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Mr. Heater troubleshooting & How-to Guide

Mr. Heater troubleshooting & How-to Guide

As one of the most versatile heaters in the market, Mr. Heater is definitely a worthy purchase. It is convenient as it allows you to generate heat using either kerosene, natural gas, or propane. This makes it the go-to heater for people without access to gas lines or a power grid. But just like any other gadget, it may break down from time to time.

This how-to guide seeks to help you troubleshoot and fix your heater when it breaks down. Here are some common Mr. Heater problems, their causes, and solutions for fixing them;

Mr. heater won’t stay lit.

Start by checking whether the gas canister has gas or if the gas line is supplying gas. If they are, proceed to figure out if the essential parts responsible for lighting the gas are working. These include the pilot and thermocouple.

Malfunctioning pilot light

Like any other gas heater, your Mr. Heater uses a pilot light to re-ignite on command especially if it has thermostatic control. The pilot light is a small but strong blue flame near the main gas outlet that ignites the gas to create the heating flame. The heater will fail to go on and maintain a temperature if it can’t sustain a healthy pilot light. Consult your user manual to identify the location of the pilot light on your Mr. Heater and look for:

  • No pilot light (after ignition): If the pilot light goes off when the thermostat cuts gas flow after achieving target temperature, then your heater won’t relight. Note that the pilot light will be off until you turn on the heater
  • A very small and weak pilot light
  • A orange or yellow colored pilot light

Malfunctioning thermocouple

The thermocouple iprevents the heater from releasing unburnt gas into the invironment. When everything is working fine, the flame from the pilot light or the actual heater heats up the thermocouple. This ‘tells’ the thermocouple that everything is alright and it can keep the gas valve open. However, if there is no flame to heat it up, the thermocouple will interpret this as a problem forcing the gas valve shut.

Sometimes, a faulty thermocouple won’t detect the heat and will unwittingly shut down the gas valve. This false trigger to the safety failsafe will shut off your Mr.Buddy heater.


A defective flame may cause the heater’s safety feature to shut off the heater automatically. This can be as a result of a malfunctioning pilot or thermocouple. In this case, you can remedy the issue by cleaning the heater’s flame sensor. Ideally, at least two-thirds of the sensor should be covered by the flame.

Damaged parts

Lastly, check to see if the electronic spark mechanismis defective.Turn off the gas and turn on the heater to see if you see a spark when you turn on the heater. Suppose you do not see a spark. Refer to the user manual and replace it. Then check to see if the gas valve is working and clean it or replace it as needed.

Mr. heater pilot light problems & fixes

If the lighter is not emitting blue light, it is dirty and needs to be cleaned. Another cause of a malfunctioning pilot is a draft. This is because too much wind will keep putting off the flame. To remedy this situation, ensure you place the heater away from the room’s drafty part being heated.

On the other hand, too little wind will affect the pilot light as well. Ensure the gas heater is placed in a well-ventilated area that does not have direct access to drafty windows or doors. Also, ensure the pilot vent is clear to prevent air blockage.

Thermocouple trouble

If the pilot light is still going out, then the issue could be the thermocouple. If the thermocouple does not stay hot enough, it will not allow gas to flow to the pilot tube. To remedy this issue, replace the thermocouple if it is damaged. Also, ensure the thermocouple is not more than an inch from the pilot to ensure heat emitted reaches the pilot.

Lastly, ensure flawed lighting procedures can cause the issue. Ensure the gas control is in the Pilot position and hold it in position while lighting it. Hold the button for at least 20-seconds to allow the thermocouple to heat up enough to signal gas release to the pilot tube.

How do you clean the pilot on Mr. Heater?

  • Turn off the gas.
  • Unscrew the pilot tube from the gas control module.
  • Blow compressed air into the tube to remove debris.
  • Then use a needle to try and dislodge any soot or dirt blocking the pilot tube.
  • Also, wipe the exterior of the pilot tube.
  • Then reassemble the gas heater and turn on the gas.

Common Mr. Heater problems and their solutions

Here are the main issues you are bound to experience while using your Mr. Heater and their solution. (Source: Mr. Heater Manual)

The ignitor button is pressed, but there is no spark at pilotThe Ignitor is electrode positioned wrong.The ignitor electrode is broken.Ignitor electrode not connected to the ignitor.Ignitor cable pinched or wet.Broken ignitor cable.Bad Piezo ignitor.Low Battery.Reposition electrodeReplace electrodeReconnect ignitor cableFree ignitor cable if pinched by any metal or tubing. Keep ignitor cable dry.Replace ignitor cableReplace control valveReplace battery
ODS/pilot lights but flame go out when control knob is releasedGas supply turned off or equipment shutoff valve closed.Control knob not fully pressed in a while pressing the ignition button.Air in gas line when installed.ODS/pilot is clogged.The gas regulator setting is not correct.Control knob not in pilot positionThe thermocouple connection is loose at the control valve.Pilot flame not touching thermocouple, which allows thermocouple to cool, causing pilot flame to go out. One or both of the following could cause this problem:Low gas pressureDirty or partially clogged ODS/pilotTurn on gas supply turn off or open equipment shutoff valve closedFully press in control knob while pressing the ignition buttonContinue holding down the control knob. Repeat ignition operation until air is removed.Clean ODS/pilotReplace gas regulatorTurn the Control knob to pilot position
When the ignitor button is pressed in, there is a spark at the ODS/pilot but no ignition.The control knob is not fully pressed.Control knob not pressed in long enoughEquipment shutoff valve not fully openThermocouple damagedControl valve damagedPress in control knob fullyAfter ODS/pilot lights, keep the control knob pressed in for 30 secondsFully open equipment shutoff valveReplace thermocoupleReplace the control valve.
Burner does not light after ODS/pilot is litThe burner orifice is cloggedBurner orifice diameter to smallInlet gas pressure is too lowClean or replace burner orificeReplace burner orificeContact the local gas company
Delayed ignition of the burnerManifold pressure is too lowThe burner orifice is cloggedContact the local gas companyClean burner orifice
Burner backfiring during operationBurner orifice is clogged or damagedBurner damagedGas regulator defectiveClean or replace burner orificeReplace burnerReplace gas regulator
Burner plaque(s) does not glow [Infrared Only]Plaque damagedControl knob set between locked positions.Inlet gas pressure is too lowReplace burnerTurn the control knob until it locks at the desired setting.Replace gas regulator
Slight smoke or odor during initial operation1. Residues from the manufacturing process1. Problem will stop after a few hours of operation
The heater produces a whistling noise when the burner is litTurning control knob to HI position when the burner is coldAir in the gas lineAir passageways on heater blockedDirty or partially clogged burner orifice.Turn the control knob to LO position and let it warm up for a minute.Operate burner until air is removed from the line have the gas line checked by a local gas company.Observe minimum installation clearances Clean or replace burner orifice.
White powder residue forming within burner box or on adjacent walls or furniture1. When heated, vapors from furniture polish, wax, carpet cleaners, etc., turn into white powder residue1. Turn the heater off when using furniture polish, wax, carpet cleaner, or similar products.
The heater produces unwanted odors.The heater is burning vapors from paint, hair spray, glues, etc. Gas leak.Ventilate room. Stop using odor-causing products while the heater is running.Locate and correct all leaks
Heater shuts off in use (ODS operates)Not enough fresh air is availableLow line pressureODS/pilot is partially cloggedOpen window and door for ventilationContact the local gas companyClean pilot tube
Gas odor even when control knob is in OFF positionGas leak. The control valve is defective.Locate and correct all leaks Replace control valve
Gas odor during combustionForeign matter between the control valve and burnerGas leak.Take apart gas tubing and remove foreign matterLocate and correct all leaks
The heater produces a clicking/ticking noise just after the burner is lit or shut off1. Metal expanding while heating or contracting while cooling1. This is common with most heaters. If noise is excessive, contact a qualified service person
Moisture/condensation noticed on windows1. Not enough combustion/ventilation air1. Ensure there is sufficient ventilation

What are the symptoms of a bad thermocouple?

Here are some common indicators of a damaged thermocouple;

  • The heater does not light up as the thermocouple is not signaling the release of gas.
  • The pilot light is not able to stay on consistently due to a malfunctioning thermocouple.
  • The pilot light is flaming red or orange due to excessive gas release based on the thermocouple’s mixed signals.

How do I reset my heater?

The reset button helps to shut down the heater when a problem is detected, such as overheating or circuit breaker tripping. To reset a gas heater, turn off the heater and disconnect the power and gas supply but do not turn the pilot gas supply line off. Lower the thermostat temperature setting as low as it will go. Then relight the pilot light by holding a lit match to the pilot flame jet’s opening.

Turn the circuit breaker back on, and then turn on the gas supply. Finally, press and hold the reset button for about 30 seconds and raise the thermostat temperature. For electric heaters, turn off the power at the circuit breaker box and press the reset button.

Check this too: Reddy Heater Troubleshooting & How-to Guide

How to configure and use your Mr. heater?

The first thing you should do once you receive your heater or bring it home is to inspect it for damage. This will help to ensure you do not risk gas leakage once you set it up.  Then you need to insert the batteries if necessary and set them up near the gas connection. For heater mounting details, Refer to your user manual.