Why My Patio Heater Won’t Stay Lit + How To Fix [Solved]

Your patio heater won’t stay lit due to the dirt accumulation around the pilot, loose connection between the gas valve and the pilot assembly, and a defective thermocouple. 

To let your heater function again, you should fix those issues. And fortunately, this patio heater troubleshooting guide will help you solve the heater issues. So, stay with us till the end. 

Why My Patio Heater Won’t Stay Lit + How To Fix

Here is why your patio heater pilot light won’t stay lit. 

1. Dirt Built Up Around Pilot

The pilot light won’t stay lit if there is dirt, debris, dust on and around the pilot. Over time, spider webs, dirt, and debris will nest around the pilot.

In simple words, the dirt & debris will clog the pilot holes to prevent the gas from flowing to the pilot orifice. Consequently, you can’t light up your patio heater. 


First off, unscrew the emitter grid by removing the screws with a Phillips head screwdriver. Then, pull out the emitter grid and set it aside. Now, you can see the pilot next to the right of the burner.

Afterward, use an air compressor to blow away spider webs and debris. Once you clean the pilot, test it by turning on the heater. We hope it will work for you to light up the patio heater. 

2. Loose Connection Between Gas Valve & Pilot Assembly

The connection between the gas valve and the pilot assembly getting loosened is also a culprit if the patio heater won’t stay lit. If the attachment of the gas valve and pilot gets faulty, gas will not flow to the pilot.

And you know that improper gas flow to the pilot prevents your patio heater from lighting up. 


Disassemble the patio heater to access the internal components of the heater. In this case, use a Phillips head screwdriver to remove screws and pull out the emitter grid. Now, check the connection between the gas valve and the pilot. If it gets damaged or leaked, repair it to let your heater function again. 

3. A Bad Thermocouple

A defective thermocouple is another caveat that prevents your patio heater from turning on. The thermocouple will get faulty for several reasons, including:

  • Dirt accumulation around the thermocouple
  • Faulty electrical connection
  • The thermocouple gets damaged


To clean the thermocouple or replace it, you should disassemble the unit. So, use a Phillips head screwdriver and pull out the screws from the emitter grid. Then, you can use the screwdriver to unscrew the screws to remove the box above the wind guard. 

Also, remove the wind guard by unscrewing the nuts. Use the steel wool to clean the gunk that builds around the thermocouple. Now, test our patio heater. If the heater doesn’t light up, replace the thermocouple. 

3 More Patio Heater Troubleshooting

In this chapter, we will break down what other heater issues you will encounter over time. 

1. The Pilot Won’t Light

Your patio pilot won’t light due to these reasons:

  • The cylinder valve remains closed
  • The pilot tube gets clogged by dirt & debris
  • Defective igniter
  • You may not turn the control knob to the pilot position

To fix the pilot issue, make sure you open the cylinder valve. Then, check out the pilot tube for a clog. If there is any dirt and debris, clean the pilot tube by removing the dirt, dust, and spider webs. 

Of course, don’t forget to check out the igniter condition. If it gets faulty, replace it with a new one. Lastly, ensure you turn the control knob to the pilot position. 

2. Burner Won’t Light

Low gas pressure, clogged orifice, and not setting the control knob to the on position are responsible for the burner not lighting up. To let your burner light up, check the gas pressure first. If the pressure is low, replace the cylinder. 

Secondly, you can’t light up the pilot burner if there is dirt accumulation in the orifices. So, clean the orifices with an air compressor. Finally, ensure you set the control dial to the on position.  

3. Carbon Buildup

If you don’t clean the patio heater for a long time, you can find dirt or film on the reflector and the burner screen. We recommend you clean the carbon buildup from the burner screen and the reflector. Regarding this, use soapy water and a microfiber cloth to clean the burner screen and the reflector. 


Why does my patio heater keep cutting out?

Your patio heater will keep cutting out if the distance between your pilot light flame and the thermocouple is huge. So, make sure there is a proper gap between the pilot light flame and the thermocouple. 

How does a thermocouple work on a patio heater?

A thermocouple works as a safety component of your patio heater. It prevents gas leaks when the pilot light goes out. The thermocouple only allows the gas to flow to the burner when it senses heat. 

How much should it cost to replace a thermocouple?

You should spend $150-$250 to replace a thermocouple. 

How do I know if my thermocouple is bad?

Press and hold the control knob for 30 seconds. If the pilot light goes out after this period, we bet the thermocouple of your patio heater gets defective. 


The best suggestion we can give is to clean your patio heater frequently. It will prevent dirt, dust, and debris from nesting around the pilot and the burner. In return, you can operate the unit for a long time to keep your patio warm & toasty. If you fail to light up your patio heater, follow the troubleshooting steps we mentioned. You can also hire a professional if you can’t turn on your heater after following the guideline we provided.

About William

William is the founder of Fireplacehubs.com. He has real life practical skills in fixing smoker & heating appliance issues. He loves to share his knowledge & helps others in fixing their appliances & saving their money. William firmly believes that anyone can repair his or her unit with the correct guidance & knowledge. See more at about us.

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