Propane Heater Keeps Shutting Off- What to Do?

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No matter you use a propane heater to enlighten your patio on your interior, it really boosts up the beauty and aesthetics of the environment. But what if your propane heater keeps shutting off regularly? Or what it starts blinking without any prior warning?

Looks pretty odd and mismatching, right?

Worry not, we’ve run a skeptical analysis to note down all of the possible reasons behind such incidents and explained it well. Not only so, we’ ver also provided hands-on solution on how to deal and eradicate each of these issues.

Take a few minutes from whatever you are doing, and keep reading till the last of this article-

Reasons Why Your Propane Heater Keeps Shutting Off

Before heading towards the solutions, we have to understand the problem first. First of all propane-fueled patio heaters can face a problem of sequential turning off due to a number of reasons. Take a minute and have a close look at the possible issues. Maybe, your propane heater is caught up by one of these issues-

Possibility 1: Too Much Distance Between Pilot Light and Thermocouple

Pilot light and the thermocouple- both are essential parts of a propane-fueled heater. In fact, both of these parts complement each other when it’s about completing the whole operation of the heater.

Once the distance between these parts gets too long, it tricks the gas not to reach the ignition. Ask how? Here is the reason-

The thermocouple is a heat sensitive device. When it gets hot enough, it provides the valve with signals to stay open. And as a result, the pilot stays lit.

In case the distance between the flame and the thermocouple is too much, the thermocouple won’t be heated enough to provide the valve with that signal anymore. As a result, the entire pilot won’t lit.

Possibioity 2: Carbon Build Up Around Thermocouple

Propane itself is a carbon-based product. So burning propane will lead to carbon build up on the objects nearby. And that can be a possible reason for your problem if the carbon build up takes place on the thermocouple of the propane light.

As you know, carbon is a non-metal substance. Due to it’s the inability to transfer heat through it, this carbon build up prevents heat to enter into the thermocouple and let it operate at full swing.

As a result, it can not provide that signal to the valve, and resultantly, your propane heater gets turned off after a while.

Possibility 3: Not Having Enough of the Gas Pressure

Another reason of why yo9ur patio light won’t turn on is the lack of gas pressure. As another sibling reason related to this issue is the restriction of the pilot light due to excessive corrosion.

Possibility 4: Leaks and Loose Connections

Another chance is there, which is pretty much common for patio heaters that had been in the service for a long time. And that’s the leaks and loosen up connections.

The leaks can take place anywhere in the gas transmission system. And the loose connections can also take place anywhere starting from the regulator to the spark plug.

No matter what, you’ve to identify their positions and apply immediate fixes.

How to Solve The Issue?

So far, we’ve been identifying the reasons why your propane heater keeps shutting off. If everything goes well, you should have got one of these four aforementioned reasons as the culprit.

However, in this segment of the article, we’ve got the solutions and fixes for all of these 4 possible reasons. Hopefully, you’ll be interested enough-

Fix 1: Making Pilot Light and Thermocouple Closer

In the first fix, we will be providing the solution to the first possible issue, that you might recall from the previous segment of this article.

Before stepping into the actions, make sure that the patio heater is turned off and cold enough to operate in hands.

Now, have a closer look to find the location of the thermocouple and the pilot light. Before that, you need to remove the top cover of the light. Hopefully, you’ve done that with care.

Once done, remove the bracket of the pilot light and of the thermocouple as well. These brackets have the duty to stabilize their positions.

Once you’ve full access to the thermocouple and the pilot light, use a plier to make them closer by a bit. While squeezing them up together, make sure you are decent enough with the pressure. Otherwise, they might come off their place and ruin the entire patio light.

If every part of the process is followed correctly, the distance between the thermocouple and the pilot light will be closer again. And your patio light won’t be turned off frequently even again.

Fix 2: Removaing Carbon Buildup from The Thermocouple

Another less frequent fix to the issue is to remove the carbon build up from the body surface of the thermocouple itself. As we have explained in the previous segment, propane is a carbon-based substance, and it produced carbon buildup on the thermocouple body. Therefore, the heat transferring capacity of the thermocouple decreases.

These kinds of carbon coat are quite harmful to the overall performance, and it affects the continuity of the lamp as well.

So, how would you get over the issue?

Well, the solution is pretty much simple. All you have to do is to remove the carbon build up from the layer of the thermocouple.

Just open up the protective shield of the propane heater and locate the thermocouple. You might already identify the carbon buildup from its charcoal-black color.

But be prepared when you get to touch the thermocouple for removing the carbon buildup. It’s better to turn off the light and approach to the cleaning process when everything inside is cold enough to touch.

To clean off the carbon layers, you can use a small tooth file, as this would be the most effective one. Once done with the basic removal process, you can use sandpaper of light-level grit to take off the rest of the carbon buildup.

Fix 3: Unblocking The Gas Valve or Orifice

The third reason of why your propane heater keeps shutting off can be a blocked up gas valve orifice. This might happen due to corrosion to the orifice, and you don’t have any choice apart from replacing it with a new one.

Another reason of such blockage is the presence of air in the gas line. If so, you have to open the gas line and depress the control knob for a few time. You can open the gas line just by turning the knob on the propane tank.

Fix 4: Fix the Loose Connections and leaks

Although this is not around any repair or replacement task. But this fix ix about tightening up the loosen up connections. Most of the cases, these sort of loose connections of the regular or leaks on the gas transmission system would bring on the troublesome situation.

In those cases, you can run a thorough check to check whether there is any loosen up connections or not. Them, you can run the water and soap bubble test to make sure that there is no leak.

In case you find any leaks, locate the position of it very precisely. Once done use something like a plumber’s putty to fix the leak. It should be okay to go once the leak is repaired.

Some Other Quick Fixes

Apart from the three methods we have crafted throughout the article, there can be some more ways to solve this issue. These are rather quick fact-checks instead of complete solutions.

Have a look-

  1. One of the possible reasons can be the gas valve on the propane tank is turned off. In that case, just turn on the gas tank and your lamp would be good to go.
  2. Another reason can be an empty propane tank. As you know, propane works as the driving fuel of the patio light. In case your light runs oyt of propane, it can’t stay lit for a long time. So, check the propane tank and refill it if needed.

Bottom Line

Electrical and mechanical devices are very likely to get exposed to problems like frequent shutting off or so. And a propane heater is no hard exception. So, if you find the propane heater keeps shutting off regularly, don’t worry that much about it and don’t hassle for new purchase at all.

Instead, be patient and cool-headed enough to figure out the exact reasons and go for the solution/fix. And one last advice would be to keep a regular maintenance and cleaning of your propane-driven patio heater.

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