Your Torpedo Heater Won’t Stay Lit? Here’s Why & What To Do!

Torpedo heaters are energy-efficient space heaters that circulate heat during cold weather. However, just like most appliances, the function of these heaters can be affected by some factors. If your Torpedo heater goes on and off, we've researched why this happens and what you can do to stop it.

The following are the most probable reasons why your Torpedo heater won't stay lit:

  • Obstructed output and intake
  • Empty fuel tank
  • Unclean air filter 
  • Low air pressure
  • Dirty nozzle

To solve these problems, you must first inspect your torpedo heater. Remedies can include clearing the output and intake channel, refilling fuel, and adjusting pump pressure. 

Torpedo heaters can last long as long as they are properly maintained. We have put together more in-depth details about why your torpedo heater won’t stay lit and what you can do to fix it. Keep reading!

What Causes A Torpedo Heater To Not Stay Lit?

A big diesel fuel heater, Your Torpedo Heater Won't Stay Lit? Here's Why & What To Do!

Torpedo heaters work by using combustion to generate heat. The fuel used can be either propane or natural gas. When the fuel is ignited, it creates a flame that heats a metal coil and radiates warmth through the fins of the heater.

The fan helps circulate the heated air throughout an area, providing an efficient and cost-effective way to warm up a space. There are many reasons a torpedo heater may not stay lit. Here are the most common culprits. 

Dirty Air Output and Intake

Torpedo heaters draw in air and circulate warm, clean air in a space, but your torpedo heater may not stay lit if the air output and intake channels get dirty. 

These parts of the heater should not be left unclean as dirt may accumulate, leading to blockage. 

Empty Fuel Tank

If you are using a torpedo heater, you want to ensure it has enough fuel to work with. It is easy to think that the issue with your heater is more complicated when it might just be fuel issues. If the tanker is empty, you will never be able to light up your torpedo heater. 

Unclean Fuel Filter

Pay attention to the quality of fuel you use in the heater. If your fuel is of low quality, it can produce a high volume of debris or dirt, stopping the heater from working properly.

If you don’t remove and clean your fuel filter regularly, this can mess with your power switch wires.

Low Air Pressure

This may be one of the reasons your Torpedo heater is not staying lit. The heater needs consistent air pressure. With low air or pump pressure, your heater may ignite but shut down after a while as the energy cannot be maintained. 

Dirty Nozzle

There may be dirt around the heater's nozzle, which can block the spark plug. This can either make the heater not ignite, or it may ignite for a while and turn off. 

What To Do When Your Torpedo Heater Won’t Stay Lit

Having described some of the issues that may cause torpedo heaters not to stay lit, let’s look at how to fix them and what exactly you should do.

Clean The Air Intake 

First, use a screwdriver to remove the nuts holding the heater's parts together. Take out the heater's air intake and wash it with soapy water. You also want to take out the air output and ensure you remove the air pressure gauge.

Removing the air pressure gauge is necessary before carrying out any major cleaning on the heater. If the air output and intake channel are old or damaged, you can replace them. This will make your torpedo heater burn more effectively and consistently.

Check and Refill Fuel

This is one of the first things you want to check if your torpedo heater is not staying lit. The fuel may be at a really low level, and your heater will only work if it is sufficient. 

You should re-fill with more fuel depending on the type that your torpedo heater is using. Check if you could be using the wrong fuel with your heater, as this could pose an issue.

Clean the Pump and Fuel Filters

Debris or dirt on your heater could be why it won't stay lit. You should remove the pump and fuel filters to clean up the dirt. Do this regularly, especially if you use your torpedo heater often.

Check All Connections

You could just have missed a connection or one mistakenly disconnected. For instance, if the spark plug got disconnected, it could affect the functioning of the heater. 

You should check the source of all other connections. Reconnect them if you find that it has been disconnected.

Adjust The Pump Pressure

Use a screwdriver to adjust the pump pressure of your torpedo heater. Before doing this, you should run your heater on a high setting by setting your BTU control switch high. Remove the old pressure gauge and replace it with a new one that fits your heater.

Switch on your heater and let it run at the highest speed. Turn clockwise to increase the pressure and turn anticlockwise to decrease the pressure. 

How Do You Clean A Torpedo Heater?

Cleaning your torpedo heater is one of the necessary maintenance practices you want to adopt, as soot can accumulate around your torpedo heater.

Before cleaning your torpedo heater, you first want to remove all the parts of the heater, such as the igniter, batteries, and wick. 

You can then clean your heater by using non-flammable domestic cleaners to wipe them off. Most people use a mixture of water and ammonia to clean the outer part of their heater. You should also remove the panel on the heater so you can easily clean all the inner parts. 

Avoid using detergents that contain substances that would cause corrosion on the top layer coating of the heater. It is not advisable to clean the inside of the heater with water.

You also want to be careful not to let water touch the inner parts of the heater.  Don’t try to use salt and water to wipe off any oil stain on the outer or inner part of the heater, as this might affect its outer coating.

You should also not use sponges or brushes on the heater as this can be too hard for the heater and eventually damage its coating. If you need to pick out metals such as nails, nuts, or screws inside the tank, you can use a magnet to remove them. 

Can You Burn Diesel In A Kerosene Torpedo Heater?

3D illustration of a torpedo heater

You can use diesel in your kerosene torpedo heater. Although this is not the best option, it can be used temporarily or in an emergency. Diesel performs well in a kerosene torpedo heater. However, using diesel constantly may damage the wick with time.

To use diesel as a replacement, you need to take some necessary precautions not to damage your heater. Diesel burns a little lower than kerosene, which can cause incomplete fuel combustion faster than kerosene. This would lead to more soot building up in the wick. 

Wrapping Up

A malfunctioning heater is mostly caused by air obstruction and issues with fuel and filters. To fix this, always ensure your heaters channels are cleaned and debris is cleared from the filter regularly. 

If you would like more articles about torpedo heaters, check out these engaging posts: 

Your Torpedo Heater Would Not Run With The Cover On-Why? What To Do?

How Do You Reset an Infrared Heater [Step By Step Guide]

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