Torpedo Heater Keeps Shutting Off – What To Do?

During the cold season, a torpedo heater comes in handy to make your home warm and comfortable to stay in. it enables you to adjust it to your preferred direction to get the desired results. However, this portable and simple to use heater are prone to shut off regularly, inconveniencing you. 

This can be because of various reasons like wrong pump pressure, use of incorrect fuel, or an issue with the control board. Remember, torpedo heaters require regular maintenance to work smoothly but with the right fuel like kerosene or propane. 

We’ve talked with the experts about this problem and tried to find the solution. Read this informative article and get an in-depth explanation of why your torpedo heater keeps shutting off and how to solve this. 

Why Your Torpedo Heater Keeps Shutting Off

There are several reasons this can happen. Some are things you can easily solve without the help of a technician, while others require professional intervention.

  • Could It Be a Problem with The Photocell Assembly?

If your torpedo heater keeps shutting off, the photocell could be the problem. If there’s a wrong photocell assembly installation, it will keep switching off. This will prevent it from working normally and require you to place them correctly. 

You can do that by dismantling the heater and then checking the issue. Use screwdrivers to unscrew the sides of the heater. But ensure you disconnect the switch wires from the main power switch plus the wires on the circuit board and photocell. Then put the photocells in all the brackets before connecting the wires to the circuit board. If you want to know how to repair a photocell, click here.

  • Maybe The Fuel Filter Is Dirty

Another reason your torpedo heater might experience this problem is because of a dirty fuel filter. The fuel filter is prone to get dirty after some use, causing a blockage in the fuel line. It can also destroy the power switch wires affecting how your torpedo heater works when this happens. This can make the torpedo heater keep shutting off or never turn on again.

It’s advisable to clean the fuel filter after some time to solve this problem. Alternatively, you can replace the filter to enable your heater to operate as usual. To achieve this, you can use the below process:

  • First, unscrew and remove the heater’s side cover using medium Philips’s screwdriver
  • Then disconnect the switch wires from the main switch. Remove the cover and put it aside.
  • After that, separate the fuel line from the filter neck.
  • Wash the fuel filter thoroughly. But if you need to replace it, do so. 
  • Reconnect the filter neck and the fuel neck.
  • Reconnect the switch wires to the power switch. 
  • Finally, return the side cover as it should be.
  • It Could Be as A Result of Low Air Pressure in The Pump

The other possible reason your torpedo heater keeps going off is because of the low air pressure in the pump. The igniter might function well when this is the problem, but the PCB assembly won’t allow it to keep working. Remember, in a torpedo kerosene heater, the fuel is drawn from the tank through the air pump before moving to the ignition chamber. If there’s low pressure or leakage, this will not happen. 

To avoid this problem, ensure the heater’s settings are right. Also, consider adjusting the heater’s pump pressure. Let the BTU control switch be on a high’ settings. After that, separate the pressure gauge plug and the end filter cover. Then fix the correct pressure gauge that’s compatible with your torpedo heater.

Don’t forget to switch on your heater, then allow the motor to work at the highest speed. If you want to change the pump pressure, do it with a flat blade screwdriver. But you can decrease or increase the pressure by adjusting the relief valve either clockwise or anti-clockwise. After doing all these, remember to switch off your heater.

  • Faulty Electrical Connection

Sometimes an electrical connection problem may make your torpedo heater keep shutting off. There should be right wire connections between the BCP and the photocell for your heater to function properly. If not, you need to correct this to allow you to enjoy using your heater again. But first, check if the wires are damaged. However, it’s advisable to work with a technician to correct this problem, especially if you don’t understand electrical connections. 

  • Clogged Lint Filter Or Air Output

Your torpedo heater may also fail to work normally because of a clogged lint filter or air output. This will make it strain to work and, in the end, shut off. Note that a dirty lint filter will cause obstruction, interfering with the normal flow of heat and air in and out of the system. 

You need to wash either the air output or lint filter when this happens. It’s advisable to do this after every three weeks of use (500 hours) to prevent the system from being ineffective. Use soap and water to clean these parts with ease. 

But first, ensure you detach these parts by turning the air pressure gauge anti-clockwise. Then with the help of a screwdriver, remove the end filter cover then thoroughly wash them. You can also opt to replace these parts and then fix the system back as before. 

  • Are You Using the Wrong Fuel on Your Torpedo Heater?

Every torpedo heater has a recommended fuel that you should use on it. So, if you’re using the wrong fuel that’s low-quality fuel on your torpedo heater, then expect it to keep shutting off. This fuel will affect how orifices work, resulting in dirt and debris blockage. In the end, the burners will also get blocked, and your heater won’t switch on as it should. You can check if there’s water on your kerosene tank as this can compromise its quality. Water can get through the tank if you’ve not been using the heater.

However, if you have a propane-fired heater, the issue can be because of the low level of fuel in the cylinder. So, check if it’s got an adequate fuel level or if there’s an issue in one of the propane unit’s parts. Look at the cylinder’s valve, the regulator assembly, or the delivery hose. If you notice any problem with any parts, consider repairing them. But it’s advisable to do regular maintenance and checks to ensure everything is in perfect shape. 

  • A Problem with The Igniter System or Pilot Light

If you’ve got the old torpedo heater, then it must have the pilot light, which is found next to the orifice. It should produce a solid blue flame with yellow tips if it’s functional. But if this doesn’t happen, there could be a problem with the thermocouple. To solve this, you need to buy a new thermocouple, replace it, then try if your torpedo heater will work. Use the instructions on the heater to make the pilot light ignite. 

But if you’ve got a newer version of the torpedo heater, it should have an electronic igniter that produces small electronic sparks. This is a sign that the heater is functional, and the hot surface systems should heat the electrical surface as it ignites the fuel. But if there are no sparks on the hot surface ignitor, there’s a problem. You need to replace the ignition system or repair it for it to work well. 

  • The Heater’s Control Board Could Be Experiencing some Problems

A torpedo heater also has a control board which enables it to operate without challenges. However, if the control board has problems, it will not function properly. Instead, it will keep shutting off, making you not enjoy using your heater. Since this is like a computer that requires specialists to diagnose the problem, contact the manufacturers to help you out. They can replace the control board and allow you to use your heater once again. 

  • Heat Or Tilt Sensors

Additionally, if your torpedo heater goes off continuously, it may be an issue with the overheat or anti-tilt sensors. The two components improve the heater’s safety by preventing accidents or challenges with the control system. 

For example, the overheat sensor will make the heater go off if it reaches the pre-set temperature level. When the torpedo heater overheats, it indicates an underlying problem that you should diagnose. But if there’s no problem, you can restart the heater once it cools down. 

On the other hand, the anti-tilt will protect your heater if it accidentally falls. It will do this by turning off the fuel and the heater to protect it from working in such a condition. So, your heater will keep shutting off until the anti-tilt sensor detects it’s in the right shape to work again. 

  • Malfunction Photoelectric Sensor

Most torpedo heaters have photoelectric sensors that ensure the burner functions properly. If it has problems or is full of soot, it will cause the heater to keep shutting off. You can work on this by following the user manual. The user manual indicates where the photosensor is and how to rectify the problem. Use the manufacturer’s instructions to repair easily or replace the photoelectric sensor. 

Tips On How to Maintain Your Torpedo Heater to Prevent It from Being Dysfunctional

It’s advisable to do regular maintenance to have it in good shape to enable your torpedo heater to last longer. To achieve this, do the following:

  • Regularly clean the heaters fan blades, fuel filters, photocells, and nozzles to remove dirt or debris on them. You can do this once every year or as recommended by the manufacturer. Ensure you use suitable materials to clean these parts to avoid destroying them. 
  • Check the heater’s spark plug after every 500 hours of use to see if it’s got any anomalies. Also, inspect the gap between the sparks plug terminals and ensure each is 0.140 inches. Then use a wire brush to clean the plug. 
  • Ensure you use the right fuel on your heater as instructed by the manufacturers to avoid causing problems.
  • Make sure the electrical components like the electrical cords or wires are functional. Additionally, check if the fuel lines are in perfect shape to prevent having issues in these parts.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled a list of torpedo heater-related FAQs. The majority of the questions are answered by a few professionals. We’ve narrowed down a few of those that are relevant to maintaining or operating your torpedo heater efficiently.

Can a torpedo heater burn diesel?

Yes, diesel is a viable option. However, you might have used other fuels like isopropyl alcohol. as an additive. However, it will emit a lot of fumes and smoke, which may be harmful to your health. Keep in mind that both fuels emit toxic fumes, so only use them in well-ventilated areas. Make sure you’re using the fuel recommended manufacturer.

Between kerosene and diesel, which one will burn hotter?

As kerosene has a lower viscosity than diesel, it will burn hotter. This can help heat the house more efficiently, but it can also cause difficulties if the heater isn’t designed to manage the heat that’s hotter than regular heating oil heat. Although your fuel oil furnace can likely handle either kerosene or diesel, mixing the two could result in a fire or toxic fumes. If you fill the tank with a different oil after it has been drained of one, be aware of any fumes coming from the heater, since they may create health concerns such as dizziness, headaches, and nausea.

Is it possible for torpedo heaters to run on diesel?

Many believe torpedo heaters could use diesel fuel. However, we do not recommend using diesel in torpedo heaters because diesel creates a lot of smoke and pollutants. Remember always take an expert’s advice before using diesel for your heater.

Which torpedo heater models are safer to use?

There are a few things to consider before buying a torpedo heater if you’re seeking the best one. When buying a torpedo heater, the type of fuel, the unit’s power, and its features are all crucial considerations. An auto shut-off mechanism and a tip-over safety switch should be included as well.

We’ve made a list of some of the most popular and practical torpedo heaters for you. We ranked them by popularity, safety, efficacy, and other factors. However, we always recommend consulting with professionals before making a purchase.

Dyna-Glo Delux KFA80DGD Kerosene Forced-air Heater

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BILT HARD Portable Torpedo Space Heater with Thermostat Control

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Dura Heat DFA50 Kero Forced Air Heater [With Carrying Handle]

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Mr. Heater MH60QFAV Portable Propane Forced Air Heater

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Mr. Heater MH75KTR Kerosene Heater

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Bottom Line

If your torpedo heater keeps shutting off, it could be a problem with the electrical connection or control board. This can also be an issue with the heat sensors or tilt sensors, photoelectric sensors, or pilot light/ igniter system. Also, it can be because of the dirty fuel filter, air output, lint filter, or low pump pressure. Whatever might be the cause, carefully examine your torpedo heater then use the best solution to solve the problem. But don’t forget to work with a technician where necessary and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the latter.

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