How Do You Restart the Heaters After You Run Out of Propane

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Propane is less expensive than electric heat, and because propane heaters are smaller and heat a room faster, they're a good choice for space-conscious homeowners. Propane isn't supplied through the gas lines, so to use a propane heater, you have to connect it to a tank. When the tank runs out of fuel, the pilot light on the heater goes out, and to get the heater working again, you have to re-light it after you change the tank. The pilot is usually readily accessible on the front of the heater.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench
  • Filled propane tank
  • Butane stove lighter
  • Open the access door for the gas valve on the heater. On wall-mount heaters, it is usually located on the front of the heater, near the floor. Turn the control from the "on" position all the way over to the "off' position.

  • Close the empty propane tank, if it is small enough to remove, by turning the handle counterclockwise as far as it will go. Unscrew the hose from the outlet with a wrench. Propane tank outlets have reverse threads, so you have to screw the hose connection clockwise to remove it.

  • Replace the used tank with a fresh one and screw the hose back on, turning the connection counterclockwise to tighten it. Open the tank by turning the valve clockwise as far as it will go.

  • Turn the control knob inside the heater to the "pilot" position and push it in. Light the pilot by either pushing the red ignition button next to the control knob or igniting a butane stove lighter and holding the flame next to the pilot tube, located just behind the knob.

  • Hold the knob in for about 30 seconds after the pilot lights to give the thermocouple time to heat up. When it has reached the correct temperature, it will send a small charge to the gas valve to signal it to keep the pilot tube open. Release the knob after 30 seconds and verify that the pilot stays lit.

  • Turn the knob all the way over to the "on" position and replace the access cover.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have a tank that is too large to move, have it refilled by a licensed propane dealer.
  • Some heaters require a large tank. They cycle off repeatedly if you connect them to a 5- or 10-gallon tank.
  • If you detect a rotten egg smell after you open the valve on the fresh tank, tighten the connection nut. If you can't tell if it's tight enough, wipe soap detergent around the connection. Tighten it further if the detergent forms bubbles.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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