Torpedo Heater Troubleshooting [Not Igniting, Keeps Shutting Off Etc.,]

Torpedo troubleshooting is a necessary hack you must learn if you have a torpedo heater. Just like other heating appliances, knowing how to get the best out of your unit is the best way to enjoy constant quality heating.

Beyond knowing how to operate and manipulate the torpedo heater, you must know how to take care of minor issues that may arise and cause a clog in the wheel of your heater.

Oftentimes, it’s best to keep the HVAC professional away as much as possible by knowing how to handle the not-so-complex problems that may arise with your heater.

Whether it’s your torpedo heater refusing to ignite or the unit just keeps shutting off; perhaps, it may be that your heater has just started smoking or doesn’t provide as much heating as it should.

Some other times, it may be that the unit only works when the cover is off. You must know basic torpedo heater troubleshooting to get things moving. If you’re clueless about these things, then you’ve come to the right page.

We’ll tell you all you need to know about troubleshooting your heater and keeping it working at an optimum level all the time.

1. Torpedo Heater Not Igniting

Torpedo Heater Not Igniting

The best way to go about troubleshooting is to start by determining what the problem could be. A torpedo heater that fails to ignite could have a faulty pilot, an electrical spark, certain thermocouple difficulties, or even obstructed air circulation (as ignition requires oxygen).

The reasons are numerous and far-fetched. As long as you maintain your torpedo heater properly, it should work just fine.

However, if your torpedo heater suddenly stops igniting, it could be any one of the above issues, and we’ll tell you how to resolve them individually.

a. Pilot Light Problem

In good condition, a pilot light should produce a solid blue and slightly yellowish color. Otherwise, it’s probably not in a stable mode and your kerosene, fuel or propane torpedo heater may not ignite.

You should normally see the pilot light close to the fuel/kerosene/propane supply system nozzle through a small opening by the control knob. It should ultimately be blue.

If seen to be yellow, orange, undersized, damaged, or flashing, you should shut off the gas, insert a syringe to the pilot barrel’s bottom, and keep it lit. You should also ensure the pilot tube is cleaned thoroughly and consistently.

b. Electrical Spark

A fault in the mechanical spark mechanism may also be the problem. This mechanical issue is usually evident when the blower is turned on.

When you see an electrical spark, you should know there’s a problem. Using the unit’s diagram, you should be able to tell what the exact problem is. You’ll find this along with the manual.

If the unit is a propane heater and it ignites but fails to light, there’s possibly a problem with the gas supply. It’s either the supply has been shut off or the cylinder is empty. You may only need to clean the valve using a needle if the problem persists.

c. Thermocouple Difficulties

Do you know that heat-sensitive device that prevents the release of unburned gas? That’s what is called a thermocouple. The first flame from the pilot burns this component and signals the valve to stay open.

This keeps the pilot lit and ensures the propane heater continues to run. Keeping the thermostat at a distance from the flames is one way to ensure the pilot goes out.

You can address this problem by moving the thermocouple close to the flames. In some cases, it may be worn out and may require repairs. In other cases, a replacement is required.

Turn off the gas and unclip the bulb. You should also disconnect the wire from the unit’s gas valve. Take out the bad one and replace it with the new one.

d. Bad/Too Much Air Circulation

It is true that the igniting flame needs air to burn properly and provide needed heat. But, when the air is not enough or too much, there could be a problem. Too much air may be coming in from an open window or door and could restrict lighting.

There are some other minor problems that could hamper ignition, and dust covering the nozzle is one of them. This can block the unit’s spark plugs or even damage the wiring of the power switch if it goes into the tank filtration.

2. Torpedo Heater Keeps Shutting Off

Torpedo Heater Keeps Shutting Off

There are three major reasons why your torpedo heater keeps shutting off; a bad rotor, leaks, and improper pressure settings. In the case of an electric unit, using a long extension cord may cause low amperage.

On the other hand, a kerosene torpedo heater will have clogging issues due to sand debris if you use low-quality kerosene, and this can affect the heater much later.

There could also be a problem with the igniter, the heating element, fan/motor, or even the safety and control systems. Whatever the case, you can address these issues to a large extent.

The first thing you should do is turn off the heater and disconnect the fuel source. Do not attempt to service a heater with the fuel source still actively left running. You may just be risking an explosion.

If the extension cord is too long, you should replace it with a shorter and stronger one. In a kerosene heater, check the tank for debris in case the problem might be kerosene quality.

If it is a propane heater, check the cylinder and valves to see if you’ve run out or the valve has gone bad. You should also check the fittings, regulator assembly, and delivery hose for any issues.

The air pumps and orifices should also be checked for leaks or damage. Check to see if the rotor has gone bad or if the pressure is wrongly set.

You can fix the air pump by following the manufacturer’s instructions if there’s a problem with its operation.

  • You’d need to have the thermocouple fixed or replaced if the pilot light isn’t solid blue or doesn’t run continuously.
  • Repair or replace other parts or components that may be damaged.
  • Gently reconnect all loose parts and turn on the fuel source and ignition to see if it works better.

3. Torpedo Heater Only Works with Cover Off

Torpedo Heater Only Works with Cover Off

This could be a problem with the air pressure or a worn-out or restricted nozzle. Unlike most other problems that may require you to turn off the heater before diagnosing or fixing the problem, the air pump pressure can only be checked and fixed if the heater is plugged in.

Once running, check to see if the pump pressure is at the proper level. If the pressure is per specification, move it to the 2:55 minute mark. Then, using an adjusting screw, adjust the pump pressure until the proper pressure is achieved.

If the pressure is still low, unscrew and remove the cover to expose the internal components. Check the intake and output filters for dust and clogs. You should also check the filter housing for cracks and repair or replace it as the case may be.

Next is to unscrew the rotor plate and check for the buildup of carbon dust. Clean properly with a dry piece of cloth or brush. You should also make sure there’s a proper gap between the rotor and its housing ring.

If there isn’t, you can place a piece of paper between the rotor and the housing ring, adjust it properly and screw the housing back in place.

If the problem is a worn nozzle, you would need to replace it if maintenance (oiling) can’t rectify the problem.

4. Why Does My Torpedo Heater Smoke?

Why Does My Torpedo Heater Smoke

The smoke could be the result of a number of factors. Smoke is primarily unburnt fuel probably because carbon is burnt into the wick’s edge or the wick is set too high.

This is common in a kerosene torpedo heater. Sometimes, it could just be kerosene dropping on the unit’s hot combustion chamber.

The kerosene could be bad or contaminated with water or trash. You need to empty the tank and check for contaminants. You should clean out every corner or the tank and ensure nothing pollutes it.

If the problem persists, check the fuel filter and replace it if you find dirt. Another possible reason could be a bad or defective photo eye; you’d see it beside the ignitor.

Low fuel leading to poor air pump pressure can also cause the unit to burn richer and dirty, causing large smoke to fill the air. This can be pretty toxic and should be prevented as much as possible.

5. Torpedo Heater Not Getting Hot Enough

Torpedo Heater Not Getting Hot Enough

For kerosene heaters, your unit may just be low on fuel and not getting enough supply to heat properly. If that’s the case, you should top up the kerosene or refill your tank.

In some other cases, the igniter battery may need to be changed. If this doesn’t work, you should check for possible holes in the hose that links the air pump with the burner nozzle.

This can disrupt airflow and pressure and make it difficult for the heater to burn right. If you do find holes, you may need to replace the hose.

You should check the various parts of your unit for leaks, wear or damage and fix them appropriately for continued sufficient heating.

Final Words:

Your torpedo heater needs to be in perfect shape to offer the best heating results. This means proper maintenance and carrying out troubleshooting tasks when things go south.

Although it’s more convenient to always call in the HVAC expert, knowing how to fix simple problems will save you a lot of money. With this guide, you shouldn’t have a problem getting things sorted out and have your torpedo heater working at an optimum level again.