for itself, the following tips may help:
Check The Fuel Levels
A patio heater may be struggling to fire up if there is not enough fuel in the tank. Ensure that you know how to safely check the fuel levels to see whether this is your issue and if so, it’s time to get more fuel in that tank.
Check The Connections
If there is sufficient fuel in the tank but you still can’t get a flame it’s a good idea to check the connections. If the fuel tank is not connected properly it is unlikely you will get a flame or the flame you get will hardly be a good one.
Check The Condition Of The Burner
It is the job of the burner to host the flame which then provides the heat. The burner needs to be clear of any external elements if it is to run correctly. Make sure that there is no blockage or debris which could be affecting the light-up. Of course, ensure that such checks are carried out when the heater is off.
Check The Bug Screen
A bug screen is great for stopping any of those nasty bugs from setting up home as they are drawn to the light of the flame (unfortunately, their new home would be a short-lived event hence the bug screen is an act of kindness!) If you have not cleaned the bug screen recently it may be preventing the heater from lighting up correctly. Remove it and clean it well to ensure that there is no build-up on the surface. Actually, this should be part of your general maintenance of the heater even if you do not have any issue with lighting it.
The Bottom Line On Lighting A Patio Heater Manually
Patio heaters are wonderful creations but sometimes they don’t work the way we want them to. Just because your patio heater does not want to light automatically (if this is the patio type you have, of course), does not mean that you cannot light it in another way; manually. We hope that the guide above will have you enjoying the great outdoors from the cozy warmth of a seat at the fire.