Monday, December 8, 2014

Patio Heater Model HSS-A-Various Won't Light

I acquired this old patio heater from the roadside store.

The heater needed some work; the story of its repair is here.

The heater wouldn't light at first -- there seemed to be no gas flow from the pilot jet. Some dismantling and investigation revealed a clogged pilot jet orifice. Clearing the orifice fixed it. The pilot jet's orifice is extremely tiny, and I imagine that clogging is a fairly common failure on these heaters as they accumulate time spent outdoors. So, if you have a patio heater like the pictured one that can't be lit, odds are good that all you need to do to repair it is to clear the pilot jet's orifice. Here's how to go about it.


You'll have to get the heater's burner head off its post in order to work on it. Deal with the following items:

  • Remove the heat reflector from on top.
  • Disconnect the fuel supply hose from the regulator. (5/8" and 3/4" open-end wrenches.) If you choose to leave the regulator attached to the propane tank, make certain that the tank's valve is closed. The safest way to go is to take the regulator off the tank before disconnecting the hose.
  • Remove four M6 screws from around the top of the post, (10mm wrench.)
  • Lift the heater's head off the post, and withdraw the fuel supply hose from the post.
  • Optional -- remove the perforated shroud from the head. It's not essential to do this, but it makes the head easier to work with, and you're less likely to harm the shroud.
With all that done, you can get the head onto a workbench where you can more easily proceed.


Remove four truss head screws to get the lower flange/ring off the control's perforated shroud, then remove four more truss head screws to free the shroud. You'll expose the gas valve works, like so.

At the centre of the photograph you can see a curved 3mm diameter copper tube. That's the affected part that you're after. Note how the vertical end of the tube sits in the larger pilot light tube. Loosen off one screw, and undo one 8mm hex gland nut to extract the tube. Here's the tube off the control valve.


The orifice at issue is incredibly small. A compressed air blast from the gland nut end cleared the orifice on my unit.

And that's about it. Reassemble the heater, and you should be good to go. From what I've seen of gas valve components, they're beautifully made, and can last just about forever. But they do rely on tiny orifices here and there that are prone to blockages. A little investigation and TLC can keep a gas appliance working reliably at little to no cost.

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