5 Common Mr. Heater Pilot Light Problems (Troubleshooting)

mr heater pilot light problems
mr heater pilot light problems

What can be better than taking a break away from the norm, getting away from it all in your RV or trailer? For many of us, a little camping trip can be a slice of heaven. Some geographical areas can suffer from low temperatures. Sometimes even a stack of warm blankets won’t keep you warm enough and can put you off visiting, unless you have a heat source.

For this reason, a good number of RVs come with some sort of in-built warm air heater. Although these can make a big difference, making less hospitable landscapes seem more attractive, they can be quite impractical due to their high consumption of electricity.

This may well be fine if you have electricity freely available, but for those places that are a little more off-grid, a better option might be the purchase of a portable propane heater. These can offer multiple uses too making working in your garage or workshop more appealing even in the coldest months.

Mr Heater is reputedly one of the best manufactures of portable heaters within today’s marketplace. Their products are considered superior in many ways. However, as with all items of this nature, they do sometimes experience issues with lighting or staying lit – which can be highly frustrating.

Before continuing with any of the suggestions below it is sensible to first check that you haven’t run out of gas, as this would be a very easy fix indeed! Otherwise, within this article we will examine some of the most common issues that users have and some simple fixes to try if you are experiencing similar issues.

Common Mr. Heater Pilot Light Problems

1. Issues with your sensor

Issues with your sensor

Your device has a built-in sensor. It’s a safety feature that will cut out the fuel supply and kill the flame if it detects there may be some issue. This is an important feature which could save you getting into trouble if there truly was an issue.

So, it’s hard to find it too frustrating, considering it could be protecting you. If you have checked that there isn’t any actual fault, such as a flame that is too large or too small, then you will need to try cleaning the sensor.

Get yourself some sandpaper and rub off any excess carbon or soot build up on the sensor and then try again. Once you have rectified this issue, you need to ensure that the flame covers at least half of the sensor.

This will aid it in detecting the flame and then it should remain lit without any further assistance. If this doesn’t work, it may be that you need to actually have the sensor replaced.

2. Dirt in your pilot tube

Dirt in your pilot tube

The pilot tube on your Mr. Heater is quite a narrow tube, by the virtue of its job it does have a tendency to get a little dirt trapped within from time to time which can prevent your device from working properly. The easiest way to check on the likelihood of this is to take a good look at your pilot flame. There should be a small viewing window close to the control knob.

If you have a strong blue flame, then it is unlikely there is any issue with your pilot tube. However, if your flame is yellowish, or is flickering at all, then your pilot tube needs cleaning. Here’s how to do it.

Firstly, switch off the gas valve to your heater – never try to do this work without that safety precaution being followed. The ideal solution is to use compressed air to blow down the tube to clear it. However, if you don’t have that option, then you can use any sharp thin object such as a needle or paperclip.

It is imperative that you take a great deal of care to not use too much force to avoid damage. Then, enter your pointed object into the top of the tube and try to clear away any debris.

If this doesn’t work, or if you suspect the tube is too clogged up or otherwise damaged, then it’s advisable to purchase a new one and replace the part. You should be able to find a replacement part at a local outlet or online, and it’s a relatively straightforward job that you can do yourself. However, you may feel more confident in contacting a local technician to complete this for you.

3. Gas Flow Restrictor Valve Clogged

Gas Flow Restrictor Valve Clogged

Located just before the pilot light is a small valve which controls the pressure of the gas flow. This needs to be set correctly for either propane or natural gas, depending on your device. However, as with other components, this can sometimes become clogged up.

Again, for safety, switch off the flow of fuel. After that you can then carefully remove this valve and give it a clean using either compressed air or your needle/pin . Once replaced you should cease to have the issue.

4. Clogged Up Thermocouple

Clogged Up Thermocouple

Sometimes you can get a build-up of carbon on the tip of the thermocouple which will prevent it from working efficiently. Again, you can use sandpaper to very gently remove any build up from the end of the thermocouple tip and see if this rectifies your issue.

5. Worn Out Thermocouple

Worn Out Thermocouple

If your thermocouple cannot detect the flame on your heater, then it will cut out the pilot as a safety precaution. It’s another important safety feature – its purpose being to cut off the fuel supply if it suspects the flame has gone out, to avoid gas leaking out. Sometimes the thermocouple can become slightly dislodged from its original position and becomes too far from the flame to work properly.

This is thankfully an easy fix. All you need to do is shut down the heater and wait for the inner part of the device to sufficiently cool down, so there is no risk of burning yourself. Manually move the thermocouple back to its original position a little closer to the flame. If this doesn’t fix your problem and you have followed the other steps and don’t suspect any soot build up, then it is possible your thermocouple is faulty and needs replacing.

21 thoughts on “5 Common Mr. Heater Pilot Light Problems (Troubleshooting)”

  1. When I push down the starter button, it ignites. But after a minute of ignition, when I ease off the button, the ignition stops before I can even move it to low! So heater won’t work! What can I do?

  2. My brand new mr buddy flex 8000btu – 11000btu pilot light refuses to light switched out the battery and replace propane tank with a new one and held the ignition button down for 60 seconds. I will tinker with it a bit but at this point not real thrilled with a brand new mr buddy heater. my other option is to build a little portable wood stove.

    • same with me. brand new, bought it yesterday. Worked good. Today I am freezing my rear off in the garage because it won’t ignite. Piece of junk…

  3. The pilot light on my Big Buddy is extremely high. I lite it tonight and turn it to low. The flames went above the heater and popped. I thought I was going to blow up. What can that be?

  4. Im having the same problem with my Big Buddy Mr heater. I pushed it down and held it for well over a minute and it still wont light. I used it twice last year. Its still brand new. I hate auto lighters for this very reason. I wish i could eliminate it and the thermo cupler and manuel light it. Got any suggestions ?

    • Mine is new as of 1/24, never got it to work as fas as igniter but worked of I light pilot with long match. Tech. Supports was going to help be totally disassemble, I said the Junk is going back to the store.

  5. I get the same as frank. The pilot lights properly and stays on. When I turn the dial to select low the tile will attempt to burn and lite up than slowly goes out. What’s the fix?

  6. Bought one just the other day pilot will lite but goes out when you turn it in on , took it pack to hardware store and exchanged it for another same problem with the other !!! Junk !!!

  7. Hello, I’m researching a problem with my Big Buddy that Frank and Athit mention about slowly dying after turning to low. This is my 2nd new heater in a week and both do the same with either of my full 20 pound refilled tanks (refilled from regional chain of convenience stores) using new Mr. Heater 12′ hose (F273702), filter (F273699), coupler / pressure gauge (F276342), all purchased locally from an authorized dealer. I have the small gas bottles and the heater works with them, but not with the tanks. I can hear the valve reset about 15 seconds after turning it off and process replicates itself with or without the filter or gauge inline. Pilot is clear blue and covers the thermocouple till slowly moving away from it as it and the panel flames go out. I suspect either a flame sensor or bad gas. Anyone have an alternative brand they might suggest?


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