How to Manually Light a Patio Heater

It’s summertime, and that means patio heaters. But those who don’t want to pay a high electric bill can pick up some tips on how to save money with these outdoor heating devices. If you’re looking for more ways to light your fireplaces this winter season, check out our article about using forced air heating systems in the home

The “how to light a patio heater with a lighter” is an article that will teach you how to manually light a patio heater.

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Patio heaters are an inexpensive way to bring a bit of modernism and flair to your back deck. They look great and work well, but their automated ignition systems may fail at any moment, forcing you to manually ignite the patio heater. How do you manually ignite it if that happens?

To ignite a patio heater manually, follow these steps:

  • Check for leaks and that the heater is in excellent working order.
  • Hold the control knob in place and start the flame with a lighter for automated ignition systems.
  • Turn the control knob to the lowest level for non-automatic systems and start the flame with a lighter.


While it may seem like a straightforward response, there is a lot of variation among patio heaters. You should also be aware of safety measures, troubleshooting processes, and understanding of specialized ignition systems. All of these and more will be covered in depth further down!


Contents Table of Contents

  • Is it Possible to Light a Patio Heater by Hand?
  • How to Light a Patio Heater Manually
  • Before you manually light your patio heater, get to know it.
  • Troubleshooting a Patio Heater


Is it Possible to Light a Patio Heater by Hand?

Manually lighting a patio heater is doable if done carefully and properly. You should be OK as long as all of the patio heater’s components are working. 

You’ll be able to tell which components are functioning and which aren’t after you have a deeper understanding of your patio heater. So, we’ll go through how to understand more about your patio heater, such as which components create typical problems, how to spot them, and what to do if you do. 

How to Light a Patio Heater Manually

First, we’ll go through what you should look for before lighting your patio heater by hand, just in case there’s a problem that has to be addressed first. 

Caution is advised.

Precautions are the most crucial thing to perform before manually igniting a patio heater. Working with any kind of flame requires extreme caution to avoid burning or harming oneself. 


  • Remove any combustible items from the area. Keep the area surrounding the heater clean of any combustible things or materials to lessen the danger of a disaster. 
  • Maintain the condition of your heater. Before you turn on the heater, make sure it’s in good working order. Dirt build-up, insects, and exterior debris should all be removed. If required, repair or replace any damaged components. For information on how to maintain your patio heater clean, click here.

Determine what kind of patio heater you have.

The way you light a patio heater depends on the sort of heater you have. Some heaters may need simultaneous pressing of the igniter and flame knob, while others may not. Before igniting the heater, be sure you read the instruction handbook that comes with it.

The kinds of fuel and ignition are also vital to know. Those without an automated ignition mechanism will often need the gas tank to be cut off (if the fuel type is gas) before being lighted. 

What Type of Ignition Does Your Patio Heater Use?

Check the kind of ignition on your patio heater before manually lighting it. Patio heaters may use either a pilot or non-pilot ignition system. Heaters with non-pilot ignition must be ignited manually. 

Consult the owner’s handbook if you’re not sure what sort of ignition your patio heater has. You may also check to see whether there is an ignition switch.

Manually Lighting Your Patio Heater in 3 Easy Steps

After you’ve taken all of the necessary precautions to ensure that your patio heater is in working order, you may start manually lighting it. 

Depending on whether the patio heater is equipped with a pilot or non-pilot ignition mechanism, this step may change. That is why you must decide this ahead of time. 

Here’s how to manually ignite whatsoever sort of patio heater you have using a candle lighter or a regular match.

Patio Heaters with Automatic Ignition

  • While still pressing down on the control knob, use a lighter or match to light the burner. This may be accomplished by inserting a lighter into the patio heater’s match lighting hole. 
  • Release the pressure on the control knob once a flame develops. You should have a fully functional flame after completing this easy operation.

Without an Ignition System for Patio Heaters

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  • Turn the control knob to the lowest setting and ignite the burner with a candle lighter or match until a flame forms while still exerting force. 
  • The flame may be re-lit by putting a match or candle lighter into the heater’s match lighting hole.

If you don’t see a flame the first time, repeat the instructions until you achieve the desired results. If no flame appears, see the handbook or owner’s manual that came with your patio heater.

Before you manually light your patio heater, get to know it.

Lighting a patio heater by hand is straightforward, but it does need some knowledge with the device. Knowing which components of a patio heater are responsible for the heater’s actual heating mechanism is just as crucial as knowing how to light it correctly.

It will be simpler to light your patio heater if you are aware of factors such as the kind of fuel and the type of ignition mechanism. Similarly, if the heater usually ignites automatically, it might help you figure out what’s wrong.

Types of Patio Heaters

There are tabletop, hanging, and wall-mounted patio heaters available in addition to the standard freestanding patio heater. Although the technique of manually lighting a patio heater does not change much in terms of aesthetics, several factors like as the gas components, burners, and controls may.

The following are the most typical patio heaters:

  • Freestanding—the most typical form of patio heater, which may be found on rooftop terraces, patios, and backyards of homes, restaurants, and other establishments. Natural gas is a renewable energy source. and propane are often used to fuel these heaters. Freestanding heaters come in a number of designs, including pole and reflector.
  • Tabletop patio heaters are popular because of their compact size and flexibility in terms of location. These are usually illuminated with electricity, although they may also be lit manually.
  • Hanging patio heaters are also a popular option due to their adaptability and the fact that they can be lighted with both gas and electricity. 
  • Wall-mounted—When compared to other varieties of patio heaters, wall-mounted patio heaters create less heat, making it more difficult to control the heat output after it’s manually lit. 

Patio Heater Fuel Options

The kind of fuel used to power your patio heater may have an impact on how you manually ignite it. For example, if you want to manually light a patio heater that is fueled by gas rather than one that is electronically ignited, you’ll need all of the gas components to work properly. 

The following are the most frequent kinds of patio heater fuel:

  • Propane
  • Natural gas is a renewable energy source.
  • Electricity as a source of energy

Consider the type of fuel that powers your patio heater, as some may require more logistics than others. For instance, if your patio heater is powered by Natural gas is a renewable energy source., you will have to keep in mind that it is connected to your gas line when manually lighting it. 

Natural gas is a renewable energy source. patio heaters tend to be more expensive compared to propane and electrical fuel heaters. 

Ignition System with Pilot vs. Ignition System without Pilot

The control knob on all patio heaters is responsible for lighting the flame. Those without a pilot ignition mechanism, on the other hand, have both a control knob and an ignition button. The control knob delivers gas to the burner and the ignitor lights the flame in the absence of a pilot ignition system.

Systems for pilot ignition:

  • It may be started by pushing an ignition knob or flipping a switch.
  • Most patio heaters, both standing and mounted, include this function.
  • By pushing the control knob, the heaters may be switched on and off in the same way.

While pilot-ignition heaters do not need to be manually ignited, they may be if required.

Non-Systems for pilot ignition:

  • It can only be ignited manually.
  • Non-pilot ignition systems are found in most freestanding, tabletop, wall-mounted, and hanging heaters.
  • There isn’t a mechanism in place to regulate the valves automatically. 

An igniter is included into the gas control system of patio heaters with a pilot igniting system.

“The gas control valve has an igniter built in, which is ignited when the valve stem is depressed and twisted counter-clockwise.”

Manually lighting the heater with this capability would simply need you to turn the control knob and supply the flame yourself.

Troubleshooting a Patio Heater

While manually lighting a patio heater isn’t difficult, there are times when it doesn’t go according to plan. For example, if you followed all of the above methods and your heater still won’t turn on, you may need to consult the owner’s handbook for more specific instructions.

Having trouble keeping your patio heater lit is a frequent problem that many owners have while manually lighting their heaters. This problem may need a second inspection of the heater to ensure that all components are in place and working properly.

Check to see whether the gas tank is full.

Aside from a general problem, such as a broken control switch, a heater’s inability to light up or remain lighted may occasionally be traced back to one of the gas components. Knowing what sort of fuel heater you have can help you here. 

Check the gas tank first for patio heaters that are powered by gas. Most gas tanks for patio heaters are positioned at the bottom of the structure and, if required, will be linked to a gas distribution line.

  • Make sure the connections are secure. It is critical to ensure that the gas tank is connected in order for the heater to start and stay lighted. 
  • Check to see whether it has gas. An empty tank will not ignite a patio heater. You’ll need to fill up the gas tank before you can ignite it. 

Other Gas Proponents to Consider

Patio heaters that run on gas must have all of their gas components working properly in order to operate. In addition to a full gas tank, a clean gas distribution line and a fully functioning Regulator of Gas are required for the patio heater to ignite. The gas delivery line does exactly what it says on the tin: it transports gas to the heater.

Pipe for delivering gas

This portion of the patio heater is in charge of sending gas to the heater in a timely way, which means it will not heat as well if it is not working correctly. 

When using a gas patio heater, you should be able to hear gas moving through the pipe after the control knob is switched on. A sparking sound will indicate that the igniter has been activated on patio heaters with electric ignitions.

“When the gas reaches the burner, a faint hissing sound will be heard.”

Patio Heater Expert is the source for this information. 

The following are some signs of a malfunctioning gas pipe:

  • There is no sound of gas moving through the pipe.
  • When the heater is switched on, it emits a gas odor.
  • When the control knob is switched on, the gas slowly releases.

Replacing a broken Pipe for delivering gas is essential in preventing a potential disaster such as a hazardous blast.  If the pipe is clogged, it is recommended to manually clean the it to remove any blockage. 

Regulator of Gas

The Regulator of Gas for a patio heater used to control the heat. It is connected to the Pipe for delivering gas as well as the burner of the heater. This control regulates the gas to make sure too much isn’t delivered. If a malfunction occurs, this too could cause issues.

Examine the Burner’s Condition

The burner is the component of the patio heater that houses the real flame that provides heat. The burner must be free of any extraneous items that might hinder the patio heater from lighting up in order to function correctly. 

The equal distribution of heat from the burner is disrupted when there is an obstruction or debris on the burner. It also inhibits the gas from interacting with the air, resulting in a longer-lasting flame. 

If you discover that your heater’s burner is clogged, make sure the heater is switched off to avoid being burnt by any flames before cleaning it. 

Remove the Bugs off the Screen

The heater’s bug screen keeps annoying mosquitos and other insects away from the flame’s brightness, preventing them from getting too near and perhaps providing fuel for the warmer. As a protection, most heaters come with insect screens. If required, they may be simply removed for cleaning.

A swarm of annoying insects on the bug screen may sometimes cause the flame to go out. As a result, it’s essential to separate it from the patio heater and clean it to avoid excessive build-up on the surface. 

Even if your patio heater is in good working order, you should wipe the insect screen on a regular basis to avoid it getting too filthy. 

Final Thoughts

If your patio heater isn’t functioning, do a quick examination and manually turn it on. If it doesn’t work, try some of the troubleshooting techniques listed above. It’s also a good idea to consult the owner’s handbook. 

Before you do anything to your patio heater, remember that your safety is always a priority. Remove any flammable materials from around the heater before lighting it, and be aware of the health dangers of propane and Natural gas is a renewable energy source.. Working with any kind of flame, big or small, poses the risk of you getting burned. Remember to keep your fingers clear of the flame when lighting the heater.

When a patio heater is lit properly, it provides lots of warmth and light. When the weather is chilly, having a patio heater to warm you up makes all the difference. You have not just the warmth, but also a brilliant blaze to brighten everything up!


Visit the following sources for advice on how to choose the best patio heater:

Choosing The Best Patio Heater: A Buyer’s Guide

Buyer’s Guide to Garden Beasts

For more information on Troubleshooting a Patio Heater, visit these links:

How Do I Turn On My Patio Heater?

Instructions for Using an Outdoor Heater

How to Troubleshoot a Gas Patio Heater

Visit these how-to videos for a visual instruction to lighting a heater:



If you want to light a propane heater, but you don’t have access to electricity, the best way is to manually light it. The process of lighting a propane heater can be done using two methods. First, you can use an old-fashioned match or lighter. Second, you can use a long stick with a lit match at the end of it. Reference: how to light propane heater.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you light a patio heater without a pilot?

A: You cant. The pilot is required to light a patio heater, and if you dont have one theres no way around it.

Why is my patio heater not lighting?

A: This is because the patio heater has not been properly installed yet. The thermostat needs to be set in order for it to work, and this also requires connecting up a gas line that would connect into the furnace or boiler depending on what kind of heater you have. You will need people with experience installing these types of fixtures in your home though so make sure you hire professionals if you dont know how to do this yourself!

How do you manually light a fire sense patio heater?

A: To manually light a fire sense patio heater, the user must use dryer sheets in order to create enough of a spark for it to ignite.

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