Garage Heater

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Forum topic by John posted 12-07-2007 05:08 PM 1539 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11 posts in 4087 days

12-07-2007 05:08 PM

This isn’t specifically a woodworking question, but thought some of you may heat your shops the same way I do. I have a garage shop which I heat with one of those tube-type propane heaters. I got mine down out of the attic this weekend and it will not work. I’ve had it for a few years and never had a problem with it. I made sure I’m using a full tank. When I start it, it will blow for a few seconds and then the flame goes out as if it’s not getting enough fuel. Is there a way to diagnose the problem? Should I be servicing it regularly, and if so how? Any suggestions would be welcome. Thanks.

8 replies so far

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4074 days

#1 posted 12-07-2007 05:50 PM

I haven’t used that kind of heater. There is a device in most gas heaters called a thermocouple (I think??). If it doesn’t sense heat, it shuts off the gas. When the sensor goes bad, it can’t sense heat, so it shuts off the gas! That’s one thing to check.

If there is a “pilot” button that you hold down while you are lighting the pilot, just keep holding that down (it overrides the thermocouple), and if the heater stays on with the pilot button down, but goes off a few seconds after the pilot is released, then it’s the thermocouple.

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View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4190 days

#2 posted 12-07-2007 06:11 PM

Also check for spider nests or mud bees in the gas orifice where the pilot flame comes out. Even a smidgen of dust in there will disrupt the gas flow to the pilot and…no pilot, no main gas flow…no heat.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4074 days

#3 posted 12-07-2007 06:47 PM

This reminds me of a joke –
A guy is parachuting solo for the first time. At the right altitude, he pulls the ripcord but nothing happens. He pulls it a couple more times and pulls harder each time. He gives up on that pretty quickly and tugs on the reserve – still nothing. Now he’s really jerking on both the cords when he notices another guy coming up towards him! He doesn’t have time to think about how strange this is, he just shouts out, “Hey, do you know anything about parachutes?” The guy going up shouts back, “No! Do you know anything about gas stoves?”

Okay, I thought it was funny. But there’s a point, too: messing with gas can be very dangerous, and if you aren’t 100% confident that you can make safe repairs, you should have a professional do the work.

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View coloradoclimber's profile


548 posts in 4267 days

#4 posted 12-07-2007 06:47 PM

Symptoms sound like a bad thermocouple. Do like Peter said to test it.

View dalec's profile


612 posts in 4088 days

#5 posted 12-07-2007 06:59 PM

I don’t have much to add regarding the possible problem with your propane heater. Just wanted to add a word of caution regarding the use of propane and proper ventilation. Don’t want any LJs suffering some accident heating their workshops space.


View Allen's profile


43 posts in 4270 days

#6 posted 01-12-2008 02:51 PM

I’m in Cincinnati as well and, at least earlier this month, was freezing my behind off in my garage shop. I considered a propane heater but my shop, being in the back of the garage and walled off from the rest of the garage, is not very well ventilated. I finally went with a $50 ceramic tower heater that oscillates. It will get the temps in the shop up close to 60 which is pretty tolerable.

-- We may never know who let the dogs out, but I'd bet anything PETA was involved.

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4074 days

#7 posted 01-12-2008 03:27 PM

I have a kerosene “torpedo” heater. Smells like jet fuel, but it heats the garage. Don’t spray lacquer, however.

View IowaWoodcrafter's profile


280 posts in 4275 days

#8 posted 01-12-2008 04:50 PM

I have one of those propane torpedo heaters as well. Another option might be the gas regulator. That’s the item that screws into the propane tank. The regulator may be opening momentarily letting enough gas through to ignite but then shuts off. Mine does this if I open the valve to quickly. I can hear a click when it happens and when I close the valve it clicks again. If I open the valve slowly and don’t hear a click but instead hear gas pressure the line then I know I’m good to go.

-- Owen Johnson - aka IowaWoodcrafter

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