Troubleshooting for a Propane Forced Air Heater


Propane forced air heaters are portable heaters that are typically used in outdoor situations, a garage or a workshop. The heaters are manufactured by several companies, including Coleman and Reddy Heater, and utilize LP gas to operate and heat the space. When problems arise with the heater, some basic troubleshooting might fix the problem but you should not attempt to repair or troubleshoot the forced air heater if you are not confident in your ability to do so. Contact the heater manufacturer instead.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean cloth(s)
  • Wrench (if needed)
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Water
  • Check the forced air heater power cord and plug into a live electrical outlet if the heater will not turn on. Reset the circuit breaker if needed and contact the forced air heater manufacturer if the power cord appears damaged or broken. Do not use the heater if you suspect the cord is damaged.

  • Make sure there is an adequate propane supply in the tank if the heater pilot light does not ignite. Close the propane valve in a clockwise motion and then slowly open the valve in a counterclockwise motion. Do not open the valve too quickly, as this will trigger the automatic shut-off system on the valve.

  • Light the pilot light if necessary by pushing in the automatic valve button and then pushing the ignitor button, which is usually red, one time. Wait 20 seconds to let air out of the hose and then push the igniter button between 3 and 8 times until the heater lights. Continue to hold the automatic valve button in for 30 seconds and then release.

  • Find the piezo igniter on the base of the forced air heater if the pilot light will not stay lit or does not light. Tighten the piezo igniter carefully to the base of the heater in a clockwise motion.

  • Inspect the heater inlet and outlet ports for any obstructions and clean as necessary if the heater suddenly shuts down while operating. Note that most forced air heaters will not operate in ambient temperatures of 85 degrees Fahrenheit or more.

  • Wait for the heater to cool completely, disconnect power and remove the filter (on applicable models) from the fuel fitting on the rear of the burner head. Clean the filter with soapy water and rinse completely, and then set the filter in a dry place until thoroughly dry. Slide the filter back into the heater.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always maintain fresh outside air ventilation at is at least 3 square feet in size when operating the propane forced air heater.
  • Turn off the heater and leave immediately if you smell propane gas, which often smells like rotten eggs. Call emergency services.
  • Keep the heater away from children and pets.
  • Never use the heater in enclosed areas or living spaces.

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