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Common Outdoor Patio Heater Problems and Parts Selection

Stand-up outdoor patio heater gas burner viewIt is fast becoming winter, and it’s time to get out the patio heaters, dust them off, and turn them on for patio heating comfort well into the evening hours. Hopefully, you had covers on your outdoor patio heaters during the summer months to protect your units from needing yearly service. The insulated canvas is great for keeping dust, insects, and varmints out. However, most outdoor natural gas and propane heaters will still need some parts replaced to keep them burning hot, efficient, and clean.

Each patio heating season, the consistent use of your units in cooler evenings can wear out the igniters, switches, valves, and regulators. Thankfully, you have a resource full of patio heater parts to keep your units running strong year after year.

Dust accumulation is common with outdoor natural gas heaters along with spiders and smog because they can clog and narrow the pilot flame that heats the thermocouple. The thermocouple is what signals the gas valve to open and deliver gas to the burner. If these ports are restricted in any way, the outdoor patio heaters will not have a strong pilot, and in some cases, may not even have a pilot at all. This means your unit will not turn on or will struggle to turn on.

For this common problem with outdoor natural gas heaters, we recommend taking a can of compressed air and blow out the burners. This helps unclog the ports and keeps the burner in the unit clean. We also recommend using heater head covers on stand-up heaters when they are not in use. This helps insulate the unit against the elements while keeping dust and pests out to keep your unit clean until needed.

Wall or ceiling-mounted outdoor patio heaters like Calcana, Sunpak, and Schwank also need yearly checks for proper operation. The most common replacement is for corroded wiring. It should not alarm you when you find corroded control wiring or be unable to make a connection when the patio heating season starts. In fact,  about 80 percent of service calls we receive at the beginning of the season is due to corroded wiring or starter issues.

Electric heaters are also privy to bad connections. We recommend looking for dust and debris on the burner and clearing them away. Because ceiling and wall-mounted patio heaters are fixed in outdoor spaces, sometimes birds make nests in the open spaces, and varmints chew through wires. Both of these scenarios can also create bad connections and prevent your unit from starting. In other cases, it’s the age of the unit.

Wiring replacement in all these types of outdoor patio heaters is easy and quick to do. Here are some patio heater wiring parts you can use for these types of fixes. If you need any technical support or advice on how to install igniter wires or thermocouples, give our patio heating experts a call: (760) 779-1352!

We have a very thorough selection of patio heater parts and vast knowledge of outdoor patio heater repairs and annual service. We can help you with virtually every service need.

In the event you have an aged unit that is on its last leg, take advantage of our pre-winter sales on all of our overstock and marked down heaters. We are here for you to help you make the best selection possible for your application and patio size. Our experts have more than 24 years’ experience troubleshooting issues for outdoor patio heaters and are excellent resources for product selection. For all your outdoor heater parts and accessories, be sure to shop at

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I'm Mike,

I have experience dating back to 1995 installing patio heaters in California and would be happy to answer any of your questions. Right now, we're offering free shipping for any orders over $100 and free consultations.

Give me a call on (760) 779-1352 or send me an email.