6 helpful hints regarding the repair of patio heaters

Is there something wrong with your outdoor heater? The most common issues that individuals have with their patio heaters may be fixed by making these six repairs. More and more individuals are congregating outside due to the restrictions that have been placed on social gatherings indoors. Unfortunately, uncomfortable and unsightly outdoor living spaces can be created when cold weather prevails. As a direct consequence of this, a significant number of homeowners have acquired outdoor patio heaters to supply their outdoor living areas with warmth. If you are one of the many people who made their first purchase of a patio heater this year, the following advice will help you deal with some of the most typical issues that may arise. Continue reading to learn how to do six different DIY repairs on your patio heater, regardless of whether it is powered by electricity or gas (propane or natural).

Fixing Problems with Outdoor Heaters

The following are some indications that your patio heater is not functioning as it should:

  • The heater won't turn on; the ignition switch on a gas patio heater won't work, but the heater may be lighted using a match or lighter;
  • After only a few minutes, the heater will no longer function;
  • A decrease in the amount of heat and/or flame that is produced.

The Six Most Frequent Issues, and How to Fix Them

If you are having any of the problems described above, you should investigate whether or not one of the following six issues could be the cause. To prevent getting burned, you need to make sure that your heater is turned off before you attempt any repairs.

The heater won't start up when the propane igniter is used

A spark igniter, also known as a sparker, is a small electrode that lights the pilot light on many different types of gas patio heaters. These igniters are commonly referred to as sparkers. Spark igniters eventually wear out and stop working. If you are able to start the heater by striking a match or lighting a lighter, the issue is most likely with the igniter.

Use a screwdriver to remove the screws that are securing the screen around the main burner so that you can do a test of the spark igniter (a.k.a. emitter screen). The ignition assembly, which includes the spark igniter, the pilot tube, and the thermocouple, will be exposed as a result of doing this. Keep the ignition switch depressed while you use your eyes to check for a spark. If there is no evidence of a spark, you will likely need to replace the igniter.

When looking to replace the spark igniter, it is important to keep in mind that it is often fastened to the ignition assembly by a single retaining nut that may be unscrewed using a wrench. On the opposite end, it is typically connected to the wiring of the ignition switch by a push-in connector that may be manually disconnected with relative ease. After you have removed the previous spark igniter, the process of installing the new one is as easy as doing it in reverse. You have the option of purchasing an igniter that is designed for the brand of patio heater you currently own, or you can go with a universal model that works with all models.

It is unable to light or maintain a flame on the pilot

If the spark igniter generates a spark, but the pilot won't light or stay lighted, the problem could be caused by a blockage in the gas supply line that leads to the pilot. The supply line for the pilot tube is connected to the main gas line of the heater by a pilot feed tube that is positioned on the ignition assembly and is joined to a small brass fitting that is also known as an orifice. In many cases, either one of these components or both of them will become obstructed due to the presence of insects, carbon deposits, or collected dust and debris.

To get rid of the clog in the line, begin by using a screwdriver to take off the emitter screen so that you can see the ignition assembly. To disconnect the orifice from the gas line, get a tiny wrench and turn it counterclockwise. After the obstruction in the pilot tube and orifice has been cleared using a toothpick, a needle, or compressed air, the orifice should be reconnected to the gas line. The last step is to reattach the screen.

Problems getting started or a decrease in the amount of heat produced

Outdoor furniture and fixtures acquire dust, filth and debris. Because of the accumulation of these components on the gas or electric heating element of a patio heater, the heater may have trouble starting or provide less heat as a result. It's possible that the only thing wrong with your patio heater is that it just needs to be cleaned.

It is necessary to remove the emitter screen in order to expose the burner or element so that it can be cleaned. Because these should be kept dry at all times, dust and filth should be removed from them not with a damp cloth but with compressed air. Put the screen back in place.

To clean the individual ports of a gas burner, first remove the emitter screen, then use a pipe cleaner or straw brush to remove any dirt or debris that has accumulated. After it has been cleaned, you can reattach the screen.

After a few minutes, the flame on the burner goes out

In a gas patio heater, the thermocouple is a safety component that is designed to prevent gas leakage in the case that the pilot light is extinguished. When it senses heat coming from the pilot light, this copper rod, which is located on the other side of the spark igniter from the pilot tube, enables gas to flow via the pilot tube.

If the thermocouple is not close enough to the pilot tube, it will not be able to detect the heat and will therefore reduce the amount of gas that is supplied. When it comes to malfunctions, free-standing portable units are the most likely to experience this issue. This is because the thermocouple may become dislodged or bumped while the heater is being moved.

If the thermocouple is located too far from the pilot light, remove the emitter screen to expose the ignition housing. This will allow you to make the necessary adjustments. After the thermocouple has been located, use the pliers to carefully bring the thermocouple and the pilot tube into closer proximity to one another. Put the screen back in place.

The gas heater either does not maintain its flame or produces less heat

For optimal performance, a gas patio heater has to have the appropriate gas pressure. Without it, the pilot tube and burner might not receive enough gas to keep the heater lit, or the burner would produce less flame and less heat overall. Either of these outcomes is likely to occur. Gas lines that are broken, kinked, or damaged in any other way are typically the root cause of low gas pressure.

In order to repair gas lines that have been damaged, you must first visually inspect all of the gas lines, both inside and outside of the heater, that link to the principal gas supply. It is simple to identify lines that have been kinked, but it may be more challenging to identify lines that have become cracked or fractured and are producing leaks. To make leaks more obvious, you can apply a spray designed specifically for leak detection.

It is necessary to replace any lines that have been damaged. To accomplish this, you will need to make use of a wrench to loosen and then remove the connections at both ends of the gas line. The new gas line should then be connected at both ends to the heater, and the wrench should be used to tighten the connections.

The electric heater either will not start or will start but will not function properly

One of the most typical reasons for issues with electric patio heaters is wiring that has been compromised by damage or corrosion. This includes the heater not starting at all, along with a wide host of other faults while it is operating.

Corrosion, frayed wire, and insulation that has split off are all indications that the wires have been harmed. Wire problems can be caused by simple old age, being exposed to the environment, or even an infestation of rodents. When birds build their nests on top of wall-mounted patio heaters, the electrical wiring in these heaters is especially susceptible to being damaged by the birds.

Wiring that has been damaged cannot be repaired. It is essential that it be changed out. You can do it yourself if you are comfortable splicing fresh wires together with wire connections. In that case, you should seek the services of a qualified electrician or an expert in the repair of electric appliances to replace the wires.

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Jakob Owen
Jakob Owen
Adventure Pending Co-Founder. Content Writer. Mechanical Engineering Graduate