How To Light Patio Heater Manually: A Helpful Guide

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Owning a patio heater allows you to utilize your patio when the temperature drops low.

Instead of sitting on your patio swing or chair shivering or wrapping yourself in a blanket, you can light your heater and enjoy the outdoors while staying toasty and warm.

If you haven’t ever lit a patio heater, then you may be a bit confused.

Luckily, lighting your patio heater manually isn’t that complicated.

There are a handful of methods you can use to light your patio without much hassle.

We’ll show you how to light patio heater manually so that you can stay warm outdoors without compromising safety.

Precautions When Lighting Gas Patio Heaters

A patio heater can be dangerous, so there are a few precautions you should take before manually lighting your patio heater.

Below is a checklist for you.

1. Check Gas Usage

A patio heater will usually run off of gas such as LPG, butane, or propane.

The first step you should take before lighting your patio heater is to check the gas level.

If the tank is out of gas, you can do nothing to light the patio heater.

To check if the tank is empty, lift the base of the heater up.

You’ll find the tank under the bottom of the heater, and you can check the amount of gas.

If it’s not full, we recommend filling the tank with the correct corresponding fuel.

2. Make Sure Your Patio Heater Has a Safe Location

Another common issue we see homeowners make is that they place their patio heater in a hazardous location.

You must keep your patio heater away from flammable material, such as wood, plastic, gas, and paper.

3. Check the Gas Regulator

The gas regulator is responsible for preventing gas from leaking when the patio heater is not in use.

It’s vital to turn the gas regulator off when you’re done using the heater.

4. Check for Gas Leaks

If you smell gas when the regulator is on, there’s a high chance of a gas leak.

The gas leak is usually in the delivery pope and will emit a sound when leaking.

If there is a leak, don’t use the patio heater and get it replaced ASAP.

5. Clean Clogs

A clogged delivery pipe can cause significant issues for your patio heater.

To clean it out, follow these steps:

  1. Detach the gas pipe from the tank found at the base of the heater.
  2. Take the pipe and blow on it to make sure that it’s clear from debris.
  3. Check and clean the burner; otherwise, it won’t keep a flame when the patio heater is on.
  4. Check the rest of the patio heater and ensure that no clogs or debris are blocking any passages.

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How To Light Patio Heater Manually

There are two types of patio heaters that you will run into.

If you have to light the system manually, you’ll need to distinguish between the two types.

Below are the two main types and the steps you’ll need to take to light them manually.

Lighting an Automatic Ignition System Patio Heater

To light an automatic ignition system patio heater, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Turn the patio heater’s control knob so that it is in the pilot position.
  2. Keep the knob turned in the pilot position for 45 seconds until you hear the flame ignite.
  3. While holding the knob down, press its stick button five times to start the igniter.
  4. If the previous step doesn’t work, insert a candle lighter into the lighting hole to light the ignition.
  5. Once there is a flame, release the knob and allow it to pop out.
  6. If necessary, you can adjust the knob degree to change the temperature.

Lighting a Non-Automatic Ignition System Patio Heater

To light a non-automatic ignition system patio heater, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. First, turn your patio heater off.
  2. Attach the gas tank to the patio heater at the base and turn it on.
  3. Switch the gas control knob until it’s set to a low temperature while holding down the knob.
  4. Keep depressing the control knob and press the ignition button five times until the igniter starts a flame.
  5. If this doesn’t work, an alternative is to insert a long candle lighter into the lighting hole of the patio heater.
  6. Keep holding down the gas control knob for 45 seconds to help the gas flow.
  7. After 45 seconds, you can let go of the control knob.
  8. Adjust the temperature to your liking by moving the control knob.

Patio Heater Troubleshooting

While you can light a patio heater manually, you may still run into problems.

We see a lot of homeowners make a handful of mistakes.

So, to save you the trouble, we’ve listed a few of the common issues that occur when you try to light your gas-operated patio heater.

Unhooked Gas Tank

Sometimes, your gas tank can become unplugged, which, in turn, will cause your patio heater not to turn on.

If your patio heater is experiencing this problem, it’s a good idea to check all the wires and make sure that the gas tank is plugged in.

Switched Off Gas Regulator

The gas regulator is connected to the delivery pipe.

If the pipe is switched off, then it won’t deliver gas to the burner.

It’s rare, but on occasion, you can flip the switch off.

This usually happens when there is a power outage or if the system detects overheating.

Blocked Burner

Over time, a burner can become clogged with leaves and sticks, so you need to clean it out every few months.

It’s noticeable because you’ll be able to smell the leaves and sticks burning.

Clogged Bug Screen

Some patio heaters have a bug screen installed.

After some time, you’ll need to clean it of debris.

This mainly happens during peak summer months due to the large population of bugs.

Damaged Patio Heater

It’s not uncommon for a patio burner to become cracked or damaged because it’s outdoors.

If it’s exposed to the outdoor elements, then there is a chance the patio heater may sustain damage over time.


A patio heater can make a cold night enjoyable outdoors.

However, the systems may be a bit difficult to light.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to learn how to light patio heater manually.

Just remember, there are two types of gas heaters, and learning to light each one will ensure that you don’t damage your burner.

If the patio heater still doesn’t work, then we suggest troubleshooting the problem.

Hopefully, we’ve helped you learn how to light your patio heater manually in a safe and efficient way.

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